Geoffrey Engelstein public
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Welcome to Ludology, an analytical discussion of the how’s and why’s of the world of board games. Rather than news and reviews, Ludology explores a variety of topics about games from a wider lens, and discusses game history, game design and game players. Ludology is part of The Dice Tower Network, the premier board game media network.
 
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show series
 
Emma, Gil, and Scott discuss the idea of complexity in a board game. We explore 6 types of complexity, and discuss their effects on the games we play and design. SHOW NOTES 0m51s: Pete Seeger was an American folk singer, known for songs like "If I Had a Hammer," "Turn, Turn, Turn," and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" 2m04s: Our list of complexit…
 
Scott goes over the history of Which Witch, a game that's been adapted into many other games, including The Real Ghostbusters Game and the Scooby-doo! Haunted House 3D Board Game. If you're interested in learning more about Marvin Glass and Associates, Scott recommends that you read A World Without Reality: Inside Marvin Glass's Toy Vault. We also …
 
Emma and Gil welcome Karen Twelves, whose straddling of the worlds of gaming and improv led her to write the book Improv for Gamers. What can gaming and improv learn from each other? Content warning: this episode contains brief references to non-consensual touching and racism. SHOW NOTES 01m16s: AD&D is Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, the form of D&…
 
Emma and Gil welcome Sen-Foong Lim back to the show to discuss the differences—and similarities—between board games and roleplaying games. We go through the perspectives of playing them, designing them, and examining the culture of play between both. Sen originally appeared on Ludology 134: There's No "I" in Team with frequent co-designer Jay Cormi…
 
In the spirit of Halloween, Scott takes us through the spooky history of the Ouija board: its origins, the legal battles behind the curtain, and how a scientific phenomenon makes it all work. Bibliography of a Board Game https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-strange-and-mysterious-history-of-the-ouija-board-5860627/ https://www.vox.com/2016/10…
 
Today, we are continuing our series of exploring the design decisions behind our own games! Emma and Scott sit down with Gil to talk about his game High Rise; about how it started life as an auction game, and the twisty route it took to publication. SHOW NOTES 1m23s - Gil discussed the Wag auction in his Networks design diary on BGG. 2m45s - Gil's …
 
Having previously discussed relatively new advances in AI that allows computers to beat humans at games like Chess and Go, Geoff moves on to games in which AI will have a much harder time being competitive. What is it about these games that makes it so difficult to make a good automated opponent? 1m00s: Geoff introduced AlphaZero and AlphaGo in Gam…
 
Emma and Gil welcome game designer, developer, solo mode designer, and self-described "grump" Dávid Turczi to the show. We discuss the design of complex games with many interlocking systems, how to play with time in games, and the six (plus one) things Dávid looks for in a strategy board game. SHOW NOTES 1m18s - Battlestar Galactica 2m03s - Dávid's…
 
Scott covers the "beautiful game" of Subbuteo, the tabletop association football flicking game, as well as its predecessor Newfooty. Bibliography of a Boardgame http://www.peter-upton.co.uk/ https://fistf.com/history-of-the-game/ http://www.gamingcorner.nl/subbuteo-timeline.htm http://www.sporttischfussball.at/index-Dateien/Page2918.htm https://www…
 
Emma and Gil welcome game designer and publisher Omari Akil to the show to discuss the plight of the sports-themed board game. What kinds of unique challenges do we face when designing one of these games? Omari's game Hoop Godz will be on Kickstarter soon. SHOW NOTES 1m21s: Board Game Brothas, Tabletop Backer Party, Pathways Fellowship 4m55s: Gil w…
 
In the past few years, Ludology has recorded a live episode at Gen Con. We weren't going to let a global pandemic stop us this year! Recorded as part of Gen Con Online 2020, Emma, Gil, and Scott streamed this recording live on Twitch. We had an excellent turnout in the chat, and everyone seemed to really enjoy this new twist on Ludology Live! You c…
 
This is the 50th Biography of a Board Game episode! To celebrate, Scott takes us through the history of his first board game, Rayguns and Rocketships. BIBLIOGRAPHY OF A BOARD GAME 0m36s: Video game publisher THQ 0m51s: God of War, Pac Man World, Soul Blade 1m37s: The Star Wars Album 1m43s: The legendary filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, and Republic Pictur…
 
Emma and Gil welcome game designer, educator, and birder Chidi Paige to discuss how games and play benefit education, how she designed her bird-themed game Birdwiser, and how competitive birdwatching has affected her as a person. SHOW NOTES 0m22s: From educationcloset.com: "STEAM Education is an approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, E…
 
Emma and Gil invite award-winning game designer, teacher, and not-scholar Sharang Biswas to the show to discuss verbs in games. What actions do we actually perform when we play a game, what actions do they represent, and how does that impact the game experience? You can find Sharang on Twitter or on the web. Here is his itch.io store. CONTENT WARNI…
 
Scott takes us through the rise, fall, and rise again of the game Vinci, which designer Philippe Keyaerts and publisher Days of Wonder re-implemented as Small World. Bibliography of a board game Text: Meepletown interviews designer Keyaerts. Text: Boardtime interviews designer Keyaerts (the site is Polish, but the interview is in English). Text: Re…
 
Emma, Gil, and Scott go back to a topic that Ryan and Geoff discussed earlier in the show's history: Deckbuilding! With all that's changed (including Emma having designed a deckbuilder), what has changed, and what have we learned? 0m41s: The episode that Ryan and Geoff did was Ludology 119 - Deck the Halls. 0m46s: Dominion (which did come out in 20…
 
Emma and Gil welcome Banana Chan: game writer, larp/RPG designer, board game publisher, horror movie buff, and pop-up museum aficionado. We talk about writing for all kinds of games, how game mechanisms support intense experiences in larp and RPG, the effects of emancipatory bleed, and the effect of moving roleplay online. Content warning: we discu…
 
Scott takes us through the twisted history of the classic game Twister. How did it overcome its risqué premise to become a perennial favorite? Bibliography of a Board Game: Video - Twister was created 55 years ago Video - Ren Guyer: The Man Who Invented Twister & Nerf Video - Original Twister Commercial Video - Twister Mania for Xbox 360 review Tex…
 
Emma and Gil moderate a roundtable on safety tools in games, with guests Kienna Shaw and Lauren Bryant-Monk (creators of the TTRPG Safety Toolkit) and John Stavropoulos (creator of the X-Card). We discuss consent and safety in games, starting with tabletop roleplaying games (TTRPGs), but expanding to all sorts of games. How can safety tools help in…
 
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