Survival of the Able Pits Characters with Disabilities Against the Black Plague and Zombies - Gaming News - Extra Life Community Hub Jump to content
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Survival of the Able Pits Characters with Disabilities Against the Black Plague and Zombies

Jack Gardner



The year is 1347. A strange, creeping illness has been sweeping throughout Europe, leaving a trail of corpses in its wake. Corpses that have begun to rise again in shambling processions. In an almshouse on the fringe of society, a group of people living with disabilities, blindness, deafness, mobility impairments, and more, make the decision to survive against the tide of death. 


Survival of the Able is a tabletop roleplaying game created by Accessible Games, a company staffed almost entirely by individuals living with disabilities or otherwise marginalized people. Headed by Jacob Wood, a blind game designer, Survival of the Able was born out of the desire to tell a story about people living with a variety of disabilities in a time when such conditions were viewed as rendering people useless. To some extent, a lot of the prejudices and beliefs about those with disabilities persist even centuries later. To help challenge those perspectives, Wood and his team created a tabletop experience unlike any other. 



In the setting of Survival of the Able, players will have to overcome the challenges presented by the disease, the wandering undead, harsh weather conditions, and the discriminatory attitudes of those around you. To top it off, the absence of accessibility technology or accommodations means that the deaf won't have sign language, the blind won't have braille, and those who aren't able to stand won't have wheelchairs. This will force characters to figure out other ways to survive in a setting so full of death. Players will be armed with the knowledge a character in 1347 might have - they won't be able to readily identify the symptoms or effects of the Black Plague, meaning that the disease could prove even deadlier than the zombies. 


Survival of the Able is based on the Fudge System to encourage roleplaying and eliminate the need for typical attributes that exist in many RPGs. Instead, the underlying system allows the developers to present a sliding scale to represent how those with disabilities often have differing degrees of ability. The reason for this is that Survival of the Able isn't supposed to be a story about strong heroes accomplishing incredible feats - just a story about average people who want to live. 


If all of this sounds intriguing, you can actually play a beta version of the game for free by downloading it directly from the publisher's website.


If you enjoy the game or simply want to support the project, the team has launched a Kickstarter to raise $8,000 that will be used to create art, edit the beta version, and organize the book into an easily understood layout. The team has also presented stretch goals that include being able to better compensate the team, creating an audiobook version of the game, and penning additional settings for Survival of the Able that include the likes of 1980s USA during the AIDs epidemic. 


There aren't really any other tabletop games quite like Survival of the Able, so check it out if you have the time! Maybe even give the beta a whirl on Game Day?


Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

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