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 Emma Larkins and Gil Hova (sometimes with Professor Scott Rogers) deep-dive into a single topic within game design, often with a well-regarded guest from the game industry. We generally focus on board game design, but we often pull in experts from all forms of games, from video games 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.

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 gil@ludology.net or emma@ludology.net.

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

Become a Patron of Ludology:

Become a patron

Make a one-time donation:

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

May 24, 2020

Join Scott as he recounts the history of the game that blurred the line between a game and a toy: Mousetrap. 

Bibliography of a Board Game for Mouse Trap
It’s All a Game by Tristan Donovan
A World Without Reality: Inside Marvin Glass’s Toy Vault by Bill Paxton
Mental Floss – Mouse Trap Game Facts
Chicago Tribune...


May 17, 2020

Today, we put Emma in the spotlight to find out what went into designing her newest game, Abandon All Artichokes, how many cards she actually designed for it, and how the game was almost derailed by an Infinite Potato Problem.

SHOW NOTES

5m44s: Magic: The Gathering and the marvelous deckbuilding video game Slay the...


May 10, 2020

Geoff ruminates on the limitations of using AI to balance games. Why can't we use machine learning to fully balance a game experience, and finally make a game that everyone on BGG will find perfectly fair on the first play?

SHOW NOTES

1m17s: For more on this subject, check out our two GameTek episodes on AlphaGo :


May 3, 2020

Emma and Gil sit down with Chris Rowlands of Funko Games to discuss the design of IP-based games, and what it's like to design as part of a group collective.

SHOW NOTES

0m00s: Playtest safely online with Gil and Emma!
4m11s: Mox Boarding House is one of the premier board game stores in Seattle. (Here's hoping they can...


Apr 26, 2020

Scott goes into the checkered history of The Game of Life, which has had many inspirations and incarnations, and is still going strong. 

(Content warning: this episode contains quick, passing references to sex and suicide.)

0m00s: Join Gil's and Emma's remote playtesting groups!
1m44s: A Little Pretty Pocket Book. Fun...