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Feel free to reach us directly at: josh@chiptheorygames.com or adam@chiptheorygames.com

We are based in Minnesota.
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Game Making

I (Josh) grew up in the days when PC turn-based strats were epic. Games like Disciples, Jagged Alliance, and Heroes left a undeniable impression. Then Adam introduced us to Gladius for the PS2. We experienced adventure and exploration mixed with arena strategy from squad selection, positional awareness, and overall combat objectives. We soaked it up like sponges...

What started us on this game designing quest were two things…our families love of board games, and an insatiable hunger to take some of that adventure and nail-biting decision making we felt from our PC/console experiences, and weave it into the tactile, social, and real world of board gaming.

This is probably why Adam and I invest as much time in the visual and touch aspects of our games, as we do into gameplay and strategy. We highly value these things and see them as critical contributions to the overall gaming experience. The click of heavy chips, the smooth feel of a gaming mat that compresses slightly under the weight of a Champion with 10 health being moved toward its opponent - these subtleties are relevant and allow for greater game immersion.

Visually, we've always desired to go further than most games go. So we threw out all concerns about game weight and production cost do's and dont's on components and arrived at chips. These chip stacks are not "just to be different", they are intentional and so much more than just health counters. They are representative of a unit's stature within the battle and together they represent the tide of battle overall as your eye pans across the arena. Don't kid yourself, this visual element matters in gameplay! When you stare up at two 5 health defender stacks with your little attacker...it can cause you to change your gameplay, even though you may still hold the advantage!  

The strategy elements came fairly easy for the Hoplo series. I don't mean to make light of the 1-2 years we spent modifying gameplay and perfecting things but early on, Adam and I struck a nice balance to unit creation. Adam’s ingenious unit rating system allowed us to toy with health, move range, attack dice, even skills, and instantly come away with a pretty good idea of how that unit stacked up to its comrades.

The arenas themselves were our canvas on which to paint these battle scenes and were one of the areas we had the most fun figuring out. There's just so much you can do within an arena!  The stage is set and all eyes are on whats important! It became clear very early on that side objectives were important, even for a straight forward gladiator battle. Its pretty cool to look back on the game's development and progression and see what lead to what. We saw this need for secondary objectives as our opportunity to introduce Crowd Favor, a key aspect to our larger arenas. It also allowed us to formulate a catch-up mechanic as well as another way to introduce special gladiators and tactics. Stepping back from this portion after it was created was extremely rewarding and was probably the first point in Hoplo's creation where Adam and I actually felt we had a game on our hands. The crowd was now represented in a very tangible way! From there, the arena virtually made itself as it was already overflowing with strategical elements to consider, from trap doors and pits to equipment chests and archer pillars.

One final aspect about Hoplo that many may not see immediately is the attention we gave to making numerous modes of play. The decision to go this route instead of just one main game mode, in estimation, added another 4-6 months of design work. Typically you won't see many games that offer a 2-4 player verses mode, co-op vs the arena, co-op teams, and solo play all within the same game series. If you do, they can sometimes feel like an afterthought or "tacked on". The Hoplo series offers many modes of play with dedication and intentional effort given to each. Add to that the fact that you can use most every unit within all Hoplo games and you have a very versatile series on your hands! 

It truly been an honor to work on the Hoplo series with my cousin and best friend. This was our first game series and we are only just getting started. Too Many Bones is around the corner. Prepare yourself for another premium-in-all-aspects, visually stunning game. We intend to turn dice use on its head with a whimsical fantasy-rooted Dice-building RPG adventure. Strategy in dice rolling? Just you wait.

General History

Adam Carlson and I (Josh Carlson) have always had a passion for games. As I think back, I don't recall a time where we weren't altering and modifying a game to make it more challenging or fun, debating the "intent" of a board game rule, or just flat out enjoying the creativity and ingenuity of game creators and their creations. Being cousins, we saw each other a lot, and each week held new discussions about game dynamics or mechanics we thought were worth exploring. As we "grew up" and took on professions of our own, our passion for games kept us close and coming back to the table...literally, to play or discuss another game.


Starting a game company and designing games was often talked about, however, it wasn’t until 2011 that we started to pick up some momentum due to a concept that intrigued us both a great deal. Within a few months, our first game had begun to take shape. It's amazing and quite humbling to look back and see where we started and where we have grown to in just a few years! We didn't do this on our own! It was because of all the support and trust others gave us that we even exist today! Thanks to those people, we have established ourselves as Chip Theory Games LLC. We look forward to growing the recognition of our name in the industry as a company that prides itself on quality, innovation, depth, visual asthetics and of course; FUN!