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Ludology

Updated 2 months ago

Rank #107 in Games category

Leisure
Games
Video Games
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Welcome to Ludology, an analytical discussion of the how’s and why’s of the world of board games. Rather than news and reviews, Ludology explores a variety of topics about games from a wider lens, and discusses game history, game design and game players.Ludology is part of The Dice Tower Network, the premier board game media network.

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Welcome to Ludology, an analytical discussion of the how’s and why’s of the world of board games. Rather than news and reviews, Ludology explores a variety of topics about games from a wider lens, and discusses game history, game design and game players.Ludology is part of The Dice Tower Network, the premier board game media network.

iTunes Ratings

305 Ratings
Average Ratings
274
25
3
1
2

Great for gamers

By Butter-J - Dec 17 2019
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If you wanna learn about the nitty gritty of board gaming, this is basically the best podcast.

The best game design podcast

By ZebadiahM - Jul 20 2017
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Ludology is an example for all others to follow.

iTunes Ratings

305 Ratings
Average Ratings
274
25
3
1
2

Great for gamers

By Butter-J - Dec 17 2019
Read more
If you wanna learn about the nitty gritty of board gaming, this is basically the best podcast.

The best game design podcast

By ZebadiahM - Jul 20 2017
Read more
Ludology is an example for all others to follow.
Cover image of Ludology

Ludology

Latest release on Aug 09, 2020

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Welcome to Ludology, an analytical discussion of the how’s and why’s of the world of board games. Rather than news and reviews, Ludology explores a variety of topics about games from a wider lens, and discusses game history, game design and game players.Ludology is part of The Dice Tower Network, the premier board game media network.

Rank #1: Ludology Episode 34 - The Good, The Bad, and The Random

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Ryan and Geoff take a look at the use of uncertainty and randomness in games. What works and what doesn't? When should you have more randomness and when less?

Duration: 1:09:45

Jun 10 2012

1hr 9mins

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Rank #2: Ludology Episode 69 - Area 69

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Hot on the heels of talking about Set Collection, Ryan and Geoff tackle its cousin, Area Majority, a mechanic which comes wearing many disguises.  How does it differ from Set Collection? What makes it work or not?

Duration: 01:11:12

Nov 17 2013

1hr 11mins

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Rank #3: Ludology 209 - The 6 Zones of Play

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Emma, Gil, and Scott discuss a theory Scott is working on that describes 6 distinct physical zones when playing a board game. How does the physical dimensionality of a board game affect its gameplay?

Read more about the 6 Zones of Play here:

https://mrbossdesign.blogspot.com/2019/07/the-6-zones-of-play.html

https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/94203/pleasure-arousal-dominance

Sep 22 2019

58mins

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Rank #4: Ludology Episode 144 - The Edge of Seventeen

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Mike and Geoff are pleased to welcome returning guest Stephen Buonocore of Stronghold Games to discuss the state of the gaming industry going into 2017.

Duration: 1:19:43

Jan 29 2017

1hr 19mins

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Rank #5: Ludology 207 - Card Advantage

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Emma and Gil welcome Justin Gary, designer of Ascension and Shards of Infinity, to discuss card-based strategy games. What makes them so different than other games? How does one handle things like balance, plans for expansions, and in-game marriage proposals?

Aug 25 2019

1hr 3mins

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Rank #6: Ludology Episode 138 - Hug To Win

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Mike and Geoff discuss the different ways you can win a game, and how that effects the design and player experience.

Duration: 1:13:29

Oct 16 2016

1hr 13mins

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Rank #7: Ludology Episode 38 - You Are Here

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Ryan and Geoff talk about maps, geography, and spatial relations in game design.

Duration: 1:25:15

Aug 05 2012

1hr 25mins

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Rank #8: Ludology Episode 66 - Please Sir, Can I Have Some More?

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Ryan and Geoff are joined by special guest Corey Koneiczka of Fantasy Flight Games designer of such classics as Battlestar Galactica, Mansions of Madness, and the upcoming Eldritch Horror. The topic? Expansions! Are they good or bad for the industry? Do you design a game with expansions in mind or bolt things on afterwards? What are the do's and don't's of expansions?

 Duration: 01:03:29

This episode of Ludology is sponsored by Scott King Photography, for all of your game photographing needs!

Oct 06 2013

1hr 3mins

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Rank #9: Ludology Episode 142 - Slots O Fun

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Mike and Geoff are pleased to welcome slot machine game design Jeremy Hornik. Jeremy has been designing slots for over 15 years, including Money Burst, Willy Wonka, Monopoly, and Baron von Bacon's Million Credit Bonus.

What are the special considerations for slot machine design, and what do they learn from video and board games?

Duration: 1:16:28

Dec 11 2016

1hr 16mins

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Rank #10: Fog of Wallace

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Mike and Geoff take a deep dive into Martin Wallace's latest game, Via Nebula. They look at all the design choices, from game play to theme to production.

Duration: 1:09:04

Oct 30 2016

1hr 8mins

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Rank #11: Ludology Episode 136 - Thinking Inside The Box

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Mike and Geoff discuss the way that constraints, both internal and external, affect the design process. They are pleased to welcome guest Grant Rodiek, designer of Cry Havoc, to discuss his 54-card Guild, which challenges designers to develop games using only 54 cards.

Duration: 1:06:26

Sep 18 2016

1hr 6mins

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Rank #12: Ludology Episode 140 - Training Day

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Mike and Geoff are thrilled to welcome guest Mark Herman to the program. Mark is the designer of a slew of games, including the first Card Driven Game (CDG) We The People. His latest design is Churchill.

However the focus of our conversation is on Mark's work designing and executing simulations for the military and businesses, to test out their assumptions and strategies. He details these in his book Wargaming For Leaders.

Duration 1:16:59

Nov 13 2016

1hr 17mins

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Rank #13: Ludology Episode 44a - The Rubber Meets the Road

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Finally! Ryan corrals his buddies into trying Trading in the Mediterranean, and records their thoughts afterwards. 

Reviewing the rules, cards, and other playtest materials may be helpful to understanding this episode.

Duration: 33:30

Nov 25 2012

33mins

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Rank #14: Ludology 222 - Johnny Fairplay

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Emma and Gil welcome accomplished designer Cole Wehrle, designer of Root, Oath, and Pax Pamir (Second Edition), back to the show (Cole previously appeared on Ludology 163 - A Pain in the Asymmetry). We discuss fairness in games. Has it been around for as long as we think it has? What can an "unfair" game do that other games can't?

Cole is a staff designer at Leder Games, and co-founded  Wehrlegig Games with his brother Drew.

SHOW NOTES

2m18s: You can watch Cole's GDC talk here.

12m02s: Learn more about Twilight Imperium (this is the most recent version, but there were previous versions with slightly different rulesets)

13m52s: Learn more about Memoir '44.

14m25s: Learn more about Scythe.

16m04s: Learn more about Blood Rage and Sushi Go!

19m30s: Gil remembers a bunch of Viking games in the mid-aughts. One of the biggest was Michael Kiesling's Vikings, whose gameplay, while clever, did little to evoke actual Vikings.

22m41s: The book Strike Four was recommended to me by Dennis Goodman, who is himself a baseball historian and rules expert, and has written a streamlined rulebook for the sport.

24m16s: The book Cole refers to is The Games Ethic and Imperialism (Sport in the Global Society) by J. A. Mangan.

25m14s: I'm referring to the book The Ball is Round: A Global History of Soccer/Football, by David Goldblatt. The exact title depends on if you buy the US or UK version; this link is to the US version.

27m07s: Cole refers to the book Making England Western, by Saree Makdisi.

27m33s: Thomas Arnold was headmaster of Rugby School from 1828, and was influential in reforming the British public school system. Tom Brown's School Days was written by Thomas Hughes and published in 1857, and popularized British public schools as a literary setting. 

28m11s: If you're curious, here is the official 2019 NFL rulebook. If your eyes aren't crossed yet, here is the official 2019 MLB rulebook (though note Dennis Goodman's streamlined take on the rules of baseball, mentioned above). And to finish you off, here is the official ICC web page on all the Playing Conditions of every form of cricket (although to be fair, they have to handle all three major forms of the game - imagine if the NFL rulebook had to account for Canadian and Arena Football as well!)

Side note: I also checked out the official Laws of World Rugby Union, and I was stunned to see how clearly-written they were! They are made to be read by a layperson, not a lawyer, and come with many video examples of rule violations.

30m42s: This is a good time to remind you to check out Scott Rogers' Biography of a Board Game last week for The Game of the Goose. It's not technically a Victorian board game - no one knows how old it is - but it's the template for many Victorian parlor games. (I wish we could say we planned these episodes to run consecutively, but it was just a happy coincidence!)

32m08s: We're discussing The Landlord's Game, by Elizabeth Magie  (interestingly, Hasbro still does not officially acknowledge Magie's role in the creation of Monopoly, perhaps for legal reasons)

32m56s: More like 150-175 years old, really. Most sports rules began getting formally codified in the mid-19th century (though cricket had already started getting codified in the 18th century).

33m14s: The Eton Wall Game is still played today. And yes, there's video of it! Note that Eton has a second code of football, the Eton Field Game, which is closer to soccer, but still contains many elements found in rugby. There's a video of the Eton Field Game  here.

36m34s: Cole is referring to Bernie De Koven and his book The Well-Played Game. He also refers to the games Acquire and Caylus.

37m23s: To Emma's point, Prussian college professor Johann Christian Ludwig Hellwig invented the first wargame in 1780, but it was Kriegsspiel, designed by Prussian nobleman George Leopold von Reisswitz in 1812 and refined by his soldier son Georg Heinrich Rudolf Johann von Reisswitz in 1824, that introduced realism and verisimilitude into the form. Note that these wargames were designed more for military training than recreation.

37m43s: H.G. Wells, who wrote many seminal science-fiction novels like The Time Machine, The Island of Doctor Moreau, The Invisible Man, and The War of the Worlds, was also a game designer. In his books Floor Games and Little Wars, he establishes rules for the first recreational wargames. (Also, the idea of games solving world problems is still alive, most notably by Jane McGonigal in her book Reality is Broken.)

38m53s: Alexander Pope's classic (albeit somewhat overly-dramatically-named) poem The Rape of the Lock. Read it here.

39m58s: Roger Caillois' Man, Play and Games, written in 1961, probably deserves its own episode.

42m00s: Hare and Tortoise is, of course, the first Spiel des Jahres winner. (On a related note, Scott's Biography of a Board Game about Eurogames is a really good listen on this subject.) Cole then mentions Die Macher and Catan.

46m20s: I did not come up with this "roll a die at the end of a game of Chess to see who wins" thought experiment, but I can't remember where I read it! Maybe Characteristics of Games?

47m29s: Relevant quote from Mike Selinker from Ludology 189 - Missing Selinker: "Frustration is a valuable, positive thing up to a point. You’ve just got to know where the table flip is."

48m08s: Cole is kind enough to mention Gil's forthcoming game High Rise after playing it at GDC 2019. Cole gave his talk on defending kingmaking; Gil gave his talk on how indirect interaction in games can be good.

52m21s: More info about Descent, Dark Venture, and Tomb.

59m30s: More info about Byzantine themes.

1h04m44s: More info about Liberté.

1h06m36s: More info about The History of Rome podcast.

1h08m58s: The political compass of Root, as suggested by Reddit user u/orionsbelt05.

Apr 05 2020

1hr 13mins

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Rank #15: Ludology 205 - All's Well That Ends Well

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Scott did some research and came up with all the different ways a board game can end. In this super-sized episode, Scott, Emma, and Gil go through this list and share our thoughts on how a game experience concludes, and how we designers can affect our players based on the different ways we wrap up our games. 

Jul 28 2019

1hr 26mins

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Rank #16: Ludology Episode 137 - A Thorn in the PA

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Mike and Geoff are thrilled to welcome two of the designers of Thornwatch, Mike Krahulik and Mike Selinker, to discuss their game design process, and their views on gaming culture. Mike Krahulik is the artist for the popular webcomic Penny Arcade and co-founder with Jerry Holkins. Mike Selinker is founder of Lone Shark games, and designer of many titles, including the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game.

Duration: 1:15:33

Sep 29 2016

1hr 15mins

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Rank #17: Ludology Episode 155 - Model Citizen

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Gil and Geoff talk about different methods for using mathematical modeling and simulation during the design process.

Duration: 1:12:12

Jul 02 2017

1hr 12mins

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Rank #18: Ludology Episode 72 - Under The Influence Part 1

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And we're back!! Ryan and Geoff kick off the new year with a new series: The Most Influential Games.

Part 1 covers 1900 - 1969.  What are the most influential games from these years?

Duration: 1:08:47

Jan 12 2014

1hr 8mins

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Rank #19: Ludology Episode 58 - Back to Basics?

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Ryan proposes a radical change to the mechanics of Trading in the Mediterranean to simplify and smooth our the gameplay, and Geoff wants to talk about it.  Will it throw the baby out with the bathwater? What is the heart of the game?

Duration: 1:16:05

Jun 16 2013

1hr 16mins

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Rank #20: Ludology Episode 41 - Listener Spectacular 2

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Ryan and Geoff tackle some more listener questions in the aptly named 'Listener Spectacular 2'.

Duration: 55:57

Sep 30 2012

55mins

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Ludology 231 - STEAM Engine

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Emma and Gil welcome game designer, educator, and birder Chidi Paige to discuss how games and play benefit education, how she designed her bird-themed game Birdwiser, and how competitive birdwatching has affected her as a person.

SHOW NOTES

0m22s: From educationcloset.com: "STEAM Education is an approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking." It is an evolution of the older STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) approach in that it adds the arts. 1m29s: The Newark Museum in Newark, NJ. Fun fact: back when Chidi was working at the museum, Gil was a block away working at audible.com. Small world! 1m36s: Columbia University in New York, NY. 2m45s: Wonderstar Foundation has no web presence yet. Hopefully soon! 7m11s: ClassCraft 7m36s: Labster 8m01s: Chidi is referring to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for DNA replication, and to CRISPR for genome editing. 13m43s: Explorer's Program at the Newark Museum 23m06s: Our episode with Dr. Mary Flanagan was Ludology 226 - Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo 23m43s: You can hear more from Elizabeth Hargrave on Ludology 203 - Winging It. 25m31s: The Big Year on IMDB. 27m29s: Sadly, we could not find the video that Emma mentioned! 30m40s: Chidi's web site for Birdwiser. 32m00s: Whot and Uno are variations on the public domain game Crazy Eights. 33m18s: Birdwiser’s illustrations are by Emily Willoughby, with graphics by Kristine Mathieson of Tropikality Designs 36m26s: Sibley and Peterson are two of the best-known bird guides out there. 38m43s: We discussed Emma's Infinite Potato Problem in Ludology 225 - A Study in Emma-rald. 41m09s: The site Chidi is referring to is Upwork, originally called oDesk. 42m29s: Gil is talking about his word game Wordsy. 42m45s: "Complexity Budget," an idea Richard Garfield popularized. 47m09s: More info about certifying your garden for wildlife. 50m01s: More info about the World Series of Birding. 1h00m05s: The scientists Chidi mentions are Eric Kandel and Richard Axel.

Aug 09 2020

1hr 5mins

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GameTek Classic 230.5 - Implicit vs. Explicit

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Geoff muses on the difference between explicitly calling out the way a game system works, versus letting players implicitly discover how the players discover how the system works. Is one clearly better than the other?

Tell us how you feel in the Ludology forums!

Here's more information about Geoff's game Versailles 1919.

Aug 02 2020

6mins

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Ludology 230 - Design Re-Verb

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Emma and Gil invite award-winning game designer, teacher, and not-scholar Sharang Biswas to the show to discuss verbs in games. What actions do we actually perform when we play a game, what actions do they represent, and how does that impact the game experience?

You can find Sharang on Twitter or on the web. Here is his itch.io store.

CONTENT WARNING: This episode contains references to sex and sexuality.

Show Notes

2h31m: Sharang teaches at The International Center of Photography (Bard College), and at Fordham University. 3m05s: We had Dr. Mary Flanagan on the show for Ludology 226 - Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo 3m26s: Playcrafting is an organization that holds game design events, mainly for digital games, in New York City, San Francisco, and Boston. 5m04s: Anna Anthropy is an influential game designer, and current designer-in-residence at DePaul College in Chicago. 5m15s: Ian Bogost's Persuasive Games. 10m08s: Android: Netrunner 11m33s: We discussed ludonarrative dissonance, especially in board games, in Ludology 190 - Diabolus in Ludica. 12m05s: The uselessness of 1:1 scale maps came up in our conversation with Volko Ruhnke for Ludology 178 - COIN-Operated. 12m29s: If you haven't heard us discuss at length what a "game" is, check out Ludology 151 - High Definition. 12m35s: More information about the word autotelic, which is extremely useful when discussing games and play. 13m35s: Frank Lanz is a game designer and director of the NYU Game Center. 16m35s: Great Western Trail, Food Chain Magnate 17m10s: Ryan and Geoff discussed the magic circle with game designer and professor Eric Zimmerman in Ludology 79 - The Magic Circle. 17m29s: You can find more about Honey & Hot Wax, edited by Sharang and Lucian Kahn, here. 18m25s: The phrase "turtles all the way down" is one of Gil's favorites. 20m54s: Hungry Hungry Hippos, Mouse Trap, Pretty Pretty Princess, Electronic Dream Phone 21m30s: MegaCity Oceania 21m54s: Mountains of Madness 23m10s: Pandemic Legacy: Season One 24m11s: Sharang's game with Max Seidman, Mad Science Foundation 26m35s: The RPG Sign. 28m10s: More information about the larp Sarabande. 29m42s: Geoff and Gil discussed "soft incentives" in Ludology 185 - Soft Boiled. 30m38s: Jiangshi, an RPG about Chinese immigrants juggling running a haunted restaurant, by Banana Chan and Sen-Foong Lim. We had Banana on the show a few weeks ago, for Ludology 228 - The Roles We Play. 31m10s: Some of the discussion about "Press F To Pay Respects" in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. 31m31s: Untitled Goose Game 35m53s: Sharang compares Chaos in the Old World to Assault of the Giants. Chaos was designed by the incomparable Eric Lang, who we had on the show for Ludology 175 - Auld Lang Design. 37m13s: Sagrada 38m19s: DC Comics Deck-Building Game 40m00s: John Cage's 4'33", which instructs the performer to play no notes for the duration of the piece. 40m27s: Positive examples of ludonarrative dissonance: Typing of the Dead, Unspeakable Words 40m58s: Brenda Romero's well-known art game Train. 41m16s: Sharang's game Feast, inspired by Felix Gonzalez-Torres' original art piece Untitled (Portrait of Ross in L.A.). 41m45s: The RPG With Great Power…  42m31s: Team Fun's interview with Sharang, featuring the phrase "Jump, Decapitate, Kill." 43m44s: Journalist, larp designer, and game writer Lizzie Stark. 45m00s: The 2001 video game Black & White. 45m17s: French literary critic Roland Barthes proposed the idea of the Death of the Author in a 1967 essay, suggesting that critics don't need to understand an author to contextualize their work. 45m24s: The Effing Foundation for Sex Positivity. 47m16s: Thumb Wars (or thumb wrestling) 51m45s: The games A Guide to Casting Phantoms In The Revolution, and Can You Hear Me?  52m34s: Sharang's game Several Miles from Heaven. 53m36s: The Jenga-implementing RPGs Dread and Star Crossed, and the apocalyptic RPG Ten Candles. 54m45s: Metatopia is a game designer convention based in the northeastern US that specializes in tests of board games, TTRPG, and larp. 56m41s: Sharang's solo food-based RPG Verdure. 57m52s: We had Jenn Sandercock on in Ludology 210 - The Way to a Gamer's Heart to discuss her edible games.  58m41s: The 200-word RPG Stardust. 1h00m00s: The bizarre Hellcouch (taking the idea of the "couch co-op to the next level), amd Mattie Brice's empathy machine. 1h00m45s: Marina Abramović's seminal performance art piece Rhythm 0, in which she allowed visitors to do whatever they wanted to her body for 6 hours. Visitors were gentle at first, but became more cruel as the piece went on, several times aiming a loaded gun in her head. The most powerful part of the performance emerged at the end; once the 6 hours ended, Abramović stood up and approached the audience, who promptly left, unable to face her as a person who had regained her bodily autonomy. 1h06m08s: Alex Roberts' Pop! is part of Sharang's project Honey and Hot Wax, co-edited by Lucian Kahn. 1h06m37s: Emma's degree is in Product Design. 1h08m45s: Sharang has written a couple of articles for Killscreen. 1h10m38s: Wingspan. We had the pleasure of chatting with designer Elizabeth Hargrave for Ludology 203 - Winging It. 1h12m15s: The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire was a horrifying tragedy in which 146 sweatshop workers in New York City were killed by a fire. The workers were locked into their working space, so they could not exit on foot; many leapt to their deaths. The fire resulted in legislation that improved factory safety standards and strengthened union powers.  1h14m42s: Clio Yun-Su Davis' RPG Pass the Sugar Please was run by theater company Intramersive. 1h16m44s: Sharang is referencing Kat Jones' game Glitzy Nails. 1h17m43s: The RPG Flatpack 1h19m34s: The productivity games Habitica, SuperBetter, Chore Wars, and Zombies Run. 1h20m58s: Sharang's game A Shroud for the Seneschal.

