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 takes a look at a recent study about who wants to play games - and why.

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_187_Games_For_the_Really_Really_Smart.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Gil and Geoff take a look at game balance. What is it, exactly?

Duration: 54:34

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_187.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

In a spooky Biography of a Board Game, Scott Rogers takes a look at Chill: Black Morn Manor and Betrayal at House on the Hill.

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_186_Black_Morn_Betrayal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Gil and Geoff are joined by Isaac Vega, designer of Dead of Winter and Neon Gods to discuss ways to integrate story into the board games.

Duration: 55:25

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_186.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:30am EST

In this classic GameTek, Geoff dives into the details of the AI that defeated the top poker players on the planet.

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_185_Libratus.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:26pm EST

Gil and Geoff discuss hard incentives vs soft incentives. What makes people want to play a game? What makes them have fun? What makes them want to play again?

Duration: 56:12

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_185.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:45am EST

Professor Scott Rogers is back with the biography of Twilight Imperium.

Duration: 10:20

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_184_Twilight_Imperium.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:21pm EST

Gil and Geoff are delighted to welcome Jamey Stegmaier from Stonemaier games. We discuss life after Kickstarter, and Jamey's design philosophy.

Duration: 58:18

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_184.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:52pm EST

In this classic GameTek, Geoff looks at the relationship between luck and strategy.

Duration: 6:20

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_183_Input_Output_Randomness.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Gil and Geoff deconstruct the new Wolfgang Warsch game The Mind. What makes it tick? What does it do right, and what does it do wrong?

Duration: 1:02:19

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_183.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:08am EST

Scott Rogers is back with a look at the history of Pandemic!

Duration: 5:17

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_182_Pandemic.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:42am EST

Gil and Geoff once again welcome Ryan Sturm to recap the development of Trade on the Tigris.

Duration: 1:17:14

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_182.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about the Talmud, and it's relation to game rules.

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_181_Talmud.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Gil and Geoff broadcast live from Gencon with super-special guest Ryan Sturm!

Duration: 51:31

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_181.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Gil and Geoff are joined by special guest Suzanne Sheldon to talk about Roll and Write games! What makes them tick? What special design considerations are there?

Duration: 1:03:49

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_180.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Scott Rogers is back with another Biography of a Board Game! This time - Kill Dr. Lucky from James Earnest!

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_179_Kill_Dr_Lucky.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:06pm EST

Contest results! Gil and Geoff wade into an incredibly strong field to pick the top 16 entries in the latest theme/mechanism competition. Who will end up on the top of the heap?

Duration: 59:05

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_179.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses design considerations for real time games. Plus a coda!

Duration: 9:11

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_178_Real_Time.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Gil and Geoff are pleased to welcome Volko Ruhnke, designer of the COIN series, about Counter-Intelligence operations throughout history. How do you capture the dynamics of these complex conflicts in a game? What are the challenges with designing simulations and general? And what can he tell us about his time in the CIA?

Duration: 1:09:25

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_178.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Professor Scott Rogers is back with another Biography of a Board Game! This time, Agricola is under the spotlight.

Duration: 11:55

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_177_Agricola.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:17pm EST

We welcome Theresa Duringer of Temple Gates Games, developer of the Race for the Galaxy app to talk about the process of developing and incorporating AI, how to make it smarter or dumber or more human, and more.

Duration: 59:27

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_177.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about how we see patterns even when there aren't any, and what that means for game designers.

Duration: 8:01

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_176_Apophenia.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Since there were humans, they've been putting things into categories. What are some of the ways games are categorized? Is this useful, or a distraction?

Duration: 59:56

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_176.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Professor Scott Rogers is back with another Bio of a Board Game, taking a look at Talisman!

Duration: 9:28

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_175_Talisman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Recorded live at the Gathering of Friends, Gil and Geoff have an opportunity to sit down and chat with Eric Lang, designer of Rising Sun, the Dice Masters series, and much more. We talk about his role at CMON, his design process, and the state of the industry.

Duration: 44:36

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_175.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:33am EST

Gil and Geoff are pleased to welcome guest Naomi Clark, professor at the NYU Game Center, and designer most recently of the card game Consentacle. We discuss tackling adult themes in board games in a serious way, and what she learned during the development of Consentacle.

Duration: 1:15:54

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_174.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Professor Scott Rogers is back with another Biography of a Board Game. This episode he heads to the old west to check out Bang!

Duration: 07:55

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_173_Bang.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Gil and Geoff are pleased to welcome guest Isaac Shalev to discuss the idea of Design Patterns for tabletop games. What are Design Patterns, and how are they helpful? What are some examples?

Duration: 1:08:34

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_173.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses his experience with a new type of VR.

Duration: 5:40

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_172_Hyperreality.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Gil and Geoff take a look at the different ways that subsystems of a game can be coupled, and what that means for complexity and player agency.

Duration: 1:05:44

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_172.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

We are pleased to welcome podcaster, gamer, actor, and all-around great guy Jeff Cannata to Ludology! Jeff can be heard on DLC, We Have Concerns, and the /Filmcast.

We take a very deep dive into the contrasts between tabletop and video games. This one gets very philosophical, so be prepared :)

Duration: 1:18:32

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_171.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

In this classic GameTek, Geoff takes a look at some recent court cases involving games.

Duration: 5:59

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_170_Court_Cases.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00am EST

Gil and Geoff field a litany of listener questions!

Duration: 1:20:22

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_170.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Scott Rogers is back with another Biography of a Board Game, this time focusing on Scrabble! 

KWYJIBO for the win!

Duration: 9:56

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_169_Scrabble.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:26pm EST

Gil and Geoff are thrilled to welcome Raph Koster, author of A Theory of Fun, and video game designer. We talk about a wide range of topics, include MMOs, keeping players engaged, emotions in games, and, of course, fun.

Duration: 1:28:41

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_169.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about the Prisoner's Dilemma facing Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri.

Duration: 6:05

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_168_Economic_Prisoners_Dilemma.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:42am EST

Gil and Geoff talk about designing low-interaction games. Sometimes you just want to work on your own little corner of the world - and some players prefer that. What are techniques create engaging experiences without conflict?

Duration: 56:53

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_168.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

A sweet surprise! Biography of a Board Game takes a look at Candyland.

Duration: 8:51

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_167_Candyland.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:24am EST

Gil and Geoff are joined by Stephen Buonocore from Stronghold Games to discuss the state of the board game industry as we enter 2018.

Duration: 1:12:05

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_167.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST