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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.

Aug 8, 2021

Erica and Scott welcome game design legend Mike Elliott, creator of innumerable Magic: the Gathering and Pokémon cards, designer of Thunderstone, and co-designer of Quarriors and the Dice Masters series. And of course, of DuelMaster and Charm Angel, which were both huge hits in Japan. Mike also runs the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design Hall of Fame, commemorating the work of legendary tabletop game designers.


1m22s: NeoPets, Hecatomb, The Harry Potter Trading Card Game.

1m41s: Game designer and friend of the show Eric Lang. Gil and Geoff chatted with Eric in Ludology 175 - Auld Lang Design. , Also, Wiz Kids is a publisher that should not be confused with Hasbro-owned D&D and Magic: the Gathering publisher Wizards of the Coast (aka WOTC, often referred to as "WHAT-see"). Wiz Kids and WOTC are two unrelated companies, although Wiz Kids publishes some D&D-related products under license from WOTC.

3m24s: Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson are the credited designers behind the first version of D&D. Richard Garfield designed Magic: The Gathering, King of Tokyo, and Robo Rally. Jordan Weisman founded legendary RPG publisher FASA before starting WizKids. Reiner Knizia has designed hundreds of games, including Tigris & Euphrates, Medici, Ra, and Lost Cities. Vlaada Chvatl designed Through the Ages and Galaxy Trucker.

3m58s: Uwe Rosenberg designed Agricola, Le Havre, A Feast for Odin, and Bohnanza. Bruno Cathala designed 5 Tribes, Kingdomino, and 7 Wonders Duel. Maureen Hiron has been in the industry for decades, with games like 7 Ate 9, Cosmic Cows, and Qwitch.

4m31s: The Strong Museum of Play, in Rochester, New York, is a museum dedicated to play, toys, and games. If you're ever in Rochester, make an appointment with their archivist to look at Sid Sackson's meticulously-kept diaries; they are amazing. GAMA is the Game Manufacturer's Association, a trade organization of tabletop game publishers and retailers. GAMA runs the industry convention GAMA Expo (formerly the GAMA Trade Show), and the public convention Origins.

5m26s: Little Wars, by novelist H.G. Wells (author of War of the Worlds, The Time Machine, and The Island of Doctor Moreau), was a rulebook for playing with toy soldiers. That sort of formalized ruleset for a wargame was rather novel in 1913. Note the cringeworthy full title: Little Wars: a game for boys from twelve years of age to one hundred and fifty and for that more intelligent sort of girl who likes boys' games and books.

7m39s: Here's the website Mike mentions. Note that Mike is in the middle of the photograph on the front page, in the black short-sleeved shirt.

8m31s: Here's the Biography of a Board Game for Pass-out.

9m43s: And here's the Biography of a Board Game for Quarriors.

10m22s: Del Mar, California.

15m44s: Hearthstone

21m34s: If you want to know more about the intersection of gaming and improv, check out our episode of Improv for Gamers author Karen Twelves, Ludology 237 - Improv-ing Games.

28m22s: Halo ActionClix, Star Wars PocketModel TCG, DC HeroClix: Batman (Alpha)

34m00s: The Dice Masters family of games.

35m04s: Duel Masters Trading Card Game, from WOTC and Takara Tomy (both of which are part of Hasbro), part of the Duel Masters franchise.

38m44s: Battle Spirits: Trading Card Game

45m27s: More information about Target halting sales of trading cards, including Pokémon.

46m01s: Thunderstone, published by Alderac Entertainment Group. Alderac is usually abbreviated as AEG, but is unrelated to the massive sports/music promoter Anschutz Entertainment Group, which is also abbreviated as AEG. Alderac is run by John Zinzer.

47m25s: Kingdom of Loathing  

50m45s: Card Jitsu was originally part of Disney's MMO Club Penguin, which has since been replaced by Club Penguin Island.

54m08s: Quarriors

58m25s: Yahtzee: Doctor Who edition, and its TARDIS dice cup.

1h00m26s: The Quacks of Quedlinburg, The Mind

1h05m17s: AR games, or Augmented Reality games, utilize technology like phones or tablets to augment real-world locations with computer-generated enhancements. The most successful AR game at the moment is Pokémon Go.

1h07m53s: Mark Rosewater is the head designer for Magic: The Gathering.

1h15m15s: The film American Pie.