Ok, even if this is a space/sci-fi/fantasy strategy games blog, many of you reading the site probably never heard of a game called Rebelstar, a turn-based sci-fi tactics title for ZX Spectrum from the 80’s. Or, you’re simply not that old :) Or, you probably never heard of a game called Chaos: The Battle of Wizards either, a fantasy turn-based tactics title also from the 80’s, and for ZX Spectrum as well. But, there’s another turn-based tactics game from the 90’s that I’m positive all of you are familiar with, or at least have heard about. X-COM: UFO Defense (aka UFO: Enemy Unknown).
What do all of these games have in common? They were designed and mostly developed by the same person, Julian Gollop, a game designer I have profound admiration and respect for. And, these were titles that, and I’m sure many of you can relate to this, had a decisive influence in my gaming life. Julian has been developing other games since then, some of them variants of his past work, also some new titles, but usually all turn-based or tactical in nature. His latest project is a remake of the original Chaos: The Battle of Wizards game called Chaos Reborn. Julian says it’s “part sequel, part re-imagining of that original game brought up-to-date with high quality presentation”.
Either way, I can’t tell you how excited I was to hear about this new Chaos project back in 2012. It made me remember the times when I and a bunch of friends would get together to play Chaos (in hotseat) during school breaks. And now, Julian is on Kickstarter with a playable prototype for Chaos Reborn asking for support to help finish his game. The funds are to be used to include more content, to replace all the place-holder graphics, to include animations and to basically help complete all the features. Julian expects to deliver the final game by Q2 2015.
I tried the playable prototype with a friend. Currently, the prototype only allows multiplayer. You can play with 2, 3 or 4 players all against all, or in coop with 2 vs 2. The prototype is currently available and runs on your browser with a Unity plugin, or you can download it here. The final game will be released for Windows, Mac and Linux.
Well, it’s Chaos alright :) Now, prettier, more accessible. But, already a lot of fun. And while the prototype only offers a basic UI at the moment, and there’s some evident polish work to be done, this already feels like a game in itself. And, when you finish a match, you definitely feel in the mood to play another one. We played two games for these impressions. My friend never played Chaos before but I think he picked up the basics quite fast. Of course, I walked him through. I won both games! But I’m sure he’ll come back for a rematch soon :)
If you’re not familiarized with Chaos, it’s a simple but very elegant game where two or more wizards are fighting each other for supremacy. Basically you want to kill all the other wizards before they kill you! Each wizard can move and cast spells. Spells vary from direct effect shots (e.g. bolts) that inflict direct damage, to many types of fantastical creatures you can summon, like vampires, manticores, pegasus, skeletons, dragons, etc. Your usual fantasy-realm creatures. And, there are also other “area” effect spells like nasty replicating blobs of goo or spooky dangerous trees, or even spells to create equipment you can wear.
Now, the critical element involved in all of these spells is chance. Some spells are easier to cast than others. But, there’s an extra subtlety at work here. You can try to cast spells to create real creatures, or only illusions of such creatures, and the later always have a 100% chance to appear. Now, the fun part is that your opponents can’t tell the difference! This creates lots of interesting dynamics since you never know, although you can suspect, if a certain creature is an illusion or not. Well, if you cast a Green Dragon in the beginning of the game, it’s probably an illusion. But, you never know! And that’s the beauty of Chaos.
I had a great time with my friend. The game is turn-based. The prototype allows you to set the maximum turn-time. In your turn you can move your wizard, cast a spell and move all the units you have on the board. On top of the classic single-player and hotseat multiplayer experience, Chaos Reborn proposes more multiplayer modes (cooperative multiplayer with humans vs humans and a mix of humans and AI) and a single-player campaign. The Kickstarter page also mentions an online ranking system, a guild system, guild tournaments and items and equipment to trade.
Chaos Reborn is currently in the $140.000 mark of his $180.000 goal. With 6 days for the Kickstarter campaign to go, there’s a fair chance that Julian and co will make it. The stretch goals seem a bit far though. The $200K stretch goal would unlock more languages “minimum French, German, Italian and Spanish”, and the $240K Android and iOS support.
I’m in Julian, of course. Hopefully many more will come. For the fans out there, don’t get distracted. There’s a fairly good chance that Julian will make it, but we never know.Subscribe RSS
- Chaos Reborn – Early Access First Impressions
- Julian Gollop’s X-COM: UFO Defense Postmortem at GDC
- Battle Worlds: Kronos – Battle Isle Inspired Sci-Fi TBS
- X-COM vs XCOM: The Learner Meets the Master and Hero
- A List of Space/Sci-Fi/Fantasy Games You Can’t Miss in 2015