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.

Geoff has an insight about how game structure can keep players engaged, and is excited to share.

Duration 56:39

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_166.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about how we are really bad at telling how good we really are.

Duration: 6:03

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_165_Dunning-Kruger.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Gil and Geoff are delighted to welcome Tim Fowers to discuss player psychology, and how that can be leveraged by game designers.

Tim is the designer of Burgle Bros, Paperback, and more, and the owner of Fowers Games, which publishes his titles.

Duration: 1:11:46

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_165.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Scott Rogers is back with a super-sized Bio of a Board Game, with the history of The Settlers of Catan!

Duration: 12:14

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_164_Catan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:27am EST

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

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_164.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

In this classic GameTek, Geoff takes a different angle on the connection between theme, mechanics, and player experience.

Duration: 6:40

Direct download: Gametek_Classic_163_Theme_Mechanic_Experience.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:38am EST

Gil and Geoff are pleased to welcome guests Patrick Leader (Vast) and Cole Wehrle (Root, An Infamous Traffic) to discuss asymmetry in games, and the particular challenges it presents to the designer.

Duration: 1:07:19

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_163.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Scott Rogers is back with another Biography of a Board Game! This time, he talks about the history of Scotland Yard, and early SdJ winner!

Duration: 7:25

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_162_Scotland_Yard.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Gil and Geoff take a deep dive into the design of Terraforming Mars. What makes it tick? What works and what doesn't?

Duration: 1:17:52

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_162.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

In this classic GameTek, Geoff looks at classic story-telling techniques to see how they might apply to game design.

Duration: 05:52

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_161_The_Inciting_Incident.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:15pm EST

Gil and Geoff are delighted to welcome Jason Morningstar, designer of Fiasco, The Shab-Al-Hiri Roach, Night Witches, and other innovative RPGs. We discuss how to better integrate story and narrative into games when there is no GM, the social contract that requires, and pitfalls along the way.

Duration: 1:10:35

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_161.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

In this Biography of a Board Game, Scott Rogers reveals the secret history of Uno!

Duration: 07:45

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_160_Uno.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

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

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_160.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

What would you do if you were playing Rock, Paper, Scissors for $20,000,000?

Duration: 04:42

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_159_High_Stakes_RPS.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:13pm EST

Gil and Geoff are pleased to welcome Professor Scott Nicholson from Wilfrid Laurier University to discuss Escape Rooms. What are they, how do they work, and what lessons do they hold for game design?

If you're not familiar with Escape Rooms, please check out this video from Scott with an overview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tqnw7g5iIFQ

Duration: 1:19:47

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_159.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Biography of a Board Game returns with the classic Operation!

Duration: 06:12

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_158_Operation.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Gil and Geoff host the first-ever Ludology live Q&A from Gencon 50!

Duration: 51:39

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_158.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:18am EST

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

Duration 1:10:04

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_157.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:41am EST

In this classic GameTek, Geoff dives into the details of Alpha Go, Google's Go-playing AI.

Duration: 06:41

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_156_Alpha_Go.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

 Gil and Geoff are joined by the gang from the Flip The Table podcast to talk about Roll & Move games. What works (and doesn't) with this much-maligned mechanic?

Duration: 1:07:00

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_156.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Scott takes a look at the history of the Mystery Rummy series, by a designer y'all might know...

Duration: 6:24

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_155_Mystery_Rummy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:01am EST

Gil and Geoff talk about different methods for using mathematical modeling and simulation during the design process.

Duration: 1:12:12

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_155.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

In this classic GameTek, Geoff takes a look at the physics behind the coin toss.

Duration 5:39

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_154_Coin_Toss.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Gil and Geoff are pleased to welcome Morten Monrad Pedersen, to discuss the art of designing solo games.

Morten has designed several popular solo variants to games, including Scythe and Viticulture. What are the design techniques for solo games? How do they differ from multiplayer games?

Duration:  1:14:38

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_154.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Scott Rogers joins us with a new Biography of a Board Game - Arkham Horror!

Duration: 6:16

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_153_-_Arkham_Horror.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:13pm EST

Gil and Geoff tackle ties in games. How important are tiebreakers? What are good and bad ways to design them?

Duration: 1:18:18

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_153.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses the difference between a cheat and a spoilsport, and what that means for society.

Duration: 05:49

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_152_-_Spoilsport.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Gil and Geoff are thrilled to welcome Chris Cobb from Riot Games, creator of the number one online game in the world, League of Legends. Until recently Chris was the technical lead for the Player Behavior team, which was tasked with designing in-game and out-of-game systems to encourage players to be nicer to each other, and deal with players who don't.

Over the years, what did they learn about behavior, and how to design systems to encourage it to improve?

Duration: 1:02:29

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_152.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Ludology welcomes Scott Rogers and his Biography of a Board Game segment! This episode he traces the history of Risk, from the early 20th century to today.

Duration: 09:10

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_151_-_Risk.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

For their first show as a duo, Gil and Geoff revisit the question posed in the very first episode of Ludology - What is a game? 

The answer may surprise you.

Duration: 1:23:24

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_151.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

New Content! Geoff interviews Eric Janszen, the CEO of VirZoom.

VirZoom makes a Virtual Reality exercise bike, that interfaces with all the major VR platforms, and uses games to keep people exercising. What lessons have they learned about gaming and engagement?

Duration 25:39

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_150_-_Virzoom.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

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

Duration: 1:25:22

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_150.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:35am EST

New content! Geoff interviews Rogelio Cardona-Rivera, a researcher at North Carolina State, about Procedural Narrative Generation - systems that can create and manipulate story structure in a game on the fly. 

For more information, please check out http://rogel.io and http://storygen.org

Duration: 32:58

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_149_-_Procedural_Narrative_Generation.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Mike and Geoff are pleased to welcome Justin Jacobson from Restoration Games, to talk about what they've learned from bringing older games back for a modern audience.

Duration: 1:01:35

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_149.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

In this classic GameTek, Geoff looks at games that help improve teamwork.

Duration: 05:41

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_148_Teamwork.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:53am EST

Mike and Geoff are pleased to welcome guest J.R. Honeycutt, to discuss the role of the Developer in the game design and publication process.

Duration 59:25

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_148.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

In this classic GameTek Geoff discusses some techniques for estimating things in your head.

Duration 6:19

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_147_Estimating.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:23pm EST

Mike and Geoff field a bevy of listener questions.

Duration: 1:10:21

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_147.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

In this classic GameTek Geoff looks at how the language people use can give clues to their treachery.

Duration: 6:32

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_146_Betrayal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Mike and Geoff are pleased to welcome designer Andrew Parks to discuss taking a second shot at a design, whether it's revisiting a mechanic or taking an entire system into a new direction.

Duration: 1:15:42

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_146.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

In this classic GameTek Geoff looks at how choosing a color may affect how you play.

Duration: 06:17

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_145_Red_vs_Blue.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Mike and Geoff discuss multi-use cards - their history, and how they can be used by designers.

Duration: 1:03:53

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_145.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:51am EST

In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses the use of pronouns when writing rules.

Duration: 06:17

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_144_Singular_They.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Mike and Geoff are pleased to welcome returning guest Stephen Buonocore of Stronghold Games to discuss the state of the gaming industry going into 2017.

Duration: 1:19:43

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_144.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

In this classic GameTek Geoff pays tribute to game theorist John Nash.

Duration: 06:35

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_143_Nash_Equilibrium.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:58pm EST

How do different player counts affect the design process? How important is it that a game support a variety of player counts?

Duration: 1:08:06

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_143.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST