Dice Tower Network Podcast: Ludology

The Ludology site is about providing an analytical discussion of the how's and why's of the world of board games. Rather than news and tgreviews, Ludology explores a variety of topics about games from a wider lens, as well as discuss game history, game design and game players.

Regular Contributors:

Ludology Episodes

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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?

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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?

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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?

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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?

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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.

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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/

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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/

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