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.

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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.

Back in Ludology 185, Geoff brought up a thought experiment. What if someone rethemed Incan Gold to a firefighting game? Would people play any differently? 

Dr. Stephen Blessing (@cognitive_gamer) of the University of Tampa took up the challenge, and with the help of research assistant Elena Sakosky, designed and ran the experiment that Geoff proposed.

In this GameTek, Dr. Blessing and Sakosky join Geoff to discuss their findings. Did players take more risks if they felt, thematically, that lives were on the line?

If you'd like to hear more of Dr. Blessing's work, listen to his podcast, Cognitive Gamer: http://cognitivegamer.com/

Direct download: Ludology_213.5_Mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Gil and Emma discuss narrative in games. How can narrative improve games? What is the difference between embedded and emergent narrative? And what the are common ways that prototypes of narrative games can fail?

Direct download: Ludology_213_Mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

In this special episode of Ludology, recorded live at GrandCon 2019, Gil and Geoff go back in time to recount their earliest game designs. Were they as embarrassing? Were they any good? What is Gil's infamous action mechanism, and was Geoff able to capture the essence of the Battle of Cannae for a school assignment? We also take some live listener questions at the end.

Direct download: Ludology_212.5_Mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Emma and Gil welcome mass-market game and toy inventor Kim Vandenbrouke to the show. How is "inventing" a mass-market game different than "designing" a hobby game? Why is the toy/mass-market industry so much more secretive? And how does one deal with all the publisher rejection?

You can read Kim's writings on the toy and mass-market game industry here: https://www.thegameaisle.com/kim-vandenbroucke/

Direct download: Ludology_212_Mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST