Play Saves the World

The meaning of play for human flourishing

About the show

Daniel and Kevin explore the meaning of play for human flourishing – what it is, what it means, and how people create and maintain playful lives. We explore books, people, places, and ideas committed to engendering play in the midst of busy, working lives.

Play Saves the World on social media


  • Episode 44: The Enneagram, for Board Gamers!

    December 3rd, 2023  |  1 hr 4 mins
    enneagram, spirituality

    We trek to new frontiers as we connect up the Enneagram (a typology of personalities) to game types and mechanics. What do your game interests say about you as a person? What motivates you, and what repels you, in life and in games?

  • Episode 43: Moltmann's A Theology of Play (part 3) – Christ the New Creation

    November 19th, 2023  |  1 hr 5 mins
    book club, moltmann, resurrection, theology

    We continue to discuss the seminal work A Theology of Play by Moltmann, who argues that play and games celebrate Christ's resurrection and God's new promised reality. Play is therefore not a distraction from suffering or a trivializing of life but a living out of our true identity.

  • Episode 42: Faith, religion and board game design with Shem Phillips

    November 5th, 2023  |  46 mins 13 secs
    design, garphill, guest

    Shem Phillips of Garphill Games discusses his use of trilogies in game design, the place of music and lyrics, facing personal tragedies, game design, and his religious faith.

  • Episode 41: Board Game Rulebooks, with Jordan Ault

    October 22nd, 2023  |  1 hr 10 mins
    board games, rules, special guest

    BGF contest winner Jordan Ault joins us for this special episode to discuss game rulebooks and rules in general, and how rules in games and religion can enlighten one another. Jordan brings his lawyerly acumen to the conversation. Plus … the return of the skit??

  • Episode 40: Personal Growth through Solo Board Games, with Liz Davidson

    October 8th, 2023  |  1 hr 7 mins
    historical games, history, solo gaming

    Liz Davidson of @BeyondSolitaire joins us to discuss the joys of solo gaming, historical games, and teaching.

  • Episode 39: The 7 Deadly Sins of Board Gaming

    September 24th, 2023  |  1 hr 1 min
    game theory, gaming, lists, theology

    The 7 deadly sins (or vices) in the Christian tradition are pride, greed, wrath, envy, lust, gluttony and sloth. How do they relate to board gaming?

  • Episode 38: Imitating God By Playing Games (Moltmann part 2)

    September 10th, 2023  |  59 mins 52 secs
    authentic humanity, game theory, moltmann, work

    How can we imitate God? By realizing that the world is meaningful but not necessary because God created it that way, and intends us to live lives of beauty, enjoyment, meaning, and not always productive. "We are to glorify God and enjoy God forever" in the Westminster Catechism of 1647; “To put it simply, the birds are singing more than Darwin permits” (Buytendijk). Games and play allow us to be fully and authentically ourselves, from achievement to being. These are topics we explore in our Book Club episode on Moltmann's A Theology of Play (pp. 15-25).

  • Episode 37: A Theology of Play Retreat

    August 20th, 2023  |  59 mins 44 secs
    game theory, mcgonigal, suits, teaching

    Daniel led sessions on the theology of play at a recent religious retreat, and he shares his thoughts on the sessions, his outlines, his hopes and expectations, and participant feedback.

  • Episode 36: Our Top 10 Games of All Time – But With Bible Verses!

    August 6th, 2023  |  1 hr 5 mins
    bible, contest winners, games, list

    We plunge into the world of top 10 lists, offering up our own along with spiritual lessons and scripture references, while making fun of lists in general. But first, the winners of our first ever action-packed giveaway contest!

  • Episode 35: Spirituality and Board Game Design, with Jamey Stegmaier

    July 23rd, 2023  |  26 mins 56 secs
    game design, inclusivity, spirituality

    Daniel interviews Jamey Stegmaier of Stegmaier Games (Wingspan, Scythe, and Viticulture) about his journey into board game design and his religious background, and how he sees his religious background informing his design ethic and work today.

  • Episode 34: Games with Religious Themes, with Alice Connor

    July 9th, 2023  |  1 hr 11 mins
    game theory, lists, religious games

    Alice Connor is an Episcopal priest, writer, blogger, and podcaster, and she shares her deep knowledge and interest in board games – and especially games with religious themes. What defines a good game or a religious game?

  • Episode 33: Moltmann's Theology of Play Part 1

    June 25th, 2023  |  1 hr 17 secs
    book club, game theory, suffering

    Another glorious book club episode! We dig into Jürgen Moltmann's Theology of Play, published in English in 1972. Moltmann asks if it is moral to play games when the world is filled with injustice and suffering, and answers with a resounding yes. Games anticipate our true identity and freedom, and can liberate us from false identities. "Games ... afford us an opportunity to experiment with free expression and with new human relationships" (p. 13).