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, as well as discuss game history, game design and game players.

Ludology is made possible by the support and donations of listeners like you.

Have your own thoughts about our topics? We encourage you to visit us at our guild on Boardgamegeek to get involved in a continuing discussion.

You can also email us at gil@ludology.net or geoff@ludology.net.

Ludology is part of The Dice Tower Network, the premier board game media network.

For the final full episode of 2012, Ryand and Geoff are very pleased to welcome Martin Wallace to the program, designer of such classics as Age of Steam, Brass, and Runebound.

We discuss Mr. Wallace's design approach and philosophy, and dig deeply into Age of Steam and Brass. Big question of the episode - Can Ryan keep his fanboy gushing in check? Listen and find out! (Spoiler alert: No.)

Duration: 56:45

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_46.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about the art of rules writing. Why is it hard? What options are available to the designer?

Duration: 10:15

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_45_-_Writing_Rules.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

Ryan and Geoff are very pleased to welcome Eric Zimmerman of the NYU Game Center, and author of the book Rules of Play. Yes, that's three links in one sentence, but Eric is worth it!  

After a brief overview of Eric's work at NYU, the gang dives into a discussion of Emergence, when the unexpected emerges from a basic set of rules. What conditions are more likely to result in emergence? Can a designer truly design in emergent behavior? And is it important for a good game, anyway?

Duration: 1:08

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_45.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_44a.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

Ryan and Geoff welcome special guest Christopher Badell, designer of Sentinels of the Multiverse and one of the principals of Greater Than Games.  We have a wide-ranging discussion about starting and growing a small game publishing company, specifically for a 'Single Game Game Company'.

How does just having a single game system impact the marketing, growth, and design direction for a publisher? Is it good to have focus, or do you get pigeon-holed? When is Kickstarter good for a small publisher, and when is it bad?

Duration: 56:45

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_44.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

In this classic GameTek from February 2010, Geoff introduces the FIRST Robotics competition and the way the program is structured around games.

Duration: 8:54

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_43_-_Rules_for_Robots.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:24am EDT

Ryan stays up past his bedtime as he and Geoff welcome special guest Jason Matthews to the show.  Jason is the codesigner of Twilight Struggle, 1960, Founding Fathers, 1989, and other great political games.  What makes Twilight Struggle tick? What special considersations are required for the design of political games?

Duration: 55:00

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_43.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:54am EDT

In this classic GameTek from January of 2010, Geoff discusses the economics of gift-giving, and some games that explore gift exchanges.

Duration: 06:45

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_42_-_Gifting.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:28am EDT

Ryan and Geoff get down in the weeds to discuss the details of the cards and card mix in Trading in the Mediterranean.  How will the trade goods relate to the ideas? How will they be acquired? How many of each combination should there be?  Hopefully this is more interesting than it sounds.

Duration: 24:00

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_42a.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Ryan and Geoff are joined by special guest Eric Summerer for a deep dive into Pick Up and Deliver games. What are some of the best examples of this genre? What makes them appealing? When do they work, and when do they fail? Will Eric make it through the Lightning Round?

All these questions and more, will be answered!

Duration: 1:08

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_42.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT