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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.

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.

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

Mar 7, 2021

Emma and Gil welcome Emerson Matsuuchi back to the show to discuss his experience designing the Century game series, and what it's like designing 3 "mixable" games.


0m37s: We last heard Emerson as a guest on Ludology 106 - Hide and Seek.

1m01s: In addition to the Century series, Emerson has designed Reef and Foundations of Rome.

1m45s: When there's no pandemic raging around the world, Gil runs a playtest group in New York City. Emma and Emerson were both members before they moved away. 

4m31s: Ah, the classic sitcom misunderstanding

8m12s: A list of cards currently banned in Magic: The Gathering tournament play.

11m17s: Bruges

13m03s: Dominion: Second Edition

14m11s: You can watch Emma appear on Table Takes on Gen Con's Twitch channel.

26m56s: The Betrayal family of games.

29m14s: An API (application programming interface) is a software interface that allows programmers to allow various computer programs and other devices to talk to each other. 

31m27s: In writing, "pantsing" means writing by the seat of your pants - in other words, not "plotting," or planning out your story in advance.

40m58s: Wingspan

46m24s: More information about Jones Theory, which suggests that gamers can optimize their collection by only collecting the "best" game of each genre or type.

47m40s: ZineQuest, a Kickstarter initiative for creators to launch small RPGs in zines, ran for the month of February. We discussed it with Jeeyon Shim in Ludology 244 - Games Brought to Life.

48m32s: Source code control, or version control, is a way for computer programmers to store all iterations of their code, so they can easily switch between older and newer versions of their programs, and integrate revisions to code with other people on their team. As Emma mentions, some code-savvy board game designers use version control systems like Git to track different versions of their games.

49m47s: We mention legendary board game designers Reiner Knizia and Uwe Rosenberg, and their games Medici, Medici: The Card Game, Caverna, Agricola

52m39s: Emerson mentions Runewars, Star Wars: Legion, Wings of War, and Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game. For a detailed history of these games, check out Biography of a Board Game 210.5 - Wings of War.

56m26s: Tom Lehman is dividing his expansions for Race for the Galaxy into several different arcs, which are not meant to be mixed.

57m54s: Eric Lang's tweet that Emerson mentions.

1h00m48s: Emerson's website, Twitter, and Facebook.