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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.

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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 fact: this book contains the first appearance of the term "base-ball," although that term at the time was an alternative regional name for the sport now known as Rounders.
2m37s: The New Game of Human Life. Here's the original French game that inspired it, which BGG has under the name La Vie Humaine un Nouveau Jeu.
3m19s: More information about the teetotum, which was often used to avoid the impression of gambling. 
5m48s: The Reward of Merit, The Mirror of Truth: Exhibiting a variety of Biographical Anecdotes and Moral Essays calculated to Inspire a Love of Virtue and Abhorrence of Vice, and The Mansion of Happiness.
7m45s: The Checkered Game of Life.
9m17s: The Game of the Telegraph Boy, Game of To the North Pole By Airship, and The Game of Playing Department Store.
9m32s: More information about toy and game designer Reuben Klamer
10m48s: The famous blue and pink pegs are, of course, the inspiration for the name of the excellent board game podcast Blue Peg, Pink Peg.
11m44s: Here's a page with a photo of the 1960 edition of The Game of Life.
12m28s: More information about the resolution of the lawsuit between Klamer and Markham. 
13m32s: The Game of Life: Twists and Turns 
14m08s: The Game of Life Express 
16m33s: This would also be a good time to mention some modern board games that handle the same subject matter, and were no doubt somehow inspired by The Game of Life. The Pursuit of Happiness, Funny Friends, CV, and My Story.