This board game was mentioned in an article I read recent, triggering a flood of memories and inspiring this post. HeroQuest was one of the more involved board games of the 90’s. Flying in the face of the clearly labeled for ages 10 and up, I was about 9 the Christmas I received this. As such, I had no idea what I was doing, barely bothered to read the instructions, and just used my imagination to play with the figures. Not that being 10, 11, or any other close age would have mattered as I continued being an idiot for the next 15 years (some would say I never stopped, but I digress).
HeroQuest is designed for 2-5 players, but really is best with 5. The game plays much like Dungeon & Dragons, but with less math and more game pieces. One player assumes the roll of Zargon, the evil wizard, who guides the players through the game. Each player picks one of 4 characters (though they could play multiple characters really), either the Barbarian, Dwarf, Elf, or Wizard. All male (initially), with different stats and abilities. The stats were simple, body (health) points, and mind points. The Elf and Wizard could cast magic, while the Barbarian and Dwarf were strong fighters.
The goal of the game (depending on the quest) was for the heroes to complete the objectives, which entailed either retrieving an item, exiting the dungeon, killing a monster, etc. If the players left the dungeon without completing the goal, or died, then the Zargon player won. Quest items could be kept for the next play, forming a longer play/narrative.
Players would either start at the entrance of the dungeon, or deep in a room, depending on the quest. The board would be empty save for what their line of sight provided. Anything seen or uncovered, would stay on the board though. Players used 2, 6-sided dice to move and special dice for combat (with 3 skulls, 2 hero shields, and 1 monster shield). Once the room was free of monsters, it could be explored for traps, treasures, and secret entrances. Traps included pits, rock slides (both of which stay in play once triggered), spear traps, and chest traps (these two are one time hits). Traps could be disarmed if discovered with a special item (found or purchased from the armory), while the Dwarf didn’t require any such item. Though there was only one game board, there was a spiral stair case card, giving gamers the ability to make the dungeons as deep as they wanted.
HeroQuest is part of the Warhammer Fantasy universe, which can easily be seen by the figurine types. While Warhammer and D&D can both be very complicated games, HeroQuest blends the two smartly, taking the best of both and making it for easy for casual players or as deep and engrossing as desired for serious gamers.
HeroQuest had a few expansion packs to the series. Each coming with more game pieces, quest guides, and board/map extensions with a few adding more characters (like womens!). The game was original created in Europe and was more popular there, keeping a few expansion out of North America. There was Kellar’s Keep, Return of the Witch Lord, The Frozen Horror / Barbarian Quest Pack, The Mage of the Mirror / Elf Quest Pack, Against the Ogre Horde, Wizards of Morcar (Zargon EU name), and an Adventure Design Kit. The latter 3 were exclusive to Europe. The Return of the Witch Lord pack came with this thing, which is just freaking awesome:
HeroQuest was a lot of fun. I slightly regret never being able to play a full game (could never get 5 people together), plus I didn’t really use the game right. I think it would be a lot of fun get the game and as many expansions as possible and play through them now. Games like this will always hold up, as long as there is interest.
Did you play HeroQuest? What other story based board games do you suggest I hit next (I have ideas for more)? Comment below!
Seriously, if I ebayed this, whose’s in?