Julian Gollop, best known in the modern gaming era as the creator of the original XCOM series, has been trickling out information about Chaos Reborn for some time now, but he's finally launched the project's long-awaited Kickstarter campaign.
For those unfamiliar, Chaos Reborn is a reboot of one of Gollop's earliest games: 1985's Chaos: The Battle of Wizards, a competitive board game-like strategy game for two to eight players. As the title suggests, the game took the format of a magical battle between up to eight different wizards, and revolved largely around summoning creatures to do battle with one another and hopefully get in a lucky attack on a rival wizard. Casting spells affected the "law" or "chaos" factor of the environment, which subsequently made spells of the associated alignment easier to cast, and thus a key strategy was to cast a number of spells of a specific alignment in order to allow you to unleash your most powerful attacks. Alternatively, you could always summon illusionary creatures at a 100 per cent success rate; these had all the abilities of their real counterparts, but could be immediately removed from the board with judicious use of the "Disbelieve" spell.
The original Chaos still holds up extremely well as a game today, despite its primitive graphics and sound. Gollop has been quietly working on his reboot for over a year now, building up his team and creating a playable prototype. There's still a lot of work to do, however, and his intention has always been to fund the remainder of production through a Kickstarter campaign. He's looking for $180,000 to make the game happen by May of next year; with a full 30 days still left to run on the campaign, he's already attracted nearly $20,000 in funding from 507 backers at the time of writing. The campaign itself is modest and no-frills; no overly ambitious stretch goals, just a simple selection of backer tiers which include a copy of the game and an increasing array of extras as you pledge more highly. Many of these rewards are unlockable by players who are dedicated enough to claw their way up the ranks.
Chaos Reborn not only includes a "classic Chaos" mode with a random selection of spells and a procedurally generated arena, it also includes a substantial RPG-style progression system for both single player and online. Through this system, called Realms of Chaos, you begin your life as a lowly newbie wizard armed with only a few spells, and must work your way around the procedurally generated worlds to defeat the Wizard Lords and Kings. Along the way, you'll discover new spells and equipment, and level up both your character and your items. There will also be a cooperative play mode, allowing you to team up with a friend on tough battles, and the most powerful players who have ascended to Wizard King or higher status will be able to design their own adventures for other players to explore, or appear in other players' worlds as an NPC.
Despite the substantial-sounding Realms of Chaos mode, however, the core of Chaos Reborn is still competitive multiplayer. Online matches can be played either asynchronously or live, and the game supports offline multiplayer in hotseat mode, just like the original Spectrum version. There will be online rankings and a league system, plus tournaments with prizes, guilds and the ability to play in teams. All in all, it's sounding like a thoroughly fitting successor to the original classic, and something board game and strategy fans will want to keep a close eye on.
Find out more here.