Rise and shine, Gearlocs!
If you’re a big Chip Theory fan, you probably think you more or less know everything we’re working on right now, right? Obviously, you know we’ve been burning the cycle at both ends completing burncycle and preparing Hoplomachus: Victorum for its May Kickstarter launch, as well as helping make sure that everyone gets their Cloudspire: Ankar’s Plunder Kickstarter rewards in a satisfactory manner. If you’ve really been paying attention, you also know that we’ve been hammering away on another secret project, a game that is very cool and still very secret, but which we are excited to reveal to you in due time.
You knew all that, right? Well, as Han Solo would say, “Great, kid! Don’t get cocky!”
You see, there’s something else we’ve been keeping from you: There’s yet another top secret project we’ve been working on, and we’re letting you know what it is today! A new book in our vaunted line of overproduced and insane Too Many Bones lore. But first…
Logbooks are back, no foolin’!
Many, many, many of you have begged and pleaded for us not only to reprint the Too Many Bones Liberation Logbook and Waterlogged Book in a physical format, but also for us to release more stories set in the Too Many Bones universe. Finally, we can announce that we’re granting both wishes: Both logbooks are receiving a new print run, AND we’re publishing a brand new entry in the Too Many Bones lore canon, this one scaling even higher heights in Chip Theory Games’ storied history of premium overproduction. Not only is all of this coming soon, but you can secure it for yourself right now: It’s all available for preorder today (see the bottom of this update for info)!
We should mention that this print run will not be autographed by designers/writers/artists, and this iteration of the Waterlogged Book will be skipping the “hand weathering” process done on the first print run of books. We are legitimately afraid to tally the amount of money we lost in wages paying our forlorn employees to beat up books and dip them in the Sibron River…
Before we say what the new book actually is, however, let’s discuss what it isn’t, what it could have been, and how we got to where we are.
Raising An Already High Bar
Beating the current production quality of our logbooks was always going to be a tricky proposition. As befits a game with production values like Too Many Bones, we wanted the lore objects thus far to be inventive, immersive curios, authentic “found objects” from the world of Daelore. The Liberation Logbook has a real leather embossed cover and beautiful, high-quality fiber paper with unique flame-singed pages. The Waterlogged Book, on the other hand, has a rough-hewn, rugged leather cover, a tie-shut clasp that no one knows how to retie, and, for the first run of books, we actually hand-weathered every single one in the mud and rocks of the Sibron River (read: our parking lot). Some (namely our staff) will be pleased to hear we are skipping the parking lot dirt on this next print run, but everything else is still just as over the top!
When you’ve already got books being produced at this level, how on earth do you raise the bar? Clearly, some kind of format change was needed, so almost a year ago we started brainstorming what that exact format might be…
People have often compared Chip Theory fans to a cult or religion, so naturally we began by examining any and all of the most respected sacred literature to see if we could add a TMB-themed entry to the canon. While it seemed a tad presumptuous to assume we might be able to create a book as influential as the Bible, Koran, Torah, Vedas, etc., we saw no reason to limit ourselves. You know what they say: “Shoot for the Old Testament, and even if you miss, you’ll land among the Apocrypha.”
However, one thing all TMB content has had in common so far is goofy flavor text and Ghillie’s dad jokes, and upon further research, most holy texts aren’t exactly zany laugh riots (although there is that one time when Elisha sends some bears to attack some too-cool-for-school teens who made fun of him for being bald. That was probably pretty funny for the bears). Given the lack of humor in those books, we decided to keep looking.
We’re pretty into scrolls over here, like … more than you’d ever expect. We view them as a sort of early form of the neoprene playmat, except that it’s made from lame materials like paper and papyrus (a material so lame that the lamest of all fonts was named after it). Unfurling a scroll across anyone’s table is an impressive flex, sure to impress the elders in your family who were around when they were invented. As we are constantly looking to draw in new audiences, the idea that we might entice folks in the 1,000+ year old age bracket was appealing until we realized those folks had all been dead for at least 1,000+ years and probably wouldn’t have the finances to keep up with today’s inflation rates (instead of buying stock in Apple, they probably just bought regular old apples…unless it was the *original* “original sin” apple. That would probably sell for a lot on eBay or as an NFT or something [Editor’s note: NFT joke, check]). So, scrolls were scrapped. For now.
That said, we did buy a table leg and spent ample R&D time determining scroll viability as an option for our third text, but we burned the whole idea shortly thereafter.
Please. We don’t even color our current loot and baddies.
