Josh Carlson
9:40 AM

Chosen as the #1 Solo Game in Top 100 by Ricky Royal!

Adam and I are speechless! What a great honor to be awarded. This is one of those Game Designer "bucket list" moments and is what fuels our efferts for years to come! 

See what he had to say Here! 

Josh Carlson
4:21 PM

Our biggest finish so far! Thanks to all who are making Origins possible!

Over $41k in funding is an impressive feat and one you should all be proud of! We will be sending out backer surveys soon and will be placing our final order once our quantities have been defined. 

There is so much to look forward to! Origins, GenCon (with a booth this year), Too Many Bones!, its going to be a wild ride! Thanks again everyone, product samples and proof approvals are next! 


Josh Carlson
1:00 PM

HOPLO: ORIGINS Kickstarter is LIVE! Over 40% funded in the first 24 hrs!!!

Were off and running!

And with one of the strongest starts we ever had! That's thanks you many of you who are following things and have already backed the project! For those who haven't yet or are just hearing about it, check out our campaign here

Guys, we really tried to raise the bar on this project. Taking a lot of time to represent the excitement Adam and I feel about Origins in the video we made and with the project details. Addon info is coming shortly and for any backers, we will already be sending out our first free chip survey that was unlocked for all stretch goal backers DAY 1 by easily blowing by the 5k in a day goal!

This game is priced as aggressive as we possibly can make it. We want the world to know about Hoplo and to be able to afford it! Please use the images at the bottom of our campaign and/or let your friends and family know about it. We would love to blow the top off this one and unlock some absolutely amazing stretch goals...maybe not an actual lion to spar with, but how about some steel alloy dice?  HEAVY DUTY DICE - ITS THE WAY WE ROLL! ;)  *Funny Story* - I was showing the steel dice to Adam when first considering if we could afford it and he was literally drooling over them. I could here his thoughts "Why do our backers get all the good stuff! I WANT THOSE DICE!" I'm halfway expecting him to back our own project and have to reject his pledge since its against KS rules. :) 

Anyway, enjoy the video and lets get to 26k fast so we can entertain some of the great suggestions already being submitted in the comments section of our campaign! 

Adam and Josh Carlson

Chip Theory Games

Josh Carlson
6:18 PM

Hoplomachus: Origins - The Kickstarter Approaches!


It's time to announce our final game in our Hoplo series!

Origins logo
Hoplomachus: The Lost Cities introduced you to 3 civilizations, Atlantis, Xanadu, and El Dorado. In the Hoplo series, these cities aren't lost...they are very much in existence! Something Rome and Pompeii find out all too quickly! After watching every move and tactic used in the arena by these foreigners, Rome finally decides to join in to win back the crowd in Hoplomachus: Rise of Rome

Now we are taking you back to the beginning, before that fated day when emissaries showed up at Rome's city gate. Hoplomachus: Origins will take you into the heart of each lost city, and place you in the hidden battle arenas designed specifically in preparation for their journey to Rome. 

Origins turns the Hoplo series on its head by including a gladiator draft mechanic. You and your opponent will be drafting units for up to 3 challenges, from the same gladiator pool! Each match will be different as players draft their favorite gladiator combos or secure gladiators best suited to the challenge. 

Origins will play much faster than its two predecessors. It features solo and versus gameplay, and matches are quick. However, a game isn't won in just one match, you will have to prove your worth in multiple arenas to be victorious. As always, you will be playing on premium quality neoprene battle mats (3) featuring The Golden Palace (El Dorado), The Earthen Oasis (Atlantis), and Top of the World (Xanadu)! 

This game features a number of new units and a completely new chip design (allowing players to draft from the same pool). These new chips and our new arenas make Holpomachus: Origins the perfect way to start or round out the Hoplo series.

There's so much more we could share but we will save it for the Kickstarter on April 16th at 10 AM (CST)! We hope to see you there! 

What about our new dice game? 

Oh its coming! August 18th to be exact!

We will have plenty of new updates to share before that time! It's truly shaping up to be a dice building strategy game that goes beyond anything you've seen before. 

Josh Carlson

Chip Theory Games

Josh Carlson
1:43 PM

Chip Theory...on Dice

Growing up, dice have played a part in almost every game Adam and I have enjoyed sinking our teeth into. There’s something about that anticipation of a good roll that keeps us coming back! Many may not know this, but originally Adam and I created Hoplo without dice. Why the initial deviation? Well, because early on, I regarded games like chess to be slightly more “strategic” than say, Risk. My original perception of the matter was pretty basic: the less chance a game had - the more a person’s skill was needed to play it. 

Our original aim for Hoplo was a gladiator game based strictly on “skill”. But very quickly in our first stages of playtesting, we found that the lack of all chance seemed to leave a big hole in our game! Not only was there nothing to cheer about on a “good roll”, but there was no opportunity for the “unthinkable” to happen and, in turn, the need for reaction and adaptation. Those first few games of Hoplo once we added dice, solidified something in me that I now hold to quite strongly. “Skill” must always be defined within the confines of the game you are playing. To play a “skillful” game of Risk doesn’t mean there is any less strategy than a game without dice, it just means you must account for a certain amount of chance when executing your moves. I know this realization is probably Chapter 1 in the “Gaming for Dummies” handbook, but it was important for my development as a gamer and game designer. 

After the success of Hoplomachus, Adam and I have strongly desired to push the boundaries of dice-use in a way that is unique, visual, and yes, “skillful”. Most games that use dice, usually have only 1 or 2 dice mechanics at work. This is wise and recommended when the basis of the game involves more than just dice. But dice-only games need more. While I could talk till I’m blue in the face about the advantages or challenges of Dice Pool over Fixed-Die or Step-Die implementations, it all comes down to what you want to do with dice. Are you trying to resolve a situation? Perform a skill check? Do battle? Make a decision? The problem is, beyond rolling and determining success/degree of success, dice are not typically seen as the “strategic” component of a game. Therein lies our challenge - to break the confines current dice games put people in and foster a new breed of "strategic dice rolling gamers", starting with a game that can support such a title. :)

Our newest game, slotted to KickStart in the first quarter of 2015, is a dice-building RPG that is...very ambitious but also quite stunning on multiple levels. We are introducing new race of fantasy creatures with traits and features drawn from both elves and goblins. An interesting and conflicted mix, we know! Yet it has produced a beautiful blend of mis-fit adventurers who are exceptionally agile and have an innate aptitude for technology. This is a dice adventure being played out by 1-4 of these adventures. They are setting out on a time-sensitive and dangerous journey to the north - a place few other races have been able to travel in thousands of years. Each day holds a new encounter that will require skillful selection and use of 16 unique dice and up to 6 base dice...for every character! Each party member has a basic function/aptitude that relates to the group, but can violate that role and build out their character very differently depending on the dynamics of the party or if they are going it alone.

To make a dice game this dynamic it requires multiple layers to each character’s dice management (called “Professions”). These Professions each contain their own mini-dice-mechanics from simple press-your-luck, roll-and-lock, or combination rolling, to more complex choices including dice-as-a-resource, dice quantity vs die improvement, and dice-use-timing (immediate vs reactive and accumulation bonus vs expenditure). This may seem like a LOT to initially grasp but because each person can opt to play a single character and because characters build on themselves, it’s VERY easy to understand the base dice/skills available and then learn and discover the possibilities along the way.

The fun and essence of this game will be its co-op (or solo) play game modes as your party battles further and further north. Group decisions will be plentiful and will first hinge on party encounter decisions and how you choose to navigate them. These are simple choices that, well, aren't so simple. They add an additional randomness to every battle that cannot be predicted but CAN be navigated or even mitigated based on your choices. 

In the below encounter examples you can see choices ranging from simple a risk/reward choice to a decision of delaying a greater disaster or taking on a smaller but immediate threat.

Card Example 1 Card Example 2

Each battle requires dice-use adaptation based on these cards (drawn before the battle), and on the types of enemies you end up facing. The classes your team chooses to play will turn the game in new directions as each particular character reacts to their surroundings differently. Every new profession you unlock can alter map direction, your environment, and battle engagements.

This time around, we are investing heavily in a talented artist to capture the exact feel we want for this rag-tag band of highly technical creatures. We want a comical side to each, without losing believability. It’s a fine but fun line to be toying with.

So yeah, that’s about it for what has been/will be consuming our present creative time. Adam and I are extremely excited for whats coming for Chip Theory Games in 2015! Both with Hoplo and also with our new games! We welcome your questions and feedback! Feel free to post them here on our blog and if you haven't already, please sign up for our monthly newsletter for updates as well! 

Josh and Adam Carlson

Chip Theory Games

Josh Carlson
12:40 AM

December News


So, we want to say thanks to all who have signed up to receive our monthly newsletter! In the past we have used various ways of communicating with our community - through BGG, through our Kickstarter updates, etc. We are trying to bring all of that back to our site. We will of course continue to provide updates through those other places but this will be our first and foremost place to update everyone. We also intend on using our blog gather feedback on certain aspects of our game development, so be watching for opportunities to give input as we would really appreciate it! 

What we've been up to!

Besides our lives and jobs outside of Chip Theory Games, Adam and I have been hard at work on about 4 different games as well as building our fulfillment solution. If you ever met us at GenCon and had the opportunity to play our "Hoplo" plinko to possibly win a free game, you may remember the info cards we had you fill out. On each, we asked a question about different game themes/types you most enjoyed or would like to see CTG work on. We have also asked this question often from those who have purchase Hoplomachus and 3 replies have repeatedly come up.

More Hoplo?

The first, more Hoplo! This makes us chuckle because its a huge compliment! There is plenty we will be doing with Hoplo. From the reenactment packs of famous battles, to an improved Training Grounds, with increasingly harder stages of competitors to face off against in quick battles (very much influenced by our computer gaming backgrounds) as well as a gladiator draft mode. These things get me excited just talking about them but I have to remind myself that we must to narrow our focus to get things produced! Because RoR is still fairly new and selling strong, we have paused new development of the Hoplo line while we turn our attention to our next game.    

Let the dice roll!

The second largest response we had from many was surprisingly, a good dice builder game. We've heard the same comments over and over with both this and our CTG Tower Defense ideas: "If you do it well, CTG style, people will LOVE it. But what is out there right now, is not so good." While we want to be aware that those games that have gone before us have possibly left a negative impression of what "dice building" can be, Adam and I are pretty excited to blow that perception out of the water. Just like Hoplo, our focus is multi-layered, which includes a visually stunning game with components people are proud to hold and use. In addition, we will be building this game around a solid single and co-op player mode, something Hoplo continues to receive high marks for! 

The task is daunting but we are wayyyyy down the road already and are actually getting to the fun parts of character development. We love working with personalities and the bearing they have on profession lines - all within a theme that is dear to us from our "Arcanum" days growing up. To immerse these characters into a realm that's half steampunk and half goblin gadgetry, has been been a very rewarding and challenging experience.

Without revealing too much, this game is about a band of unusual "elves". Cast out of their homes and left to fend for themselves, this band of Aierea or "short ones" must turn to the very thing that labeled them outcasts...their unusual aptitudes for technology. Seeking answers and ultimately reunion with their elven kind, they take their skills and gadgets and head northeast towards a forbidden place that has held the elven race at bay for thousands of years. Below is a peek into the sketch progress that is happening with one of our characters. As you can see, things start very simple. The scrawny look and distinct differences of the house elves (goblin-esque) of Harry Potter were an influence here. But this was just a starting point. Very quickly, we build back strength into each sketch. The last feels maybe a bit too tech heavy and may see a reduction back to a previous version but we've shown a few here so you could see some of the different stages.  

This is NOT simply a game of bigger and better dice. Its about building a band of fighters who must select certain skills they have learned (new dice, purchased dice, temporary dice) and use them differently with each new encounter. Every unit has multiple dice mechanics available to him/her through different profession lines that can be developed. You like the press-your-luck rolling? Great! That's just one of 3-5 profession lines/skills that can be built out in one of our units. This is an adventure of actions and reactions with skills and professions that must be used creatively to defeat the opposition. Each day holds a new battle with harder and more strategic enemies. It's up to you to determine what skills will combine the best with the rest of your party in order to overcome them. 

