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, as well as discuss game history, game design and game players. Ludology is made possible by the support and donations of listeners like you. We encourage you to visit us at our guild on Boardgamegeek to get involved in a continuing discussion of our topics. Ludology is part of The Dice Tower Network, the premier board game media network.
Biography of a Board Game 221.5 - The Game of the GooseMar 29, 2020 08:56
In today's Biography of a Board Game, Scott takes us through the long history of The Game of the Goose, which became a template for almost every roll-and-move game into Victorian times and beyond.
2m04s: History of the labyrinth
2m24s: The Discus of Phaistos, also known as the Phaistos Disc
2m50s: Games mentionedThe Mansion of Happiness The Checkered Game of Life
4m33s: Works mentioned:La belle Hélène, an opera by Jacques Offenbach The Will of an Eccentric, a novel by Jules Verne
5m07s: Works mentioned:Le Pont du Nord, a film by Jacques Rivette Il grande gioco dell'oca, an Italian game show based on the game (Wikipedia page in Italian)
Ludology 221 - The Pac Less TraveledMar 22, 2020 01:20:41
Emma and Gil welcome Jonny Pac, designer of Coloma and other games set in the Gold Rush West. Our main topic of discussion is multiple paths to victory: what it brings to a game, what kinds of games need it, what kinds of games don't, and how to avoid the dreaded "point salad" effect.
Jonny's published games:Hangtown Coloma A Fistful of Meeples Sierra West Lions of Lydia (on Kickstarter as of the release of this episode!) Merchant's Cove
06m28s: Jonny likens Scythe to a race game. Check out Chapter 2 of Characteristics of Games (George Skaff Elias, Richard Garfield, K. Robert Gutschera) for more information about the distinction between a "race" and a "brawl."
07m35s: Games mentioned:
Lords of Waterdeep
08m32s: Games mentioned:
09m48s: Games mentioned:
7 Wonders Duel
12m56s: Ah, the "Victory Points Suck" argument! Here is the original talk, and here is the rebuttal blog post that Gil wrote. (Scott Westerfeld is actually a really cool person; he was just being a bit hyperbolic.)
13m32s: Games mentioned:
Red Dragon Inn
15m02s: Games mentioned:
18m06s: Games mentioned:
22m27s: Games mentioned:
32m01s: Games mentioned:
Century: Spice Road
34m09s: Games mentioned:
35m58s: Games mentioned:
42m12s: Games mentioned:
46m47s: Games mentioned:
Ticket to Ride
49m28s: Zero-level heuristics - the strategies and tactics players embrace when first learning the game. Go back to Characteristics of Games, Chapter 4, for an excellent introduction to this topic.
51m11s: Games mentioned:
53m14s: Games mentioned:
56m38s: Tragedy of the Commons is a well-known game theory problem that pits collective good versus self-interest.
1h01m55s: Games mentioned:
Raja of the Ganges
Castles of Burgundy
1h04m58s: For those who may not know, ASCAP and BMI are the two largest music performance rights organizations in America. They monitor radio play and live performances, and make sure that every time a song is played publicly, its rightsholder gets paid.
1h06m27s: Eat Poop You Cat is the activity that Telestrations was based on.
1h09m42s: More info on Placerville, CA.
1h13m42s: Games mentioned:
1h14m34s: Jonny is referring to Ludology 176 - Taxonomy Driver.
GameTek 220.5 - Quantum ComputingMar 15, 2020 21:17
Here is the Quantum Information Science Kit (QISKIT) blog Dr. Wootton mentioned.
If you're technically inclined, here is Dr. Wootton's GitHub repository. And if you want to take a quantum computer out for a spin, here is the cloud-based service Dr. Wootton mentioned.
Ludology 220 - Adventures in StorytellingMar 8, 2020 01:02:08
Emma and Gil welcome Jennifer Ellis and Keith Baker of Twogether Studios. We discuss their approach for integrating stories into their game, whether directly embedded in their game, letting them emerge from the players, or evoked from the look of the product.
36m46: More info about Descent.
38m36s: Illimat is a card game conceived by and designed with the band The Decemberists.
40m00s: More info about Cthulhu Fluxx.
49m19s: More info about Keith's award-winning D&D setting Eberron.
Biography of a Board Game 219.5 - Trivial PursuitMar 1, 2020 12:20
Scott leads us through the history of Trivial Pursuit, from its conception from two Canadian journalists after trying to play a game of Scrabble with missing pieces, to a full-fledged global 80s fad, to a billion-dollar empire.
Ludology 219 - Professor Scott's Wild RideFeb 23, 2020 01:16:17
Professor Scott Rogers joins Gil and Emma once again! This time, we're discussing Scott's time as an Imagineer designing games and experiences for Disneyland, and his subsequent work designing VR attractions. It's a fascinating topic, with a surprising amount of overlap into any kind of game design!
08m06s: Scott is right, sportscaster Al Michaels was indeed traded for Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.
18m16s: Ludology 189 - Missing Selinker, wherein Mike Selinker shares a funny story testing Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom:
30m20s: The Design of Everyday Things, by Donald Norman. Highly recommended to anyone who wants a better understanding of how people interact with objects.
40m53s: The history of how Tetris has chosen its pieces is really fascinating!
41m29s: Some more information about Legends of Frontierland: Gold Rush.
46m09s: We discussed dark rides and the challenge of choice in an immersive environment Ludology 214 - Escape from Reality with Strange Bird Immersive.
52m34s: Two-Bit Circus, the place in LA where you can experience the Terminator-themed dark ride that Scott worked on.
1h02m46s: Geoff interviewed Curtis Hickman, CCO of The Void, in GameTek 134.
1h05m51s: More info about Dreamscape.
1h06m37s: More info about Evermore.
1h10m58s: We discussed emergent vs. embedded narrative in Ludology 213 - Your Humble Narrator.
1h11m24s: Look, it was a long recording session, okay? :)
Ludology 218.5 - Alpha ZeroFeb 16, 2020 06:49
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?
Ludology 218 - Building Games, Bit By BitFeb 9, 2020 01:07:58
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
23m11s:Great Western Trail
35m22s:Monopoly Sushi Go Advanced Squad Leader
41m07s:BoardGameGeek official mechanism page
52m10s:Republic of Rome Cutthroat Caverns
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
Biography of a Board Game 217.5 - Rock 'Em Sock 'Em RobotsFeb 2, 2020 10:40
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.
Ludology 217 - What IF?Jan 26, 2020 01:04:48
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!
GameTek Classic 216.5 - Path DependenceJan 19, 2020 06:47
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?
Ludology 216 - Buonohardcore 2020Jan 12, 2020 01:18:47
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?
Ludology 215 - Table TopicsDec 15, 2019 55:23
In this episode recorded at BGG.CON, Scott and Gil tell Emma all about Tabletop Network, a convention about the theory behind game design that happens right before BGG.CON. We gush about our favorite talks, and tell you what makes Tabletop Network so unique.
Biography of a Board Game 214.5 - Mafia/WerewolfDec 8, 2019 09:24
Scott gives us a history of the classic social deduction game Mafia, from its origins in a Russian high school classroom to its transformation beneath a full moon into Werewolf.
Ludology 214 - Escape from RealityDec 1, 2019 01:10:23
Escape rooms have been providing a new form of play for much of this decade. At the same time, immersive theater has been providing a new form of storytelling. What happens when the two get mixed?
In this episode, Emma and Gil are joined by Haley E.R. Cooper and J. Cameron Cooper of Strange Bird Immersive, who run the hybrid escape room/immersive theater piece The Man From Beyond, and the Immersology blog.
How can escape rooms use immersive theater to tell a story? And how can we learn from that to better tell stories in our games?
(Note: starting this episode, we are going to feature more detailed show notes of things we bring up in our conversation. That's especially important in this episode, as we refer to theater works that may not be well-known to others!)
Games mentioned in this episode (all digital):
The Stanley Parable
Theater shows mentioned in this episode:
Sleep No More
Sweeney Todd (2017 off-Broadway semi-immersive)
Selfie museums (e.g. Color Factory)
Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812
Then She Fell
Also mentioned this episode:
Improv for Gamers (book)
Bartle Taxonomy of Gamer Types
Ludology Episode 159 - Getting Out Scott Free (with Scott Nicholson)
GameTek 213.5 - The Incan Gold ExperimentNov 24, 2019 34:23
Back in Ludology 185, Geoff brought up a thought experiment. What if someone rethemed Incan Gold to a firefighting game? Would people play any differently?
Dr. Stephen Blessing (@cognitive_gamer) of the University of Tampa took up the challenge, and with the help of research assistant Elena Sakosky, designed and ran the experiment that Geoff proposed.
In this GameTek, Dr. Blessing and Sakosky join Geoff to discuss their findings. Did players take more risks if they felt, thematically, that lives were on the line?
If you'd like to hear more of Dr. Blessing's work, listen to his podcast, Cognitive Gamer: http://cognitivegamer.com/
Ludology 213 - Your Humble NarratorNov 17, 2019 53:32
Gil and Emma discuss narrative in games. How can narrative improve games? What is the difference between embedded and emergent narrative? And what the are common ways that prototypes of narrative games can fail?
Ludology 212.5 - Naked Baby PhotosNov 10, 2019 57:35
In this special episode of Ludology, recorded live at GrandCon 2019, Gil and Geoff go back in time to recount their earliest game designs. Were they as embarrassing? Were they any good? What is Gil's infamous action mechanism, and was Geoff able to capture the essence of the Battle of Cannae for a school assignment? We also take some live listener questions at the end.
Ludology 212 - Inventing PlayNov 3, 2019 01:07:37
Emma and Gil welcome mass-market game and toy inventor Kim Vandenbrouke to the show. How is "inventing" a mass-market game different than "designing" a hobby game? Why is the toy/mass-market industry so much more secretive? And how does one deal with all the publisher rejection?
You can read Kim's writings on the toy and mass-market game industry here: https://www.thegameaisle.com/kim-vandenbroucke/
GameTek 211.5 - Cameron BrowneOct 27, 2019 22:34
Geoff welcomes digital archaeoludologist Cameron Browne, principal investigator of the Digital Ludeme Project, to find out how we can use artificial intelligence and machine learning to try to derive the rules to ancient games like Senet by breaking games down into what Browne calles "ludemes."
Find out more about the Digital Ludeme Project on Twitter (@archaeoludology) or the web: http://ludeme.eu/
You can play some games that Browne has constructed from ludemes here: https://ludii.games/
Ludology 211 - Pandamonium! ReduxOct 20, 2019 56:21
In May 2012, Geoff and Ryan brought Michael Lee, owner of the relatively new company Panda Games Manufacturing, on the show to discuss the art and design of manufacturing games.
Over 5 and a half years later, Gil and Emma are delighted to welcome Michael back! Panda Games Manufacturing has grown along with the industry, and Michael hasn't stopped focusing on the intersection of components and game design.
What has changed in manufacturing since 2012? What kinds of components does Michael find most exciting? And how do components inform the experience of a game, especially in the current gaming boom?
You can find Panda Games Manufacturing on Twitter and Instagram at @pandagm.
Biography of a Board Game 210.5 - Wings of WarOct 13, 2019 17:00
Scott covers the lineage of games that began in 2004 with Wings of War: Famous Aces. The "Flight Path" system that appeared in this game spawned follow-up titles Wings of Glory, Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Card Game, Star Trek: Attack Wing, D&D: Attack Wing, and Battlestar Galactica: Starship Battles.
Ludology 210 - The Way to a Gamer's HeartOct 6, 2019 47:40
Gil and Emma are joined by game designer Jenn Sandercock to discuss her edible games. How do you design a game where the players eat the components? What design challenges does that bring up? And how do players react to being allowed to literally play with their food?
Find out more about Jenn here: http://jennsand.com/
Find out more about Jenn's edible games here: https://ediblegames.com/
GameTek Classic 209.5 - The Vice of DiceSep 29, 2019 06:05
In this GameTek Classic, Geoff covers the history of dice, and the social stigma attached to them. Who were the first civilizations to play with dice, and how did they deal with the way their society frowned on them?
Ludology 209 - The 6 Zones of PlaySep 22, 2019 58:29
Emma, Gil, and Scott discuss a theory Scott is working on that describes 6 distinct physical zones when playing a board game. How does the physical dimensionality of a board game affect its gameplay?
Read more about the 6 Zones of Play here:
Biography of a Board Game 208.5 - Space CadetsSep 15, 2019 08:30
Scott takes a peek at the history of the frantic real-time co-op game Space Cadets, designed by our own Geoff Engelstein, his daughter Sydney Engelstein, and his son Brian Engelstein.
Ludology 208 - Playing With PurposeSep 8, 2019 01:16:11
Emma and Gil welcome the multitalented Hawke Robinson, who discusses his experiences using role-playing games as therapy for at-risk youth and adults. How can games help people gain empathy and pull them into a positive mindset? And how has Hawke's 40+ years of RPG experience helped him form these programs?
You can learn more about Hawke and his work here: http://www.hawkerobinson.com/
CONTENT WARNING: This episode touches on sensitive topics like suicide, homicide, violence against children, and sexual assault.
GameTek Classic 207.5 - InformationSep 1, 2019 06:38
Geoff reviews the concept of "information" from a mathematical perspective, which might be different from the definition you're used to. What real-world implications did this concept lay the groundwork for?
Ludology 207 - Card AdvantageAug 25, 2019 01:03:56
Emma and Gil welcome Justin Gary, designer of Ascension and Shards of Infinity, to discuss card-based strategy games. What makes them so different than other games? How does one handle things like balance, plans for expansions, and in-game marriage proposals?
