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Welcome to Ludology, an analytical discussion of the hows and whys 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.

We post a new Ludology episode every other week. In these episodes, hosts Emma Larkins and Gil Hova (sometimes with Professor Scott Rogers) deep-dive into a single topic within game design, often with a well-regarded guest from the game industry. We generally focus on board game design, but we often pull in experts from all forms of games, from video games to slot machines.

On weeks where there is no flagship Ludology episode, we will alternate between two smaller mini-sodes.

GameTek is a long-running feature from the Dice Tower podcast by Ludology co-founder Geoff Engelstein that explores the math and science behind games.  GameTek Classic episodes were once broadcast on The Dice Tower podcast, while other GameTek episodes were recorded specially for Ludology.

Biography of a Board Game is a series hosted by Scott Rogers that explores the history behind classic and modern board games. It was once on The Dice Tower, but has since moved full-time to Ludology.

We aim for most Ludology episodes to be timeless, so you are welcome to explore our entire catalog. Most of it should age quite well. The podcast was started in 2011 by Geoff Engelstein and Ryan Sturm, with Mike Fitzgerald taking over for Ryan in 2015. Gil joined the show in 2017 when Mike stepped aside, and Emma joined in 2019 when Geoff ended his tenure as host.

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 emma@ludology.net.

Ludology is made possible through the support and donations of listeners like you.

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Ludology is part of The Dice Tower Network, the premier board game media network.

Apr 26, 2020

Scott goes into the checkered history of The Game of Life, which has had many inspirations and incarnations, and is still going strong. 

(Content warning: this episode contains quick, passing references to sex and suicide.)

0m00s: Join Gil's and Emma's remote playtesting groups!
1m44s: A Little Pretty Pocket Book. Fun...


Apr 19, 2020

Emma and Gil welcome Anya Combs and Luke Crane from Kickstarter to discuss how crowdfunding is changing, especially in light of recent events.

Anya: anya@kickstarter.com, games@kickstarter.com, @anyayna
Luke: @burning_luke, burningwheel.com

Note that this episode was recorded on March 25, 2020, so if we talk about...


Apr 12, 2020

Geoff continues the discussion about Alpha Zero, this time pointing out the impact a self-learning AI can have on an established tournament meta, like Magic or Hearthstone.

Show Notes:

0m47s: More info about Agent57, the DeepMind AI that can beat humans at 57 different Atari 2600 games. 
1m52s: The Ares Project,...


Apr 5, 2020

Emma and Gil welcome accomplished designer Cole Wehrle, designer of Root, Oath, and Pax Pamir (Second Edition), back to the show (Cole previously appeared on Ludology 163 - A Pain in the Asymmetry). We discuss fairness in games. Has it been around for as long as we think it has? What can an "unfair" game do that...