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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 tabletop game design (mainly board games and RPGs), 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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Ludology is part of The Dice Tower Network, the premier board game media network.

Nov 29, 2020

Emma and Gil welcome Kathryn Hymes and Hakan Seyalıoğlu to the show to discuss the impact of language on play, and how to design games that revolve around the building, modification, and demise of a language.

SHOW NOTES

2m52s: Here's the Kickstarter for Thorny's new game Xenolanguage.

6m45s: Among Us is a social deduction digital game that, after a quiet two years on the market, suddenly blew up on Twitch and is now extremely popular. US congressional representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made headlines when she played the game live on Twitch with several popular streamers (and fellow representative Ilhan Omar, who turned out to be very good at the game). 

9m09s: Myst

9m36s: Here's our episode on the Incan Gold experiment, run by Dr. Stephen Blessing of the University of Tampa.

15m43s: Dialect (Watch a playthrough with Hakan here)

20m33s: The earliest instance that the OED has found of the singular "they" is from 1375.

38m47s: Gil, Geoff, and Scott dug deep into party game design in Ludology 190 - The Life of the Party.

45m15s: Sign

49m47s: More info about the fascinating instrument known as the theremin.

52m54s: The instrument called the ondes Martenot (Gil apologies profusely to all French listeners for his poor pronunciation skills!). You can see its inner workings discussed here (video in French with English subtitles). You can hear it as one of the instruments in this absolutely wild Edgard Varése composition.

55m18s: More info on Code Talkers and how they helped transmit encoded messages in wartime.

56m01s: Here's a thread with Magic fans playing the translation game on Jace.

56m35s: Kathryn's GDC talk on artifacts of play.

58m07s: A Fake Artist Goes to New York

58m48s: Fall of Magic

59m15s: Qwixx

1h08m18s: A Buzzfeed article (forgive me) on how red Solo cups are viewed outside the US as a uniquely American symbol. 

1h08m38s: Thorny Games on the web and Instagram. Also, you can find Kathryn and Hakan on Twitter.