Ludology 206.5 - Live at Gen Con 2019Aug 18, 2019 46:34
Gil, Emma, and Geoff field listeners' questions in an episode recorded live at Gen Con 2019 in Indianapolis.
Ludology 206 - Ahead of the CurveAug 11, 2019 59:48
Emma and Gil welcome accomplished designer Tom Lehmann (Race for the Galaxy, Res Arcana, and many others) to discuss game arcs versus story arcs and how an inflection point can help the arc of a longer game. We also get into how the plot of Romeo & Juliet compares to a cooperative game, and how game design could possibly connect to contra dancing.
GameTek 205.5 - Research Triple PlayAug 4, 2019 06:33
In this GameTek from August 2017, Geoff goes through three interesting bits of of game design-related research. Is there such a thing as momentum in sports? How does the brain react to the prospect of punishing others for violating social norms? And how does the Prisoner's Dilemma change if we alter its framing?
Ludology 205 - All's Well That Ends WellJul 28, 2019 01:26:07
Scott did some research and came up with all the different ways a board game can end. In this super-sized episode, Scott, Emma, and Gil go through this list and share our thoughts on how a game experience concludes, and how we designers can affect our players based on the different ways we wrap up our games.
Biography of a Board Game 204.5 - Dune & RexJul 21, 2019 10:45
Scott covers the history of the seminal board game Dune, its legal tangles with its IP, and its retheming as Rex: Final Days of an Empire.
Ludology 204 - The Eyes Have ItJul 14, 2019 58:32
Daniel Solis (@danielsolis) joins Gil and Emma to talk about graphic design from a nuts-and-bolts perspective. What are the elements of graphic design that game designers should be aware of?
During the show, Daniel mentions the website https://blambot.com for fonts, and https://game-icons.net and http://thenounproject.com for icons. We also bring up his Bird Bucks (https://www.drivethrucards.com/product/128925/Bird-Bucks) project that replaces generic paper money in games.
GameTek 203.5 - Asmodee ResearchJul 7, 2019 16:03
In this special GameTek, Geoff sits down with Micha Le Bourhis of Asmodee Research to discuss how Asmodee scientifically studies people's interactions with board games.
For more information, go to the Asmodee Research website here (French only, at the time of this episode release): https://www.game-in-lab.org/
Ludology Episode 203 - Winging ItJun 30, 2019 01:06:08
Elizabeth Hargrave (@elizhargrave) joins Gil and Emma to discuss the design of her hit strategy game Wingspan. We start by discussing engine-building games, but we'll also touch on the benefits of a rigorous playtest schedule, the best ways to prepare a prototype, scaling to a good player count, working with Stonemaier Games, and the range of things people can really say with flowers.
Biography of a Board Game 202.5 - IcehouseJun 23, 2019 10:11
Scott tells us about Icehouse, the real-time game that's celebrating its 30th birthday this year, and whose distinctive plastic pyramids launched an entire game system.
Ludology Episode 202 - Forgive Me NotJun 16, 2019 56:57
Jeroen Doumen, co-founder of Splotter and co-designer of games Food Chain Magnate, Antiquity, and Roads & Boats, joins Gil and Emma to discuss the design of unforgiving games. What choices do you have to make when making a game that can be harsh to mistakes? We also talk about testing, publishing, and of course, hamburgers.
You can reach Jeroen by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
GameTek Classic 201.5 - The YipsJun 9, 2019 07:14
Geoff discusses an unusual and somewhat tragic condition in sports called "The Yips." Is it mental, or does it have a physiological basis?
Ludology Episode 201 - Are We Having Fun Yet?Jun 2, 2019 01:26:16
Gil, Emma, and Scott talk about fun and meaning in games. What is fun, and how can we achieve fun in our games? What are games that try to balance fun within a more serious topic? And how about games that are not meant to be fun at all; how do they provide meaning for their players?
During the episode, Scott discusses Marc LeBlanc's 8 Types of Fun, which you can read more about here: https://theangrygm.com/gaming-for-fun-part-1-eight-kinds-of-fun/
Note: In the last 20 minutes of the episode, be advised that we discuss games that deal with traumatic subjects, like the deaths of close family members.
Biography of a Board Game 200.5 - CluedoMay 26, 2019 11:46
Scott discusses the history of the legendary deduction game Cluedo.
Ludology Episode 200 - Auld Lang... Engelstein?May 19, 2019 01:03:22
After 200 episodes, Geoff has decided to step back from Ludology to focus on game design and book writing. So we've gathered previous co-hosts Ryan Sturm and Mike Fitzgerald, as well as future co-host Emma Larkins and future contributor Professor Scott Rogers, for a big slam-bang going away party!
You'll continue to hear Geoff with his GameTek segment every 4 weeks. And if you'd like to stay in touch, follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/gengelstein
GameTek Classic 199 - CrystallographyMay 12, 2019 05:38
Geoff discusses the art of x-ray diffraction, and how it relates to board games.
Ludology Episode 199 - What's In the Box?May 5, 2019 01:04:28
Gil and Geoff discuss uncertainty in games, using Greg Costikyan's _Uncertainty in Games_ as a guide. What kinds of uncertainty are there in games? How do they affect the game experience?
Biography of a Boardgame 198 - OthelloApr 27, 2019 09:36
Scott takes a deep dive into the twisted and fascinating history of the game Othello.
Ludology Episode 198 - InspiredApr 21, 2019 56:06
Gil and Geoff are delighted to be joined by Anthony Giovannetti, one of the designers of the popular video game Slay the Spire, a deck-building rogue-like dungeon crawl.
How did the board game concepts of deckbuilding translate into a computer game? What advantages did the solo roguelike format give the designers?
GameTek Classic 197 - Drinking GamesApr 14, 2019 08:55
Geoff takes a look at the long history of drinking games.
Ludology Episode 197 - Empires Up In ArmsApr 7, 2019 46:35
Gil and Geoff welcome Mikael Jakobsson and Rick Eberhardt from the MIT Game Lab to discuss their research into colonial themes in board games, and the game design workshops they run in former colonial countries.
GameTek Classic 196 - Apples Against HumanityMar 31, 2019 15:44
Scott Rogers is back with a new Biography of a Board Game, this time looking at Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity.
Ludology Episode 196 - Word UpMar 24, 2019 01:05:43
Gil and Geoff welcome guests Allison Parrish and Tim Szetela, designers of Rewordable, to discuss word games. What particular design techniques are required for this type of game?
GameTek Classic 195 - RitualMar 17, 2019 08:05
In this GameTek, Geoff explores the connection between Ritual and Play.
Ludology Episode 195 - Value AddedMar 10, 2019 01:06:40
Gil and Geoff discuss valuation within games - what are the different ways of determining resource value? How does value flow and change over the course of play?
GameTek 194 - The Hanabi ChallengeMar 3, 2019 33:59
In this new interview, Geoff talks with Nolan Bard from Google Deep Mind and Jakob Foerster from Oxford University about their proposal to use the card game Hanabi as the next frontier in Machine Learning and AI research.
The original paper can be found at https://arxiv.org/abs/1902.00506.
Ludology Episode 194 - Lifting the FogFeb 26, 2019 01:01:48
Gil and Geoff are live at ToyFair NY with the designer of Fog of Love, Jacob Jaskov. What was his development process like for this innovative design? What does that tell us about creating narrative inside games?
GameTek Classic 193 - Merchant of VenusFeb 16, 2019 07:29
Scott Rogers is back with the biography of Merchant of Venus!
Ludology Episode 193 - Lean and Mean in 2019Feb 10, 2019 01:07:26
Gil and Geoff welcome back Stephen Buonocore from Stronghold Games for their traditional annual State of the Industry discussion. What trends did we see in 2018? What do we see for the future of tabletop gaming?
GameTek Classic 192 - TiesFeb 3, 2019 06:19
In this classic GameTek Geoff talks about ties and tie-breakers. What makes a good tiebreaker?
Ludology Episode 192 - Loops I Did It AgainJan 27, 2019 53:45
Gil and Geoff talk about Game Loops and how they can be designed to accomplish a variety of goals.
GameTek Classic 191 - SchellingJan 21, 2019 07:31
In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about the work of Thomas Schelling.
The Life of the PartyJan 13, 2019 01:15:15
Gil and Geoff welcome Scott Rogers to discuss party games. What features make for a good party game? What are the dos and don'ts for designers?
GameTek Classic 190 - AmeritrashDec 30, 2018 13:27
Scott Rogers is back with Part 2 of his Eurogame-Ameritrash series!
Ludology Episode 190 - Diabolus in LudicaDec 16, 2018 55:32
Gil and Geoff discuss the idea of Ludonarrative Dissonance. What is it? How can it sink a game or make it soar?
GameTek Classic 189 - I Cut, You ChooseDec 9, 2018 07:00
In this classic GameTek, Geoff looks at the criminally under-used "I Cut, You Choose" mechanism.
Ludology Episode 189 - Missing SelinkerDec 2, 2018 01:10:25
Gil and Geoff are joined by game and puzzle designer Mike Selinker to discuss the relationship between puzzles and games.
GameTek Classic 188 - EurogamesNov 25, 2018 08:59
Scott Rogers takes a look at the origin of the term "Eurogames".
Ludology Episode 188 - Unique as a SnowflakeNov 18, 2018 47:15
Gil and Geoff welcome designer Corey Konieczka to discuss his new "Unique" game, Discover: Lands Unknown. What is it like to design a game that will have a unique combination of components in each copy? How does it impact playtesting and production?
GameTek Classic 187 - Games for the Really, Really SmartNov 11, 2018 05:01
In this classic GameTek, Geoff takes a look at a recent study about who wants to play games - and why.
Ludology Episode 187 - Balancing ActNov 4, 2018 54:35
Gil and Geoff take a look at game balance. What is it, exactly?
GameTek Classic 186 - Black Morn BetrayalOct 28, 2018 11:17
In a spooky Biography of a Board Game, Scott Rogers takes a look at Chill: Black Morn Manor and Betrayal at House on the Hill.
Ludology Episode 186 - Zombie ApocalypseOct 21, 2018 55:26
Gil and Geoff are joined by Isaac Vega, designer of Dead of Winter and Neon Gods to discuss ways to integrate story into the board games.
GameTek Classic 185 - LibratusOct 14, 2018 06:41
In this classic GameTek, Geoff dives into the details of the AI that defeated the top poker players on the planet.
Ludology Episode 185 - Soft BoiledOct 7, 2018 56:13
Gil and Geoff discuss hard incentives vs soft incentives. What makes people want to play a game? What makes them have fun? What makes them want to play again?
GameTek Classic 184 - Twilight ImperiumSep 28, 2018 11:07
Professor Scott Rogers is back with the biography of Twilight Imperium.
Ludology Episode 184 - Between Two PodcastersSep 24, 2018 58:19
Gil and Geoff are delighted to welcome Jamey Stegmaier from Stonemaier games. We discuss life after Kickstarter, and Jamey's design philosophy.
GameTek Classic 183 - Input Output RandomnessSep 16, 2018 06:19
In this classic GameTek, Geoff looks at the relationship between luck and strategy.
Ludology Episode 183 - Mind Your Own BusinessSep 8, 2018 01:02:20
Gil and Geoff deconstruct the new Wolfgang Warsch game The Mind. What makes it tick? What does it do right, and what does it do wrong?
GameTek Classic 182 - PandemicSep 3, 2018 05:18
Scott Rogers is back with a look at the history of Pandemic!
Ludology Episode 182 - The Calm After the SturmAug 26, 2018 01:17:15
Gil and Geoff once again welcome Ryan Sturm to recap the development of Trade on the Tigris.
GameTek Classic 181 - TalmudAug 19, 2018 06:41
In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about the Talmud, and it's relation to game rules.
Ludology Episode 181 - Indy RockAug 12, 2018 51:32
Gil and Geoff broadcast live from Gencon with super-special guest Ryan Sturm!
Ludology Episode 180 - Keep Them Doggies Rollin'Jul 29, 2018 01:03:50
Gil and Geoff are joined by special guest Suzanne Sheldon to talk about Roll and Write games! What makes them tick? What special design considerations are there?
GameTek Classic 179 - Kill Dr. LuckyJul 10, 2018 09:29
Scott Rogers is back with another Biography of a Board Game! This time - Kill Dr. Lucky from James Earnest!
Ludology Episode 179 - Contested OutcomeJul 1, 2018 59:05
Contest results! Gil and Geoff wade into an incredibly strong field to pick the top 16 entries in the latest theme/mechanism competition. Who will end up on the top of the heap?
GameTek Classic 178 - Real TimeJun 24, 2018 09:12
In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses design considerations for real time games. Plus a coda!
Ludology Episode 178 - Coin OperatedJun 17, 2018 01:10:59
Gil and Geoff are pleased to welcome Volko Ruhnke, designer of the COIN series, about Counter-Intelligence operations throughout history. How do you capture the dynamics of these complex conflicts in a game? What are the challenges with designing simulations and general? And what can he tell us about his time in the CIA?
GameTek Classic 177 - AgricolaJun 10, 2018 11:53
Professor Scott Rogers is back with another Biography of a Board Game! This time, Agricola is under the spotlight.
Ludology Episode 177 - AI, AI, Captain!Jun 3, 2018 59:28
We welcome Theresa Duringer of Temple Gates Games, developer of the Race for the Galaxy app to talk about the process of developing and incorporating AI, how to make it smarter or dumber or more human, and more.
GameTek Classic 176 - ApopheniaMay 27, 2018 08:02
In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about how we see patterns even when there aren't any, and what that means for game designers.
Ludology Episode 176 - Taxonomy DriverMay 20, 2018 59:57
Since there were humans, they've been putting things into categories. What are some of the ways games are categorized? Is this useful, or a distraction?
GameTek Classic 175 - TalismanMay 13, 2018 09:29
Professor Scott Rogers is back with another Bio of a Board Game, taking a look at Talisman!
Ludology Episode 175 - Auld Lang DesignMay 6, 2018 44:37
Recorded live at the Gathering of Friends, Gil and Geoff have an opportunity to sit down and chat with Eric Lang, designer of Rising Sun, the Dice Masters series, and much more. We talk about his role at CMON, his design process, and the state of the industry.
Ludology Episode 174 - Consensual HealingApr 22, 2018 01:15:48
Gil and Geoff are pleased to welcome guest Naomi Clark, professor at the NYU Game Center, and designer most recently of the card game Consentacle. We discuss tackling adult themes in board games in a serious way, and what she learned during the development of Consentacle.
GameTek Classic 173 - BangApr 15, 2018 07:55
Professor Scott Rogers is back with another Biography of a Board Game. This episode he heads to the old west to check out Bang!
Ludology Episode 173 - PatternityApr 8, 2018 01:08:29
Gil and Geoff are pleased to welcome guest Isaac Shalev to discuss the idea of Design Patterns for tabletop games. What are Design Patterns, and how are they helpful? What are some examples?
GameTek Classic 172 - HyperrealityApr 1, 2018 05:41
In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses his experience with a new type of VR.
Ludology Episode 172 - Odd CouplingMar 25, 2018 01:05:45
Gil and Geoff take a look at the different ways that subsystems of a game can be coupled, and what that means for complexity and player agency.
Ludology Episode 171 - Cannata StopMar 11, 2018 01:18:33
We take a very deep dive into the contrasts between tabletop and video games. This one gets very philosophical, so be prepared :)
GameTek Classic 170 - Court CasesMar 5, 2018 05:59
In this classic GameTek, Geoff takes a look at some recent court cases involving games.
Ludology Episode 170 - Questionable ContentFeb 25, 2018 01:20:23
Gil and Geoff field a litany of listener questions!
GameTek Classic 169 - ScrabbleFeb 19, 2018 09:57
Scott Rogers is back with another Biography of a Board Game, this time focusing on Scrabble!
KWYJIBO for the win!
Ludology Episode 169 - Raphic DesignFeb 11, 2018 01:28:42
Gil and Geoff are thrilled to welcome Raph Koster, author of A Theory of Fun, and video game designer. We talk about a wide range of topics, include MMOs, keeping players engaged, emotions in games, and, of course, fun.
GameTek Classic 168 - Economic Prisoner's DilemmaFeb 5, 2018 06:06
In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about the Prisoner's Dilemma facing Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri.
Ludology Episode 168 - KumbayaJan 28, 2018 56:54
Gil and Geoff talk about designing low-interaction games. Sometimes you just want to work on your own little corner of the world - and some players prefer that. What are techniques create engaging experiences without conflict?
GameTek Classic 167 - CandylandJan 22, 2018 08:52
A sweet surprise! Biography of a Board Game takes a look at Candyland.
Ludology Episode 167 - 18 and UpJan 14, 2018 01:12:06
Gil and Geoff are joined by Stephen Buonocore from Stronghold Games to discuss the state of the board game industry as we enter 2018.
Ludology Episode 166 - Impulse ControlDec 17, 2017 56:40
Geoff has an insight about how game structure can keep players engaged, and is excited to share.
GameTek Classic 165 - Dunning-KrugerDec 10, 2017 06:04
In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about how we are really bad at telling how good we really are.
Ludology Episode 165 - Fowerian SlipDec 3, 2017 01:11:47
Gil and Geoff are delighted to welcome Tim Fowers to discuss player psychology, and how that can be leveraged by game designers.
Tim is the designer of Burgle Bros, Paperback, and more, and the owner of Fowers Games, which publishes his titles.
GameTek Classic 164 - CatanNov 27, 2017 13:24
Scott Rogers is back with a super-sized Bio of a Board Game, with the history of The Settlers of Catan!
Ludology Episode 164 - First StepsNov 19, 2017 01:01:53
Gil and Geoff discuss the very early stages of design and play testing. How much should be on paper, and how much in your head?
GameTek Classic 163 - Theme, Mechanics, ExperienceNov 13, 2017 06:40
In this classic GameTek, Geoff takes a different angle on the connection between theme, mechanics, and player experience.
Ludology Episode 163 - A Pain In the AsymmetryNov 5, 2017 01:07:20
Gil and Geoff are pleased to welcome guests Patrick Leader (Vast) and Cole Wehrle (Root, An Infamous Traffic) to discuss asymmetry in games, and the particular challenges it presents to the designer.
GameTek Classic 162 - Scotland YardOct 29, 2017 07:26
Scott Rogers is back with another Biography of a Board Game! This time, he talks about the history of Scotland Yard, and early SdJ winner!
Ludology Episode 162 - The Ares ProjectOct 22, 2017 01:17:53
Gil and Geoff take a deep dive into the design of Terraforming Mars. What makes it tick? What works and what doesn't?
GameTek Classic 161 - The Inciting IncidentOct 16, 2017 05:53
In this classic GameTek, Geoff looks at classic story-telling techniques to see how they might apply to game design.
Ludology 161 - What's the Story, Morning Glory?Oct 8, 2017 01:10:36
Gil and Geoff are delighted to welcome Jason Morningstar, designer of Fiasco, The Shab-Al-Hiri Roach, Night Witches, and other innovative RPGs. We discuss how to better integrate story and narrative into games when there is no GM, the social contract that requires, and pitfalls along the way.
GameTek Classic 160 - UnoOct 1, 2017 07:46
In this Biography of a Board Game, Scott Rogers reveals the secret history of Uno!
Ludology Episode 160 - Law and OrderSep 24, 2017 01:23:10
Gil and Geoff take a look at the different ways of controlling turn order in a game. What are the rules of thumb for when to use the different methods?
GameTek Classic 159 - High Stakes RPSSep 18, 2017 04:43
What would you do if you were playing Rock, Paper, Scissors for $20,000,000?
Ludology Episode 159 - Getting Out Scott FreeSep 10, 2017 01:19:48
Gil and Geoff are pleased to welcome Professor Scott Nicholson from Wilfrid Laurier University to discuss Escape Rooms. What are they, how do they work, and what lessons do they hold for game design?
If you're not familiar with Escape Rooms, please check out this video from Scott with an overview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tqnw7g5iIFQ
GameTek Classic 158 - OprationSep 3, 2017 06:13
Biography of a Board Game returns with the classic Operation!
Ludology Episode 158 - Gen XAug 28, 2017 51:40
Gil and Geoff host the first-ever Ludology live Q&A from Gencon 50!
Ludology Episode 157 - Come Scale AwayJul 28, 2017 01:10:05
Gil and Geoff are pleased to welcome guest Matt Wolfe, to discuss the concept of Decision Scales in games.
GameTek Classic 156 - Alpha GoJul 23, 2017 06:42
In this classic GameTek, Geoff dives into the details of Alpha Go, Google's Go-playing AI.
Ludology Episode 156 - Surprise!Jul 16, 2017 01:07:27
Gil and Geoff are joined by the gang from the Flip The Table podcast to talk about Roll & Move games. What works (and doesn't) with this much-maligned mechanic?
GameTek Classic 155 - Mystery RummyJul 10, 2017 06:25
Scott takes a look at the history of the Mystery Rummy series, by a designer y'all might know...
Ludology Episode 155 - Model CitizenJul 2, 2017 01:12:13
Gil and Geoff talk about different methods for using mathematical modeling and simulation during the design process.
GameTek Classic - 154Jun 25, 2017 05:40
In this classic GameTek, Geoff takes a look at the physics behind the coin toss.
Ludology Episode 154 - Leave Me Alone!Jun 18, 2017 01:14:39
Gil and Geoff are pleased to welcome Morten Monrad Pedersen, to discuss the art of designing solo games.
Morten has designed several popular solo variants to games, including Scythe and Viticulture. What are the design techniques for solo games? How do they differ from multiplayer games?
GameTek Classic 153 - Arkham HorrorJun 12, 2017 06:17
Scott Rogers joins us with a new Biography of a Board Game - Arkham Horror!
Ludology Episode 153 - Tie One OnJun 4, 2017 01:18:19
Gil and Geoff tackle ties in games. How important are tiebreakers? What are good and bad ways to design them?
GameTek Classic 152 - SpoilsportMay 28, 2017 05:50
In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses the difference between a cheat and a spoilsport, and what that means for society.
Ludology Episode 152 - The Better Angels Of Our NatureMay 21, 2017 01:02:30
Gil and Geoff are thrilled to welcome Chris Cobb from Riot Games, creator of the number one online game in the world, League of Legends. Until recently Chris was the technical lead for the Player Behavior team, which was tasked with designing in-game and out-of-game systems to encourage players to be nicer to each other, and deal with players who don't.
Over the years, what did they learn about behavior, and how to design systems to encourage it to improve?
GameTek Classic 151 - RiskMay 14, 2017 09:12
Ludology welcomes Scott Rogers and his Biography of a Board Game segment! This episode he traces the history of Risk, from the early 20th century to today.
Ludology Episode 151 - High DefinitionMay 7, 2017 01:23:25
For their first show as a duo, Gil and Geoff revisit the question posed in the very first episode of Ludology - What is a game?
The answer may surprise you.
GameTek Classic 150 - VirZoomApr 30, 2017 25:40
New Content! Geoff interviews Eric Janszen, the CEO of VirZoom.
VirZoom makes a Virtual Reality exercise bike, that interfaces with all the major VR platforms, and uses games to keep people exercising. What lessons have they learned about gaming and engagement?
Ludology Episode 150 - Mike DropApr 23, 2017 01:25:23
Changes! We bid a fond farewell to Mike, and a big hello to Gil!
GameTek Classic 149 - Procedural Narrative GenerationApr 16, 2017 32:59
New content! Geoff interviews Rogelio Cardona-Rivera, a researcher at North Carolina State, about Procedural Narrative Generation - systems that can create and manipulate story structure in a game on the fly.
For more information, please check out http://rogel.io and http://storygen.org
Ludology Episode 149 - Blast From The PastApr 9, 2017 01:01:36
Mike and Geoff are pleased to welcome Justin Jacobson from Restoration Games, to talk about what they've learned from bringing older games back for a modern audience.
GameTek Classic 148 - TeamworkApr 2, 2017 05:42
In this classic GameTek, Geoff looks at games that help improve teamwork.
Ludology Episode 148 - Half-BakedMar 26, 2017 59:26
Mike and Geoff are pleased to welcome guest J.R. Honeycutt, to discuss the role of the Developer in the game design and publication process.
GameTek Classic 147 - EstimatingMar 20, 2017 06:19
In this classic GameTek Geoff discusses some techniques for estimating things in your head.
Ludology Episode 147 - Listen Up!Mar 12, 2017 01:10:22
Mike and Geoff field a bevy of listener questions.
GameTek Classic 146 - BetrayalMar 5, 2017 06:33
In this classic GameTek Geoff looks at how the language people use can give clues to their treachery.
Double TakeFeb 26, 2017 01:15:36
Mike and Geoff are pleased to welcome designer Andrew Parks to discuss taking a second shot at a design, whether it's revisiting a mechanic or taking an entire system into a new direction.
GameTek Classic 145 - Red vs BlueFeb 19, 2017 06:18
In this classic GameTek Geoff looks at how choosing a color may affect how you play.
Ludology Episode 145 - Six Ways From SundayFeb 13, 2017 01:03:54
Mike and Geoff discuss multi-use cards - their history, and how they can be used by designers.
GameTek Classic 144 - Singular TheyFeb 5, 2017 06:18
In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses the use of pronouns when writing rules.
Ludology Episode 144 - The Edge of SeventeenJan 29, 2017 01:19:44
Mike and Geoff are pleased to welcome returning guest Stephen Buonocore of Stronghold Games to discuss the state of the gaming industry going into 2017.
GameTek Classic 143 - Nash EquilibriumJan 23, 2017 06:36
In this classic GameTek Geoff pays tribute to game theorist John Nash.
Ludology Episode 143 - Two Players! Three Players! Four Players! Bwahahah!Jan 15, 2017 01:08:07
How do different player counts affect the design process? How important is it that a game support a variety of player counts?
Ludology Episode 142 - Slots O FunDec 11, 2016 01:16:29
Mike and Geoff are pleased to welcome slot machine game design Jeremy Hornik. Jeremy has been designing slots for over 15 years, including Money Burst, Willy Wonka, Monopoly, and Baron von Bacon's Million Credit Bonus.
What are the special considerations for slot machine design, and what do they learn from video and board games?
GameTek Classic 141 - Game StatesDec 4, 2016 06:20
In this classic GameTek, Geoff wraps up his discussion of entropy and statistical mechanics by exploring the way that disorder and energy flow through a game system.
Ludology 141 - The Realtime Housewives of New JerseyNov 27, 2016 01:00:51
Mike and Geoff dive into real time games. What design techniques work for this mechanism? What does it do to the player experience?
GameTek Classic 140 - Statistical MechanicsNov 20, 2016 07:05
In this classic GameTek Geoff continues his exploration of thermodynamics by talking about Statistical Mechanics and what it tells us about the world.
Ludology Episode 140 - Training DayNov 13, 2016 01:17:00
Mike and Geoff are thrilled to welcome guest Mark Herman to the program. Mark is the designer of a slew of games, including the first Card Driven Game (CDG) We The People. His latest design is Churchill.
