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Tokyo man invents board game that can also be played by blind people

Mitsuo Yamamoto is seen with his board game "Me-ga-te," which can be played by people regardless of whether they can see. (Mainichi)

A Tokyo-based craftsman has created an innovative new board game that can also be enjoyed by blind people, the Mainichi Shimbun has learned.

    Developed by 58-year-old Mitsuo Yamamoto, the new game is called, "Me-ga-te" -- a reference to the way in which people's hands (te) become their eyes (me) when playing the game.

    The craftsman says he sought to make a game whereby players can work out what is happening just by touching the pieces and the surface of the board, so that people can compete whether they can see or not.

    Yamamoto is a tile decorator by trade, but he has been inventing board games for more than 20 years. He came up with Me-ga-te after one of his board game-playing friends said, "What can we do so that people with impaired vision can enjoy board games, too?"

    The finished product consists of three types of pieces: round, flat pieces; pieces with holes in the middle; and thick pieces consisting of two pieces with holes in the middle glued together. There are 16 round holes on the board arranged in a four-by-four pattern, and it is possible to work out the positions of one's pieces using only one hand.

    The rules are simple. Victory is sealed by aligning four pieces with the same face horizontally, vertically or diagonally; having four pieces of the same height in a line; or creating ascending steps across three holes. The game is for two to six players.

    For people who can see, Yamamoto suggests playing once with a blindfold to grasp the situation of those who can't.

    One Me-ga-te set costs 5,800 yen (about $52) before tax and postage. For further information, visit Yamamoto's website (www.logygames.com) or contact Giftbox at 0428-85-2070 (in Japanese).

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