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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 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. Erica and Sen are happy to announce that Sarah Shipp of Shippboard Games and Stephanie Campbell of TTRPGKids will be joining us for the next year, providing additional content between our longer episodes.

Sarah's segment, Thinking Beyond Mechanisms, is a monthly feature that dives deeper into the other aspects of games beyond the dice and cards we're all familiar with.

Stephanie's segment, TTRPGKids, explores how parents and teachers can use role playing games with children in the home and in the classroom.

We hope you enjoy the additional content!

Our History

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 and Scott 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. Since then, Scott stepped down in 2022 and Gil will be hanging up his mic in 2023, leaving Erica and Sen to carry on this amazing legacy.

Erica and Sen are working to bring new voices to Ludology and have some great things to announce as gaming expands to include even more people!

Contact 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

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

If you have questions that you'd like answered on Ludology, let us know by filling out this Google Form; you can also leave an audio question that we can use on the show, if you wish! 

Burning Questions for Ludology

Burning Question

Support the Show

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

We currently have 3 "First Listen" series that will go out to Patrons well in advance of the audio being released to the wider audience.

  • The Memories that Made Us (monthly) - memories about gaming experiences that helped shape the people that bring modern games to life
  • Tales from the Designer Toolbox (monthly) - tips and tricks from industry pros learned from both success and failure
  • Ludology Live - recordings from conventions around the world

Patrons will also get extra consideration for any giveaways that we might have!

Become a Ludology Patron

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You can also make a one-time or monthly donation here. The link will take you to Erica's account. People who donate in this way will not have access to the Patreon page - sorry!

Sep 6, 2020

Emma and Gil welcome game designer and publisher Omari Akil to the show to discuss the plight of the sports-themed board game. What kinds of unique challenges do we face when designing one of these games?

Omari's game Hoop Godz will be on Kickstarter soon.


1m21s: Board Game Brothas, Tabletop Backer Party, Pathways Fellowship
4m55s: Gil was 5 years off - Mike's game is Baseball Highlights: 2045.
12m09s: Football Strategy
12m47s: Gil would like to shout out Arthur Franz IV's self-published game Breakaway Football as a game with a really nice mix of play deciding versus output randomness.
15m32s: Gil will defend the term "soccer," seriously. It's a perfectly good way to refer to association football!
16m06s: Strat-O-Matic Baseball, released in 1962.
17m41s: Dino Dunk
18m07s: Crokinole
18m25s: Nok Hockey, Air Hockey, Electric Football. We also neglected to mention the flicking game family Subbuteo, which represents all sorts of sports.
22m43s: Gil eventually gets to his curling thoughts at 39m22s.
25m48s: Madden is EA's long-running NFL gridiron football video game sim (named for legendary player, coach, and broadcaster John Madden).
28m58s: Ultimate is a competitive sport using a throwable disc (like a Frisbee) instead of a ball.
29m50s: In 2017, Geek and Sundry launched a "T-Sports" league for competitive tabletop games (strangely, announcing it on April 1, and then having to explain that it was real). Sadly, it did not go far.
30m57s: Bennett Foddy's talk "Making it Matter: Lessons from Real Sports". Foddy is known for making punishingly-hard digital games like QWOP and Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy.
38m36s: Omari is referring to the common sports term GOAT, an acronym of Greatest Of All Time.
41m28s: Hystericoach
43m16s: Bottom of the Ninth
45m09s: Blaseball. RPG designer Meguey Baker's thread on it.
46m56s: Omari wrote more about how his lived experience affected the design of Rap Godz.
48m24s: More info about how Omari and YouTuber (and all-around excellent person) Danny Plays Gamez raised $80,000 for BLM: 
56m25s: Paula Deming's channel, Things Get Dicey, is absolutely amazing to behold. Top-notch writing, performing, and filming.
57m11s: For those of you who don't have the honor of consuming Capri Sun in the part of the world where you live, it's a (vaguely) fruit-flavored beverage. 
1h01m16s: The GIF Omari is referring to, featuring young Brazilian skater Rayssa Leal. The GIF Gil is referring to, linked to from famous skater Tony Hawk.