Feedback from You! 

This month we will asking for feedback on a few game dynamics and we welcome anyone with opinions to post! Thanks again for the interest in our newest direction and we look forward to the next chance we get to show more of our hand for 2015! 

Adam and Josh Carlson

Josh Carlson
9:34 AM

Our Next Game Is Getting Closer! More info to come in December!

In Dec we will be posting more art concepts/renderings, as well as some sneak peeks into the inner workings of our next game! At this point there is still the need to keep many details under wraps, but that won't be the case for too much longer! 

What we CAN tell you now:
  • This game is not Hoplomachus. We LOVE the HOPLO line. With the feedback we've been getting (and the fact that we will be sold out yet again in about 2 months), its something we will ABSOLUTELY be building out! We already have reenactment packs in development along with a gladiator draft mode variation on TG! But being we are still small, we cannot afford to scatter our focus and right now we have :)
  • This game is ambitious. If you are familiar with our Hoplo line, you will know that we don't to anything half...shielded. Prepare yourself for quality components (yes, probably another flippin heavy game!), a visually stunning experience, and our favorite - something you've never quite seen before. 
  • This game has amazing art! We have secured an awesome illustrator to totally take on the world and characters for our new game. This is one of my (Josh) favorite parts and I can't wait to introduce you all to some of the characters we are developing. 

If you have not joined our monthly newsletter, please do so as we are just starting to get that rolling and its another way to get a heads up on what we are actively working on! Catch you all soon!


Josh Carlson
6:58 PM

Latest News! Backer game fulfillment at 90%!

Shipping Status

Despite what many may have thought, Adam and I did not die from paper cuts while packing shipping boxes. The long vow of silence was just Adam and I trying to catch up a bit. Both of us have backed a lot of Kickstarter games and its always hard to hear that a game is taking longer than expected...again and again. Weekly updates of "We are now at 52%!" don't go over that great. That being said, many of you have made a good point that delays are usually ok as long as you know about them. And so a fine line must be found. 

In our case, the good news is that games have been going out constantly (as you have seen reported by many backers already). So why is it taking so long!? Well, weeks ago, our main sticker assembly source was halted and we had to switch gears yet again to do that ourselves. That slowed game delivery way down. We have recently appointed a new team to assemble stickers and are back to full throttle again! 

One other thing I will mention is that when we sent out the surveys, we weren't expecting quite so many people to buy the add-ons we offered! The majority of you, if you didn't have the add-ons as part of your pledge already, ended up adding on ALL of the add-ons we offered! That was AWESOME...but it also practically doubled the amount of chips we needed to sticker to fill each backer order. Whew! It's been a long road but its almost to its completion! Thank you for your patience! 

If you DON'T have your game yet, its not lost in the mail - its coming! If your address has changed - please send it to us! And if you still feel like you just want to check in on your game specifically - go ahead and e-mail us. We will try to reply promptly with your status. 

After we have finished the backer orders we will be moving right into all the Post-KS orders that have been placed last year at GenCon or on our website. At that point, I will be switching gears and working on posting the RoR pages to our renovated website ( and filling them with content! We will also be giving you a much more in depth preview of the next 3 games/efforts we have in progress! 

Rise of Rome Unboxing Video

Reviewers will be receiving our game in the upcoming weeks and you will be seeing gameplay videos being posted shortly after. We wanted these up at the same time as people are receiving their games because sometimes it offers a much easier way of learning the game apart from just reading the rulebook (although the color and printing of RoR's rulebook is 10x improved from TLC and should be a fun read)! 

The first unboxing video has already been posted by Ricky Royal - Box of Delights. You can view it here!

Josh Carlson
12:58 AM

Shipping Update, RoR Game Info, and RoR KS Exclusives!

Shipping Update

We are now closing in on 60% finished with shipping and now that we have our process refined and some consistent help, things are speeding up! This has been a long process for the two of us but not nearly as long as what it must feel like for our backers! We appreciate your patience! Games are shipping daily! Thank you everyone who has sent in your new addresses! 

