Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode


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!

Dec 13, 2020

Emma and Gil welcome Adrienne Smith, designer of the card game Blitz Champz and wide receiver for the Boston Renegades women's gridiron football team. We discuss the intersection of mass market, kids, and sports game design, the state of women's football in modern America, and serial entrepreneurship.

This episode was recorded on November 16, 2020. A couple of weeks later, Vanderbilt brought their varsity women's soccer goalie, Sarah Fuller, onto their men's football team as a kicker.

Note: This will be the last Ludology episode of 2020! We are taking our annual winter break, during which time there will be no episodes of Ludology, Biography of a Board Game, or GameTek. We will return on January 10, 2021 with our annual "State of the Industry" episode with the Podfather, Stephen Buonocore.


2m05s: Wondering how you can throw a spiral?

3m18s: Adrienne played for the New York Sharks. Here's the web page for the IFAF.

3m56s: More information about Jen Welter, the first female coach in the NFL.

5m14s: Gil wrote a Twitter thread about the history of women in football after the news about Sarah Fuller broke.

5m46s: Women's old-school football pants, versus MC Hammer's pants.

8m03s: The Women's Football Alliance, and the Women's National Football Conference

10m17s: More info about Ultimate, originally called Ultimate Frisbee.

10m42s: More info about Ultimate Hall of Famer Molly Goodwin.

14m00s: Adrienne is correct! The periodic table of the elements was first envisioned by Dmitri Mendeleev. Said he, "I saw in a dream a table where all elements fell into place as required. Awakening, I immediately wrote it down on a piece of paper, only in one place did a correction later seem necessary."

21m56s: You can hear more from our interview with graphic/game designer Daniel Solis on Ludology 204 - The Eyes Have It.

25m23s: Here's a closer look at Adrienne's "Passing TD" card.

27m26s: You can hear more from our interview with mass market toy/game designer Kim Vandenbrouke on Ludology 212 - Inventing Play.

29m47s: Here's a clip of the amazing Kyler Murray "Hail Mary" pass that somehow landed in D'Andre Hopkins' arms. This happened the day before we recorded. (I do not recommend Bills fans clicking on that link.)

34m28s: Adrienne is talking about New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, winner of 6 Super Bowls. 

42m46s: More info about Gotham Girls' Roller Derby, the NYC-based roller derby organization. (There are other fantastic roller derby organizations around the world, like the world #1-ranked Rose City Rollers in Portland, OR, and the world #2-ranked Victorian Roller Derby League in Melbourne, Australia, all run by the Women's Flat Track Derby Association.)

44m17s: You can hear more about Omari Akhil's views on the intersection of sports and games in Ludology 233 - A Sporting Chance

55m26s: The legendary arcade game Galaga.

58m37s: It may not have been a tornado that hit NYC on November 15, but it seems to have come very close to one.

1h07m49s: More info about Title IX, passed in the US in 1972, which prohibits discrimination in education based on sex. The upshot of this is that for most sports, if a school wanted to field a men's team in a given sport, they had to field a women's team as well. 

1h09m03s: Pop Warner Football is a US organization for youth football, roughly equivalent to Little League baseball. It's named for legendary coach Pop Warner. Also, more information about Utah Girls Tackle Football.

1h10m51s: If you want to know more about minorities in the middle ages, a great place to start is People of Color in European Art History.

1h13m48s: Here's Adrienne's Instagram page.