Jul 26 2020

1hr 26mins

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Biography of a Board Game 229.5 - Vinci/Small World

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Scott takes us through the rise, fall, and rise again of the game Vinci, which designer Philippe Keyaerts and publisher Days of Wonder re-implemented as Small World.

Bibliography of a board game

Text: Meepletown interviews designer Keyaerts. Text: Boardtime interviews designer Keyaerts (the site is Polish, but the interview is in English).   Text: Related Small World products from publisher Days of Wonder. Text: Tabletop Gaming magazine September 2019 - How We Made Small World (paywall)   Text: Tabletop Gaming magazine #10 Jun/Jul 2017 - First Turn: Phillipe Keyaerts

Jul 19 2020

9mins

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Ludology 229 - Hit the Deck!

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Emma, Gil, and Scott go back to a topic that Ryan and Geoff discussed earlier in the show's history: Deckbuilding! With all that's changed (including Emma having designed a deckbuilder), what has changed, and what have we learned?

0m41s: The episode that Ryan and Geoff did was Ludology 119 - Deck the Halls. 0m46s: Dominion (which did come out in 2008) 2m39s: StarCraft: The Board Game, which is generally believed to be the first game with an in-game deckbuilding component (if we assume that Magic: The Gathering's deckbuilding component is technically not "in-game," but is part of the metagame). 5m12s: Trains, and A Few Acres of Snow 6m26s: Smash Up 14m45s: Concordia, Aquatica 17m13s: Ascension, Thunderstone, Nightfall 22m26s: Eschaton, Copycat 30m08s: Aeon's End, Thunderstone Quest, Big Book of Madness, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle 31m39s: Puzzle Strike 32m36s: The Quacks of Quedlinburg 33m19s: I think we have the name to Scott's next game... :) 34m03s: Black Friday 34m47s: Quarriors (and its themed re-implementation, Dice Masters) 36m58s: Rattlebones  37m40s: Dice Forge (which Gil mistakenly called Dice Vault) 38m25s: According to designer Stephen Glenn, Rattlebones had been in the works since 2009.  40m05s: Blank White Dice (which Emma called Blank Dice) 41m07s: Abandon All Artichokes, Xenon Profiteer, Fine Sand 44m18s: Mystic Vale, Edge of Darkness 46m21s: The game Scott was thinking of is Dead Reckoning 46m36s: Slay the Spire 48m09s: Gil is using the definition of "atom" from the book Characteristics of Games: "The smallest complete unit of play, in the sense that the players feel they've 'really played' some of the game." 49m51s: The bits in question 50m05s: VENOM Assault 51m27s: Monster Train 54m17s: Self-promotion time!

Jul 12 2020

1hr 1min

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GameTek Classic 228.5 - Fairness and Bag-Building

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Geoff uses an interesting bag-building example to discuss how a mechanism that is designed to be fair and equitable to all colors in the bag winds up favoring a single color over time. This example has incredible significance to our hobby, and our world.

You can reach out to Geoff via Twitter or email (geoff@ludology.net).

Jul 05 2020

6mins

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Ludology 228 - The Roles We Play

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Emma and Gil welcome Banana Chan: game writer, larp/RPG designer, board game publisher, horror movie buff, and pop-up museum aficionado. We talk about writing for all kinds of games, how game mechanisms support intense experiences in larp and RPG, the effects of emancipatory bleed, and the effect of moving roleplay online.

Content warning: we discuss games with intense themes, like human sacrifice.

4m29s: The Spire RPG 

5m59s: The Circle is a reality show in which contestants are isolated in their homes and can only communicate with others via a text-based app. They're free to adopt any persona they wish. You can watch the first episode of the American reboot here.

6m27s: Pork roll vs. Taylor ham (two names for the same kind of processed meat) is a long-running debate in the Garden State. 

7m01s: Jean-Paul Sartre's No Exit, a legendary play with a classic twist.

9m03s: The RPGs This Discord Has Ghosts In It and Long Time Listener, Last Time Caller

10m06s: For those of you just joining Ludology, welcome, and we just covered safety tools in Ludology 227 - Respect the X.

11m27s: To make it clear, bleed is a general term to describe a phenomenon (occurring mainly in larp) where a character's emotions and identity start mixing into a player's emotions and identity, and vice versa. It can be extremely intense, and larps usually feature necessary wrap-up sessions where players can talk out feelings that the game brought up. Here is an article with a couple of excellent examples of bleed. Jonaya Kemper, who Banana mentions, has written about emancipatory bleed here. Read more about Kemper and her work here.

11m59s: Here's Albert Kong's tweet about emancipatory bleed.

12m21s: More info about the Baphomet larp.

17m29s: Diplomacy is a game that's long-established for challenging friendships.

18m41s: Banana's new RPG, Jiangshi: Blood in the Banquet Hall, co-designed with Sen-Foong Lim

22m44s: Warp's Edge

24m51s: Angelus Morningstar has a good write-up on cultural appropriation in board games here. (Also, when Gil says "I wish this is something more board games would do," he means "hire cultural sensitivity readers.")

29m07s: They're Onto Me. The Golden Cobra Challenge is a contest for freeform larp. 

31m06s: Dads on Mowers, a module for the RPG Kids on Bikes.

31m57s: Cobwebs RPG.

32m19s: Alice is Missing RPG.

32m37s: Banana is talking about an episode of the TV series Masters of Horror. This particular episode (which Gil and Emma will never watch) is called "John Carpenter's Cigarette Burns." 

33m53s: Betrayal at Mystery Mansion is a re-implementation of Betrayal at House on the Hill, but with a Scooby-Doo theme.

35m58s: As We Know It.

37m32s: Roll20 is a website that facilitates online RPG play. Discord is an online text/voice chat program for gamers.

38m48s: By "corpse," Gil is referring to the surrealist writing exercise Exquisite Corpse.

41m39s: Banana's dinner party films: The Invitation, Get Out, Coherence. She also mentions Midsommar.

42m28s: Here's the article Gil mentions that describes the benefits of experiencing a horror movie entirely from its Wikipedia page.