However the focus of our conversation is on Mark's work designing and executing simulations for the military and businesses, to test out their assumptions and strategies. He details these in his book Wargaming For Leaders.
GameTek Classic 139 - EntropyNov 7, 2016 05:32
In this classic GameTek, Geoff looks at the scientific concept of entropy.
Fog of WallaceOct 30, 2016 01:08:58
Mike and Geoff take a deep dive into Martin Wallace's latest game, Via Nebula. They look at all the design choices, from game play to theme to production.
GameTek Classic 138 - Lead ChangesOct 23, 2016 06:32
In this classic GameTek Geoff looks at lead changes, and some simple mathematical models that reveal some surprising truths.
Ludology Episode 138 - Hug To WinOct 16, 2016 01:13:22
Mike and Geoff discuss the different ways you can win a game, and how that effects the design and player experience.
GameTek Classic 137 - IncompletenessOct 9, 2016 06:28
In this classic GameTek Geoff examines rules as a logical structure, and the way that relates to math concepts of axioms and completeness.
Ludology Episode 137 - A Thorn in the PASep 30, 2016 01:15:34
Mike and Geoff are thrilled to welcome two of the designers of Thornwatch, Mike Krahulik and Mike Selinker, to discuss their game design process, and their views on gaming culture. Mike Krahulik is the artist for the popular webcomic Penny Arcade and co-founder with Jerry Holkins. Mike Selinker is founder of Lone Shark games, and designer of many titles, including the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game.
GameTek Classic 136 - Hidden But TrackableSep 25, 2016 06:19
In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses games with 'Hidden But Trackable' information. Is it OK to write things down?
Ludology Episode 136 - Thinking Inside The BoxSep 19, 2016 01:06:27
Mike and Geoff discuss the way that constraints, both internal and external, affect the design process. They are pleased to welcome guest Grant Rodiek, designer of Cry Havoc, to discuss his 54-card Guild, which challenges designers to develop games using only 54 cards.
GameTek Classic 135 - AntidosisSep 11, 2016 05:35
In this classic GameTek, Geoff looks at the ancient Greek practice of Antidosis, and it's application as a game mechanism.
Ludology Episode 135 - Necessary EvilSep 5, 2016 01:07:29
Mike and Geoff talk about teaching games in convention environments. If you are giving demos of a game in a booth, what are the key things to focus on? How much depth do you go into?
They also discuss teaching games in general, with tips for getting things going smoothly.
GameTek Classic 134 - The VoidAug 28, 2016 16:10
In this all-new content, Geoff interviews Curtis Hickman, Chief Creative Officer of The Void, a company pioneering an immersive extension of Virtual Reality called Hyperreality. Debuting a few weeks ago as the Ghostbusters Dimension experience at Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum in New York City, it got immediate rave reviews.
What's new about this technology, and how can it be extended in the future?
Ludology Episode 134 - There's No "I" In TeamAug 21, 2016 01:04:55
Mike and Geoff are pleased to welcome guests Sen-Foong Lim and Jay Cormier, designers of Godfather: A New Don, Junk Art, and many more games. How does their collaboration work? What are the advantages and disadvantages of working as a team?
GameTek Classic 133 - Scoring TracksJul 31, 2016 06:27
In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about Scoring Tracks, and how to make them work with your players, instead of against them.
Ludology Episode 133 - The Crying GameJul 24, 2016 56:14
A little window into dinner time at the Engelstein household: Young Brian asks the question "Can a board game make the players cry?" and he ends up on a podcast.
So can they? Mike, Geoff, and Brian explore what makes people sad, and whether board games can do that - and how that affects their status as 'art'.
Ludology Episode 132 - Pyramid SchemeJul 10, 2016 51:11
Mike and Geoff are pleased to welcome Walter Crist, archeologist and co-author of Ancient Egyptians at Play, to discuss the history of board games in ancient Egypt, and their impact on culture and society.
Ludology Episode 131 - Whaa?Jun 26, 2016 01:11:16
It's another Listener Question episode! Mike and Geoff take on all comers. Can they survive?
GameTek Classic 130 - Mental ModelsJun 20, 2016 06:02
In this GameTek, Geoff discusses the role that mental models play in how we interact with objects in the world.
Ludology Episode 130 - All of UsJun 12, 2016 01:49:33
Mike and Geoff are pleased to welcome Suzanne Sheldon and Sydney Engelstein to discuss the topic of diversity and inclusion in gaming.
GameTek Classic 129 - Semi Coop TournamentsJun 5, 2016 06:28
In this classic GameTek, Geoff looks at options for structuring tournaments for semi cooperative games.
Ludology Episode 129 - Fast MoneyMay 29, 2016 01:09:21
Mike and Geoff are pleased to welcome guest Soren Johnson. Soren was the lead designer on the computer game Civilization, and recently released Offworld Trading Company, which marries a traditional boardgame style economic battle with computer-based real time mechanics.
Soren discusses the influence of board games on computer game design, and we go into depth on AI implementations.
GameTek Classic 128 - Semi CoopsMay 22, 2016 06:14
In this classic GameTek, Geoff looks at semi-cooperative games, and the particular challenges they create for social dynamics.
Ludology Episode 128 - Why?May 15, 2016 01:16:17
Mike and Geoff discuss player motivations. What makes people want to play games? How do you design games to appeal to that type of player?
GameTek Classic 127 - Cosmic EncounterMay 8, 2016 06:15
In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses the smart design choices made by the designers of Cosmic Encounter.
Ludology Episode 127 - InspirationMay 1, 2016 41:37
Mike and Geoff interview a panoply of designers of designers at
the Gathering of Friends to hear about what inspires them.
GameTek Classic 126 - FlowApr 25, 2016 06:42
In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about the psychological state called 'Flow'.
Ludology Episode 126 - Player OneApr 17, 2016 42:16
Mike and Geoff are thrilled to have special guest Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Atari games. What were the game design considerations of the early video game industry? When you are inventing an entire new genre, where do you look for ideas?
GameTek Classic 125 - The Distracted MindApr 10, 2016 05:37
In this classic GameTek Geoff discusses a study that looks at how much people enjoy just sitting with nothing to do.
Ludology Episode 125 - Checking OutApr 3, 2016 01:08:31
Mike and Geoff present the third and final part of the game design checklist. You can download the full checklist from http://cardboardedison.com/, under the Featured Content link.
GameTek Classic 124 - Caribbean CupMar 27, 2016 06:59
In this classic GameTek, Geoff takes a look at an 'interesting' game from the 1994 Caribbean Cup soccer tournament.
Ludology Episode 124 - Checking It TwiceMar 20, 2016 01:17:00
Mike and Geoff continue their discussion of the Game Design checklist, with questions about game mechanics.
GameTek Classic 123 - Zero Risk BiasMar 13, 2016 08:05
In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses the psychological concept of Zero Risk Bias.
Ludology Epiosde 123 - Check UpMar 6, 2016 01:14:18
Mike and Geoff have been hard at work developing a checklist for game designers, and it is time to go public! In this first of three episodes, they discuss the questions surrounding creating the desired player experience.
Ludology Episode 122 - The Name of the GameFeb 21, 2016 01:12:56
In this episode, Mike and Geoff discuss the art and science of selecting a name for your game, and what you should consider.
GameTek Classic 121 - Known UnknownsFeb 14, 2016 05:14
In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses what we know, what we don't, and how that affects our psychology.
Ludology Episode 121 - PandemoniumFeb 7, 2016 56:17
Mike and Geoff are pleased to welcome guest Matt Leacock, co-designer of new #1 game on Board Game Geek, Pandemic Legacy. We get into the spoiler-free details on designing a Legacy game.
What are the special design considerations for Legacy games? What worked and what didn't? How do production considerations enter into the design process?
GameTek Classic 120 - CloningJan 31, 2016 06:07
In this classic GameTek, Geoff takes a look at the question of how much you can copy a game and still call it 'new'.
Ludology Episode 120 - State of Games 2016Jan 24, 2016 01:14:15
For our annual State of Games episode, Mike and Geoff are pleased to welcome back Stephen Buonocore of Stronghold games, to discuss the state of the board game industry.
GameTek Classic 119 - Rock Paper ScissorsJan 18, 2016 06:03
In this classic GameTek, Geoff takes a look at research performed in China on Rock, Paper, Scissors.
Ludology Episode 119 - Deck The HallsJan 11, 2016 01:18:46
Mike and Geoff take a look at the Deck Building mechanic. How has it evolved over the last
Ludology Episode 118 - Knock, KnockDec 13, 2015 01:16:49
Our topic is Avatars, and player representation in games. How does the role we take on in a game affect our experience and behavior?
GameTek Classic 117 - WerewolfDec 6, 2015 06:35
In this classic GameTek Geoff takes a look at the math behind the popular game Werewolf.
Ludology Episode 117 - Publish or PerishNov 30, 2015 01:07:43
During BGG.CON 2015, Mike asked several publishers the same question:
How do you decide what games you want to publish?
With the myriad of pitches and submissions that publishers receive, it is vital for designers to understand what attracts someone's eye.
Publishers interviewed:Stronghold Games Dice Hate Me / Greater Than Games R&R Games Portal Games Arcane Wonders Crash Games Gamelyn Games ZMan Games
GameTek Classic 116 - GutsyNov 22, 2015 25:54
New Content! Geoff interviews Barry Joseph and Eric Teo about the game Gutsy. Barry is the Associate Director of Digital Learning at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, and as part of a new exhibit on the human microbiome the team at AMNH worked with Eric Teo, to develop the card game Gutsy.
Many of you know Eric Teo as the host of the Push Ur Luck Podcast, and he is also a graduate student studying game design at the NYU Game Center.
Why do a card game? What do they hope to teach, and what other roles do games have to augment museum exhibits?
A Print & Play copy of Gutsy can be downloaded at the AMNH website!
Bam! Pow! Oof!Nov 15, 2015 01:13:35
Mike and Geoff take a look at "Take That" games. When does this mechanic work, and when does it fail?
GameTek Classic 115 - MicrobesNov 8, 2015 06:13
In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about the revolutionary studies about the human microbiome, and what that can teach us about playing and designing games.
Ludology Episode 115 - Take TwoNov 1, 2015 01:21:06
What changes are usually made between a first and second edition of a game? And what does that teach us about the design process?
Mike and Geoff are joined by guest Paul Grogan, who was heavily involved in the new edition of Through The Ages with CGE, to examine these questions.
And since we're talking about Through The Ages, we had to invite Ryan Sturm to come back for an encore visit to the program.
GameTek Classic 114 - CivilizationOct 26, 2015 08:18
Geoff gives a quick report on his play of Advanced Civilization last week.
Ludology Episode 114 - The Butterfly EffectOct 18, 2015 01:04:38
Mike and Geoff talk CHAOS! Mike loves it in his games. Can he convince Geoff of its charms?
GameTek Classic 113 - Sunk CostsOct 12, 2015 05:56
In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses the Sunk Cost Fallacy.
Ludology Episode 113 - CrossoverOct 4, 2015 01:18:16
What games cross over into traditional retailers like Target and Barnes and Noble? Mike and Geoff are joined by Andrew Lupp, National Sales Manager of PSI, to learn the ins and outs. Andrew works with big chains to help them decide which games will sell to the general public, and walks us through the process.
GameTek Classic 112 - BetrayalSep 27, 2015 20:28
NEW CONTENT! Geoff interviews Vlad Niculae of Cornell about his recent research on predicting betrayal via written communications. The foundation of the study? An only repository of 300 Diplomacy games and all 150,000 messages they generated.
Vlad's new project is the online game StreetCrowd, which is also exploring communications and team dynamics.
Ludology Episode 112 - MechaThemeSep 20, 2015 01:04:58
Mike and Geoff select their top 10 entries from the Ludology contest, and reveal the winner!
GameTek Classic 111 - MemoryAug 30, 2015 06:10
In this classic GameTek Geoff looks at memory, and how games work with or against it.
Ludology Episode 111 - Silver Ball PlaybookAug 23, 2015 01:05:41
Mike and Geoff are pleased to welcome pinball game designer Keith Johnson, designer of games such as Simpsons Pinball Party, Revenge From Mars, and Lord of the Rings.
What are the special design techniques used for designing a pinball game? How do you keep players engaged? How do you make the fixed physical layout feel different in different modes?
GameTek Classic 110 - LuckAug 16, 2015 06:16
In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about luck and what increases or decreases it.
Ludology Episode 110 - The Battle BeginsAug 9, 2015 56:07
Mike and Geoff are pleased to welcome guest Richard Borg to discuss the art of designing war games with mainstream appeal. Mr. Borg is the designer of the Command and Colors series of games, which includes Memoir 44 and Battlelore. What are the features of an entry-level wargame? How can you simplify but still capture the essence of a battle?
GameTek Classic 109 - PowerAug 1, 2015 07:43
In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about making the player feel powerful.
We also launch our part of the big Dice Tower Network contest!
Ludology Episode 109 - We're ListeningJul 26, 2015 01:09:27
Mike and Geoff open up the mailbag and answer difficult and interesting listener questions!
GameTek Classic 108 - Ludology v NarratologyJul 19, 2015 05:59
In this classic GameTek, Geoff takes a look at the debate that raged in the 1990's between Narratologists and Ludologists.
Ludology Episode 108 - Level UpJul 12, 2015 01:16:06
Geoff is pleased to welcome Scott Rogers, designer of video games such as Darksiders and God of War, and author of the books Level Up! and Swipe This!
The discussion centers around the concept of a 'level' as popularized in video games. Why is it such a popular way to organize games? What advantages does it give the designer? And what is the analog in the boardgame world?
GameTek Classic 107 - AnalogiesJul 6, 2015 06:01
In this classic GameTek, Geoff looks at how a good analogy can dramatically simplify learning a game.
Ludology Episode 107 - Seven UpJun 28, 2015 01:16:27
Mike and Geoff take a deep dive into the Antoine Bauza game Seven Wonders. What works? What doesn't? What drove the design decisions?
GameTek Classic 106 - The Rule of OneJun 21, 2015 06:15
In this classic GameTek, Goeff talks about how innovative a game can really be.
Ludology Episode 106 - Hide and SeekJun 14, 2015 01:14:24
Mike and Geoff welcome guest Emerson Matsuuchi, designer of Specter Ops and VOLT Robot Battle, to discuss hidden and programmed movement in games. Why use these techniques? What are good and bad examples?
GameTek Classic 105 - Mice and MenJun 7, 2015 06:15
In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses a game designed to explore the relationship between rules and morality.
Ludology Episode 105 - Teach the ControversyMay 31, 2015 01:05:36
Inspired by an article by Matt Thrower, Mike and Geoff talk about games that try to tackle controversial topics, and why there aren't more of them.
GameTek Classic 104 - Ways and MeansMay 24, 2015 06:19
In this classic GameTek, Geoff takes a look at what factors make a game 'mean'.
Ludology Episode 104 - Games Seem MainstreamMay 17, 2015 01:05:10
Mike and Geoff are joined by guest Rich Sommer, host of the Cardboard! podast and star of stage and screen to discuss games receiving mainstream acceptance. Is it good for the hobby to have games go mainstream? If so, what can designers, publishers, and hobbyists do to make that happen?
GameTek Classic 103 - Buddha's Forbidden GamesMay 10, 2015 06:20
In this classic GameTek, Geoff takes a look at an ancient text that lists games that will distract you from achieving enlightenment.
Ludology Episode 103 - House of CardsMay 3, 2015 01:22:23
Mike and Geoff dive deeper into the world of cards. What is a card? What tools do cards give the designer? What card games exhibit great depth?
GameTek Classic 102 - Noise Part 2Apr 26, 2015 06:25
In this classic GameTek, Geoff looks at the way different types of noise mirror different random processes in games, and how these can be tuned for maximum player interest.
Ludology Episode 102 - State of Games, 2015Apr 19, 2015 01:20:20
Mike and Geoff are joined by Stronghold Games President Stephen Buonocore, to discuss the current state of the board game industry. Special guests may also pop in!
GameTek Classic 101 - Noise Part 1Apr 12, 2015 06:22
In this classic GameTek, Geoff explores the different types of noise.
Ludology Episode 101 - Inferiority CardplexApr 5, 2015 01:06:54
Geoff and new host Mike Fitzgerald talk about card games and why they are often treated as second-class citizens in the game world.
Ludology Episode 100 - A Ryan ShameMar 22, 2015 01:25:14
For their 100th episode, and Ryan's last, the guys take a look back at their favorite moments from the show.
GameTek Classic 99 - Allan CalhamerMar 15, 2015 07:03
In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses the legacy of Allan Calhamer and his game, Diplomacy.
Ludology Episode 99 - The Game of (real) LifeMar 9, 2015 01:21:35
Ryan and Geoff talk about Gamification, the application of gaming techniques to real world tasks. Why do it? What are some good and bad examples?
GameTek Classic 98 - Solving PokerMar 2, 2015 38:00
In this ALL NEW GameTek, Geoff interviews Dr. Michael Bowling of the University of Alberta. Mike and his team put together computer hardware and software to 'solve' Heads-Up Limit Texas Hold'Em. So how does it work? And what does 'solve' really mean in a game with so much hidden information?
Ludology Episode 98 - Gathering the MagicFeb 23, 2015 01:31:24
Ryan and Geoff are thrilled to welcome Richard Garfield, designer of Magic: The Gathering, Robo Rally, Netrunner, King of Tokyo and more, along with bonus guest Mike Fitzgerald, whose latest designs include Diamonds and Baseball Highlights: 2045.
We discuss Richard's design philosophy, the origins of Magic, types of gamers, and much more.
Please also visit our geeklist to share your memories of Ludology for our 100th episode spectacular!
GameTek Classic 97 - Rules LawyersFeb 15, 2015 05:28
In this classic GameTek, Geoff looks at a curious incident at Johns Hopkins University.
Ludology Episode 97 - Rules of ThumbFeb 8, 2015 01:30:35
Ryan and Geoff discuss heuristics, and the way they are used in games. How can designers shape a game's heuristics to increase both depth and accessibility?
GameTek Classic 96 - Chess CheatingFeb 1, 2015 05:53
In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses the many instances of people cheating in chess tournaments.
Ludology Episode 96 - I Have A ThemeJan 25, 2015 01:26:59
Ryan and Geoff revisit the topic of theme. Specifically how is theme expressed and integrated in games?
GameTek Classic 95 - Game SecurityJan 18, 2015 05:40
In this classic GameTek, Geoff takes a look at how the physical aspects of a game can be designed to deter or prevent cheating.
Ludology Episode 95 - The PitchJan 11, 2015 01:03:11
Ryan and Geoff talk about their search for a publish for "Trading in the Mediterranean", and what the next steps are.
There is also an important announcement about the future of the show, so stick around until the end.
GameTek Classic 94 - Cheating, Part 2Dec 21, 2014 06:41
In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses Reputation as an antidote to Cheating, and how it breaks down as groups grow in size.
Ludology Episode 94 - Hearth of StoneDec 14, 2014 41:20
Ryan and Geoff are thrilled to welcome Ben Brode, Senior Game Designer for Hearthstone, the online card game from Blizzard Entertainment.
Ben joins us to discuss the design considerations behind Hearthstone, how they took advantage of the digital medium while still feeling like a physical card game, and why you should deliver pizza to your favorite game studio.
GameTek Classic 93 - Cheating, Part 1Dec 7, 2014 06:14
In this classic GameTek, Geoff begins a two-part exploration of cheating with a personal admission.
Ludology Episode 93 - The Truthiness of Board Game ThemesNov 30, 2014 56:32
With Geoff goofing off, Ryan is very pleased to welcome noted designer Bruno Faidutti to discuss his article Postcolonial Catan, about how boardgames use cliches and stereotypes as shortcuts to generate theme.
GameTek Classic 92 - IncentivesNov 23, 2014 07:04
In this classic GameTek episode, Geoff explores an experiment that uses loss aversion to create an incentive. Is this a new type of carrot?
Ludology Episode 92 - Envoys of ExcellenceNov 16, 2014 55:49
Ryan and Geoff welcome Vincent Salzillo to the show! Vincent runs a variety of cons, including Metatopia, for game designers. He also runs the First Exposure Hall at Gencon for new designers to publishers and playtesters.
His most recent venture is the Envoy program, which helps publishers get their product demonstrated at stores and cons.
GameTek Classic 91 - Hindsight BiasNov 9, 2014 06:38
In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses the psychological phenomenon of Hindsight Bias, and how it may prevent us from being better players.
Ludology Episode 91 - Olotka EncounterNov 2, 2014 01:16:26
In this episode of Ludology we are thrilled to welcome Peter Olotka, one of the designers of Cosmic Encounter, Dune, and many other classic games. We discuss the early development of Cosmic Encounter, how it evolved, and other games in the Eon line.
GameTek Classic 90 - Expectation Value RevisitedOct 27, 2014 05:40
In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses expectation value, and how it can be used - and misused - in games.
Ludology Episode 90 - KniziathonOct 19, 2014 01:24:55
Ryan and Geoff take a close look at the body of work of Reiner Knizia, one of the most influential and prolific designers of the modern era.
What common threads run through Knizia's work? What lasting impact has he had on the hobby? What are the highlights, lowlights, and hidden gems of his oeuvre? And just how do you pronounce 'oeuvre' anyway?
GameTek Classic 89 - QuasicrystalsOct 12, 2014 06:16
In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about putting tiles down without repeating any patterns.
Ludology Episode 89 - Bridging the Digital DivideOct 5, 2014 01:13:43
Ryan and Geoff are very pleased to welcome guest Jordan Weisman, founder of FASA, Wizkids, and Harebrained Schemes, and designer of Battletech, Heroclix, and the just-released Golem Arcana.
Jordan joins us to discuss incorporating digital technology, like smartphones and tablets, into the realm of the board game. What special considerations need to be given to the design? Is the technology hobbling or liberating? And what will the future hold for hybrids?
GameTek Classic 88 - Blind RPSSep 28, 2014 04:42
In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses a study done on playing Rock, Paper, Scissors with one player blindfolded and one able to see. Who comes out on top?
Ludology Episode 88 - Small Booth, Big DreamsSep 21, 2014 01:12:40
Ryan and Geoff are pleased to be joined by Travis Chance and Nick Little of Action Phase game, designers of Heroes Wanted. This was the first time Action Phase has exhibited at Gencon, and we discuss what it was like. When did they get their booth? How much planning did they do? What was the total cost to do the show? What worked and what didn't?
GameTek Classic 87 - AISep 14, 2014 06:10
In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses Artificial Intelligence, and how it affects our play.
Ludology Episode 87 - Come On Down!Sep 8, 2014 01:16:36
Geoff finally acquiesces to Ryan's wish to discuss game shows. And you know what? It turned out to be a very fertile area for analysis. What special considerations are there for game shows? What can game designers learn from them?
GameTek Classic 86 - WatsonAug 17, 2014 06:11
In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about IBM's Jeopardy-playing Watson, and how it fits into the history of Artificial Intelligence research.
Ludology Episode 86 - Get RealAug 10, 2014 01:08:59
Ryan and Geoff are joined by guest Andrew Tullsen of Print & Play productions to discuss prototypes. What are the different types of prototypes? What are the tools and techniques to create them in a simple yet professinoal manner?
GameTek Classic 85 - Fair DiceAug 3, 2014 06:16
In this classic GameTek, Geoff investigates the true randomness of dice.
Ludology Episode 85 - Lucky BreakJul 27, 2014 01:00:32
Ryan and Geoff dip back into the mail bag to respond to more listener comments and questions about luck and randomness.
GameTek Classic 84 - Your Brain On ShogiJul 20, 2014 06:59
In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses brain imaging studies on shogi players.
For images relating to this story, check out Geoff's blog entry on BoardgameGeek.
Ludology Episode 84 - The Playtest's The ThingJul 14, 2014 01:10:39
Ryan and Geoff are joined by guest Gil Hova, designer of Prolix and Battle Merchants to discuss playtesting.
What are the different types of playtests? How do you get the most out of your testing? What should you look for in testers?
NOTE: This is a revised version of this episode that corrects the audio issue.
GameTek Classic 83 - TournamentsJul 6, 2014 06:55
In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses tournament structure in sports, and the way that may effect the play of the individual games.
Ludology Episode 83 - All Work And No Place Make Games A Dull ToyJun 29, 2014 01:06:40
Ryan and Geoff do a deep dive into the world of Worker Placement games. What makes them tick? Why would designers use that mechanism? What are the pitfalls to avoid?
GameTek Classic 82 - InflationJun 22, 2014 07:14
In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about how games can teach us about economics.
Ludology Episode 82 - Party, Party, EvolutionJun 15, 2014 01:11:31
Ryan and Geoff are very pleased to welcome Dominic Crapuchettes to Ludology! We discuss designing party games, dealing with mass market retailers, starting a game company, and their recent pivot into the strategy market with Evolution.
GameTek Classic 81 - ShufflingJun 9, 2014 07:36
In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about shuffling, big numbers, uniqueness, and the origin of life.
Ludology Episode 81 - Random Acts of KindnessJun 1, 2014 01:07:07
Ryan and Geoff respond to a random sampling of the listener questions about luck and randomness. Thanks to all who sent in your thoughts, comments, and questions!
GameTek Classic 80 - CompetenceMay 25, 2014 06:48
In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses the psychological property called Competence, and how you can use it to annoy people.
Ludology Episode 80 - InfluenzaMay 18, 2014 01:16:47
Ryan and Geoff take one last look at the Most Influential Games of the 20th Century. Do they have any second thoughts? Any overlooked games that should have been included?
They also put on their pointy prognosticator caps and give their picks for the top 10 games that will be most influential on the 21st century.
GameTek 79 - WillpowerApr 28, 2014 07:01
In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about recent research on willpower.
Ludology Episode 79 - The Magic CircleApr 20, 2014 01:24:57
Ryan and Geoff are pleased to welcome back Eric Zimmerman, professor at NYU's Game Center and author of The Rules of Play. This episode we discuss the concept of the "magic circle" and how designers can foster and benefit from it.
GameTek 78 - CriticismApr 13, 2014 10:54
In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about the state of game criticisim.
Ludology Episode 78 - Here We Are Now, Entertain UsApr 7, 2014 01:20:06
Ryan and Geoff conclude their survey of the most influential games with the 90's. Which games have cast shadows into the 21st century?
GameTek 77 - PatronageMar 30, 2014 06:48
In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses Kickstarter, and it's links with the concept of Patronage, in the past and future.
Ludology Epiosde 77 - Board To BitsMar 23, 2014 01:13:28
Ryan and Geoff are very pleased to be joined by guest Keith Burgun of DinoFarm games and author of Game Design Theory. Keith is the designer of a variety of mobile games, including 100 Rogues, Empire, and the upcoming Auro, all of which have a true board game flavor to them.
We discuss the relationship between board games and video games, and using board games design techniques to prototype and inform the video game design space.
GameTek 76 - Copyright and TrademarkMar 17, 2014 06:48
In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses the different types of intellectual property protection available to authors and companies.
