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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.

You can also email us at hello@ludology.net.

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Oct 17, 2021

Gil and Scott are delighted to welcome Martin Wallace back to the show. Martin was first on the show on Ludology 46 - Getting Down to Brass Tacks back in 2012 with Geoff Engelstein and a very enthusiastic Ryan Sturm. In this episode, we catch up with Martin to see what he's been up to in the last 9 years.

Martin is the designer of many well-loved strategy games, like Brass, Age of Steam (and all its related games, like Railways of the World), London, A Study in Emerald, AuZtralia, and A Study in Emerald.

Technical note: Martin's recording has some dropouts in it; unfortunately, those seemed to come straight from his microphone, so there wasn't much we could do about them. We hope you enjoy the episode anyway!

SHOW NOTES

1m25s: Lords of Creation

4m31s: Gloomhaven, the North Sea Trilogy from Garphill Games, Jamey Stegmaier.

8m06s: The Exit games, and the Unlock! games

11m53s: Games Workshop, Ian Livingstone, the British Steve Jackson, the American Steve Jackson, and the Fighting Fantasy books.

16m18s: Anno 1800

20m08s: Catan, Dune Imperium

23m55s: Age of Industry

25m18s: "Canal holidays"

27m28s: The World Transplant Games

32m46s: A Study in Emerald

34m18s: Gil regrets not pushing back on this point a bit harder; he doesn’t think turning indigenous people into monsters is as effective a technique as Martin does. For a good perspective, check out Dan Thurot’s post about this on his excellent blog Space-Biff.

35m53s: Terry Pratchett and Discworld

38m41s: Martin is referring to the events of May 68 in France. 

43m53s: Imperium Legends, De Vulgari Eloquentia

45m28s: Ankh: Gods of Egypt, Medina, and “zugzwang” 

48m40s: Our favorite Star Wars clones: Starcrash, Battle Beyond the Stars, and a special shout-out to Fugitive Alien.

49m10s: Carcassonne

53m03s: Discworld: Ankh-Morpork, Doctor Who: The Card Game

55m13s: Disclaimer: Many of us on Ludology are pretty down on the HP series these days, due to the bigoted views of its author. 

56m59s: The video game Stellaris, the fantasy series His Dark Materials, and the fantasy collection The Silmarillion.

1h00m05s: Rocketmen

1h00m57s: The humble pasty

1h03m32s: Hobo code