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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 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.

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Jul 12, 2020

Emma, Gil, and Scott go back to a topic that Ryan and Geoff discussed earlier in the show's history: Deckbuilding! With all that's changed (including Emma having designed a deckbuilder), what has changed, and what have we learned?

0m41s: The episode that Ryan and Geoff did was Ludology 119 - Deck the Halls.
0m46s: Dominion (which did come out in 2008)
2m39s: StarCraft: The Board Game, which is generally believed to be the first game with an in-game deckbuilding component (if we assume that Magic: The Gathering's deckbuilding component is technically not "in-game," but is part of the metagame).
5m12s: Trains, and A Few Acres of Snow
6m26s: Smash Up
14m45s: Concordia, Aquatica
17m13s: Ascension, Thunderstone, Nightfall
22m26s: Eschaton, Copycat
30m08s: Aeon's End, Thunderstone Quest, Big Book of Madness, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle
31m39s: Puzzle Strike
32m36s: The Quacks of Quedlinburg
33m19s: I think we have the name to Scott's next game... :)
34m03s: Black Friday
34m47s: Quarriors (and its themed re-implementation, Dice Masters)
36m58s: Rattlebones 
37m40s: Dice Forge (which Gil mistakenly called Dice Vault)
38m25s: According to designer Stephen Glenn, Rattlebones had been in the works since 2009
40m05s: Blank White Dice (which Emma called Blank Dice)
41m07s: Abandon All Artichokes, Xenon Profiteer, Fine Sand
44m18s: Mystic Vale, Edge of Darkness
46m21s: The game Scott was thinking of is Dead Reckoning
46m36s: Slay the Spire
48m09s: Gil is using the definition of "atom" from the book Characteristics of Games: "The smallest complete unit of play, in the sense that the players feel they've 'really played' some of the game."
49m51s: The bits in question
50m05s: VENOM Assault
51m27s: Monster Train
54m17s: Self-promotion time!