Return To Gaming

Ultimate Chaos

Return To

Back in the early days of Collectible Card Games, InQuest magazine came up with something called "Ultimate Chaos", where each player played a different card game. They played every game on the market against each other, and it sounded like a lot of fun. Inspired by those articles, my playing group tried it several times, and based on those experiences, I came up with the following rules (or perhaps "guidelines" would be a better word) to make the game work more smoothly. They are based around the pretense that the game is a conflict between entities of Chaos who are more interested in amusement than actual victory.
The heart of the rules are 1) a set of guidelines for figuring out how to apply cards from one game to another, 2) a victory point mechanic that gives points for doing interesting things as well as successful things, and 3) a mechanism for getting cards from each game into the hands of other players to improve the odds of amusing interactions. I guess you can judge for yourself whether this worked or not. You'll note that the examples focus on On the Edge, Feng Shui, Illuminati, and Star Wars. Not surprisingly, those were the games we played most often.

Rules of Engagement for Lords of Chaos, by Priority

I. Ignorance: Ignorance of another player’s rules is the ultimate defense, at least once or twice. Any move which would have been stupid if the appropriate rules were known may be retracted, at least until the other players get annoyed.
II. Variation: No player will be restricted in a current game to a rules arrangement decided upon in a previous game. Alternate arguments may always be advanced.
III. Roles: Players are players, cards are cards. Any effect which targets cards in its native game does so under any other rules, and any effect which targets players in its native game does so in any other rules.
IV. Specificity: Any effect which uses a specific Rules Term (defined as a concept defined within the rulebooks for the game) applies against any matching specific Rules Term under other rules. Matching requires that the Term be used as the same part of speech; i.e. Turn as a unit of time does not match Turn as something which is done to cards.
V. Attack Flexibility: The active player may make attacks under his choice of any rules sets directly involved in the attack.
VI. Homology: Effects by game A on game B should be resolved using the closest possible game mechanic in game B
VII. Reality Bubbles: Cards and players are affected by combat and global effects under their own rules, applying Specificity and Homology independently of other cards and players.
VIII. Filling Holes: When there is no appropriate matching point between two games, attempt to use the mechanic from the acting game as directly as possible in the subject game.
IX. Suspension of Disbelief: A combination of events should still be allowed even if it seems silly (such as a foot soldier attacking a space ship) if there is no rule which can be raised against it.


Scoring for Ultimate Chaos

There are several ways to score points in a game of Ultimate Chaos.
1. Nomination: Any player may receive a point if another player nominates them and it is seconded by a third player. Nomination is encouraged for suitably twisted applications of game logic, witty card play, and general elegance in the midst of anarchy.
2. Eliminating the Competition: A player receives 2 points for knocking another player out of the game. In addition, a player receives 1 point for being the last player in the game.
3. Achieving Native Victory Conditions: There are several categories of Victory Conditions: In the event a game used in Ultimate Chaos does not have victory conditions which fall into one of these categories, the player must submit to the other players an alternate system for scoring points.
4. Achieving Adopted Victory Conditions: Under some circumstances (generally involving Filling Holes), a player may be able to meet the victory conditions of another game. This is worth 1 bonus point plus the listed value in section 3, and may often be grounds for Nomination.
5. The Power of Chaos
5A. In all the Confusion...: Whenever a player takes an action which significantly but amusingly confuses things, they may nominate themselves for 1 point.
5B. The Jumpin’ Jesus Phenomenon: Whenever three or more players become involved in a single sequence of actions, every player involved receives 1 point. (If 6 or more Lords should be insane enough to play at once, this should be changed to "more than three players")

If all players agree before the game, a player may “borrow” some portion of another player’s rules at any time, but must pay one point to the “lending” player

The Eye of Chaos

An optional amusement which may be introduced into Ultimate Chaos is the Eye of Chaos. The Eye increases the volume of card exchanges within the game, improving the odds of unusual card combinations, and generally raising the confusion level.

Forming the Eye of Chaos: After all Lords and Ladies of Chaos have performed the setup for their respective games, each draws two cards at random from their decks. These cards, plus a standard playing card Joker, are then shuffled together to form the Eye. Players with games that use two or more decks may choose cards for the Eye from whichever deck or decks they desire.

Basic Use of the Eye: On each player’s turn, he must place one card from his hand at the bottom of the Eye and replace it with the top card of the Eye. This may be done at any time during the turn.

The Joker : When a player draws the Joker, he may exchange it at any time for a single card from his own deck or discard pile, or from the discard pile of any other player. When used, or at the end of the turn if it is not used, the Joker must be shuffled back into the Eye.

Other Options:

Note that drawing cards directly from the Eye (rather than trading them in) is discouraged under these rules in order to prevent games such as Battletech and Star Wars from using the Eye to increase the supply of Force they have available. However, when a player does something which is supposed to have that effect (such as recovering Lost Force), use of the Eye should be allowed.