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Ludology

Updated 6 days ago

Rank #10 in Games category

Leisure
Games
Video Games
Read more

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.

Read more

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

294 Ratings
Average Ratings
265
24
2
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.

iTunes Ratings

294 Ratings
Average Ratings
265
24
2
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 Jan 12, 2020

Read more

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 131 - Whaa?

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It's another Listener Question episode! Mike and Geoff take on all comers. Can they survive?

Duration: 1:11:21

Jun 26 2016

1hr 11mins

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Rank #3: Ludology Episode 129 - Fast Money

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Mike and Geoff are pleased to welcome guest Soren Johnson. Soren was the lead designer on the computer game Civilization, and recently released Offworld Trading Company, which marries a traditional boardgame style economic battle with computer-based real time mechanics.

Soren discusses the influence of board games on computer game design, and we go into depth on AI implementations.

Duration: 1:09:20

May 29 2016

1hr 9mins

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Rank #4: Ludology Episode 164 - First Steps

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Gil and Geoff discuss the very early stages of design and play testing. How much should be on paper, and how much in your head?

Duration 1:05:21

Nov 19 2017

1hr 1min

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Rank #5: Ludology Episode 150 - Mike Drop

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Changes! We bid a fond farewell to Mike, and a big hello to Gil!

Duration: 1:25:22

Apr 23 2017

1hr 25mins

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Rank #6: Ludology Episode 127 - Inspiration

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Mike and Geoff interview a panoply of designers of designers at
the Gathering of Friends to hear about what inspires them.

Duration: 46:36

May 01 2016

41mins

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Rank #7: 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 #8: Ludology Episode 98 - Gathering the Magic

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Ryan and Geoff are thrilled to welcome Richard Garfield, designer of Magic: The Gathering, Robo Rally, Netrunner, King of Tokyo and more, along with bonus guest Mike Fitzgerald, whose latest designs include Diamonds and Baseball Highlights: 2045.

We discuss Richard's design philosophy, the origins of Magic, types of gamers, and much more.

Please also visit our geeklist to share your memories of Ludology for our 100th episode spectacular!

Duration: 01:31:23

Feb 22 2015

1hr 31mins

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Rank #9: 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 #10: Ludology Episode 103 - House of Cards

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Mike and Geoff dive deeper into the world of cards. What is a card? What tools do cards give the designer? What card games exhibit great depth?

Duration: 01:22:22

May 03 2015

1hr 22mins

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Rank #11: Ludology Episode 90 - Kniziathon

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Ryan and Geoff take a close look at the body of work of Reiner Knizia, one of the most influential and prolific designers of the modern era.

What common threads run through Knizia's work? What lasting impact has he had on the hobby? What are the highlights, lowlights, and hidden gems of his oeuvre? And just how do you pronounce 'oeuvre' anyway?

Duration: 01:24:54

Oct 19 2014

1hr 24mins

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Rank #12: 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

Play

Rank #13: Ludology Episode 121 - Pandemonium

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Mike and Geoff are pleased to welcome guest Matt Leacock, co-designer of new #1 game on Board Game Geek, Pandemic Legacy. We get into the spoiler-free details on designing a Legacy game.

What are the special design considerations for Legacy games? What worked and what didn't? How do production considerations enter into the design process?

Duration: 56:16

Feb 07 2016

56mins

Play

Rank #14: Ludology Episode 157 - Come Scale Away

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Gil and Geoff are pleased to welcome guest Matt Wolfe, to discuss the concept of Decision Scales in games.

Duration 1:10:04

Jul 28 2017

1hr 10mins

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Rank #15: Ludology Episode 160 - Law and Order

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Gil and Geoff take a look at the different ways of controlling turn order in a game. What are the rules of thumb for when to use the different methods?

Duration: 1:23:17

Sep 24 2017

1hr 23mins

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Rank #16: Ludology Episode 120 - State of Games 2016

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For our annual State of Games episode, Mike and Geoff are pleased to welcome back Stephen Buonocore of Stronghold games, to discuss the state of the board game industry.

Duration: 1:14:20

Jan 24 2016

1hr 14mins

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Rank #17: 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 #18: Ludology 213 - Your Humble Narrator

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Gil and Emma discuss narrative in games. How can narrative improve games? What is the difference between embedded and emergent narrative? And what the are common ways that prototypes of narrative games can fail?

Nov 17 2019

53mins

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Rank #19: Ludology Episode 71 - Dude, Where's My Map?

