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Chaos : Battle of the Wizards

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Released: 1985

Genre: Strategy

Format reviewed: ZX Spectrum

Publisher: Games Workshop

Developer: Julian Gollop

Submitted by: Ryan McNeilly

“Chaos: Battle of the Wizards” brings back brilliant memories for myself personally. The first ZX spectrum game which I literally wasted hours playing will always have a spot in my top 10 games of all time.

Julian Gollop’s turn based strategy game was first released in 1985. Simple in concept but full of wonderful possibilities, Chaos would set the blueprint for many turn based affairs to follow. While many moved onto the likes of Advance Wars, I was still content loading Chaos and letting my imagination run wild.

Chaos is not difficult to understand. A game will consist of 2 – 8 wizards (8 human players can play) and the object of the game is to be the last wizard standing.

Please note that I am not referring to those Harry Potter candyass wizards, I am referring to destroyers of worlds who can cast mighty spells summoning awesome stuff like Vampires (this was made when vampires were cool… really), Dragons and Ogres to name a few. You can fly on a unicorn, build yourself a castle, cast a gooey blob to spread across the game board, set fire to the place or even indulge in a little Necromancy!

The game starts off with the wizards in their respective spot on the game board. The first wizard will select a spell (the game will give each wizard randomly generated spell list). After casting the spell, its the next wizard’s turn. Once all wizards have cast a spell, its now time to move their creations around the board to begin their strategic attack or defenses.

Some beasts that you have summoned can move further than others, while others could have greater attack or defense stats. For example, an Eagle can fly across more spaces than an ogre can walk, but the ogre will deal greater damage and have raised defenses.

Spells can also be cast as illusions. This is when it becomes fun playing multiplayer with your sneaky, untrustworthy friends. For example, a Dragon has a high failure rate of being cast. If, however, you decide to cast the Dragon as an illusion, you have 100% success rate in casting the spell. The downside to this is if you cast a “disbelief” spell on an illusion, you will destroy the illusion with one hit. So, your friends may be bluffing you and you need to decide whether its worth casting “disbelief” or not.

The charm of Chaos is letting your imagination run wild. In one corner of the board you may have a lion hunting down 2 giant rats in the dark woods, and at the other side of the board you could have a clan of zombies trying to break into a castle to destroy the opposing wizard. Each board is never the same depending on the Chaos that you and your opposing wizards have created by casting spells.

Ease of access makes Chaos a great game. Anyone can learn Chaos in ten minutes instead of the ten hours it takes for strategy games of today. Chaos is available to play online with a quick google search and you can even indulge in some nice graphical remakes. Give this one a go if you haven’t already, no ZX Spectrum enthusiast should be without it.

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