43m02s: Here's Avery Alder's body horror RPG, Abnormal.

44m08s: The Park Avenue Armory, one of Gil's favorite places in NYC. Banana discusses The Funhouse in Toronto, which is now closed.

46m05s: The mangaka Junji Ito.

46m58s: Battle of the Boy Bands, a game by Clio Yun-su Davis and Vicci Ho that Banana published under the Game and a Curry label. Enjoy some music from Stray Kids and BTS.

50m05s: Night Witches, by Jason Morningstar. We had Jason on in Ludology 161 What's the Story, Morning Glory? Banana also mentions his game Juggernaut.

50m52s: Avery Alder's Monsterhearts.

51m25s: Here's the moment in the video Gil was mentioning. Alex Roberts, who plays the ghost, is the designer of the award-winning RPG Star Crossed.

52m13: Gil is referring to Ludology 226 - Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo, in which Dr. Mary Flanagan discussed how psychological distance helps people better associate with a subject.

53m39s: If you're interested in Goat-2-Meeting, here are the details.

56m44s: The designers Banana mentions are: Jabari Weathers, Jonaya Kemper (mentioned above), and Fertessa Allyse.

Jun 28 2020

58mins

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Biography of a Board Game 227.5 - Twister

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Scott takes us through the twisted history of the classic game Twister. How did it overcome its risqué premise to become a perennial favorite?

Bibliography of a Board Game:

7m46: One interesting note is that Shuffle Twister's gameplay is similar to Bez Shahriari's independently-released In a Bind, but Shahriari released her game in 2015, one year earlier. In a Bind went on to be re-implemented by French publisher Gigamic as Yogi.

9m19s: To clarify, Monkey Auto Races wasn't #1 on the BGG Hot Games; as an April Fool's joke in 2007, a bunch of BGG users gave the game a high rating, and it was actually the #1 game on BGG for one day. 

Jun 21 2020

11mins

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Ludology 227 - Respect the X

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Emma and Gil moderate a roundtable on safety tools in games, with guests Kienna Shaw and Lauren Bryant-Monk (creators of the TTRPG Safety Toolkit) and John Stavropoulos (creator of the X-Card). 

We discuss consent and safety in games, starting with tabletop roleplaying games (TTRPGs), but expanding to all sorts of games. How can safety tools help in games, and in what ways do they help?

Content Warning: this episode mentions occurences of consent violations, domestic abuse, and sexual assault.

SHOW NOTES

23m25s - The D&D Adventurers League is an official ongoing play, organized by D&D's publisher Wizards of the Coast.

32m29s - Kids on Bikes, by Jon Gilmour and Doug Levandowski.

33m17s - Avonelle Wing is a longtime RPG/LARP player, convention organizer, and advocate for equality and justice for games. She's one of Gil's idols.

34m11s - Kate Bullock is a TTRPG designer, advocate, writer, and president of the Indie Game Developer Network.

39m58s - Nordic LARP is a form of LARP with minimal rules and GMing, but heavy atmosphere and story. Compare it to demonstrative (boffer) LARPs, which tend to be more fantastical and have NPCs and combat rules.

43m20s - An otome game is a story-based video game that generally has the player control a female character, to try to develop a relationship with one of the game's male characters.

46m10s - Here's an especially horrifying story about an awful GM that came out of UKGE last year (BIG CONTENT WARNING for sexual assault in that link). Note that this is one story, but there are many more that never get this much coverage. The story about the public live stream that went wrong is here, and carries a similar content warning.

52m07s - You didn't think we were going to go a full episode without bringing board games into it, did you? :)

1h00m26s - Self-Promotion: you can find more info about Gil's Check-In Cards here.

1h00m57s - Twilight Imperium being a 6 hour game about galactic conquest.

1h06m58s - Psychologist Susan Silk and her friend Barry Goldman wrote about this in the LA times. They called it "Ring Theory," and in it, they discuss how you can comfort a grieving person while not burdening them with your own pain, by placing them in the "center" of the crisis and being mindful of where you are relative to others in that ring.

1h10m03s - Restorative justice is a methodology that has the victim and offender meeting (often with community members), with the expectation that the two parties will come to a consensus on what happened, how much damage was caused, and how the damage can be repaired. This gives the offender a clear path to righting the wrong, and empowers the victim in the process of seeking justice.

Jun 14 2020

1hr 15mins

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Ludology 226.5 - Counterfeiting

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Geoff discusses the phenomenon of counterfeiting in game production. How prevalent it it, and how badly does it affect game publishers?

Here's the ICV2 interview he mentions.

Jun 07 2020

6mins

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Ludology 226 - Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo

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Emma and Gil welcome Dr. Mary Flanagan, designer of Monarch, Visitor in Blackwood Grove, Buffalo, Awkward Moment, and plethora of other games in a myriad of styles and platforms, from party to strategy on digital in tabletop. Dr. Flanagan is also an artist, having exhibited works (many game-related) all around the world, and teaches game design at Dartmouth, who also hosts her game design and research lab, Tiltfactor.

We discuss designing games from the perspectives of fun and meaningful change. How does one make a transformative game that players actually enjoy, but that is still effective at building empathy and fighting prejudice?

CONTENT WARNING: There is a brief mention of racial prejudice, and sexual assault in literary works towards the end of the episode.

SHOW NOTES

0m21s: "Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo" is a grammatically correct sentence. This video explains it, and other lexically ambiguous sentences.

1m21s: Tiltfactor, Dr. Flanagan's game design and research lab at Dartmouth 

1m57s: If you're reading this, congratulations, you're reading the show notes!

3m58s: Professor Scott Rogers covered The Game of The Goose in Biography of a Board Game 221.5.

4m27s: For more information on these French Revolution-themed versions of Game of the Goose (Jeu de la Revolution Francaise), check out page 17 of this PDF. It's also interesting to note that Robespierre attempted to install a new state religion for France during the Revolution, the Cult of the Supreme Being (Culte de l'Être suprême); it's entirely possible that its dogma was reinforced through things like board games. Perhaps it also helped with the bizarre decimal-time-based calendar that Robespierre couldn't get to stick, but that still frustrates historians to this day.

5m30s: More information about Dr. Flanagan's book, Critical Play.

6m39s: The Landlord's Game by Lizzie Magie is the game that Monopoly was based on.

7m51s: September 12: A Toy World is a game where a player is trying to kill terrorists by firing missiles at a village. But every terrorist you kill creates more terrorists, as the locals get angrier at your actions. Soon, the village is gone and you are surrounded by terrorists. There is no way to win the game through shooting.

7m56s: Paolo Pedercini also makes commentary games. (Note that this link contains adult content.) Jump to the McDonald's Videogame here

8m13s: More info on Profit Seed.

8m33s: More info on Layoff.

9m40s: More info on Pox: Save the Puppies.

10m32s: "Designing Games to Foster Empathy," the paper Dr. Flanagan wrote with Jonathan Belman.

15m04s: More info about psychological distance.