Some of our staff have been arguing for a while that the next baddie type to add to the game should be “old one,” but there’s been a lot of debate as to the efficacy of doing so outside of a new standalone expansion (and in the end, isn’t Cthulhu just a glorified bog or krelln?). Besides that, while we may have once considered it “edgy” or “x-treme” to add the book of all evil into the Too Many Bones universe, the events of the last year or so have convinced us that this may be a bit too much for everyone. Everybody already feels like they’re fighting a losing battle with madness as they careen headlong into the abyss (Facebook). Adding Yog-Sothoth into the mix just seems redundant at this point!
And speaking of hurtling headlong into the maw of incomprehension, we briefly considered a more conventional approach to the upcoming lore book format…
Historically speaking, you’ve let us know loud and clear that this book type has not been our strong suit, so we decided not to take on another one unnecessarily (for the games that require rulebooks, however, we’ve made hires and have been working on processes that ARE making them a lot better! Check out second edition Cloudspire! Paul Grogan of Gaming Rules is helping with the burncycle rulebook!).
By this point, we were getting desperate. Looking for a safe bet, we decided to fall back on Josh’s core design principle.
When In Doubt, Make It Neoprene
Why didn’t we think of it before? A neoprene book, with edge-stitched pages and double-sided printing! The deluxe version could even have a neoprene staging area for you to keep the book when you’re not reading it and a neoprene mat for you to rest the book on while it’s open. It’s immune to water damage, can double as a blanket on the coldest of nights, and could triple as insoles for your shoes…or even just shoes if your floor is lava. It was clear we had devised a major contender with this one.
We were all ready to start printing, but then, we realized: the pages would be too thick! Even at burncycle room mat thickness, we’re talking something that would be the size of approximately eight children’s board books! At that point, even the magical properties of neoprene would be lost to such an unmanageable tome. If we were going to make extra thick pages, they would need to be that way for a reason.
Our next idea came after we heard Ghillie reminiscing about his eighth screening of “Avatar.”
We’ll admit, this one was more of a combination of two words than it was a coherent pitch. We quickly realized that a 3D book, is, of course, a pretty nonspecific idea. After all, aren’t all physical books 3D?
Then again, it could be a book that you have to read with 3D glasses. Maybe we could even market it with some kind of Too Many Bones themed cereal (NobulO’s). Get a free logbook with every box, and send in five boxtops to get a pair of cardboard 3D glasses that will disintegrate the moment the room gets even a little bit humid.
Or maybe we could make a regular book with 3D elements that leap off the page? We tried a few prototypes, but ultimately, it just felt a bit too silly.
That’s when it hit us. The perfect format. The ultimate 3D book. One that would tie into the history of Too Many Bones, our tradition of insane production, and some folks’ (frankly baffling) assertion that our TMB products are filled with secrets. The pinnacle of all literature…
It was right there the whole time. The TMB Kickstarter videos already feature a pop-up book aesthetic, after all, and what is Too Many Bones but a whimsical, larger-than-life adventure that leaps off the page (or the card) into your imagination? It would be a great way to feature the great TMB art of Anthony LeTourneau, it could be another conversation piece like the Liberation and Waterlogged books, and there could be plenty of nooks and crannies for gameplay content and other, uh, secret stuff that we totally don’t do (but if we did, that’s where it would be! Probably).
The Idea Takes Shape
One week after landing on the big idea, we were shoulders deep in pop-up book examples, had sent out a barrage of emails in search of the right paper engineer, and had located a manufacturer that specializes in pop-up book manufacturing (Walking Dead, Alice in Wonderland, etc). Not long after that, we found Sam Ita, our paper engineer, and cued up Logan Giannini, our project developer (also from famed puzzle company the Enigma Emporium, though there’s no reason we’d mention that now), and we were off to the races!
The Shapes Take Form
Fast forward a bit, and the project team was soon joined by Anthony working on art and our writer Ryan Howard working on encounter lore, with Logan spearheading content and component development. In this phase, even though most of the story ideas and visual elements had been fleshed out, we were still very interested in how we could push the envelope with what could be built into this book. From encounters and loot to actual chips, we tried it all.
The Form Ta…Pops Up!
And, in the last week, we have actually started to see these pages turn into full working spreads. You’ll see the example below. This is one of seven spreads in the final book. We have working versions of one other spread that’s a flatter Day 1 start at the Tipsy Troll Tavern, and yet another that’s pretty far along and involves…spinning contraptions. It’s really freaking cool(!) but still needs art applied to it, and we don’t want to spoil too much ahead of release. The bottom line is that this is perhaps the weirdest and craziest thing we’ve done (so far). Too Many Bones is such a bizarre universe and we love that it allows for these types of experiments.
