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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, Gil Hova, Scott Rogers, 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.

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. Emma left in 2021, and Erica and Sen joined us.

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Sep 6, 2020

Emma and Gil welcome game designer and publisher Omari Akil to the show to discuss the plight of the sports-themed board game. What kinds of unique challenges do we face when designing one of these games?

Omari's game Hoop Godz will be on Kickstarter soon.


1m21s: Board Game Brothas, Tabletop Backer Party, Pathways Fellowship
4m55s: Gil was 5 years off - Mike's game is Baseball Highlights: 2045.
12m09s: Football Strategy
12m47s: Gil would like to shout out Arthur Franz IV's self-published game Breakaway Football as a game with a really nice mix of play deciding versus output randomness.
15m32s: Gil will defend the term "soccer," seriously. It's a perfectly good way to refer to association football!
16m06s: Strat-O-Matic Baseball, released in 1962.
17m41s: Dino Dunk
18m07s: Crokinole
18m25s: Nok Hockey, Air Hockey, Electric Football. We also neglected to mention the flicking game family Subbuteo, which represents all sorts of sports.
22m43s: Gil eventually gets to his curling thoughts at 39m22s.
25m48s: Madden is EA's long-running NFL gridiron football video game sim (named for legendary player, coach, and broadcaster John Madden).
28m58s: Ultimate is a competitive sport using a throwable disc (like a Frisbee) instead of a ball.
29m50s: In 2017, Geek and Sundry launched a "T-Sports" league for competitive tabletop games (strangely, announcing it on April 1, and then having to explain that it was real). Sadly, it did not go far.
30m57s: Bennett Foddy's talk "Making it Matter: Lessons from Real Sports". Foddy is known for making punishingly-hard digital games like QWOP and Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy.
38m36s: Omari is referring to the common sports term GOAT, an acronym of Greatest Of All Time.
41m28s: Hystericoach
43m16s: Bottom of the Ninth
45m09s: Blaseball. RPG designer Meguey Baker's thread on it.
46m56s: Omari wrote more about how his lived experience affected the design of Rap Godz.
48m24s: More info about how Omari and YouTuber (and all-around excellent person) Danny Plays Gamez raised $80,000 for BLM: 
56m25s: Paula Deming's channel, Things Get Dicey, is absolutely amazing to behold. Top-notch writing, performing, and filming.
57m11s: For those of you who don't have the honor of consuming Capri Sun in the part of the world where you live, it's a (vaguely) fruit-flavored beverage. 
1h01m16s: The GIF Omari is referring to, featuring young Brazilian skater Rayssa Leal. The GIF Gil is referring to, linked to from famous skater Tony Hawk.