Ground Belief Podcast #1 with Mark Swanson

My first ever attempt at a podcasty thing. I “interviewed” Mark Swanson, Associate Professor in the MU School of Journalism. Mark is also the feudum game critical thinkingcreator of Feudum, a new table top “Euro” style strategy game. Mark and I talk frequently about how complex board games require and develop critical thinking skills, and that’s the subject of our conversation on this “podcast.”  I’ve broken the interview up into two 20-min. segments, and the second half will be posted later this week. The audio quality isn’t great, since we recorded the whole thing completely on a whim using my iPhone. If you like board games, nerds, and the psychology of critical thinking and game play, take a listen. 

What To Listen For

  • Knowing that Mark prefers games with little or no luck involved, I ask him whether there is luck in Feudum and where it is.
  • We discuss the distinction between ordinary game play and the “meta-game,” which involves the social and psychological interactions between the players.
  • It turns out there are at least two ways of creating a game: by the use of mathematical theory and by scientific “experimentation.” Games like Settlers of Catan seem to have been developed the former way, while Mark created his with the latter method, using lots of play testing.
  • Mark talks about what makes “Euro” games superior to “American” games.
  • I almost trick Mark into revealing the best strategy for winning his game.
  • We talk a little bit about why playing complex strategy games can help us develop our thinking skills.

In the podcast, I don’t attempt to draw out all the implications for better belief formation or civil discourse. I leave that to you, the listener.




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