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.

Jeroen Doumen, co-founder of Splotter and co-designer of games Food Chain Magnate, Antiquity, and Roads & Boats, joins Gil and Emma to discuss the design of unforgiving games. What choices do you have to make when making a game that can be harsh to mistakes? We also talk about testing, publishing, and of course, hamburgers.

You can reach Jeroen by emailing him at jeroen@splotter.nl.

Direct download: Ludology_202_Mixdown.mp3
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Geoff discusses an unusual and somewhat tragic condition in sports called "The Yips." Is it mental, or does it have a physiological basis?

Direct download: Ludology_201.5_Mixdown.mp3
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Gil, Emma, and Scott talk about fun and meaning in games. What is fun, and how can we achieve fun in our games? What are games that try to balance fun within a more serious topic? And how about games that are not meant to be fun at all; how do they provide meaning for their players?

During the episode, Scott discusses Marc LeBlanc's 8 Types of Fun, which you can read more about here: https://theangrygm.com/gaming-for-fun-part-1-eight-kinds-of-fun/

Note: In the last 20 minutes of the episode, be advised that we discuss games that deal with traumatic subjects, like the deaths of close family members. 

Direct download: Ludology_201_Mixdown.mp3
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Scott discusses the history of the legendary deduction game Cluedo. 

Direct download: Ludology_200.5_Mixdown.mp3
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After 200 episodes, Geoff has decided to step back from Ludology to focus on game design and book writing. So we've gathered previous co-hosts Ryan Sturm and Mike Fitzgerald, as well as future co-host Emma Larkins and future contributor Professor Scott Rogers, for a big slam-bang going away party! 

You'll continue to hear Geoff with his GameTek segment every 4 weeks. And if you'd like to stay in touch, follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/gengelstein

Direct download: Ludology_200_Mixdown.mp3
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Geoff discusses the art of x-ray diffraction, and how it relates to board games.

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_199_Crystallography.mp3
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Gil and Geoff discuss uncertainty in games, using Greg Costikyan's _Uncertainty in Games_ as a guide. What kinds of uncertainty are there in games? How do they affect the game experience? 

Direct download: Ludology_199_Mixdown.mp3
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Scott takes a deep dive into the twisted and fascinating history of the game Othello.

Direct download: Biography_of_a_Boardgame_198.mp3
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Gil and Geoff are delighted to be joined by Anthony Giovannetti, one of the designers of the popular video game Slay the Spire, a deck-building rogue-like dungeon crawl.

How did the board game concepts of deckbuilding translate into a computer game? What advantages did the solo roguelike format give the designers?

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_198.mp3
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Geoff takes a look at the long history of drinking games.

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_197_Drinking_Games.mp3
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Gil and Geoff welcome Mikael Jakobsson and Rick Eberhardt from the MIT Game Lab to discuss their research into colonial themes in board games, and the game design workshops they run in former colonial countries.

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_197.mp3
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Scott Rogers is back with a new Biography of a Board Game, this time looking at Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity.

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_196_Apples_Against_Humanity.mp3
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Gil and Geoff welcome guests Allison Parrish and Tim Szetela, designers of Rewordable, to discuss word games. What particular design techniques are required for this type of game?

 

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_196.mp3
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In this GameTek, Geoff explores the connection between Ritual and Play.

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_195_Ritual.mp3
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Gil and Geoff discuss valuation within games - what are the different ways of determining resource value? How does value flow and change over the course of play?

 

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_195.mp3
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In this new interview, Geoff talks with Nolan Bard from Google Deep Mind and Jakob Foerster from Oxford University about their proposal to use the card game Hanabi as the next frontier in Machine Learning and AI research.

The original paper can be found at https://arxiv.org/abs/1902.00506.

 

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_194_The_Hanabi_Challenge.mp3
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Gil and Geoff are live at ToyFair NY with the designer of Fog of Love, Jacob Jaskov. What was his development process like for this innovative design? What does that tell us about creating narrative inside games?

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_194.mp3
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Scott Rogers is back with the biography of Merchant of Venus!

Direct download: Gametek_Classic_193_Merchant_of_Venus.mp3
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Gil and Geoff welcome back Stephen Buonocore from Stronghold Games for their traditional annual State of the Industry discussion. What trends did we see in 2018? What do we see for the future of tabletop gaming?

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_193.mp3
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In this classic GameTek Geoff talks about ties and tie-breakers. What makes a good tiebreaker?

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_192_Ties.mp3
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Gil and Geoff talk about Game Loops and how they can be designed to accomplish a variety of goals.

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_192.mp3
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In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about the work of Thomas Schelling.

Direct download: GameTek_Classic_191_Schelling.mp3
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Gil and Geoff welcome Scott Rogers to discuss party games. What features make for a good party game? What are the dos and don'ts for designers?

Direct download: Ludology_Episode_191.mp3
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