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HeroQuest, the classic fantasy board game, is back after 32 years - is it worth the hype?

Updated: Sep 2, 2022

Summary

HeroQuest was originally designed by the now defunct publisher Milton Bradley (MB) and has been re-released by Avalon Hill. This is a 5-player game with one player taking on the role of Zargon the evil wizard and overlord of the dungeon, while up to four other players take the roles of, the Barbarian, the Elf, the Wizard, or the Dwarf, and attempt to defeat the evil wizard Zargon and his minions and escape the dungeon with as much gold and treasure as they can.

Images sourced from Avalon Hill Games

Gameplay

As Zargon, it is up to you to introduce the players, setup the board, and reveal the world as the adventurers move around the dungeon.

This says it is an RPG style game but there is not role playing in terms of creating a back story for your character or attempting to talk your way out of fights, you assume the role of one of the four characters and that is a far as the roleplaying goes.
Images sourced from Avalon Hill Games

Once you have your chosen character, it is then straight into the action. You arrive in one of 14 pre-made dungeons and your adventure begins. If you are running this game, it is always better to start at the beginning the first adventure “The Trial”. The downfall of starting with any other adventure without going through this one is that it will take a lot more perpetration, as your adventurers will miss out on valuable gold and upgraded equipment. So as Zargon, you would have to give the players everything from the first adventure to then have them fully prepared for the next.


After each adventure, the players have the option to go spend the gold they found in the equipment store, replenish their spells and get ready to go in again.


Movement

Rules as written say take two d6 (six-sided dice) and move your player that many spaces. I have played it this way one on one, and it just doesn’t make sense to do this as the single player takes all the their people in the same direction and is methodical in their approach. So we decided to home rule “You only need to roll the 2d6 if you are in combat”. The purpose for this is that if they decided to run away from the creature it might have a change to catch up. This worked well and sped up gameplay and mate it better in our opinion. If there were more people round the table this would make a lot more sense, as you would have to wait for them to potentially catch up or may even go in a different direction.


Combat

Combat in this is nice and easy. Roll skulls to score hits, shields to defend against hits from the enemy. The enemy get to roll black shields to defend against hits from the heroes but it is a lot harder to do, so as Zargon you will see a lot of your monsters die quite quickly.


There are a lot more rules about line of sight and things but that comes in later on in game when you get ranged weapons from the equipment store.

The rules are slightly complex but are still easy to follow and have good examples making it an easy game to pick up and teach.

Production

The quality of the components is very nice indeed. Highly detailed models and ready for paint. The only downside is they are very malleable and if stressed the plastic will split with ease. It has standard size cards so I think you would want to sleeve the cards if this game was going to see regular use so as not to damage the cards too much, but making your own holsters out of paper will keep them in piles nicely and there is room in the box for you to do this under the white divider at the bottom.


Conclusion

I was very interested to pick this one up off the shelf again. As a kid I have fond memories of playing this and I’m pleased to say I was not disappointed. This game has the tagline “High Adventure In a World of Magic” on the box and it delivers that in spades. There are some rules and other things that show its age like the movement, but house rules can quickly put those at ease if you are finding it too slow a pace. Having the ability to create your own adventures makes this game re-playable over and over again. This game also has the expansions Return of the Witch Lord and Kellar’s Keep and each of these has more pre-written adventures, so you will have more to go though and they come with more units for Zargon to use.


Pro Buttons - Guest Writer

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