Ludology Episode 76 - I Like Dice To RollMar 9, 2014 01:13:23
Ryan and Geoff continue their series on the most influential games of all time, and take a look at the 1980's. What were the key games when we all weren't trying to unscramble our Rubik's Cubes?
GameTek 75 - 3D PrintingMar 3, 2014 07:27
In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses the impact 3D printing technology may have on the game hobby.
Ludology Episode 75 - Gray's LudologyFeb 23, 2014 01:14:46
Ryan and Geoff are very excited to be joined by special guest Mike Gray. Mike has a long history in the game industry, working for Milton Bradley, TSR, and Hasbro. He designed Fortress America, Shogun, The Omega Virus, and many other classics during his tenure. Mike gives us a fascinating glimpse into the world of the largest game publisher, including the genesis of the Gamemaster series, acquisition of Avalon Hill, and development of modern classics like Queen's Gambit.
GameTek 74 - EndingsFeb 16, 2014 06:07
In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses the importance of endings, and the difference between "the experiencing self" and "the remembering self."
One of Geoff's favorites!
Ludology Episode 74 - Boardgame WonderlandFeb 10, 2014 01:21:59
Ryan and Geoff continue their series on the most influential games of all time, and take a look at the 1970's. What were the key moments in the decade of disco?
GameTek 73 - Power CreepFeb 2, 2014 06:20
In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about Power Creep. Is it a big conspiracy? Or is there a less nefarious explanation?
Ludology Episode 73 - Icon of ClarityJan 26, 2014 01:17:29
Ryan and Geoff are joined by JVMF-auction winner Chaz Marler, to discuss the use of icons in games. Why use icons? What games have useful icons, and others not so much? And what is Geoff's suggestion for the Dice Tower musical episode?
GameTek 72 - PlaytestingJan 20, 2014 06:10
In this classic GameTek, Geoff takes a look at playtesting. What are the different types of playtesting, and how do they fall short?
Ludology Episode 72 - Under The Influence Part 1Jan 12, 2014 01:08:48
And we're back!! Ryan and Geoff kick off the new year with a new series: The Most Influential Games.
Part 1 covers 1900 - 1969. What are the most influential games from these years?
Ludology Episode 71 - Dude, Where's My Map?Dec 15, 2013 01:17:13
Geoff and Ryan are joined by Steve Kendall of the Ragnar Brothers and designer of History of the World, Viking Fury, and more, to discuss Area Control or 'Dudes on a Map' games. What are the outstanding examples? What are the key ingredients of this genre? What are the strengths and weaknesses?
GameTek 70 - Betrayer's BanquetDec 8, 2013 22:57
NEW CONTENT! Geoff talks with Quintin Smith of Shut Up and Sit Down about his recent experience at The Betrayer's Banquet, a Prisoner's Dilemma-themed dinner party. Does backstabbing improve the taste of chicken feet?
Ludology Episode 70 - Risky BusinessDec 1, 2013 01:15:16
Ryan and Geoff are joined by Rob Daviau, of Iron Wall Games, and formerly with Hasbro. While at Hasbro Rob worked on a slew of games you know, including Heroscape, Betrayal at House on the Hill, and Axis and Allies.
But we've invited him on to discuss his 'Legacy' series of games, starting with Risk: Legacy, and the upcoming Seafall. How did he come up with the idea for Risk: Legacy? What were the design challenges and blind alleys he overcame? What is he trying to do differently with Seafall?
GameTek Classic 69 - Wild West ShowdownNov 25, 2013 07:45
In this classic GameTek, the GameTek players present "Wild West Showdown". Who will win this three-sided gunfight... of doom?
Ludology Episode 69 - Area 69Nov 17, 2013 01:11:13
Hot on the heels of talking about Set Collection, Ryan and Geoff tackle its cousin, Area Majority, a mechanic which comes wearing many disguises. How does it differ from Set Collection? What makes it work or not?
GameTek Classic 68 - GamificationNov 11, 2013 06:33
In this classic GameTek episode, Geoff talks about gamification, specifically the way that it is used by fold.it to use game mechanics to solve real world problems.
Ludology Epsiode 68 - Game, Set, MatchNov 3, 2013 01:04:34
In this episode Ryan and Geoff discuss Set Collection as a tool for game designers. What attributes can set collection add to a game? What are some of the pitfalls? What games have used it well or badly?
GameTek Classic 67 - ChaosOct 27, 2013 06:55
In the classic GameTek, Geoff talks about Chaos Theory, and how it is reflected in game design.
Ludology Episode 67 - The Games Robots PlayOct 20, 2013 34:12
In this episode, Geoff interviews Frank Merrick from FIRST about using games to get kids excited about science and technology. What are the special considerations when designing a game to be educational, fun, and challenging?
GameTek Classic 66 - Blindfolds and BoxesOct 13, 2013 05:16
In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about two recent research results about choice.
Ludology Episode 66 - Please Sir, Can I Have Some More?Oct 6, 2013 01:03:30
Ryan and Geoff are joined by special guest Corey Koneiczka of Fantasy Flight Games designer of such classics as Battlestar Galactica, Mansions of Madness, and the upcoming Eldritch Horror. The topic? Expansions! Are they good or bad for the industry? Do you design a game with expansions in mind or bolt things on afterwards? What are the do's and don't's of expansions?
This episode of Ludology is sponsored by Scott King Photography, for all of your game photographing needs!
GameTek Classic 65 - Planetary DiceSep 29, 2013 06:48
How are dice and planets connected? Listen to this classic GameTek and find out!
Ludology Episode 65 - The Envelope Please!Sep 22, 2013 01:00:45
Ryan and Geoff dedicate the entire show to reviewing their top 10 entries to the Dice Tower Network / Cool Stuff Inc contest, and announce the winner!
GameTek Classic 64 - Fuzzy LogicSep 15, 2013 07:45
In this classic GameTek, Geoff explores fuzzy logic and how it applies to our attempts to categorize games - and everything else in the world.
Ludology Episode 64 - The ABC's of CCG'sSep 8, 2013 01:14:13
Ryan and Geoff are joined by guest Mike Fitzgerald. Mike is the designer of a variety of card games including the Mystery Rummy series and Hooyah, but also spent many years working on CCGs like Wyvern, Magic, and Pokemon. Mike joins us to discuss the early history of CCGs, how they changed the gaming industry, and what special design techniques are required for the CCG and LCG arenas.
This episode of Ludology is sponsored by Nations, the new publication from lautepelit.fi. Nations will be released at Essen 2013.
GameTek Classic 63 - Interview with Bob AbbottSep 1, 2013 09:30
In this classic GameTek, Ryan and Geoff interview game designer Bob Abbott, designer of classic games like Confusion, Eleusis, and Code 777.
This episode of Ludology is sponsored by Nations, the new publication from lautepelit.fi. Nations will be released at Essen 2013.
Ludology Episode 63 - Set Your Phases To FunAug 25, 2013 01:17:48
Ryan and Geoff take a very high level look at the structure of games - the phases and turns that make them tick. What structures were there in ancient games? How has this changed over time? How does the structure selected by the designer influence the game experience?
We also launch our portion of the big Dice Tower Network contest! Big prizes at stake!
This episode of Ludology is sponsored by Nations, the new publication from lautepelit.fi. Nations will be released at Essen 2013.
GameTek Classic 62: Flipping ProbabilityAug 18, 2013 06:07
In this classic GameTek, Geoff shares a technique for making it simpler to calculate probabilities in your head.
Ludology Episode 62 - Gone DigitalAug 12, 2013 01:16:05
Ryan and Geoff are joined by John Meindersee of Campfire Creations, to talk about the special challenges in creating digital versions of boardgames. Campfire Creations developed the iOS version of Stone Age, and John shares the details of the challenges and opportunities that presented.
GameTek Classic 61: ChoicesAug 4, 2013 06:43
Meaningful decisions are what drive deep strategy games. But can there be too much of a good thing? Can having too many choices hinder our ability to make good, or any, decisions?
Ludology Episode 61 - Listener SpectacularererJul 28, 2013 01:04:58
In this third listener question episode, Ryan and Geoff respond to a veritable panoply of user questions, and field them with their usual combination of aplomb and pithy aphorisms.
GameTek Classic 60: PokerBotsJul 21, 2013 04:50
In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about PokerBots: How they are programmed, why they're a problem, and how to detect them.
Ludology Episode 60 - How To "How To Play"Jul 14, 2013 01:13:36
Rules! Every game has them, but they are a big source of gamer frustration. Ryan and Geoff put their heads together to come up with rules for rules.
What makes for a good set of rules? What are common pitfalls? How should they be structured? What should be highlighted?
GameTek Classic 59 - Man vs MachineJul 7, 2013 05:59
In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about the difference between playing a human vs an AI opponent. Do we act and feel differently about the game? If so, why?
Ludology Episode 59 - Hey! That's Mine!Jun 30, 2013 58:23
As humans we overvalue losing something and undervalue gaining it. This is called Loss Aversion, and is a well studied psychological effect.
How do games incorporate Loss Aversion? How does it affect us as players, and how can game designers use it to create a more emotional and engaging experience? When can Loss Aversion hurt a game rather than help it?
GameTek Classic 58 - Player EngagementJun 24, 2013 05:51
In this classic GameTek episode, Geoff discusses long games and how to keep players engaged for many hours. What are the different types of engagment, which are effective, and which are mentally taxing?
Ludology Episode 58 - Back to Basics?Jun 16, 2013 01:16:06
Ryan proposes a radical change to the mechanics of Trading in the Mediterranean to simplify and smooth our the gameplay, and Geoff wants to talk about it. Will it throw the baby out with the bathwater? What is the heart of the game?
GameTek Classic 57 - Endowed ProgressJun 9, 2013 05:55
In this classic GameTek, Geoff takes a look at car washes and the Endowed Progress Effect. How can we use it to get players more engaged in a game?
Ludology Episode 57 - Goal!Jun 2, 2013 01:17:55
Ryan and Geoff tackle the concept of an 'objective' in a game - not just end game objectives, but techniques for building a series of mini-objectives to keep the player engaged and the game moving forward.
What types of objectives work well? What is the difference between public, private, and hidden objectives, and how do those interact?
GameTek Classic 56 - GamificationMay 27, 2013 07:26
In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about how businesses are trying to use games to appeal to customers.
Ludology Episode 56 - License to ThrillMay 19, 2013 01:02:02
Licnesed games like X-Wing and the upcoming Star Trek: Attack Wing are hugely popular. But how is designing a game with a license different? Ryan and Geoff are pleased to welcome back guest Andrew Parks to delve into these questions. Andrew is the designer of a wide variety of licensed games, including The Nightmare Before Christmas TCG, 300, Hogwarts House Cup, Hunger Games District 12, and the upcoming Star Trek: Attack Wing.
How do you invoke the theme of the licensed property? Does it make game design simpler or more challenging? How much is dictated by the licensing company?
Answers to all of these questions, plus tons of spoilers about Attack Wing and a very special Core Worlds reveal!
GameTek Classic 55 - Intransitive DiceMay 13, 2013 08:29
In this classic GameTek, Geoff looks at intransitive dice - Dice where die A tends to beat die B, which tends to beat die C, which tends to beat die A.
This was a big topic of discussion on the Dice Tower form when it was first released, so please continue the conversation over on the Ludology forums!
Ludology Episode 55 - The Box is Half FullMay 5, 2013 01:13:51
Ryan and Geoff reivew the status of "Trading in the Mediterranean", their publicly-developed board game. After talking about the current version and how it has evolved, they talk about what's working and what's not, and how to fix it.
This episode of Ludology is sponsored by Sissyfight 2000, now on Kickstarter!
GameTek Classic 54 - Designing Word GamesApr 28, 2013 26:32
In this classic GameTek, Geoff interviews Gil Hova, who designed the game Prolix, about the different concerns in designing a word game versus other genres of games.
Ludology Episode 54 - The Long and the Short of it.Apr 21, 2013 01:04:09
Ryan and Geoff discuss the interplay between short and long-term objectives in games. How can designers use these to create a richer game experience? What impact do they have on complexity and the learning curve?
This episode of Ludology is sponsored by Relic Expedition, currently on Kickstarter!
GameTek Classic 53 - Quantum Tic-Tac-ToeApr 15, 2013 06:55
In this classic GameTek, Geoff continues talking about Entanglement and quantum physics by introducing the game Quantum Tic-Tac-Toe. Check out the full rules on Wikipedia, which also links to several online implementations.
This episode of Ludology is sponsored by Relic Expedition, currently on Kickstarter!
Ludology Episode 53 - PAX LudologicaApr 7, 2013 01:00:55
This special episode of Ludology is a recording of a game design panel Geoff particiated in at PAX East 2013, in Boston. The topic was "Impact of Video Game Design Techniques on Board Games".
Joining Geoff were Christopher Badell, designer of Sentinels of the Multiverse, Colby Dauch, designer of Summoner Wars, Matt Morgan, writer for Wired GeekDad, and Russ Wakelin of the D6 Generation.
This episode of Ludology is sponsored by Relic Expedition, currently on Kickstarter!
GameTek Classic 52 - EntanglementMar 31, 2013 08:57
Ludology Episode 52 - Let's Make a Deal!Mar 24, 2013 01:13:11
This episode Ryan and Geoff tackle games that feature negotiation, either as a designed-in feature, or a by-product of the player interactions. What features make for a great negotiation game? What types of player experiences can they engender? Can Ryan get Geoff to agree to anything?
This episode of Ludology is sponsored by Relic Expedition, currently on Kickstarter!
GameTek Classic 51 - RegretMar 17, 2013 06:29
In this classic GameTek, Geoff examines regret - why we would rather not make a choice at all, rather than make it and have it not work out.
Ludology Episode 51 - 50 for 50, Part 2Mar 10, 2013 01:20:56
GameTek Classic 50 - Monty HallMar 3, 2013 08:29
Ludology Episode 50 - 50 for 50, Part 1Feb 25, 2013 01:10:35
GameTek Classic 49 - Martin GardnerFeb 17, 2013 06:37
In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about Martin Gardner, who wrote the Mathematical Games column for Scientific American magazine from the mid 50's to the 1980's, and passed away in 2010.
Ludology Episode 49 - The Joke's On You!Feb 10, 2013 58:41
Ryan and Geoff are joined by guest Zack Johnson, designer of the online game Kingdom of Loathing, to discuss the use (and misuse) of humor in games. How is humor used in games? Are there special considerations for making a game funny? Is Geoff capable of telling a joke?
GameTek Classic 48 - High SocietyFeb 4, 2013 06:36
In this classic GameTek, Geoff takes a close look under the hood at the Reiner Knizia game High Society, to tease out what makes it such a dynamic and engaging design.
Ludology Episode 48 - Fun with FeedbackJan 27, 2013 01:06:37
No, not listener feedback - Feedback loops. What are the different types of feedback, and how do designers incorporate them into games? Do certain types of games benefit from feedback? Is feedback necessary for a rich game experience?
GameTek Classic 47 - WorryingJan 21, 2013 08:49
In this GameTek from 2010, Geoff and his son Brian talk about what they are worried about as their game The Ares Project nears publication. Special bonus recap of how on target we were!
Ludology Episode 47 - State of Games 2013Jan 13, 2013 01:02:15
In our first episode of the new year, we are joined by the godfather of gaming, Tom Vasel, to dissect 2012 and speculate on the direction of the industry in the upcoming year.
Ludology Episode 46 - Getting Down to Brass TracksDec 16, 2012 56:37
For the final full episode of 2012, Ryand and Geoff are very pleased to welcome Martin Wallace to the program, designer of such classics as Age of Steam, Brass, and Runebound.
We discuss Mr. Wallace's design approach and philosophy, and dig deeply into Age of Steam and Brass. Big question of the episode - Can Ryan keep his fanboy gushing in check? Listen and find out! (Spoiler alert: No.)
GameTek Classic 45 - Writing RulesDec 9, 2012 10:17
In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about the art of rules writing. Why is it hard? What options are available to the designer?
Ludology Episode 45 - EmergenceDec 2, 2012 01:08:39
After a brief overview of Eric's work at NYU, the gang dives into a discussion of Emergence, when the unexpected emerges from a basic set of rules. What conditions are more likely to result in emergence? Can a designer truly design in emergent behavior? And is it important for a good game, anyway?
Ludology Episode 44a - The Rubber Meets the RoadNov 25, 2012 33:32
Finally! Ryan corrals his buddies into trying Trading in the Mediterranean, and records their thoughts afterwards.
Reviewing the rules, cards, and other playtest materials may be helpful to understanding this episode.
Ludology Episode 44 - All For One and One For AllNov 18, 2012 56:45
Ryan and Geoff welcome special guest Christopher Badell, designer of Sentinels of the Multiverse and one of the principals of Greater Than Games. We have a wide-ranging discussion about starting and growing a small game publishing company, specifically for a 'Single Game Game Company'.
How does just having a single game system impact the marketing, growth, and design direction for a publisher? Is it good to have focus, or do you get pigeon-holed? When is Kickstarter good for a small publisher, and when is it bad?
GameTek Classic 43 - Rules for RobotsNov 12, 2012 08:57
In this classic GameTek from February 2010, Geoff introduces the FIRST Robotics competition and the way the program is structured around games.
Ludology Episode 43 - Twilight SnuggleNov 5, 2012 55:01
Ryan stays up past his bedtime as he and Geoff welcome special guest Jason Matthews to the show. Jason is the codesigner of Twilight Struggle, 1960, Founding Fathers, 1989, and other great political games. What makes Twilight Struggle tick? What special considersations are required for the design of political games?
GameTek Classic 42 - GiftingOct 29, 2012 06:45
In this classic GameTek from January of 2010, Geoff discusses the economics of gift-giving, and some games that explore gift exchanges.
Ludology Episode 42a - TradeMed Trade GoodsOct 21, 2012 21:51
Ryan and Geoff get down in the weeds to discuss the details of the cards and card mix in Trading in the Mediterranean. How will the trade goods relate to the ideas? How will they be acquired? How many of each combination should there be? Hopefully this is more interesting than it sounds.
Ludology Episode 42 - Speedy Delivery!Oct 14, 2012 01:07:44
Ryan and Geoff are joined by special guest Eric Summerer for a deep dive into Pick Up and Deliver games. What are some of the best examples of this genre? What makes them appealing? When do they work, and when do they fail? Will Eric make it through the Lightning Round?
All these questions and more, will be answered!
GameTek Classic 41 - Multitouch Tables RevisitedOct 7, 2012 07:44
In this GameTek from December of 2009, Geoff discusses advances in 'multitouch table' technology, tech which eventually found it's way into tablets like the iPad.
Ludology Episode 41 - Listener Spectacular 2Sep 30, 2012 55:57
Ryan and Geoff tackle some more listener questions in the aptly named 'Listener Spectacular 2'.
GameTek Classic 40 - Emergent BehaviorSep 24, 2012 07:09
In this classic GameTek, Geoff takes a look at rules. Can you learn everything there is to know about a game just by reading the rules?
Ludology Epsiode 40 - Games TeachSep 18, 2012 01:22:46
Ryan and Geoff are joined by special guest Giles Pritchard to discuss the use of games in the classroom. Both Ryan and Giles teach kids ages 8-11, and have extensively used games to augment the traditional curriculum.
Geoff has taught no one, and is happy to moderate and share embarassing stories about his childhood.
In addition, Ryan discusses his new venture Games Teach, which is designed to spread the use of games by creative teachers, and is launching on Kickstarter on September 18th.
Ludology Episode 39a - The Violence Inherent In The SystemSep 9, 2012 28:20
Ryan and Geoff continue brainstorming on Trading in the Mediterranean, trying to zero in on how different types of governments and social factors can be incorporated into the design.
Ludology Episode 39 - Roll and MoveSep 2, 2012 01:14:10
After a brief summer break, the Ludology team is back!
In this episode, Ryan and Geoff discuss Roll and Move games, including their history, what they do well, and what they do poorly. What attempts have been made to bring roll and move into the modern era? What has worked and what hasn't? Is there a place for roll and move in the game designer's toolbox?
Ludology Episode 38a - Ideas about IdeasAug 12, 2012 49:02
Ryan and Geoff continue their development of Trading in the Mediterranean, working to flesh out how to include 'ideas' in the game.
Ludology Episode 38 - You Are HereAug 5, 2012 01:25:18
Ryan and Geoff talk about maps, geography, and spatial relations in game design.
Ludology Episode 37a - Trading in the MediterraneanJul 29, 2012 37:57
In place of the 'Classic GameTek' segment that we normally post in between full episodes of Ludology, we are posting some bonus content about the design process for Trading in the Mediterranean.
Make sure you let us know what you think about Ryan's "interesting" idea for voyages!
Ludology Episode 37 - The Empty BoxJul 22, 2012 01:04:32
In this episode, Ryan and Geoff discuss different approaches to starting a new game design. And then, they embark on a grand project of their own, designing a game of their own!
GameTek Classic 36 - NP CompleteJul 15, 2012 07:32
In this classic GameTek segment Geoff talks about NP Complete problems in mathematics, and the ways that certain problems can be transformed into others.
(Yes, I know there was no GameTek Classic 35. Real Life got in the way a few weeks ago, and I decided to keep the numbering in sync with the Ludology numbering for simplicity)
Ludology Episode 36 - Case Study: Ticket To RideJul 9, 2012 01:16:52
Ryan and Geoff take a close analytical look at Alan Moon's Ticket To Ride, and lift up the hood to figure out what makes it tick. What design decisions set it apart from similar games? How does it draw on Moon's earlier work? And what does it do better than other mainstream euro games like Settlers of Catan?
Ludology Episode 35 - The Social MilieuJun 24, 2012 01:30:56
In this episode Ryan and Geoff analyze the environment that games create. Some games tend to be very competitive and tense, and others light and social. What pushes gameplay in these directions? What should game designers look for if they want to create a specific environment for the players?
GameTek Classic 34 - Design and CreativityJun 18, 2012 07:35
In this classic GameTek, Geoff and Brian continue to talk about The Ares Project, and the design challenges they faced. They specifically discuss designing with constraints as a way to spark creative solutions.
Ludology Episode 34 - The Good, The Bad, and The RandomJun 10, 2012 01:09:44
Ryan and Geoff take a look at the use of uncertainty and randomness in games. What works and what doesn't? When should you have more randomness and when less?
GameTek Classic 33 - Intro to The Ares ProjectJun 4, 2012 07:36
In this classic GameTek, Geoff announces that he is going to publishing a game with Z-Man Games called - wait for it - The Ares Project. This was originally broadcast in August of 2009 on Dice Tower episode 154.
Ludology Episode 33 - Pandamonium!May 28, 2012 01:10:52
This episode Ryan and Geoff are very pleased to welcome Michael Lee, founder and co-owner of Panda Games, manufacturer of games like Pandemic and Eclipse, to discuss the nuts and bolts of actually getting a physical game into the world.
GameTek Classic 32 - Push Your LuckMay 21, 2012 05:52
In this GameTek segment Geoff looks at the math behind Push Your Luck games. When another roll is one roll too many...
This was originally broadcast in Dice Tower episode 143 in March of 2009.
Ludology Episode 32 - Critical MassMay 13, 2012 01:05:46
Ryan and Geoff tackle reviews and criticism. What are the different types? What drives people to write reviews? How do people use them? Do game reviews need to differ from film or book reviews? All these questions, and more, are discussed, dear listener, in this latest episode of Ludology.
GameTek Classic 31 - Trading GamesMay 6, 2012 07:42
In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about the characteristics of a good trading game. What drives the gameplay? How much does value need to be obscured? Is it better or worse to have stuff worth more to some players than others?
Duration: 5 minutes
Ludology Episode 31 - Interview with William AttiaMay 5, 2012 01:08:18
Ryan and Geoff conduct a 'virtual interview' with William Attia, the designer, most notably, of Caylus. Ryan declares that Caylus is the "most important game since Puerto Rico". Can he support that bold contention?
Note: This file has corrected the 'stereo' issue with the earlier posting.
GameTek Classic - PBEM HistoryApr 23, 2012 05:54
Well before the current wave of online boardgames, both web-based and mobile, Geoff reflected on his experience with PBEM gaming back in the dark ages in this classic GameTek episode.
Ludology Episode 30 - Listener SpectacularApr 15, 2012 01:00:58
Geoff and Ryan field several listener questions this episode, weighing in on quite a diverse range of topics. To add to the difficulty, Ryan responds to all questions with the flu.
Ludology Bonus Episode - Hot and ColdApr 8, 2012 05:24
In this classic GameTek Geoff looks at research linking temperature to social interactions. When should you give your opponents a cup of coffee instead of a soda?
We have also started a new file naming scheme with this episode that hopefully will meet everyone's needs.
Ludology Episode 29 - Sold!Apr 2, 2012 01:07:17
Ryan and Geoff continue their discussion of the Auction mechanic. How much should the true value of what you're bidding on be hidden? And how can that be done? Plus, mechanics that really are auctions but don't look like one, and the Sturm Theory of Unified Prioritization.
Ludology Bonus Episode - VisibilityMar 26, 2012 05:59
In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses the concept of Visibility in computer games versus board games, using the PC game Armageddon Empires as a case study. How do board games and computer games differ in the way they present information to players?
Note that this was put out many years before smart phones, so there are many more boardgame implementations that you can carry around on a portable device. But the contrast still remains relevant.
Ludology Episode 28 - Going, Going, GoneMar 19, 2012 49:28
Ryan and Geoff begin their two-part exploration of auction mechanics. Auctions are a part of many games, sometimes just as a minor role, and sometimes as the star.
What are the advantages of the auction mechanic? What are the different ways it can be implemented? And what would we like to see more and less of?
Ludology Bonus Episode - Graph TheoryMar 12, 2012 05:37
This classic GameTek was originally broadcast during a Dice Tower episode on Train Games. Geoff explores the connections (get it - connections?) between creating rail networks and the branch of mathematics called Graph Theory.
Ludology Episode 27 - Case Study: EclipseMar 4, 2012 01:18:46
In this episode, Ryan and Geoff look at the hot new space game Eclipse as a way of revisiting topics from prior shows. How does Eclipse handle issues like multiple strategies, turn sequence, and victory points? What works and what doesn't? Please join us for an in depth exploration of the design of Eclipse.
Ludology Bonus Episode - EvolutionFeb 26, 2012 06:10
In this classic GameTek, Geoff examines games about evolution. Which work, and which don't, and do any of them accurately capture the key concepts of evolutionary science?
Ludology Episode 26 - Epic GamesFeb 19, 2012 01:06:56
Ryan and Geoff are joined by Dr. Lewis Pulsipher to talk about games that feel epic. What features are required for a game to feel epic? Can a short game be epic? Is it impossible to make an epic game about certain topics?
Dr. Pulsipher is the designer of Britannia, and a noted writer on game theory.
Ludology Bonus Episode - Past, Present, and FutureFeb 12, 2012 05:32
In this classic GameTek, Geoff takes a look at hot streaks, cold streaks, and our predisposition to see patterns in what is actually random data.
Ludology Episode 25 - Sports Spectacular!Feb 5, 2012 01:05:35
Today is Superbowl Sunday, and Team Ludology is tackling sports boardgames with guests Cody Jones and John Richard from Game On with Cody & John. Are there game design challenges particular to sports games? What has worked and what doesn't? And what do we want to see more of? All your questions will be answered in this action packed episode! (Well, not really, but some questions and a bit of action).
Ludology Bonus Episode - VotingJan 30, 2012 06:54
In this GameTek from 2008 Geoff discusses voting in general, and the specific voting system in the United States. Do the rules in the United States lead towards a two-party system? Or is it possible for a third party to have a shot at the presidency?
(Note: This podcast is not endorsing any particular party or candidate. It is merely a discussion of the 'rules' of voting and how that may impact results)
Episode 24 - State of The Game Hobby, 2012Jan 22, 2012 01:15:52
A bit of a departure for Ludology, as we take a more topical look at the state of the gaming hobby as we move into the new year.
To give a business perspective, Ryan and Geoff are joined by industry insider Stephen Buonocore of Stronghold Games. Ryan believes we are at a 'fulcrum', trading quality for quantity, and is concerned for the future. Do Geoff and Stephen agree? And what does all this have to do with the movie industry?
Bonus Episode - Prospect TheoryJan 15, 2012 05:42
In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about how people approach gains and losses differently. This peculiarity of human psychology is the basis for Prospect Theory, developed by Kahneman and Tversky in the 1970's.
Episode 23 - Arts and CraftsJan 8, 2012 01:02:11
We are pleased to welcome special guest Russ Wakelin, from The D6 Generation to discuss graphic design. The graphic design of a game can have a huge impact on the playability of the game and our enjoyment. What do we look for in great graphic design? What games have excellent graphic design and which are lacking?
Bonus Episode - Expectation ValueDec 19, 2011 06:26
Are the kids out of school yet? If so, here's a bonus GameTek that is sure to keep their math skills freshly honed during the break. Geoff discusses how to estimate the 'Expectation Value' and how you can use that to help your gaming.
Episode 22 - Games vs SimulationsDec 12, 2011 01:06:02
Ryan and Geoff are pleased to be joined by special guest Phil Eklund, designer of many games including High Frontier and Origins: How We Became Human.
We discuss designing games as simulations, rather than just as games. What are the specific design challenges that are faced? How do you balance accuracy, playability, and fun? And can novel things be learned from a game?
Bonus Episode - Chess RatingsDec 5, 2011 06:33
Following up on the last bonus GameTek episode about Regression Towards the Mean, Geoff discusses the USCF chess rating system with it's developer, Dr. Mark Glickman. How are they calculated? How is the system designed to prevent 'gaming' the system? And once again we tackle the question of how you know if you're getting better or not.
Episode 21 - Innovation vs ReinterpretationNov 28, 2011 01:28:36
It's Thanksgiving in the USA, so everything is bigger than usual. In this supersized 90 minute Ludology, Ryan and Geoff tackle the question of innovation in games. Where does innovation come from? What games are innovative and which build on existing mechanics? Is it possible for a game to be too innovative?
Plus Ryan and Geoff reveal their picks for the most innovative game of the modern era. Do you agree?
Bonus Episode - Regression Towards the MeanNov 21, 2011 05:43
Why do we get worse after we get better? In this classic GameTek Geoff explores the concept of 'Regression Towards the Mean', and tries to figure out how we can really tell if we're improving or just getting lucky.
Episode 20 - The Point of VictoryNov 14, 2011 01:08:57
In the episode, Geoff & Ryan discuss Victory Points - What are the different ways they are used? What works and what doesn't? Are they a crutch for lazy design or a useful tool in the arsenal of the game designer?
Bonus Episode - Group ThinkNov 7, 2011 06:06
In this classic GameTek Geoff talks about Group Think in games - what causes it, and different ways to think about it.
Episode 19 - Two's Company, Three's a CrowdNov 4, 2011 01:00:32
With Geoff out of commission due to a freak snowstorm, Mark Johnson steps up to the plate to join Ryan in a discussion of two versus three player games. What are the differences? What design choices does player count present the designer?
Bonus Episode - ShufflingOct 24, 2011 05:44
In this classic GameTek, Geoff discusses shuffling - A little of the math behind it, how online shuffling works, and a brief glimpse into the science of thermodynamics. Not bad for five minutes!
Episode 18 - Research Through GamingOct 16, 2011 59:52
Ryan and Geoff interview Dr. Luke Rendell of the University of St. Andrews. Dr. Rendell's team conducts research on social learning and the spread of ideas and culture throughout society. To assist in their reserach they ran a tournament in 2009 where anyone could submit a strategy to play a game based on social learning.
Dr. Rendell is now sponsoring a new tournament with some added depth to the game, this time with a 25,000 euro prize. for the best solutions.
We invited Dr. Rendell to join us to discuss the role of gaming in research, what they have learned from the prior tournament, and possible pitfalls.
If you are interested in learning more about the competition, including full game rules, please check out the link here.
Note that this time they are having a special 1,000 euro prize for the best performing strategy submitted by a a school class (through high school), so if you are a teacher this may be an excellent project for a group of interested students.
Bonus Episode - The Giant Dice TowerOct 10, 2011 11:40
Back in 2009 Geoff interviewed Scott Nesin, builder of a Dice Tower capable of rolling 1.3 million dice per day. What inspired him to take on a project like that?
Check out the video before listening to the inteview:
Episode 17 - Monogamers and MiniaturesOct 3, 2011 01:04:23
In this episode, Ryan and Geoff are joined by special guest Norbert Brunhuber, who is very active in the Warmachine/Hordes community. The discussion centers around two topics:
'Monogamers' - those who play only a single game or game system (not gamers who have mono!). What is necessary in a game that will hold someone's interest for years? Why do some people prefer a single game system and others want to play a different game every week?
Miniature Gaming - what is the appeal? What are the differences between board and miniature games, and where is there crossover?
Bonus Episode - Social Learning Strategies TournamentSep 26, 2011 07:00
Back in 2008 Geoff talked about a tournament to learn about how individuals interact within a social group. He and his family submitted an entry, but sadly did not win the 10,000 euro prize.
However there's a successor tournament with more options and more strategies to explore. In this week's Ludology we replay the original segment, and give a quick review of some of the changes this time around.
If you're interested in the finding out more about the tournament, check it out here: Social Learning Strategies Tournament.
Episode 16 - Cooperative GamesSep 18, 2011 55:45
Ryan and Geoff look deep into the heart of cooperative games to figure out why some work and some don't. What special problems face the designer of a coop?
Bonus Episode - Dice DecksSep 11, 2011 05:14
In this classic GameTek, Geoff talks about streakiness in dice rolling in The Settlers of Catan. How often should it occur? And what effect does a 'Dice Deck' have on the game?
The Subcultures of GamingSep 5, 2011 55:49
Fresh off of their visit to Gencon in August, Ryan and Geoff talk about the subcultures of gaming, their similarities, differences, and the ways they interact.
Bonus Episode - The Cube TowerAug 28, 2011 06:04
Original research from the GameTek Laboratories! Geoff looks at the Cube Tower from Wallenstein/Shogun and experiments to see if there is any pattern to when the cubes fall out. Take your Shogun game to the next level!
Episode 14 - Roll Again!Aug 22, 2011 52:57
Ryan and Geoff finally resolve the cliff-hanger back from episode 12 and reveal the game they think brought dice back into popularity as a design tool not just a randomizer but as an integral part of gaming mechanics. They discuss a variety of techniques that have been used to incorporate dice into modern games, and speculate on what the future will bring.
Bonus Episode - Agricola TranslationAug 14, 2011 06:09
What is involved in localizing a game into a different language? Geoff talks with the team who worked to translate Agricola from German to English and finds out.
Episode 13 - CCGs & DBGsAug 7, 2011 01:02:24
This episode we are pleased to be joined by Mike Elliott. Mike is the designer of Quarriors and Thunderstone, and also worked for many years with Wizards of the Coast doing design work on Magic and other CCGs. We discuss the specific design issues that arise for deck-building games and collectible card games.
Bonus Episode - Beauty ContestsJul 31, 2011 06:23
Can you outguess your opponent? Geoff digs into some experiments that may give the answer in this classic GameTek episode.
Episode 12 - Dice-O-RamaJul 24, 2011 50:09
In this episode, Ryan and Geoff explore dice, and dissect the history of their use in games.
Bonus Episode - Rock Paper ScissorsJul 3, 2011 05:58
In this classic GameTek episode, Geoff takes a look at the classic Rock, Paper, Scissors, and what it tells us about game theory.
Episode 11 - Family GamesJun 26, 2011 50:01
Ryan and Geoff discuss Family Games - What are they and what makes them work? Ryan goes back to his educational theory studies to break it down.
Bonus Episode - Abstract GamesJun 19, 2011 05:45
In this classic GameTek episode, Geoff takes a look at abstract games, and attempts to solve them by computer. And does it matter if they are?
Episode 10 - ComplexityJun 12, 2011 44:55
Ryan and Geoff are very pleased to be joined this episode by special guest Scott Nicholson, of On Boardgames, and Boardgames with Scott. They discuss complexity - different types of complexity, when complexity is called for, and how it can be managed.
Bonus Episode - Fair DiceJun 5, 2011 06:00
In this classic GameTek episode, Geoff takes a look at research that was done on the fairness of dice. How 'unfair' can standard off-the-shelf dice get?
Episode 9 - Turn, Turn, TurnMay 29, 2011 41:15
Ryan and Geoff discuss the differences between turn-based and simultaneous-action games. What are the advantages of each type of design?
Bonus Episode - The Ultimatum GameMay 22, 2011 05:41
In this episode, Geoff explores the Ultimatum Game, which is used by social scientists to explore human concepts of fairness, competition, and cooperation.
Episode 8 - Narrative ArcMay 15, 2011 42:13
Ryan and Geoff tackle another angle on story in games - the narrative arc. What creates rising tension, and what game elements can create a dramatic climax?
Bonus Episode - Prisoner's Dilemma (Part 2)May 8, 2011 06:32
In this classic GameTek episode, Geoff talks about the iterated Prisoner's Dilemma, and what it implies about social science and evolution.
Episode 7 - NarratologyMay 1, 2011 58:50
Ryan and Geoff are joined by special guest Andy Parks to begin their discussion on how games incorporate story and narrative structure elements.
Andy is a game designer of many games including Ideology and Camelot Legends, and is the author of a recent article on creating narrative in games for the website Booklife.
Bonus Episode - Prisoner's Dilemma (Part 1)Apr 25, 2011 05:51
In this classic GameTek episode, Geoff talks about the Prisoner's Dilemma and how it applies to board games.
Episode 6 - Finding The BalanceApr 17, 2011 52:20
Ryan and Geoff conclude their discussion of balance by looking at a variety of questions:
What does it mean for a game to be balanced?
What are the different types of balance?
Can a game be too balanced?
Bonus Episode - Triangular NumbersApr 10, 2011 06:16
In this classic GameTek segment Geoff takes a look at triangular numbers and the way they are used in game designs. Features a bonus appearance by Alan Moon (sort of)!
Episode 5 - Dominant Strategies - Take 2Apr 4, 2011 47:26
Games that seem to have multiple strategies sometimes end up having just one dominant strategy that players follow. In this episode, Ryan and Geoff discuss ways the pitfalls of game design that can lead to this, and ways designers avoid it.
Bonus Episode - Multitouch TablesMar 28, 2011 06:13
In this classic GameTek episode from 2007 Geoff talks about Multitouch Tables like the Microsoft Surface, and the role they may play in the future of boardgames.
Episode 4 - The Emergence of StrategyMar 21, 2011 45:11
In this episode, Ryan and Geoff discuss the difference between strategy and tactics, and the different forms that strategy can take in games.
Episode 3A - The Defense of Power GridMar 14, 2011 14:17
What, another Ludology episode already?
In episode 3, Catch The Leader, Ryan and Geoff both opined that the turn order mechanic in Power Grid diminishes the overall experience. This prompted a lot of passionate debate in the forums.
For this bonus episode, we are joined by listener and poster Tim Koppang, who defends this Catch the Leader mechanic as integral to the Power Grid experience, and essential to gameplay.
Episode 4 will be posted as scheduled, on March 20.
Ludology Bonus Episode - ReviewsMar 13, 2011 00
Here is the next classic GameTek episode. This is on one of Tom Vasel's favorite topics - reviews!
This is purely 'bonus' content, and we will still be keeping to our regular two week release schedule.
Episode 3 - Catch The LeaderMar 7, 2011 51:41
In this episode, Ryan and Geoff begin their series on balance. First up: Catch The Leader.
What exactly is Catch The Leader? When is it needed, if ever? When does it work and when doesn't it?
Ludology Bonus Episode 1 - GameTek Classic!Feb 27, 2011 05:45
Regular Ludology episodes will be released every two weeks.
As an experiment, on the 'in between' weeks we are going to be releasing classic GameTek segments from The Dice Tower. This is the very first GameTek that was ever aired, on the topic of luck, and like all GameTeks is about 5 minutes long.
This is purely 'bonus' content, and we will still be keeping to our regular two week release schedule.
Please drop by our BGG guild and let us know if you enjoy these bonus releases!
Episode 2 - Why Do We Play Games?Feb 20, 2011 46:54
In our second episode we take a look at what attracts people to games, and what keeps them coming back for more. Plus Ryan and Geoff share personal stories about some of their game experiences over the years.
Episode 1 - What is a Game?Feb 8, 2011 38:00
Welcome to Ludology! In this, our first episode, we tackle the question of what is a game, and what isn't.