300 episodes

Welcome to Ludology, an analytical discussion of the how’s and why’s of the world of board games. Rather than news and reviews, Ludology explores a variety of topics about games from a wider lens, and discusses game history, game design and game players.

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

Ludology Gil Hova and Emma Larkins

    • Games

Welcome to Ludology, an analytical discussion of the how’s and why’s of the world of board games. Rather than news and reviews, Ludology explores a variety of topics about games from a wider lens, and discusses game history, game design and game players.

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

    Ludology 218.5 - Alpha Zero

    Ludology 218.5 - Alpha Zero

    Geoff discusses Alpha Zero, a neural net that can play Go, Chess, and Shogi better than anyone in the world. It defeated the best AI in those respective games (each of whom had previously defeated the best humans in the world) with only a few hours of training. What does this spell for the future of AI, and the future of game design?

    • 6 min
    Ludology 218 - Building Games, Bit By Bit

    Ludology 218 - Building Games, Bit By Bit

    Emma and Gil welcome Geoff Engelstein and Isaac Shalev back to the show to discuss their new book Building Blocks of Tabletop Game Design. This is a reference of board game mechanisms that any designer, new or experienced, can use to look up different tools they can use to solve problems in game design.
    Games and other things mentioned in this episode:
    19m30s: 
    Kraftwagen Glen More Francis Drake Egezia High Rise 19m39s:
    Opinionated Gamers article on time track vs. one-way track  Patchwork Thebes Tokaido Tutankhamen 22m13s:
    Impulse 23m11s:
    Great Western Trail 33m55s:
    Empire Builder 35m22s:
    Monopoly Sushi Go Advanced Squad Leader 41m07s:
    BoardGameGeek official mechanism page  51m30s:
    Diplomacy 52m10s:
    Republic of Rome  Cutthroat Caverns 53m07s:
    Prisoner's Dilemma 54m27s:
    Catan 55m55s:
    Interview with Donald X. Vaccharino about theme, mechanism, and data  1h04m54s:
    Drop Geoff a BGG GeekMail Drop Isaac a BGG GeekMail Encyclopedia of Mechanisms Guild on BGG

    • 1 hr 7 min
    Biography of a Board Game 217.5 - Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots

    Biography of a Board Game 217.5 - Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots

    Scott uncovers the history of the classic game Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots, which has been delighting kids (and kids-at-heart) since 1964. He discusses the influences that converged in making the game, why the combatants are robots, and how it's influenced everything from video games to real-life combat robotics.

    • 10 min
    Ludology 217 - What IF?

    Ludology 217 - What IF?

    Legendary Interactive Fiction writer Andrew Plotkin joins Gil and Emma to talk about text-based stories that players can participate in. We explore the form's history and unique strengths, and discuss what good writing can bring to a game's experience.
    Interactive Fiction platforms mentioned in this episode:
    Inform Twine ChoiceScript Ink Check out some of Andrew's IF work:
    Shade Spider & Web Hadean Lands Other video games mentioned in this episode:
    Colossal Cave Adventure Zork Donut County 80 Days Heaven's Vault Galatea AI Dungeon No Man's Sky Board games and analog IF mentioned in this episode:
    Werewolf 7th Continent 1,001 Odysseys Choose Your Own Adventure™ books Meanwhile Fighting Fantasy books Leanna Fled the Cranberry Bog If you would like to explore the world of IF, a good place to start is the Interactive Fiction Database - it's like the BGG of IF!
    Some good games to start with (this is hardly an authoritative list):
    9:05 - You can easily play this in one sitting, and in most cases, you will want to immediately play again when you finish it the first time. Photopia - This is a spectacularly well-written game, but it can bring up some intense emotions. The Uncle Who Works for Nintendo - A fun horror game. Howling Dogs - This is a work by Porpentine, whom Gil has raved about several times on the show and this episode. Be sure to find both endings. Counterfeit Monkey - A fairly long game by Emily Short built around some remarkably brilliant word-manipulation mechanisms. You will likely need to use an emulator if you want to save your game and use the game's graphical map. Enjoy exploring the IF rabbit hole!
     

    • 1 hr 4 min
    GameTek Classic 216.5 - Path Dependence

    GameTek Classic 216.5 - Path Dependence

    In this GameTek Classic, Geoff describes the idea of "path dependence," and discusses how human game players allow their past to affect their present. Should players care about how they got to a certain point in their game?

    • 6 min
    Ludology 216 - Buonohardcore 2020

    Ludology 216 - Buonohardcore 2020

    Ludology returns for 2020, with our annual tradition of bringing on board game industry veteran Stephen Buonocore from Stronghold Games/Indie Game Studios to discuss the state of the industry.
    2020 will be an interesting year for board games. What challenges await us? Is it smooth sailing? Doom and gloom? Somewhere in-between?

    • 1 hr 18 min

Customer Reviews

Reader541 ,

Informative, interesting, fun...what's not to like?

I've listened to all 4 iterations of the podcast and whilst I will miss Geoff's dulcet tones and measured opinions, I am pleased that Gil and Emma seem to have a nice rhythm of their own. Long may it continue.

Ttt5765 ,

Best podcast for game designers!

Brilliant podcast about game design, the psychology of games, and the board game business! I'd give it 6 stars if I could!

Quintin Smath ,

Awesome

Fascinating listening for anyone interested in game design.

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