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Hoplomachus: Fall of Rome

Hoplomachus is a series of gladiator-themed games by Chip Theory Games, and it's about to die. No more reprints, stock is limited, some items are already gone completely.

I really like Hoplomachus: The Lost Cities. It feels thematic: the way the beasts roam around until they happen to come close and then they lock on to you. The way the criminals move towards you one way or another. The different abilities your gladiators have. Epic fights. It's easy to learn and smooth to play. It looks beautiful and feels good. Hoplomachus: Rise of Rome brought more of the same, but with more streamlined play. I didn't feel it needed streamlining that much, and I was probably a bit stuck in my old ways. So I did not play that one often. Then Hoplomachus: Origins came out. It has a dedicated solo campaign, which is good. It was not for me though. Compared to the other games, these sessions felt like training in the gym. Just give me the fight already.

Still, a unique series and the first tactical "chips on a neoprene mat" game by the company. The problem is, it's not popular. Especially not compared to the later hits Too Many Bones and Cloudspire. It also did not have the art direction of later games, nor the deluxe treatment that Chip Theory Games got famous for and makes them money. So they thought long and hard and decided not to reprint anymore.

But, as it was their first game, it was obviously a labour of love, so this doesn't mean they're giving up on it. As they explained on their Facebook page, they're merely starting over their design with a clean slate. Somewhere in 2021 there will be a Kickstarter campaign for the new and improved version of Hoplomachus. The endless list of units, skills, alt-attacks and tactics will get rethought and streamlined. Quality and art of the new content will be more in line with the later games. And, most important for our blog: all solo content will be developed with a cohesive vision and get a unifying theme or campaign. More details will be revealed this Summer, then somewhere in 2022 we may be able to play it.

So. Last copies of the current iteration of Hoplomachus can be bought in the Chip Theory Games online store. After that, it's over. But, in the immortal words of Russell Crowe:

I'll be back!

#Hoplomachus #Carlson #ChipTheoryGames

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