Chaos Overlords is a turn-based strategy game released in 1996 by New World Computing for the PC and the Mac. It can be compared to modern day CCG and Board games but would only be playable on a computer due to the sheer number of statistics, characters, items and modifiers involved during a turn.
It is similar to Syndicate in its atmosphere and theme but plays radically different. The game area consists of a grid of squares representing areas of a city that you vouch to control as an Overlord or gang leader. Every square represents a sector containing 3 different places such as casinos, factories, labs, parks, housing. Every place in each sector controlled by the player can benefit if he manages to influence them.
You gain control of sectors and influence the places in them using Gang members. You start the game with your trusty Right Hand men, men dressed in black who are potent in all disciplines. Each turn you can recruit new gang members: anything from Nancy Boys to Ninjas and androids. During each turn you must give actions to each and every gang member. The term ''Chaos'' actually comes from an action that can be done by your gang member which consists of visiting the locales and ''extorting'' money from them. Each gang member has an initial cost and an ''upkeep'' or salary that you must pay each turn.
The money you gain can be used to research new technologies (another action that gang members can do), buy new weapons and armor, and recruit new gang members. The further you expand by controlling new sectors and recruiting new members, the more likely you will confront rival gang members in order to reach the final goal of the game. Upon starting a game the player must choose from a list of definite victory goals: the list is varied but includes the typical eliminate every other gang, control all sectors or the more intricate type like eliminating the Right Hands of every other Overlords.
Every person, sector, place, object, and weapon has an influence over a set number of statistics. For example, a gang member ''Research Scientist'' will have a technology level of 10, which allows him to use and research for advanced weaponry and objects that a puny thug cannot. A Ninja can be equipped with a variety of items which influence his ''stealth'' statistics but the locales of the sector he is in will also influence his stealth. In order for a rival gang member to spot a high stealth ninja, the gang member will need to have a high ''detect'' value and maybe be equipped with something that raises his detect statistics like radar. Units can only be equipped with one weapon, armor, and object, so players must choose wisely.
The game has a simple yet highly addictive gameplay style that is reminiscent of New World Computing's other series, Heroes of Might & Magic. The game was also playable via IP-to-IP connection over the internet.
When it was released it got a lukewarm yet positive reception from the media and did not gather much public interest due to its very simplistic graphics.