Board Game Ideology — Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #108

As board games are becom­ing increas­ing­ly pop­u­lar with adults, we ask: What’s the rela­tion­ship between a board game’s mechan­ics and its nar­ra­tive? Does the “mes­sage” of a board game mat­ter?

Your host Mark Lin­sen­may­er is joined by game design­er Tom­my Maranges, edu­ca­tor Michelle Par­rinel­lo-Cason, and ex-philoso­pher Al Bak­er to talk about re-skin­ning games, design­ing play­er expe­ri­ences, play styles, game com­plex­i­ty, and more.

Some of the games we men­tion include Puer­to Rico, Monop­oly, Set­tlers of Catan, Sor­ry, Munchkin, Sushi Go, Wel­come To…, Code­names, Pan­dem­ic, Occam Hor­ror, Ter­ra Mys­ti­ca, chess, Tick­et to Ride, Splen­dor, Pho­to­syn­the­sis, Spir­it Island, Escape from the Dark Cas­tle, and Wingspan.

Some arti­cles that fed our dis­cus­sion includ­ed:

The two games Tom­my cre­at­ed that we bring up are Secret Hitler and Inhu­man Con­di­tions.

This episode includes bonus dis­cus­sion you can access by sup­port­ing the pod­cast at or by choos­ing a paid sub­scrip­tion through Apple Pod­casts. This pod­cast is part of the Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life pod­cast net­work.

Pret­ty Much Pop: A Cul­ture Pod­cast is the first pod­cast curat­ed by Open Cul­ture. Browse all Pret­ty Much Pop posts.

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.