Chip Theory Games do not mess around. You may not have heard their name before but you have probably heard of Too Many Bones, the game is notable for it's well regarded 'Dice building RPG' gameplay, it's stellar components, including weighted poker chips and neoprene mats instead of cardboard, and of course the premium price that comes with all this goodness. Their new title looks to follow suit in all those areas but if you want to get hold of it outside the USA you might need to start saving your chips...
Cloudspire looks to simulate the popular video game genre 'MOBA' (multiplayer online battle arena) used in popular games like League of Legends. This has been used in games before, Rum and Bones and Guards of Atlantis (an incredibly overlooked game), but is still relatively unexplored. Cloudspire includes solo, pvp and co-op, and is said to be the same scope as Too Many Bones.
The game is structured in waves of five phases and the MOBA influence is clear. First, an event is drawn that dictates any parameters of the wave, then the Market Phase takes place, where you purchase minions, heroes, upgrades and more. The Building Phase adds a tower defence element as you build spires to protect your paths and slow down the enemies.
The last two phases, Preparation and Onslaught, are where you prepare and execute your plans. Because of the use of poker style chips your minions can be stacked and moved as groups. The phase ends when all minions are destroyed.
The Cloudspire map is built from neoprene hex groups that look amazing and promise even more variety in the game. Added to this are 'point of interest' chips (POI). POI chips are placed at certain places on the map and have to be explored to reveal their secrets. Each faction has four spires which act as it's defence towers. Cleverly upgrade chips are placed beneath these and also act as the spires health.
With a Chance of Rain
Minion chips and stacks move automatically but Hero chips have free range across the map. They will be hugely important and have a variety of roles, including support and direct attack. Losing a hero can be costly, and this will directly impact your strategy. The game seems to be full of variety and strategic decisions. I'm sure there are some who would rather minis than chips but the way they are being used here makes perfect sense.
I'm a big fan of Guards of Atlantis and Cloudspire sounds even more inline with the source material. The Kickstarter page went live yesterday (August 16) and at the time of writing has already reached £306,000, with over 2300 backers.