Chaos: Speculation

Hands up if you’re excited about ‘Chaos Reborn’!

I’m sure you all know about Julian Gollop’s plans to create a new version of Chaos called Chaos Reborn. I won’t bother echoing your own feelings about the whole project which are, of course, that it’s really fucking exciting and we’re going to be able to play Chaos online at long last like we’ve fucking well wanted to do properly for a decade now. Wooo etc!

No, you already know all that.

What I’m going to say here is what I’d like to see in a new Chaos game.

*Lots and lots of ideas taken from Chaos sequel Lords of Chaos. People are too quick to forget just how brilliant that game was and how much it has to offer anyone contemplating a new Chaos title. Examples include the collectable weapons (maybe a super-duper magical sword which minions can fight over in a big skirmish with it passing from one goblin to another as the bodies pile up) and the large, detailed arenas (including dungeon crawls). I think we can give the puzzles and traps a miss, though, all things considered.

*No more illusions/disbelieve. You think it was “great”? That’s nostalgia talking, boyo. The illusion thing was rubbish and simply created situations where a big dragon was always followed-up next turn by the inevitable “disbelieve, vanish” retaliation. If we must have illusions, then why not proper ones that are images and nothing more. So you’ve got a wizard surrounded by muscled giants but when your pixie goes to slash their ankles there’s nothing to them…

*Ever-expanding bestiary. As Minecraft shows, once a game is released it can still be added to as long as people want it and as long as the developer is interested. The more creatures we have the dafter and more fun Chaos can be.

*Better ways of gaining more spells. Because that “doze in a magic wood” for a while thing was arse although…

*More killer plants. Because shadow wood was ace and needs to be complimented with lots of other nasty foliage. Giant venus flytraps, anyone?

*Sea and seamonsters. Because Chaos needs Kraken, sea-serpents and giant octopi!

*Swamp and swampmonsters. See above, but with more mud and tentacles.

*Batshit crazy pyrotechnics. Modern graphics capabilities are awesome. Let’s hope Julian goes overboard in using them. Imagine how fucking incredible the “wizard death” thing would look these days.

*Remembering to keep it simple. Because Chaos was never a two-pages-of-stats-and-twenty-keys RPG title that needed two hours to learn to play, it was a pick-up and play strategy game with depth that was discovered by playing, not learning. The underlying mechanics can be complex, sure, and there should be lots and lots for the players to uncover but it should be basically wizard-spells-move/attack-repeat.

Whatever happens, though, I’m convinced that we’re going to see something very special when this is completed and I’m really glad that Julian is trying to get it released on so many platforms so that as few as possible are left out. Let’s see a new generation get excited all over again. Can’t wait.


3 Responses to “Chaos: Speculation”

  1. David M Says:

    Heh, did you notice Julian Gollop wrote a post about this? Matty, if he takes out illusion spells because of you I shall kick you in the shins. Thankfully all the other comments are on the side of truth and justice.

    The illusion spell is GREAT. Have you only ever been casting strong illusory creatures from halfway across the arena and expecting it to last more than a turn, as you mention in your example? If so, it’s no wonder you think Illusion is rubbish – that’ll never work. But it’s useful in so many other situations. To the bullet-point-o-matic!

    * I think we can both agree it’s fairly useless for weak creatures that are easy to cast. But they’re not useless for strong creatures if you’ll only need them for a turn. Maybe you’re in an emergency, and need to cast an illusory dragon to be sure to kill the attacking creature. Or perhaps you’re near to a wizard and want him dead in a hurry. Fly an illusory dragon nearby and toast him before he can react. In neither case can the creature be disbelieved before it does something useful. (Unless you are early in the turn order and someone after you just happens to have chosen disbelieve, which normally doesn’t happen until nearly the endgame. But then you have the greater advantage in that you always get to move earlier than later folk, and much of the skill in casting illusory creatures is in choosing the right time anyway.)
    * If an opponent casts a creature and you suspect it to be illusory, there are situations where instead of risking disbelieving it I’ve cast an even stronger illusory creature of my own and smacked the other one about the head. Risky, but potentially better than casting disbelieve and it failing. And any spell which gets more dragons fighting each other in the centre of the arena is fine by me. Without it, probably two failed attempts at dragon spells. BORING.
    * You can quickly create a small army of mid-level creatures, perhaps with real ones mixed in to seed doubt. If the opposing player is continually casting disbelieve they lose “tempo”, to use a chess term. (Probably inaccurately.) They’re effectively paralysed by having to disbelieve all the time. Can be very effective when the opponent being attacked on two fronts – drown them in enemies.
    * It’s not just useful when attacking. How about illusory mounts to effect a quick getaway? People tend only to disbelieve things that pose a threat in my experience, and even if it’s disbelieved you’re already five spaces further away from danger anyway.
    * If the world’s getting lawful and you’ve only chaotic spells or vice versa, you can still cast some creatures and hopefully fight for survival. The trick is to cast things that won’t cause suspicion. It’s a balancing act. And the illusion still affects the chaos/lawful level, if I’m right? So you can swing it back your way without losing a turn to casting those (underpowered if you ask me) law/chaos spells.
    * Most importantly it’s tremendously fun! Those moments when someone casts disbelieve on a powerful attacking creature, only for it to fail are golden. The bluffing and subterfuge spices up the game an awful lot. It’s great wreaking havoc with a creature only you know is illusory. Then you can tell your vanquished opponent at the end of the game and mock them. Heehee! The game’s called Chaos, and should have massive swings in fortune. It’s hilarious when a giant is bearing down on a wizard, doomed to die, only for the creature to disappear in a puff of imaginary smoke. Groans and hoots of laughter around the screen. that’s EXCELLENT. Why don’t you like that? You’re CRAZY.

    Oh, and will get you round for board game goodness as soon as!

  2. StickHead Says:

    What he said with knobs on. The illusions are what turn Chaos from a boring Chess game into a seat of your pants Chess-cum-Poker game.

    Having said that. As long as there are harpys, I’m happy.

  3. Matty Says:

    Guys, I’m afraid I still don’t agree. I think David sums the problem up by saying that by using illusions a certain way you can effectively “paralyse” an opponent by forcing him to multiple disbelieve. That’s not the sort of strategy game I want to play. Be honest, if Chaos was a new game being designed from scratch and illusions were a part of it would they really be implemented this way?

    This has been discussed on Julian’s blog and an excellent idea was suggested there: rather than have the disbelieve spell have illusions vanish if they attack or are attacked by another illusion. This would increase the element of bluffing and avoid the “disbelieve” paralysis. It would also stop the “cast dragon/disbelieve” thing.

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