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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
    • 4.9, 11 beoordelingen

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.

    GameTek Classic 230.5 - Implicit vs. Explicit

    GameTek Classic 230.5 - Implicit vs. Explicit

    Geoff muses on the difference between explicitly calling out the way a game system works, versus letting players implicitly discover how the players discover how the system works. Is one clearly better than the other?
    Tell us how you feel in the Ludology forums!
    Here's more information about Geoff's game Versailles 1919.

    • 6 min.
    Ludology 230 - Design Re-Verb

    Ludology 230 - Design Re-Verb

    Emma and Gil invite award-winning game designer, teacher, and not-scholar Sharang Biswas to the show to discuss verbs in games. What actions do we actually perform when we play a game, what actions do they represent, and how does that impact the game experience?
    You can find Sharang on Twitter or on the web. Here is his itch.io store.
    CONTENT WARNING: This episode contains references to sex and sexuality.
    Show Notes
    2h31m: Sharang teaches at The International Center of Photography (Bard College), and at Fordham University.
    3m05s: We had Dr. Mary Flanagan on the show for Ludology 226 - Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo
    3m26s: Playcrafting is an organization that holds game design events, mainly for digital games, in New York City, San Francisco, and Boston.
    5m04s: Anna Anthropy is an influential game designer, and current designer-in-residence at DePaul College in Chicago.
    5m15s: Ian Bogost's Persuasive Games.
    10m08s: Android: Netrunner
    11m33s: We discussed ludonarrative dissonance, especially in board games, in Ludology 190 - Diabolus in Ludica.
    12m05s: The uselessness of 1:1 scale maps came up in our conversation with Volko Ruhnke for Ludology 178 - COIN-Operated.
    12m29s: If you haven't heard us discuss at length what a "game" is, check out Ludology 151 - High Definition.
    12m35s: More information about the word autotelic, which is extremely useful when discussing games and play.
    13m35s: Frank Lanz is a game designer and director of the NYU Game Center.
    16m35s: Great Western Trail, Food Chain Magnate
    17m10s: Ryan and Geoff discussed the magic circle with game designer and professor Eric Zimmerman in Ludology 79 - The Magic Circle.
    17m29s: You can find more about Honey & Hot Wax, edited by Sharang and Lucian Kahn, here.
    18m25s: The phrase "turtles all the way down" is one of Gil's favorites.
    20m54s: Hungry Hungry Hippos, Mouse Trap, Pretty Pretty Princess, Electronic Dream Phone
    21m30s: MegaCity Oceania
    21m54s: Mountains of Madness
    23m10s: Pandemic Legacy: Season One
    24m11s: Sharang's game with Max Seidman, Mad Science Foundation
    26m35s: The RPG Sign.
    28m10s: More information about the larp Sarabande.
    29m42s: Geoff and Gil discussed "soft incentives" in Ludology 185 - Soft Boiled.
    30m38s: Jiangshi, an RPG about Chinese immigrants juggling running a haunted restaurant, by Banana Chan and Sen-Foong Lim. We had Banana on the show a few weeks ago, for Ludology 228 - The Roles We Play.
    31m10s: Some of the discussion about "Press F To Pay Respects" in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.
    31m31s: Untitled Goose Game
    35m53s: Sharang compares Chaos in the Old World to Assault of the Giants. Chaos was designed by the incomparable Eric Lang, who we had on the show for Ludology 175 - Auld Lang Design.
    37m13s: Sagrada
    38m19s: DC Comics Deck-Building Game
    40m00s: John Cage's 4'33", which instructs the performer to play no notes for the duration of the piece.
    40m27s: Positive examples of ludonarrative dissonance: Typing of the Dead, Unspeakable Words
    40m58s: Brenda Romero's well-known art game Train.
    41m16s: Sharang's game Feast, inspired by Felix Gonzalez-Torres' original art piece Untitled (Portrait of Ross in L.A.).
    41m45s: The RPG With Great Power… 
    42m31s: Team Fun's interview with Sharang, featuring the phrase "Jump, Decapitate, Kill."
    43m44s: Journalist, larp designer, and game writer Lizzie Stark.
    45m00s: The 2001 video game Black & White.
    45m17s: French literary critic Roland Barthes proposed the idea of the Death of the Author in a 1967 essay, suggesting that critics don't need to understand an author to contextualize their work.
    45m24s: The Effing Foundation for Sex Positivity.
    47m16s: Thumb Wars (or thumb wrestling)
    51m45s: The games A Guide to Casting Phantoms In The Revolution, and Can You Hear Me? 
    52m34s: Sharang's game Several Miles from H

    • 1 u. 26 min.
    Biography of a Board Game 229.5 - Vinci/Small World

    Biography of a Board Game 229.5 - Vinci/Small World

    Scott takes us through the rise, fall, and rise again of the game Vinci, which designer Philippe Keyaerts and publisher Days of Wonder re-implemented as Small World.
    Bibliography of a board game
    Text: Meepletown interviews designer Keyaerts.

    Text: Boardtime interviews designer Keyaerts (the site is Polish, but the interview is in English).
    Text: Related Small World products from publisher Days of Wonder.

    Text: Tabletop Gaming magazine September 2019 - How We Made Small World (paywall)

    Text: Tabletop Gaming magazine #10 Jun/Jul 2017 - First Turn: Phillipe Keyaerts 

    • 9 min.
    Ludology 229 - Hit the Deck!

    Ludology 229 - Hit the Deck!

    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!
    Gil High Rise The Rival Networks (Gil was totally wrong, but the rulebook is with the graphic designer now, so it's close to done!) Gil's Twitch channel Gil's games at Gen Con Gil's remote playtest group Gil's upcoming storytelling game Weird Stories (watch a playthrough here) Check-In Cards Emma The Seattle Tabletop Game Designers group on Facebook Abandon All Artichokes The What's Eric Playing review Top 10 Games on our Radar The Abandon All Artichokes design diary Ludology Live at Gen Con Online Scott Comic Book Crisis Gamemaster film

    • 1 u. 1 min.
    GameTek Classic 228.5 - Fairness and Bag-Building

    GameTek Classic 228.5 - Fairness and Bag-Building

    Geoff uses an interesting bag-building example to discuss how a mechanism that is designed to be fair and equitable to all colors in the bag winds up favoring a single color over time. This example has incredible significance to our hobby, and our world.
    You can reach out to Geoff via Twitter or email (geoff@ludology.net).

    • 6 min.
    Ludology 228 - The Roles We Play

    Ludology 228 - The Roles We Play

    Emma and Gil welcome Banana Chan: game writer, larp/RPG designer, board game publisher, horror movie buff, and pop-up museum aficionado. We talk about writing for all kinds of games, how game mechanisms support intense experiences in larp and RPG, the effects of emancipatory bleed, and the effect of moving roleplay online.
    Content warning: we discuss games with intense themes, like human sacrifice.
    4m29s: The Spire RPG 
    5m59s: The Circle is a reality show in which contestants are isolated in their homes and can only communicate with others via a text-based app. They're free to adopt any persona they wish. You can watch the first episode of the American reboot here.
    6m27s: Pork roll vs. Taylor ham (two names for the same kind of processed meat) is a long-running debate in the Garden State. 
    7m01s: Jean-Paul Sartre's No Exit, a legendary play with a classic twist.
    9m03s: The RPGs This Discord Has Ghosts In It and Long Time Listener, Last Time Caller 
    10m06s: For those of you just joining Ludology, welcome, and we just covered safety tools in Ludology 227 - Respect the X.
    11m27s: To make it clear, bleed is a general term to describe a phenomenon (occurring mainly in larp) where a character's emotions and identity start mixing into a player's emotions and identity, and vice versa. It can be extremely intense, and larps usually feature necessary wrap-up sessions where players can talk out feelings that the game brought up. Here is an article with a couple of excellent examples of bleed. Jonaya Kemper, who Banana mentions, has written about emancipatory bleed here. Read more about Kemper and her work here.
    11m59s: Here's Albert Kong's tweet about emancipatory bleed.
    12m21s: More info about the Baphomet larp.
    17m29s: Diplomacy is a game that's long-established for challenging friendships.
    18m41s: Banana's new RPG, Jiangshi: Blood in the Banquet Hall, co-designed with Sen-Foong Lim
    22m44s: Warp's Edge
    24m51s: Angelus Morningstar has a good write-up on cultural appropriation in board games here. (Also, when Gil says "I wish this is something more board games would do," he means "hire cultural sensitivity readers.")
    29m07s: They're Onto Me. The Golden Cobra Challenge is a contest for freeform larp. 
    31m06s: Dads on Mowers, a module for the RPG Kids on Bikes.
    31m57s: Cobwebs RPG.
    32m19s: Alice is Missing RPG.
    32m37s: Banana is talking about an episode of the TV series Masters of Horror. This particular episode (which Gil and Emma will never watch) is called "John Carpenter's Cigarette Burns." 
    33m53s: Betrayal at Mystery Mansion is a re-implementation of Betrayal at House on the Hill, but with a Scooby-Doo theme.
    35m58s: As We Know It.
    37m32s: Roll20 is a website that facilitates online RPG play. Discord is an online text/voice chat program for gamers.
    38m48s: By "corpse," Gil is referring to the surrealist writing exercise Exquisite Corpse.
    41m39s: Banana's dinner party films: The Invitation, Get Out, Coherence. She also mentions Midsommar.
    42m28s: Here's the article Gil mentions that describes the benefits of experiencing a horror movie entirely from its Wikipedia page.
    43m02s: Here's Avery Alder's body horror RPG, Abnormal.
    44m08s: The Park Avenue Armory, one of Gil's favorite places in NYC. Banana discusses The Funhouse in Toronto, which is now closed.
    46m05s: The mangaka Junji Ito.
    46m58s: Battle of the Boy Bands, a game by Clio Yun-su Davis and Vicci Ho that Banana published under the Game and a Curry label. Enjoy some music from Stray Kids and BTS.
    50m05s: Night Witches, by Jason Morningstar. We had Jason on in Ludology 161 What's the Story, Morning Glory? Banana also mentions his game Juggernaut.
    50m52s: Avery Alder's Monsterhearts.
    51m25s: Here's the moment in the video Gil was mentioning. Alex Roberts, who plays the ghost, is the designer of the award-winning RPG Star Crossed.

    • 58 min.


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