16m16s: Gil is referring to Ludology 213.5 - The Incan Gold Experiment, run by Dr. Stephen Blessing and research assistant Elena Sakosky. (Gil refers to the game from the original European release's name, Diamant, but it was released in English as Incan Gold.)

19m51s: For a longer discussion on what "fun" means in a game, and on a deeper level, how games create meaning, check out Ludology 201 - Are We Having Fun Yet?

21m20s: More info on the party game Buffalo.

24m14s: More info on social identity complexity

26m13s: More info on the party game Awkward Moment.

31m10s: For more discussion on board games and colonialism, check out Ludology Episode 197 - Empires Up in Arms. For more information about the effects of "terra nullius" in board games, check out this article from Nancy Foasberg.

32m26s: "Failed Games: Lessons Learned from Promising but Problematic Game Prototypes in Designing for Diversity," by Dr. Flanagan, Max Seidman, and Geoff Kaufman.

34m15s: Dr. Lawrence Summers, president of Harvard University, has suggested that biological differences could explain why there were fewer women in science. 

36m18s: More info about Blokus.

39m39s: More info on the strategy game Monarch.

40m04s: Dr. Flanagan's book (with co-author Helen Nissenbaum) Values at Play.

40m18s: Here are some articles on Will Wright and Chris Trottier.

45m12s: More info on This War of Mine: The Board Game and Freedom: The Underground Railroad.

49m05s: More info on Dr. Flanagan's art, including giantJoystick.

50m40s: Gabriel Orozco's Horses Running Endlessly.

51m48s: Dr. Flanagan's paper, with Sukdith Punjasthitkul and Geoff Kaufman, on "Social Loafing."

54m53s: The article in question is "The Mechanical Muse," published in The New Yorker on January 7, 2020.

56m28s: Here's an article in Wired on the paper in question, in which large collections of photos used to train image-recognition software - including one used by Google and Microsoft - were found to amplify exisiting biases. 

57m15s: In 2015, Google apologized for their facial recognition software mislabeling Black people as "gorillas." 

57m42s: More info about Reload: Rethinking Women and Cyberculture.

58m49s: The story here is "No Woman Born," by C.L. Moore.

1h03m31s: The show will be called "Gameplay: Video Game Culture," at the CCCB in Barcelona, Spain. 

1h04m07s: "Max" is Max Seidman, game designer at Resonym and frequent collaborator with Dr. Flanagan.

1h05m41s: We've covered the lightweight interactive fiction platform Twine before on the show, most notably on Ludology 217 - What IF? 

May 31 2020

1hr 8mins

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Biography of a Board Game 225.5 - Mousetrap

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Join Scott as he recounts the history of the game that blurred the line between a game and a toy: Mousetrap. 

Bibliography of a Board Game for Mouse Trap It’s All a Game by Tristan Donovan A World Without Reality: Inside Marvin Glass’s Toy Vault by Bill Paxton Mental Floss – Mouse Trap Game Facts Chicago Tribune – Toying with Success Best Play – History of Mouse Trap: Murder, Playboys and Plagiarism Google Patents Rube Goldberg.com Smithsonian Mag – Teaching physics with a massive game of mouse trap

May 24 2020

12mins

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Ludology 225 - A Study in Emma-rald

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Today, we put Emma in the spotlight to find out what went into designing her newest game, Abandon All Artichokes, how many cards she actually designed for it, and how the game was almost derailed by an Infinite Potato Problem.

SHOW NOTES

5m44s: Magic: The Gathering and the marvelous deckbuilding video game Slay the Spire. Also check out Ludology 198 - Inspired, featuring Slay the Spire's co-designer Anthony Giovannetti.

6m00s: Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing, two video games where the player starts in a remote area with very little in the way of equipment, and ends up building a small town.

7m22s: If you want to check out more deck-wreckers, try Xenon Profiteer (one of Gil's personal favorite games), or Fine Sand.

8m39s: Don't let the bean theme throw you off. Bohnanza is one of the best trading games you'll find.

9m15s: Bonnie Pang did the wonderful art for Artichokes.

9m43s: Sushi Go, by Phil Walker-Harding and also published by Gamewright, is an excellent light drafting game. It was good enough to spawn a family of light, charming drafting games. 

Phil has mentioned in passing that Sushi Go took many, many tries to get right. Another example of how hard it is to make a good, light game!

11m16s: Emma mentions some other Gamewright titles that fit a similar mold: Go Nuts for Donuts and Qwixx.

15m22s: Emma casually references Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey here.

26m29s: Seth Jaffee's article on balancing game elements and "finding the unit" is still immensely valuable to game designers everywhere.

31m59s: Cardboard Edison's publisher directory is an invaluable resource to game designers looking for a publisher for their prototypes.

48m44s: The incredibly adorable Abandon All Artichokes trailer  and its accompanying how-to-play video

49m18s: We'll post a link to the design diary in the Ludology forums as soon as it goes online!

55m16s: Emma's first episode.

56m43s: Dominion, the game that popularized deckbuilding as an in-game mechanism.

May 17 2020

58mins

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GameTek Classic 224.5 - Game Balance and AI

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Geoff ruminates on the limitations of using AI to balance games. Why can't we use machine learning to fully balance a game experience, and finally make a game that everyone on BGG will find perfectly fair on the first play?

SHOW NOTES

1m17s: For more on this subject, check out our two GameTek episodes on AlphaGo : GameTek Classic 218.5 Alpha Zero, and GameTek Classic 222.5 Alpha Zero, Part 2. 2m00s: Geoff's game The Expanse. 5m29s: The fantastic trading game Sidereal Confluence (which will soon have a new edition!) 6m18s: League of Legends has grappled for a long time with how to balance their champions for players of all skill levels. Here's their latest approach on how they're trying to do it.

May 10 2020

8mins

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Ludology 224 - Putting the Fun in Funko

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Emma and Gil sit down with Chris Rowlands of Funko Games to discuss the design of IP-based games, and what it's like to design as part of a group collective.

SHOW NOTES

0m00s: Playtest safely online with Gil and Emma! 4m11s: Mox Boarding House is one of the premier board game stores in Seattle. (Here's hoping they can stick around until everything is able to reopen!) 12m21s: The Frosthaven Kickstarter project. 16m45s: Personal plug: Abandon All Artichokes is Emma's newest game. 19m47s: Power Grid is the #36th ranked game on BGG. (Rankings are not absolute, objective measures of quality, of course, but still. It's a big game.) 24m01s: Beth Hawley was responsible for the amazing art in Chris' game Under My Bed. 27m18s: Disney Villainous, in which each player is a Disney villain with unique special powers, is one of their more well-known titles. 29m05s: The party game Yeah Nope. 30m52s: Funkoverse, the tactical minis game using modified Funko figurines. 32m33s: All of "Prospero Hall's" credited games on BGG. 34m04s: The games Horrified and Jaws. 38m17s: Prospero Hall's website.  43m28s: The "tracer" scene from Kevin Smith's Chasing Amy.  (Explicit language warning) 50m31s: Personal plug: Avowel is currently available on Android, and coming to iOS soon! 54m10s: The game Jurassic Park: Danger. 1h02m35s: Paper Girls and Manifest Destiny  1h03m26s: Sea of Thieves  1h03m48s: Infocom's original help guide entry to the horrible and notorious Babel Fish puzzle in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy video game, written by Douglas Adams himself, is an absolute wonder to read. Keep clicking "Next Answer." Favorite quote on step 19 of the hint: "At this point, brave men have been known to break down and cry."  1h05m11s: Building the Game, a podcast on game design. 1h06m34s: Some articles about wrestling's current audience-less format.  1h12m04s: Our episode on ludonarrative dissonance was Ludology 192 - Diabolus in Ludica. 1h14m04s: Back to the Future: Back in Time and Last Defense!

