Board Games Studies Journal

The Board Games Studies Journal is an academic publication edited by the Portuguese Associação Ludus [Ludus Association].

The articles are sent from all over the world and the editorial board selects which ones are eligible for publication. The Associação Ludus is backed by Centro Interuniversitário de História das Ciências e da Tecnologia [Interuniversity Investigation Center for the History of Science and Technology]. This peer-reviewed journal for historical and systematic research on board games is freely available for consultation on the following website:

On the website, you can find nine issues (from 1998 until 2015). The issues 10 (2016), 11 (2017), 12 (2018), and 13 (2019) are on a different page:

One article aroused my curiosity: Evolution for Games (2014), by the Italian scholar Cosimo Cardellicchio. The author uses biological evolution principles to understand how a board game evolves into other variants with more or less complex rules. Because evolution occurs in two processes – mutation and competition –, it’s easy to apply these to the life and death of a game. Sometimes a dead game can be revived through minor changes and come back from the ‘dead’ like the manipulated dinosaurs in the science fiction flick Jurassic Park (1993). To a better understanding of the article I share the abstract below:

“The function-focused model of biological evolution is applied to board games studies. After a brief survey on the recent framework of evolution, a comparison between biological systems and games is performed. “Life” and “death” are defined, together with the application of the concept of “random change” and “competition”. When applied to games, the evolutionary model seems robust enough.”

Several ‘extinct’ and revived games could be given as an example. Senet is probably one of the most interesting ancient board games to have a comeback, although this is not mentioned in the article. Nowadays, it’s possible to play this two-person race game online with the same rules people played it 4.000 years ago.

Queen Nefertari playing Senet

Everybody that is academically involved in board game studies or that enjoys and plays board games will find an interesting article in the nine issues of this publication. The editorial board is also available to receive academic papers from anyone who wants to publish their research on this area of expertise. Articles are accepted in English, French, and German.

Managing Editor

Jorge Nuno Silva, University of Lisbon, Portugal    


Alex de Voogt, American Museum of Natural History, USA
Carlos Pereira dos Santos, University of Lisbon, Portugal  
Irving Finkel, British Museum, UK
João Pedro Neto, University of Lisbon, Portugal  
Thierry Depaulis, Le Vieux Papier, France
Ulrich Schädler, Musée Suisse du Jeu, Switzerland


email address:

Postal address:

Board Game Studies Jornal
c/o Jorge Nuno Silva
Department of History and Philosophy of Science – FCUL
Campo Grande, C4
1749-016 Lisboa Portugal

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