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

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Make a one-time donation here. The donation will take you to "Bedbug Comics" - that's Scott's account.

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

Jul 25, 2021

Gil and Sen are delighted to have RPG/story game designer Avery Alder on the show to talk about her games that show how communities deal with upheaval and change. We also discuss the change that RPGs saw in the past 20 years, going from the expectation of custom, bespoke systems for each game to the consensual adoption of systems like Powered by the Apocalypse and Forged in the Dark.


02m39s: The Forge is no longer active, but you can read its archives here. Also, My Life With Master.

04m24s: The RPG Top Secret.

07m52s: Jiangshi.

10m36s: Here's Avery's talk at NYU's practice convention. Also, Dream Askew, and Apocalypse World.

14m09s: Dungeon World (note that its designer Adam Koebel has behaved problematically in the past, showing issues with consent in games - content warning for mention of sexual assault in link), Monster of the Week (and the Adventure Zone podcast), Avery's game Monsterhearts (now implemented as Monsterhearts 2), and the Powered by the Apocalypse system.

15m17s: Blades in the Dark, the Forged in the Dark system, and Scum & Villainy

16m36s: Dream Apart, Sleepaway, and the Belonging Outside Belonging system.

29m34s: Volley Boys, based on the anime Haikyu!!

39m19s: The Quiet Year

44m34s: Bohnanza

50m09s: Dramatic structures, including the 3-Act Structure, and the Hero's Journey

57m13s: The minis game Hordes, and its Legion of Everblight expansion.

1h07m13s: Geoff and Gil discussed hard vs. soft incentives in Ludology 185 - Soft Boiled. Also, Snow Tails.