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Geoff and Ryan are joined by Steve Kendall of the Ragnar Brothers and designer of History of the World, Viking Fury, and more, to discuss Area Control or 'Dudes on a Map' games. What are the outstanding examples? What are the key ingredients of this genre? What are the strengths and weaknesses?

Duration: 01:17:12

Dec 15 2013

1hr 17mins

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Rank #20: Ludology Episode 201 - Are We Having Fun Yet?

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Gil, Emma, and Scott talk about fun and meaning in games. What is fun, and how can we achieve fun in our games? What are games that try to balance fun within a more serious topic? And how about games that are not meant to be fun at all; how do they provide meaning for their players?

During the episode, Scott discusses Marc LeBlanc's 8 Types of Fun, which you can read more about here: https://theangrygm.com/gaming-for-fun-part-1-eight-kinds-of-fun/

Note: In the last 20 minutes of the episode, be advised that we discuss games that deal with traumatic subjects, like the deaths of close family members. 

Jun 02 2019

1hr 26mins

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Ludology 216 - Buonohardcore 2020

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Ludology returns for 2020, with our annual tradition of bringing on board game industry veteran Stephen Buonocore from Stronghold Games/Indie Game Studios to discuss the state of the industry.

2020 will be an interesting year for board games. What challenges await us? Is it smooth sailing? Doom and gloom? Somewhere in-between?

Jan 12 2020

1hr 18mins

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Ludology 215 - Table Topics

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In this episode recorded at BGG.CON, Scott and Gil tell Emma all about Tabletop Network, a convention about the theory behind game design that happens right before BGG.CON. We gush about our favorite talks, and tell you what makes Tabletop Network so unique.

Dec 15 2019

55mins

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Biography of a Board Game 214.5 - Mafia/Werewolf

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Scott gives us a history of the classic social deduction game Mafia, from its origins in a Russian high school classroom to its transformation beneath a full moon into Werewolf. 

Dec 08 2019

9mins

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Ludology 214 - Escape from Reality

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Escape rooms have been providing a new form of play for much of this decade. At the same time, immersive theater has been providing a new form of storytelling. What happens when the two get mixed?

In this episode, Emma and Gil are joined by Haley E.R. Cooper and J. Cameron Cooper of Strange Bird Immersive, who run the hybrid escape room/immersive theater piece The Man From Beyond, and the Immersology blog.

How can escape rooms use immersive theater to tell a story? And how can we learn from that to better tell stories in our games?

(Note: starting this episode, we are going to feature more detailed show notes of things we bring up in our conversation. That's especially important in this episode, as we refer to theater works that may not be well-known to others!)

Games mentioned in this episode (all digital):The Stanley Parable Myst Gone Home

Theater shows mentioned in this episode:Sleep No More Sweeney Todd (2017 off-Broadway semi-immersive) Selfie museums (e.g. Color Factory) Meow Wolf Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 Then She Fell The Nest

Also mentioned this episode: Improv for Gamers (book) Bartle Taxonomy of Gamer Types Ludology Episode 159 - Getting Out Scott Free (with Scott Nicholson)

Dec 01 2019

1hr 10mins

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GameTek 213.5 - The Incan Gold Experiment

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Back in Ludology 185, Geoff brought up a thought experiment. What if someone rethemed Incan Gold to a firefighting game? Would people play any differently? 

Dr. Stephen Blessing (@cognitive_gamer) of the University of Tampa took up the challenge, and with the help of research assistant Elena Sakosky, designed and ran the experiment that Geoff proposed.

In this GameTek, Dr. Blessing and Sakosky join Geoff to discuss their findings. Did players take more risks if they felt, thematically, that lives were on the line?

If you'd like to hear more of Dr. Blessing's work, listen to his podcast, Cognitive Gamer: http://cognitivegamer.com/

Nov 24 2019

34mins

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Ludology 213 - Your Humble Narrator

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Gil and Emma discuss narrative in games. How can narrative improve games? What is the difference between embedded and emergent narrative? And what the are common ways that prototypes of narrative games can fail?

Nov 17 2019

53mins

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Ludology 212.5 - Naked Baby Photos

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In this special episode of Ludology, recorded live at GrandCon 2019, Gil and Geoff go back in time to recount their earliest game designs. Were they as embarrassing? Were they any good? What is Gil's infamous action mechanism, and was Geoff able to capture the essence of the Battle of Cannae for a school assignment? We also take some live listener questions at the end.

