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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 Erica Bouyouris and Sen-Foong Lim deep-dive into a single topic within game design, often with a well-regarded guest from the game industry. We generally focus on tabletop game design (mainly board games and RPGs), but we often pull in experts from all forms of games, from video games to escape rooms to slot machines.

On weeks where there is no flagship Ludology episode, we will alternate between two smaller mini-sodes. Erica and Sen are happy to announce that Sarah Shipp of Shippboard Games and Stephanie Campbell of TTRPGKids will be joining us for the next year, providing additional content between our longer episodes.

Sarah's segment, Thinking Beyond Mechanisms, is a monthly feature that dives deeper into the other aspects of games beyond the dice and cards we're all familiar with.

Stephanie's segment, TTRPGKids, explores how parents and teachers can use role playing games with children in the home and in the classroom.

We hope you enjoy the additional content!

Our History

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 and Scott joined the show in 2017 when Mike stepped aside, and Emma joined in 2019 when Geoff ended his tenure as host. Emma left in 2021, and Erica and Sen joined us. Since then, Scott stepped down in 2022 and Gil will be hanging up his mic in 2023, leaving Erica and Sen to carry on this amazing legacy.

Erica and Sen are working to bring new voices to Ludology and have some great things to announce as gaming expands to include even more people!

Contact Us 

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

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

If you have questions that you'd like answered on Ludology, let us know by filling out this Google Form; you can also leave an audio question that we can use on the show, if you wish! 

Burning Questions for Ludology

Burning Question

Support the Show

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

We currently have 3 "First Listen" series that will go out to Patrons well in advance of the audio being released to the wider audience.

  • The Memories that Made Us (monthly) - memories about gaming experiences that helped shape the people that bring modern games to life
  • Tales from the Designer Toolbox (monthly) - tips and tricks from industry pros learned from both success and failure
  • Ludology Live - recordings from conventions around the world

Patrons will also get extra consideration for any giveaways that we might have!

Become a Ludology Patron

Become a patron

You can also make a one-time or monthly donation here. The link will take you to Erica's account. People who donate in this way will not have access to the Patreon page - sorry!

May 17, 2020

Today, we put Emma in the spotlight to find out what went into designing her newest game, Abandon All Artichokes, how many cards she actually designed for it, and how the game was almost derailed by an Infinite Potato Problem.


5m44s: Magic: The Gathering and the marvelous deckbuilding video game Slay the Spire. Also check out Ludology 198 - Inspired, featuring Slay the Spire's co-designer Anthony Giovannetti.

6m00s: Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing, two video games where the player starts in a remote area with very little in the way of equipment, and ends up building a small town.

7m22s: If you want to check out more deck-wreckers, try Xenon Profiteer (one of Gil's personal favorite games), or Fine Sand.

8m39s: Don't let the bean theme throw you off. Bohnanza is one of the best trading games you'll find.

9m15s: Bonnie Pang did the wonderful art for Artichokes.

9m43s: Sushi Go, by Phil Walker-Harding and also published by Gamewright, is an excellent light drafting game. It was good enough to spawn a family of light, charming drafting games. 

Phil has mentioned in passing that Sushi Go took many, many tries to get right. Another example of how hard it is to make a good, light game!

11m16s: Emma mentions some other Gamewright titles that fit a similar mold: Go Nuts for Donuts and Qwixx.

15m22s: Emma casually references Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey here.

26m29s: Seth Jaffee's article on balancing game elements and "finding the unit" is still immensely valuable to game designers everywhere.

31m59s: Cardboard Edison's publisher directory is an invaluable resource to game designers looking for a publisher for their prototypes.

48m44s: The incredibly adorable Abandon All Artichokes trailer  and its accompanying how-to-play video

49m18s: We'll post a link to the design diary in the Ludology forums as soon as it goes online!

55m16s: Emma's first episode.

56m43s: Dominion, the game that popularized deckbuilding as an in-game mechanism.