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Historical Games Drive Interest in History feat. Victoria Caña and Alex Uboldi – 88

Episode Overview

  • Episode Topics and Interviews
    • Board Gaming with Education Updates- Stay safe and stay healthy! – 00:22
    • Who are Alex and Victoria? – 1:54
    • Applying Soft Skills Learning in Video Games to the Workplace – 5:07
    • Falling in Love with History through Games – 8:00
    • Alex and Victoria’s Leap into Game Design – 11:48
    • “Gladius” – 14:08
    • Historical Games Driving Interest in Historical Topics – 17:15
    • “Gladius” as an Academic Reference for Art History – 22:54
    • Last Words: Why back “Gladius?” – 26:32
    • Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down Rapid Fire Round – 28:20

This week Dustin interviews Victoria Caña and Alex Uboldi from “Cat Quartet Games” to talk about their game currently on Kickstarter “Gladius.” They discuss topics ranging from the historical context in games, tangential learning, and soft skills learned from games.

Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/catquartetgames/gladius

Website: https://www.catquartetgames.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/gladiuscardgame

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gladiuscardgame/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gladiuscardgame/

Board Game Geek: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/285232/gladius-card-game

Thank you to Purple Planet Music for the wonderful contribution of their song “Retro Gamer” for our Interview Segment. This song can be found in full on this music archive. Also, thank you to Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) for his creative commons 4.0 contribution of “Getting it Done” for our Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down Rapid Fire Round.

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Updates from Board Gaming with Education – 2:07

Dear Board Gaming with Education Community,

First and foremost, we really hope everyone in our community remains safe and healthy during this time. We also understand the strain this situation can have on families and individuals. As an educator and husband myself, our family has begun to feel some of the strain and are responding in our own way to the unfortunate situation.

With COVID-19, and school closures in LA County, we will be suspending any Board Gaming with Education events for the next three weeks. We will continue to release podcasts on our regular schedule.

In the meantime, I have been considering ways we can support our community during this time that is in line with our brand and what we pride ourselves on doing. We consider ourselves to provide edutainment to educators and board gamers. We also directly support the community we have grown to know over the last two years. So, we are going to lean into these things that we do best during this time. We will be posting about this over the next week or so. Stay tuned!

If you have any other recommendations on how we can support our community we would love to hear them as well!


Who are Alex and Victoria? – 1:54

We meet Alex and Victoria and learn a bit about their company “Cat Quartet Games.”

Cat Quartet Games is an indie game company based in Seattle, Washington. Victoria is a former management consultant from Deloitte and now works as a game producer at Wizards of the Coast. Alex is a data analyst by day, and an avid lover of all forms of media (games, TVs, movies, music) by night. Valerie is a seasoned graphic designer and gamer who has worked everywhere from Zappos to Meepleville (a board game café in Las Vegas).

Applying Soft Skills Learned in Video Games to the Workplace – 5:07

Victoria talks about playing the video game “Harvest Moon” on Gamecube. She talks about the lesson she learned about keeping her cows healthy and strong, and how this required proactive organizational skills that carry over to her current career as a game producer and previously as a management consultant.

Falling in Love with History through Games – 8:00

Alex shares how he fell in love with history because of the games he has played. He talks about different historical games, specifically “Rome Total War.” He shares how his interest in this historical period and how this theme seeped over into their game “Gladius.

Alex and Victoria’s Leap into Games and Game Design – 11:48

Alex and Victoria share a bit about how their relationship evolved into playing two-player board games, and then into designing board games. They share their story on how they came up with the idea of Gladius through their experimenting with game design.

Gladius – 14:08

From the Kickstarter page, “In Gladius, play as cunning Roman spectators trying to make the most money by betting on and rigging the gladiatorial games. Each round, players secretly place bets on competing gladiator teams. Through the skillful use of underhanded tactics, players can help and hinder teams to alter the outcome of each battle. The player with the most money at the end wins!”

Historical Games Driving Interest in Historical Topics – 17:15

Alex talks about tangential learning and how games can be used as a medium for fun to inspire players to learn more about the topic.

Gladius as an Academic Reference for Art History – 22:54

Seth McCormick used Gladius as a reference in his paper: “Meaningful Decisions: Diversity and Inclusion in History-Themed Board Games.” Gladius is quoted in his paper:

in Gladius the focus is on winning bets, not battles: as a result, the players’ victory conditions are decoupled from the success or failure of individual gladiators in the arena. Since players are not incentivized to directly identify with the combatants, they are also one degree removed from the game’s thematic elements of violence, aggression, and direct competition.  This makes Gladius an interesting example of a game that “plays with positions,” a characteristic that Suzanne de Castell and Mary Bryson have identified as a benchmark of inclusive design.

Last Words: Why Back Gladius? – 26:32

Alex and Victoria tell us that Gladius is a perfect game for your classroom, homeschool collection, or library because it has been a hit with families and kids. The game is special because it uses a betting mechanic in a unique way to facilitate deduction and bluffing. It is easy to learn and always a new game every single time!

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down Rapid Fire Round – 28:20

Dustin challenges Alex and Victoria with some rapid-fire statements to see their unsolicited opinions on them. Be sure to tune in to hear his answers!

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