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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

Become a patron

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!

Nov 1, 2020

Emma and Gil welcome Karen Twelves, whose straddling of the worlds of gaming and improv led her to write the book Improv for Gamers. What can gaming and improv learn from each other?

Content warning: this episode contains brief references to non-consensual touching and racism.


01m16s: AD&D is Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, the form of D&D most prominent in the 80s and 90s.

02m43s: A kinesthetic learner is one who learns through physical activity. We discussed kinesthetic learning and games (among other things) with Chidi Paige in Ludology 231 - STEAM Engine.

03m35s: Whose Line Is It Anyway? was a British radio show that became a British television show that became an American television show. In the show, four improvisers run through several short-form improv games.

08m25s: The Harold is a structure used in long-form improv. 

09m31s: Del Close was a fundamental figure in the world of improv, creating many techniques and co-writing the book Truth in Comedy. Note that Gil misattributed the name of the Harold to Close. While Close helped develop and publicize the technique, improv actor and musician Bill Mathleu is credited with naming it.

12m33s: Kingmaker is an Adventure Path for the RPG Pathfinder.

12m48s: Most recently, we discussed failure in games with Sen-Foong Lim in our previous episode, Ludology 236 - Roll With It.

15m32s: LEEROY JENKINS (note explicit language in link)

31m00s: The story RPG Fiasco. We had designer Jason Morningstar on Ludology 161 - What's the Story, Morning Glory?

40m55s: The board games Karen mentions are Splendor, Forbidden Island, Forbidden Desert, and Pandemic.

50m58s: Alex Roberts, designer of Star Crossed and For the Queen.

52m50s: The TV show Taskmaster. Wouldn’t Alex Horne be a great Ludology guest?

58m30s: “No one in the world ever gets what they want and that is beautiful/Everyone dies twisted inside and that is beautiful”

1h01m03s: Burning Wheel, Pathfinder, Fiasco, Monsterhearts

1h02m22s: Archipelago

1h12m03s: Then She Fell, Sleep No More

1h12m57s: Gil is referring to Ludology 214 - Escape From Reality, with Hayley E.R. Cooper and Cameron Cooper.

1h13m32s: Palace Games in San Francisco. Their in-person experience is temporarily closed for the pandemic, but like many escape rooms, they are currently running virtual games.

1h15m11s: Here's Karen's current ongoing Thing & Thing Twitter thread.

1h18m18s: Karen’s Twitter, Instagram, and Tiktok. Here are her websites:,, and