We don't mind people checking in or asking where things are at, but please know that if you haven't received your game yet, it's not lost in the mail! You WILL receive a notification once it has shipped! 


RoR Game Info

New RoR Gameplay Videos will be posted on our site later this week as well as detailed video overviews of all the new Add-on chips and abilities so be watching our website for those to appear (we will also post another update when they do). 

Also, if you want to get a head start on the rules, feel free to download them here: 


RoR KS Exclusives

As more and more Kickstarter orders are being filled, we wanted to take a moment and detail out what will be coming with your order that is strictly considered Kickstarter Exclusive material. Because none of this content is part of the retail version of the game, you will not find explanation on how to use it within the gamebox. This update will hopefully help clarify (as will our website)! 


Flippin' Flip Chip

This is the one piece we DID write into the rulebook! It serves one frivolous but oh-so-important purpose...Flip the flippin flip chip to see who starts the game! 


Custom Titan Dice (2)

These two dice are used with 2 of the 4 Titans that come with Rise of Rome. When the card asks you to roll a D6, that's when you whip out your custom Titan die and let er fly! 



Hero Mash-up (3 chips) and Roman Heroes (3 chips)

These 6 Chips are all Crowd Favor Gladiators and are meant to be shuffled in with your two CF Gladiators that come with RoR. Your CF Gladiator is the final CF Reward you unlock within the game and can be of great assistance in ensuring victory!

Here is a list of all 6 chips that are included:

    • Hugo (undead)
    • Taleena (elven)
    • Occuria (angelic)
    • Spartacus
    • Emperor Commodus
    • Caracalla

For now, all abilities, alts, and innates for these units are listed within our Master List which you can reference at any time. Soon we will be creating a downloadable PDF of just these abliites so you can print them out and have them nearby while playing. 


Tribute (2 chips)

These two Tribute chips are for use with two special PvP modes created for TLC. Find out more about them here!


Equipment (4 chips)

These 4 equipment pieces are for use within any of our arenas, including the Training Grounds! The Xanadian Crossbow, Centurion Helm, Roman Parmula, and the Pompeiian Whip are all optional play pieces. Refer to Add-on Rulebook for instructions on how to set up and play with Equipment here!


Containers (3 chips)

These 3 container chips are sharp looking (but purely cosmetic) chips that signify the boxes or barrels your equipment is found in when playing Hoplo. Follow the normal Equipment rules linked above to setup your equipment. Once finished, place the appropriate container (that matches the amount of health you chose for it) on top of the stack. That's it! Now enjoy bashing boxes and crates to get at the goods inside!


Beast and Master Add-On (10 chips)

This is NOT exclusive to the Kickstarter and can be purchased as an add-on however, it was unlocked and therefore included free-of-charge for everyone who was a part of the Kickstarter.

Here is a list of all 10 chips represented in this Add-on:

      • El Doradian BeastMaster
      • Emerald Falcon
      • Pompeiian BeastMaster
      • Mist Panther
      • Xanadian BeastMaster
      • Slateback Gorilla
      • Atlantean BeastMaster
      • Sea Crocodile
      • Roman BeastMaster
      • Armored Rhino


Paying Homage Add-On (7 chips)

While this IS exclusive to the Kickstarter, it is also something that was not free. This Add-on needed to be purchased. Like the Hero Mash-up and Roman Heroes, these 7 chips are also CF Gladiators and are to be shuffled and chosen from when selecting and placing your CF Rewards.

Here is a list of all 7 chips that are included:

      • VarLance
      • Norris
      • SuperDad
      • Tox
      • Vass El'Tori
      • Jeffory
      • Hectros

For now, all abilities, alts, and innates for these units are listed within our Master List which you can reference at any time. Soon we will be creating a downloadable PDF of just these abilities so you can print them out and have them nearby while playing.

Josh Carlson
7:01 AM

Top 10 Solo Board Games from Box of Delights!

Firmly placed between Marvel's incredible deck builder Legendary, and Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, Box of Delights has named Hoplomachus: The Lost Cities it's #4 solo game of all time!!! We couldn't be more honored! Again, if you're a fan of board games and need an inside track on what's worth playing, you should swing by Box of Delights on YouTube (!!