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Ludology

Updated 2 months ago

Rank #86 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

All 447 episodes from oldest to newest

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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