May 03 2020

1hr 16mins

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Biography of a Board Game 223.5 - The Game of Life

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Scott goes into the checkered history of The Game of Life, which has had many inspirations and incarnations, and is still going strong. 

(Content warning: this episode contains quick, passing references to sex and suicide.)

0m00s: Join Gil's and Emma's remote playtesting groups! 1m44s: A Little Pretty Pocket Book. Fun fact: this book contains the first appearance of the term "base-ball," although that term at the time was an alternative regional name for the sport now known as Rounders. 2m37s: The New Game of Human Life. Here's the original French game that inspired it, which BGG has under the name La Vie Humaine un Nouveau Jeu. 3m19s: More information about the teetotum, which was often used to avoid the impression of gambling.  5m48s: The Reward of Merit, The Mirror of Truth: Exhibiting a variety of Biographical Anecdotes and Moral Essays calculated to Inspire a Love of Virtue and Abhorrence of Vice, and The Mansion of Happiness. 7m45s: The Checkered Game of Life. 9m17s: The Game of the Telegraph Boy, Game of To the North Pole By Airship, and The Game of Playing Department Store. 9m32s: More information about toy and game designer Reuben Klamer.  10m48s: The famous blue and pink pegs are, of course, the inspiration for the name of the excellent board game podcast Blue Peg, Pink Peg. 11m44s: Here's a page with a photo of the 1960 edition of The Game of Life. 12m28s: More information about the resolution of the lawsuit between Klamer and Markham.  13m32s: The Game of Life: Twists and Turns  14m08s: The Game of Life Express  16m33s: This would also be a good time to mention some modern board games that handle the same subject matter, and were no doubt somehow inspired by The Game of Life. The Pursuit of Happiness, Funny Friends, CV, and My Story.

Apr 26 2020

17mins

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Ludology 223 - Kick Out the Jams

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Emma and Gil welcome Anya Combs and Luke Crane from Kickstarter to discuss how crowdfunding is changing, especially in light of recent events.

Anya: anya@kickstarter.com, games@kickstarter.com, @anyayna Luke: @burning_luke, burningwheel.com

Note that this episode was recorded on March 25, 2020, so if we talk about things happening "a few weeks ago," we're referring to late February/early March. This wouldn't normally be an important detail, but things are changing a lot quickly these days.

SHOW NOTES

0m00s: Playtest safely online with Gil and Emma!

1m28s: For those who have never heard it, the MC5's "Kick Out the Jams" set a template for punk rock's sound well before its time. (Explicit language warning) 

3m52s: More info about the Burning Wheel roleplaying system. 

8m32s: The original Alien Frontiers and Cards Against Humanity  projects. Both were modest successes. Double Fine Adventure, Wasteland 2, Shadowrun Returns, and Shenmue were much larger successes.

9m48s: The original Kingdom Death: Monster was a wild success, but the second edition was one of the largest Kickstarter Games campaigns ever run.

9m56s: We recorded this episode before Frosthaven launched. As of the time of this episode's release, it has raised over $7 million USD.

10m31s: Gil's Kickstarter projects are all visible here

12m39s: The Dispel Dice Kickstarter project.

17m23s: The F*** Yeah Dice Kickstarter project (Explicit language warning, of course).

16m56s: Itten made the unique game Stonehenge and the Sun. Oink and Bouken don't have any Kickstarter projects, but their games are worth your attention for their distinctive look and style. Luke also brings up Bouken's game Diet & Friends.

17m17s: W.M. Akers has a series of baseball simulators called Deadball.

18m23s: You can find Emma's weekly news show on Twitch every Friday at 2 pm Pacific.

20m00s: Here's the Fantastic Factories Kickstarter project. Here's the Kickstarter for Coloma, designed by Jonny Pac, who was on Ludology 221: The Pac Less Traveled

20m36s: Here's the Gladius Kickstarter project. 

21m51s: More info about the Skylanders video game, which discontinued support in 2017. 

24m42s: Here's the Multiverse Kickstarter project. (Incidentally, if you're interested in a platform similar to Multiverse, check out Roll20).

27m34s: More info about the Jackbox party games. 

28m20s: The Spaceteam Kickstarter project (Note that this is for the original video game, not the card game inspired by it).

30m10s: More info about Twine. We go more into detail about this platform in Ludology 217: What IF?

30m43s: More info about AVOWEL, the mobile version of Wordsy. 

31m05s: The latest Chronicles of Crime Kickstarter. 

32m46s: Commands & Colors by Richard Borg is a family of outstanding light wargames that includes BattleLore and Memoir '44

34m33s: More information about Kickstarter's Make100 and ZineQuest initiatives.

43m16s: More information about the newest God of War game https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_of_War_(2018_video_game).

43m36s: Animal Crossing! Hoo hoo! That's a link to more info about New Horizons, the newest game in the series. There's a lot of interesting discussion going on about the game and how timely it is, how its soothing imagery is perfect for the current times, and how it offers an escapist fantasy (literally escaping to a desert island) to people who are stuck at home.

47m13s: Ankh, the newest CMON game, is at over $1 million USD from about 14,000 backers at the time of this episode release. Tapeworm has not yet launched at the time of this episode release.

46m45s: Pax Pamir's most recent Kickstarter. It's from Cole Wehrle (and his brother Drew), whom you heard two weeks ago on Ludology 222: Johnny Fairplay.

47m06s: The Sea of Stars Kickstarter project, and the Swords 'n Magic and Stuff project.

52m34s: Anya performs in the Hungry March Band, the Funkrust Brass Band, and the Brooklyn Wind Symphony.

55m26s: Of course, Team Ludology does not subscribe to Luke's spicy hot take here, and we're pretty sure Rob Daviau has played D&D more than once. :) Rob was guest on Ludology 70: Risky Business. If you want to hear him GM, check out the actual play podcast Story Roost and its first story arc, The Unmarked. (Explicit language warning)

59m17s: DRUGGIES AND BULLIES BEWARE BULLYPROOF Kickstarter project.

1h00m30s: OLDIE BINGO Kickstarter project.

Apr 19 2020

1hr 3mins

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GameTek Classic 222.5 - Alpha Zero, Part 2

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Geoff continues the discussion about Alpha Zero, this time pointing out the impact a self-learning AI can have on an established tournament meta, like Magic or Hearthstone.

Show Notes:

0m47s: More info about Agent57, the DeepMind AI that can beat humans at 57 different Atari 2600 games.  1m52s: The Ares Project, Geoff's first published board game (designed with his son Brian) 2m15s: More info about the Halifax Hammer strategy from A Few Acres of Snow.  2m29s: The current list of banned cards in Magic: The Gathering.  And, the current list of changed Hearthstone cards

Apr 12 2020

6mins

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Ludology 222 - Johnny Fairplay

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Emma and Gil welcome accomplished designer Cole Wehrle, designer of Root, Oath, and Pax Pamir (Second Edition), back to the show (Cole previously appeared on Ludology 163 - A Pain in the Asymmetry). We discuss fairness in games. Has it been around for as long as we think it has? What can an "unfair" game do that other games can't?

Cole is a staff designer at Leder Games, and co-founded  Wehrlegig Games with his brother Drew.

SHOW NOTES

2m18s: You can watch Cole's GDC talk here.

12m02s: Learn more about Twilight Imperium (this is the most recent version, but there were previous versions with slightly different rulesets)

13m52s: Learn more about Memoir '44.

14m25s: Learn more about Scythe.

16m04s: Learn more about Blood Rage and Sushi Go!

19m30s: Gil remembers a bunch of Viking games in the mid-aughts. One of the biggest was Michael Kiesling's Vikings, whose gameplay, while clever, did little to evoke actual Vikings.

22m41s: The book Strike Four was recommended to me by Dennis Goodman, who is himself a baseball historian and rules expert, and has written a streamlined rulebook for the sport.

24m16s: The book Cole refers to is The Games Ethic and Imperialism (Sport in the Global Society) by J. A. Mangan.

25m14s: I'm referring to the book The Ball is Round: A Global History of Soccer/Football, by David Goldblatt. The exact title depends on if you buy the US or UK version; this link is to the US version.

27m07s: Cole refers to the book Making England Western, by Saree Makdisi.

27m33s: Thomas Arnold was headmaster of Rugby School from 1828, and was influential in reforming the British public school system. Tom Brown's School Days was written by Thomas Hughes and published in 1857, and popularized British public schools as a literary setting. 

28m11s: If you're curious, here is the official 2019 NFL rulebook. If your eyes aren't crossed yet, here is the official 2019 MLB rulebook (though note Dennis Goodman's streamlined take on the rules of baseball, mentioned above). And to finish you off, here is the official ICC web page on all the Playing Conditions of every form of cricket (although to be fair, they have to handle all three major forms of the game - imagine if the NFL rulebook had to account for Canadian and Arena Football as well!)

Side note: I also checked out the official Laws of World Rugby Union, and I was stunned to see how clearly-written they were! They are made to be read by a layperson, not a lawyer, and come with many video examples of rule violations.

30m42s: This is a good time to remind you to check out Scott Rogers' Biography of a Board Game last week for The Game of the Goose. It's not technically a Victorian board game - no one knows how old it is - but it's the template for many Victorian parlor games. (I wish we could say we planned these episodes to run consecutively, but it was just a happy coincidence!)

32m08s: We're discussing The Landlord's Game, by Elizabeth Magie  (interestingly, Hasbro still does not officially acknowledge Magie's role in the creation of Monopoly, perhaps for legal reasons)

32m56s: More like 150-175 years old, really. Most sports rules began getting formally codified in the mid-19th century (though cricket had already started getting codified in the 18th century).

33m14s: The Eton Wall Game is still played today. And yes, there's video of it! Note that Eton has a second code of football, the Eton Field Game, which is closer to soccer, but still contains many elements found in rugby. There's a video of the Eton Field Game  here.

36m34s: Cole is referring to Bernie De Koven and his book The Well-Played Game. He also refers to the games Acquire and Caylus.

37m23s: To Emma's point, Prussian college professor Johann Christian Ludwig Hellwig invented the first wargame in 1780, but it was Kriegsspiel, designed by Prussian nobleman George Leopold von Reisswitz in 1812 and refined by his soldier son Georg Heinrich Rudolf Johann von Reisswitz in 1824, that introduced realism and verisimilitude into the form. Note that these wargames were designed more for military training than recreation.

37m43s: H.G. Wells, who wrote many seminal science-fiction novels like The Time Machine, The Island of Doctor Moreau, The Invisible Man, and The War of the Worlds, was also a game designer. In his books Floor Games and Little Wars, he establishes rules for the first recreational wargames. (Also, the idea of games solving world problems is still alive, most notably by Jane McGonigal in her book Reality is Broken.)

38m53s: Alexander Pope's classic (albeit somewhat overly-dramatically-named) poem The Rape of the Lock. Read it here.

39m58s: Roger Caillois' Man, Play and Games, written in 1961, probably deserves its own episode.

42m00s: Hare and Tortoise is, of course, the first Spiel des Jahres winner. (On a related note, Scott's Biography of a Board Game about Eurogames is a really good listen on this subject.) Cole then mentions Die Macher and Catan.

46m20s: I did not come up with this "roll a die at the end of a game of Chess to see who wins" thought experiment, but I can't remember where I read it! Maybe Characteristics of Games?

47m29s: Relevant quote from Mike Selinker from Ludology 189 - Missing Selinker: "Frustration is a valuable, positive thing up to a point. You’ve just got to know where the table flip is."

48m08s: Cole is kind enough to mention Gil's forthcoming game High Rise after playing it at GDC 2019. Cole gave his talk on defending kingmaking; Gil gave his talk on how indirect interaction in games can be good.

52m21s: More info about Descent, Dark Venture, and Tomb.

59m30s: More info about Byzantine themes.

1h04m44s: More info about Liberté.

1h06m36s: More info about The History of Rome podcast.

1h08m58s: The political compass of Root, as suggested by Reddit user u/orionsbelt05.

Apr 05 2020

1hr 13mins

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Biography of a Board Game 221.5 - The Game of the Goose

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In today's Biography of a Board Game, Scott takes us through the long history of The Game of the Goose, which became a template for almost every roll-and-move game into Victorian times and beyond.

Show notes:

1m49s: The ancient Egyptian game of Mehen

2m04s: History of the labyrinth

2m24s: The Discus of Phaistos, also known as the Phaistos Disc 

2m50s: Games mentioned

3m33s: Bibliothèque curieuse et instructive de divers ouvrages anciens et modernes, a book by Claude-François Ménestrier, is available to read online in French.

4m33s: Works mentioned:

5m07s: Works mentioned:

Mar 29 2020

8mins

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Great for gamers

By Butter-J - Dec 17 2019
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If you wanna learn about the nitty gritty of board gaming, this is basically the best podcast.

The best game design podcast

By ZebadiahM - Jul 20 2017
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Ludology is an example for all others to follow.