Nov 10 2019

57mins

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Ludology 212 - Inventing Play

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Emma and Gil welcome mass-market game and toy inventor Kim Vandenbrouke to the show. How is "inventing" a mass-market game different than "designing" a hobby game? Why is the toy/mass-market industry so much more secretive? And how does one deal with all the publisher rejection?

You can read Kim's writings on the toy and mass-market game industry here: https://www.thegameaisle.com/kim-vandenbroucke/

Nov 03 2019

1hr 7mins

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GameTek 211.5 - Cameron Browne

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Geoff welcomes digital archaeoludologist Cameron Browne, principal investigator of the Digital Ludeme Project, to find out how we can use artificial intelligence and machine learning to try to derive the rules to ancient games like Senet by breaking games down into what Browne calles "ludemes."

Find out more about the Digital Ludeme Project on Twitter (@archaeoludology) or the web: http://ludeme.eu/

You can play some games that Browne has constructed from ludemes here: https://ludii.games/

Oct 27 2019

22mins

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Ludology 211 - Pandamonium! Redux

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In May 2012, Geoff and Ryan brought Michael Lee, owner of the relatively new company Panda Games Manufacturing, on the show to discuss the art and design of manufacturing games.

Over 5 and a half years later, Gil and Emma are delighted to welcome Michael back! Panda Games Manufacturing has grown along with the industry, and Michael hasn't stopped focusing on the intersection of components and game design.

What has changed in manufacturing since 2012? What kinds of components does Michael find most exciting? And how do components inform the experience of a game, especially in the current gaming boom?

You can find Panda Games Manufacturing on Twitter and Instagram at @pandagm.

Oct 20 2019

56mins

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Biography of a Board Game 210.5 - Wings of War

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Scott covers the lineage of games that began in 2004 with Wings of War: Famous Aces. The "Flight Path" system that appeared in this game spawned follow-up titles Wings of Glory, Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Card Game, Star Trek: Attack Wing, D&D: Attack Wing, and Battlestar Galactica: Starship Battles

Oct 13 2019

17mins

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Ludology 210 - The Way to a Gamer's Heart

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Gil and Emma are joined by game designer Jenn Sandercock to discuss her edible games. How do you design a game where the players eat the components? What design challenges does that bring up? And how do players react to being allowed to literally play with their food?

Find out more about Jenn here: http://jennsand.com/

Find out more about Jenn's edible games here: https://ediblegames.com/

Oct 06 2019

47mins

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GameTek Classic 209.5 - The Vice of Dice

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In this GameTek Classic, Geoff covers the history of dice, and the social stigma attached to them. Who were the first civilizations to play with dice, and how did they deal with the way their society frowned on them?

Sep 29 2019

6mins

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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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Biography of a Board Game 208.5 - Space Cadets

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Scott takes a peek at the history of the frantic real-time co-op game Space Cadets, designed by our own Geoff Engelstein, his daughter Sydney Engelstein, and his son Brian Engelstein. 

Sep 15 2019

8mins

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Ludology 208 - Playing With Purpose

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Emma and Gil welcome the multitalented Hawke Robinson, who discusses his experiences using role-playing games as therapy for at-risk youth and adults. How can games help people gain empathy and pull them into a positive mindset? And how has Hawke's 40+ years of RPG experience helped him form these programs?

You can learn more about Hawke and his work here: http://www.hawkerobinson.com/

CONTENT WARNING: This episode touches on sensitive topics like suicide, homicide, violence against children, and sexual assault.

Sep 08 2019

1hr 16mins

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GameTek Classic 207.5 - Information

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Geoff reviews the concept of "information" from a mathematical perspective, which might be different from the definition you're used to. What real-world implications did this concept lay the groundwork for?

Sep 01 2019

6mins

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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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Ludology 206.5 - Live at Gen Con 2019

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Gil, Emma, and Geoff field listeners' questions in an episode recorded live at Gen Con 2019 in Indianapolis.

Aug 18 2019

46mins

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Ludology 206 - Ahead of the Curve

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Emma and Gil welcome accomplished designer Tom Lehmann (Race for the Galaxy, Res Arcana, and many others) to discuss game arcs versus story arcs and how an inflection point can help the arc of a longer game. We also get into how the plot of Romeo & Juliet compares to a cooperative game, and how game design could possibly connect to contra dancing.

Aug 11 2019

59mins

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iTunes Ratings

294 Ratings
Average Ratings
265
24
2
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.