So yeah, In case you haven’t figured it out yet, we’re officially making a Too Many Bones pop-up book (and you can preorder it today)!
Wait, for real? This isn’t an elaborate April Fool’s joke?
Yes, we are for real! This is NOT a joke (Fun fact: this is exactly what Ghillie told his parents after he announced “I got a job at a board game company!”). Here is what you will encounter when you open The Automaton of Shale:
- A new original short story, in verse, by developer Logan Giannini, featuring pop-up art drawn by Too Many Bones artist Anthony LeTourneau, with paper engineering by Sam Ita.
- A related set of actual encounter cards, loot, and baddies loaded INTO the book to be revealed and played throughout the story. These cards and chips can be used as a unique Bones adventure or mixed in with your other TMB content.
- A brand new tyrant(!) to be further revealed at a later date.
- An *extra something* that absolutely will NOT contain additional mysteries that will vastly exceed all other rumored TMB mysteries that don’t exist. Because these “mysteries” are a figment of your imagination, they will clearly not lead to big Too Many Bones reveals over the course of the next year or so. This *extra something* will be included with the book, but it’s of absolutely NO consequence, is not a riddle, and why anyone would ever say otherwise is the real riddle. This *extra something* may be seriously significant. It is not additional TMB gameplay, but it is and has been a huge secret undertaking over the course of the last year in and of itself. In fact, the work that has gone into the *extra something* is roughly equivalent to the pop-up book itself. But it should not be treated as a big deal and you should not care about this aspect cause it doesn’t exist.
The full list of components found within the pop-up book is as follows:
So, there you have it. A lovingly-produced pop-up book, featuring exclusive gameplay content and additional, yet-to-be-revealed goodies to go alongside the perpetually requested reprint of our previous TMB logbooks.
While we don’t want to rule out the possibility of EVER releasing the gameplay content separately, we will be making this gameplay content exclusive to this book until at least the 2022 holiday season. So, for now, this book will be the only place to get the new tyrant and playable story content.
Both the pop-up book and the logbook reprints are very specialized print jobs with higher than normal production costs. Therefore, we are limiting these items to two ordering windows:
- A special preorder window from today (April 1) through April 30, where you can get all three products at a reduced price. There is no limit on quantities during this window. We’ll tailor our print quantities based on the number of preorders we receive.
- The holiday 2021 season from Black Friday through the end of the year (while supplies last). The books may sell out during this season and will be limited to whatever we have left on hand.
We want to stress that all three of these books are passion projects through and through. These books net us very little to no profit at the end of the day. We make them because we love them and think they’re ridiculously cool. So please know that these price points do not include massive markups. We price these books at a point that allows us to bring them into existence. 🙂 Because of the cost on all three of them, we’ll be basing our order quantities heavily on this month-long preorder window and overprinting very limited quantities beyond that for the holiday season.
Will we reprint these books again in the future? Possibly, but we don’t know. That’s not a threat or a ploy to create FOMO, it’s simply us being honest about how costly they are to make and how little profit we take on them.
So don’t delay! Preorder the latest weird piece of Too Many Bones lore now, and prepare for a new round of Daelorian craziness when your copy arrives. And who knows? By the time we make the next logbook, maybe we’ll have that neoprene prototype figured out.
You can place your preorders TODAY at chiptheorygames.com. The expected arrival on these books is November 2021, but as we’ve learned with everything in this COVID-riddled (did I just say “riddled” again?) landscape, there may be unexpected delays.
So, happy April Fool’s Day! The day of the year we now turn to for the most absurd of product announcements. Except we’ve taken to actually announcing real stuff on April 1. Because like most things in the world, we like to do it our own way 😉
You’ll find direct links to all of these items in our store (and a bit of fine print) below! We’ll see you in the comments!
Josh, Adam, and Josh (Ghillie)
Too Many Bones Lore Book Bundle – $110/€105
Includes The Liberation Logbook, Waterlogged Book, and The Automaton of Shale
Available for preorder exclusively during April 2021 with expected delivery around November 2021
Save $20/€20 off MSRP
The Automaton of Shale: A Too Many Bones Pop-up Adventure (+ Unrevealed Secrets!) – $60/€57
Available for preorder now for $60 with expected delivery around November 2021
Limited copies will also be sold between Black Friday and New Year’s for $60/€57
The Liberation Logbook – $35/€34
Available for preorder now for $35 with expected delivery around November 2021
Remaining copies will be sold between Black Friday and New Year’s for $35/€34
The Waterlogged Book – $35/€34
Available for preorder now for $35 with expected delivery around November 2021
Remaining copies will be sold between Black Friday and New Year’s for $35/€34