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.

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

 

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_142.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

In this classic GameTek, Geoff wraps up his discussion of entropy and statistical mechanics by exploring the way that disorder and energy flow through a game system.

Duration: 6:19

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_141_Game_States.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

Mike and Geoff dive into real time games. What design techniques work for this mechanism? What does it do to the player experience?

Duration: 1:00:50

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_141.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

In this classic GameTek Geoff continues his exploration of thermodynamics by talking about Statistical Mechanics and what it tells us about the world.

Duration: 7:05

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_140_Statistical_Mechanics.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_140.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

In this classic GameTek, Geoff looks at the scientific concept of entropy.

Duration: 5:32

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_139_Entropy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:59am EDT

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

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_139.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

In this classic GameTek Geoff looks at lead changes, and some simple mathematical models that reveal some surprising truths.

Duration: 06:31

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_138_Lead_Changes.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_138.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

In this classic GameTek Geoff examines rules as a logical structure, and the way that relates to math concepts of axioms and completeness.

Duration: 06:28

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_137_Incompleteness.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_137.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:10pm EDT

In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses games with 'Hidden But Trackable' information. Is it OK to write things down?

Duration: 06:19

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_136_Hidden_But_Trackable.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_136.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:16pm EDT

In this classic GameTek, Geoff looks at the ancient Greek practice of Antidosis, and it's application as a game mechanism.

Duration: 05:34

Direct download: GameTek_Classis_135_Antidosis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

Mike and Geoff talk about teaching games in convention environments. If you are giving demos of a game in a booth, what are the key things to focus on? How much depth do you go into?

They also discuss teaching games in general, with tips for getting things going smoothly.

Duration: 1:07:30 

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_135.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:43am EDT

In this all-new content, Geoff interviews Curtis Hickman, Chief Creative Officer of The Void, a company pioneering an immersive extension of Virtual Reality called Hyperreality. Debuting a few weeks ago as the Ghostbusters Dimension experience at Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum in New York City, it got immediate rave reviews.

What's new about this technology, and how can it be extended in the future?

Duration: 16:09

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_134_The_Void.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

Mike and Geoff are pleased to welcome guests Sen-Foong Lim and Jay Cormier, designers of Godfather: A New Don, Junk Art, and many more games. How does their collaboration work? What are the advantages and disadvantages of working as a team?

Duration: 1:04:54

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_134.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about Scoring Tracks, and how to make them work with your players, instead of against them.

Duration: 06:26

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_133_Scoring_Tracks.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

A little window into dinner time at the Engelstein household: Young Brian asks the question "Can a board game make the players cry?" and he ends up on a podcast.

So can they? Mike, Geoff, and Brian explore what makes people sad, and whether board games can do that - and how that affects their status as 'art'.

Duration: 56:13

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_133.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

Mike and Geoff are pleased to welcome Walter Crist, archeologist and co-author of Ancient Egyptians at Play, to discuss the history of board games in ancient Egypt, and their impact on culture and society.

Duration: 51:10

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_132.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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

Duration: 1:11:21

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_131.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

In this GameTek, Geoff discusses the role that mental models play in how we interact with objects in the world.

Duration: 06:00

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_130_Mental_Models.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:17pm EDT

Mike and Geoff are pleased to welcome Suzanne Sheldon and Sydney Engelstein to discuss the topic of diversity and inclusion in gaming.

Duration: 1:49:42

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_130.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

In this classic GameTek, Geoff looks at options for structuring tournaments for semi cooperative games.

Duration: 06:27

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_129_Semi_Coop_Tournaments.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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

 

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_129.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

In this classic GameTek, Geoff looks at semi-cooperative games, and the particular challenges they create for social dynamics.

Duration: 06:13

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_128_Semi_Coops.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

Mike and Geoff discuss player motivations. What makes people want to play games? How do you design games to appeal to that type of player?

Duration: 1:16:16

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_128.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses the smart design choices made by the designers of Cosmic Encounter.

Duration: 06:15

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_127_Cosmic_Encounter.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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

Duration: 46:36

 

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_127.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about the psychological state called 'Flow'.

Duration: 6:41

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_126_Flow.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:56am EDT

Mike and Geoff are thrilled to have special guest Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Atari games.  What were the game design considerations of the early video game industry? When you are inventing an entire new genre, where do you look for ideas?

Duration: 42:15

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_126.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

In this classic GameTek Geoff discusses a study that looks at how much people enjoy just sitting with nothing to do.

Duration: 05:43

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_125_The_Distracted_Mind.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

Mike and Geoff present the third and final part of the game design checklist. You can download the full checklist from http://cardboardedison.com/, under the Featured Content link.

Duration: 1:08:30

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_125.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

In this classic GameTek, Geoff takes a look at an 'interesting' game from the 1994 Caribbean Cup soccer tournament.

Duration: 06:58

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_124_Caribbean_Cup.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

Mike and Geoff continue their discussion of the Game Design checklist, with questions about game mechanics.

Duration: 01:16:59

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_124.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses the psychological concept of Zero Risk Bias.

Duration: 07:45

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_123_-_Zero_Risk_Bias.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

Mike and Geoff have been hard at work developing a checklist for game designers, and it is time to go public!  In this first of three episodes, they discuss the questions surrounding creating the desired player experience.

Duration: 01:14:17

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_123_-_Check_Up.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

In this episode, Mike and Geoff discuss the art and science of selecting a name for your game, and what you should consider.

Duration: 1:13:02

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_122.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses what we know, what we don't, and how that affects our psychology.

Duration: 05:13

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_121_Known_Unknowns.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_121.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

In this classic GameTek, Geoff takes a look at the question of how much you can copy a game and still call it 'new'.

Duration: 06:06

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_120_-_Cloning.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_120.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

In this classic GameTek, Geoff takes a look at research performed in China on Rock, Paper, Scissors.

Duration: 06:02

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_119_-_Rock_Paper_Scissors.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:05am EDT

Mike and Geoff take a look at the Deck Building mechanic.  How has it evolved over the last 

 

Duration: 1:18:45

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_119.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:38am EDT