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.

In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses Reputation as an antidote to Cheating, and how it breaks down as groups grow in size.

Duration: 06:40

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_94_-_Cheating_Part_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

Ryan and Geoff are thrilled to welcome Ben Brode, Senior Game Designer for Hearthstone, the online card game from Blizzard Entertainment.

Ben joins us to discuss the design considerations behind Hearthstone, how they took advantage of the digital medium while still feeling like a physical card game, and why you should deliver pizza to your favorite game studio.

Duration: 41:20

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_94.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

In this classic GameTek, Geoff begins a two-part exploration of cheating with a personal admission.

Duration: 6:10

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_93_-_Cheating_Part_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

With Geoff goofing off, Ryan is very pleased to welcome noted designer Bruno Faidutti to discuss his article Postcolonial Catan, about how boardgames use cliches and stereotypes as shortcuts to generate theme.

DurationL 56:30

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_93.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

In this classic GameTek episode, Geoff explores an experiment that uses loss aversion to create an incentive. Is this a new type of carrot?

Duration: 07:15

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_92_-_Incentives.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

Ryan and Geoff welcome Vincent Salzillo to the show! Vincent runs a variety of cons, including Metatopia, for game designers. He also runs the First Exposure Hall at Gencon for new designers to publishers and playtesters.

His most recent venture is the Envoy program, which helps publishers get their product demonstrated at stores and cons.

Duration: 55:48

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_92.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses the psychological phenomenon of Hindsight Bias, and how it may prevent us from being better players.

Duration: 06:37

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_91_-_Hindsight_Bias.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

In this episode of Ludology we are thrilled to welcome Peter Olotka, one of the designers of Cosmic Encounter, Dune, and many other classic games.  We discuss the early development of Cosmic Encounter, how it evolved, and other games in the Eon line.

Duration: 01:16:25

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_91.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses expectation value, and how it can be used - and misused - in games.

Duration: 05:39

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_90_-_Expectation_Value_Revisited.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:50am EDT

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

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_90.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about putting tiles down without repeating any patterns.

Duration: 06:15

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_89_-_Quasicrystals.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

Ryan and Geoff are very pleased to welcome guest Jordan Weisman, founder of FASA, Wizkids, and Harebrained Schemes, and designer of Battletech, Heroclix, and the just-released Golem Arcana.

Jordan joins us to discuss incorporating digital technology, like smartphones and tablets, into the realm of the board game. What special considerations need to be given to the design? Is the technology hobbling or liberating? And what will the future hold for hybrids?

Duration: 01:13:42

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_89.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses a study done on playing Rock, Paper, Scissors with one player blindfolded and one able to see. Who comes out on top?

Duration: 04:41

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_88_-_Blind_RPS.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

Ryan and Geoff are pleased to be joined by Travis Chance and Nick Little of Action Phase game, designers of Heroes Wanted.  This was the first time Action Phase has exhibited at Gencon, and we discuss what it was like.  When did they get their booth? How much planning did they do? What was the total cost to do the show? What worked and what didn't?

Duration: 01:12:05

 

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_88.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses Artificial Intelligence, and how it affects our play.

Duration: 06:15

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_87_-_AI.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

Geoff finally acquiesces to Ryan's wish to discuss game shows. And you know what? It turned out to be a very fertile area for analysis.  What special considerations are there for game shows? What can game designers learn from them?

Duration: 01:08:58

 

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_87.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30pm EDT

In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about IBM's Jeopardy-playing Watson, and how it fits into the history of Artificial Intelligence research.

Duration: 06:10

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_86_-_Watson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

Ryan and Geoff are joined by guest Andrew Tullsen of Print & Play productions to discuss prototypes. What are the different types of prototypes? What are the tools and techniques to create them in a simple yet professinoal manner?

Duration: 1:08:58

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_86.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

In this classic GameTek, Geoff investigates the true randomness of dice.

Duration: 06:15

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_85_-_Fair_Dice.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

Ryan and Geoff dip back into the mail bag to respond to more listener comments and questions about luck and randomness.

Duration: 1:00:31

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_85.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses brain imaging studies on shogi players.

For images relating to this story, check out Geoff's blog entry on BoardgameGeek.

Duration: 06:58

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_84_-_Your_Brain_On_Shogi.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

Ryan and Geoff are joined by guest Gil Hova, designer of Prolix and Battle Merchants to discuss playtesting.

What are the different types of playtests? How do you get the most out of your testing? What should you look for in testers?

Duration: 01:10:38

NOTE: This is a revised version of this episode that corrects the audio issue.

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_84a.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:41pm EDT

In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses tournament structure in sports, and the way that may effect the play of the individual games.

Duration: 06:54

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_83_-_Tournaments.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

Ryan and Geoff do a deep dive into the world of Worker Placement games. What makes them tick? Why would designers use that mechanism? What are the pitfalls to avoid?

Duration: 01:06:39

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_83.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about how games can teach us about economics.

Duration: 07:13

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_82_-_Inflation.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

Ryan and Geoff are very pleased to welcome Dominic Crapuchettes to Ludology! We discuss designing party games, dealing with mass market retailers, starting a game company, and their recent pivot into the strategy market with Evolution.

Duration: 01:11:30

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_82.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about shuffling, big numbers, uniqueness, and the origin of life.

Duration: 07:35

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_81_-_Shuffling.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:41pm EDT

Ryan and Geoff respond to a random sampling of the listener questions about luck and randomness. Thanks to all who sent in your thoughts, comments, and questions!

Duration: 01:07:06

 

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_81.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses the psychological property called Competence, and how you can use it to annoy people.

Duration: 06:47

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_80_-_Competence.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

Ryan and Geoff take one last look at the Most Influential Games of the 20th Century. Do they have any second thoughts? Any overlooked games that should have been included?

They also put on their pointy prognosticator caps and give their picks for the top 10 games that will be most influential on the 21st century.

Duration: 

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_80.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about recent research on willpower.

Duration: 07:00

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_79_-_Willpower.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:43pm EDT

Ryan and Geoff are pleased to welcome back Eric Zimmerman, professor at NYU's Game Center and author of The Rules of Play. This episode we discuss the concept of the "magic circle" and how designers can foster and benefit from it.

Duration: 01:24:56

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_79.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about the state of game criticisim.

Duration: 10:53

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_78_-_Criticism.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

Ryan and Geoff conclude their survey of the most influential games with the 90's. Which games have cast shadows into the 21st century?

Duration: 01:20

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_78.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:54am EDT

In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses Kickstarter, and it's links with the concept of Patronage, in the past and future.

Duration: 06:47

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_77_-_Patronage.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

Ryan and Geoff are very pleased to be joined by guest Keith Burgun of DinoFarm games and author of Game Design Theory.  Keith is the designer of a variety of mobile games, including 100 Rogues, Empire, and the upcoming Auro, all of which have a true board game flavor to them.

We discuss the relationship between board games and video games, and using board games design techniques to prototype and inform the video game design space.

Duration: 01:37:27

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_77.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses the different types of intellectual property protection available to authors and companies.

Duration: 06:48

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_76_-_Copyright_and_Trademark.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:23am EDT

Ryan and Geoff continue their series on the most influential games of all time, and take a look at the 1980's.  What were the key games when we all weren't trying to unscramble our Rubik's Cubes?

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_76a.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses the impact 3D printing technology may have on the game hobby.

Duration: 07:30

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_75_-_3D_Printing.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:22pm EDT

Ryan and Geoff are very excited to be joined by special guest Mike Gray. Mike has a long history in the game industry, working for Milton Bradley, TSR, and Hasbro.  He designed Fortress America, Shogun, The Omega Virus, and many other classics during his tenure.  Mike gives us a fascinating glimpse into the world of the largest game publisher, including the genesis of the Gamemaster series, acquisition of Avalon Hill, and development of modern classics like Queen's Gambit.

Duration: 01:14:45

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_75.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses the importance of endings, and the difference between "the experiencing self" and "the remembering self."

One of Geoff's favorites!

Duration: 06:06

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_74_-_Endings.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

Ryan and Geoff continue their series on the most influential games of all time, and take a look at the 1970's.  What were the key moments in the decade of disco?

Duration: 01:21:58

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_74.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EDT

In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about Power Creep. Is it a big conspiracy? Or is there a less nefarious explanation?

Duration: 06:19

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_73_-_Power_Creep.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

Ryan and Geoff are joined by JVMF-auction winner Chaz Marler, to discuss the use of icons in games. Why use icons? What games have useful icons, and others not so much?  And what is Geoff's suggestion for the Dice Tower musical episode?

Duration: 01:17:28

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_73.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

In this classic GameTek, Geoff takes a look at playtesting. What are the different types of playtesting, and how do they fall short?

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_72_-_Playtesting.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:27am EDT

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

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_72.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT