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Subject: The review of a Heroquest fan rss

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Andreas Wagener
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I am a huge fan of Heroquest.
I also like Warhammer Quest.
When i was younger, I also liked RPG's a lot.

So I Kickstarted Darklight Memento Mori, together with roughly 1700 others.

Here is my personal review. I made the two first Quests of the Storyline, and a little bit of Settlement interruption between the two

1. What is great
2. What is good
3. What is less good
4. What is missing
5. What is too much

1. What is great

A storyline driven random dungeon approach, without DM, this is really great. The closest competitors are probably Zombicide and Massive Darkness. Both suffer from missing storyline and stupid AI's. That's better here. So this is really good. The enemies behave as they should. Every room-opening is exciting. Every fight lets me wonder if really all of my people will survive.
The tiles are wonderful pieces of art, and as you stare at them the entire game, the beauty of them is important.

Up to now i had two games and i was having a blast, really a nice game mechanic!

2. What is good
I am a dice geek, so I was happy to see that the entire game runs on standard dice: After I had some strange series in the first game, I exchanged the game's dice with some tried and tested trustworthy ones of my own, and the second game run much smoother. That wouldn't have been possible with special dice, so here I am grateful.
The doors/tile connections are a bit big, but worse, in the second game I had to explore the entire dungeon to find all the keys to the sanctuary - and suddenly I had no more connectors. I connected the last two tiles with those wonderful double doors from Zealot miniatures.
Several times I had to move the entire dungeon to another part of the table in order to continue playing - those tile connectors worked really well here and allowed for all the freedom necessary. Had I disassembled an explored part of the dungeon instead, the last ambush of ranged monsters would have looked differently. So again, this was good.


3. What is less good

The scale of the miniatures. Why 42-45 millimeters? It fits with nothing else in my collection. I have a painted Zombicide Black Plague; i have a lot of loose miniatures from different games painted, I still have several games of Heroquest, i have a half-painted Conan. Those minis here, they fit with nothing.
Looking at the rather acceptable production quality, it was a little bit sad to put them aside. I replaced everything with painted miniatures from my cupboard. They are 25-30mm in scale, and they just fit beautifully on the dungeon tiles.
The makers of this game claim to be inspired by Diablo. Well, this looks like diablo:
Elf and Nun from Zombicide BP, one Dwarf from Heroquest and another from Zealot, Skeletons from some third party supplier, Treasure Chest from Zealot.
What a beauty!


I was hoping to add the cultists and some heroes from this game to my painted collection, but that won't work. So i don't need the miniatures at all (which is really sad because some of them are quite good!).
If anybody wants the models (also from the expansions), i am open for offers.
As the creator stated that he loves RPG, this design decision is difficult to understand for me.

And all the statlines. Why giving complete statlines? A lurker has Strength 3 and makes 1d6 damage. Instead you could directly write 1d6+3, that would make things easier.
Also having 10 statlines per Monster can be annoying - currently i was just in the first statline so it was ok, but i can imagine that having to look for the 4th or 5th somewhere in the middle can be quite annoying after some time. Also, changing the monster stats if you level up somehow feels like cheating. Why leveling up if it just means the monsters get stronger? Rather avoid it.
My proposal: Instead you could have made encounter cards with different numbers of monsters per Hero level. A lurker is always a lurker, but a level 1 Hero sees 2 of them, a level 4 hero sees 5 lurkers and 2 skorns. A level 6 hero instead sees only 5 skorns... and so on. Ramp up through the monsters instead changing the statlines.
With 25mm or 28mm you would have had enough space in the cast frame for some more different monsters.



4. What is missing
A system to put all of it back into the carton. All those new games feature plastic inlets for the models, but the tokens, cards, dice, cardboard pieces... are just loose. That's not special for this game, but would be a good idea nevertheless!

There is no clear, concise overview about all the rules. In the base game, you have a reference card for the base rules.
For the extended rules, there are, like, 20 or 30 items added (didn't count). No index. If i want to go to the blacksmith, which page do i look up? Ah, and yes, for the lookup...


5. What is too much

Tokens and card piles.
Setting the game up can take an hour, just because you have to sort through all the cards and tokens.

Worse, there are cupboard and fireplace card tokens, pit traps and blocked squared, just like in heroquest. Those were actually luring me into buying it. Well yes. Those tokens are in the pile, they add to the clutter, but they are not used at all in the standard game! Sad that.

The hero dashboards.
They don't help, they just add to the clutter on the table. Worse, one of the most changing values in the game (stamina) is not even on the dashboard. Going directly to the RPG-like paper dashboards is making the game less beautiful , but more playable. (more space on the table!)

Dicing tables.
In-quest it is ok! Every dice table you ever need is printed directly on a game card, so you don't need to look up anything.
Between the games, not so much: Visiting special places in the city needs a lot of look-up, going forward and backward in the book takes up most of the time. Updating my heroes between the first and the second quest was costing, like as much time as the quest itself.
Better would be to have a website, maybe on darkicegames, where you can generate cities with an user-id, so you don't need to do all that paper rustling.

The DM mode
Having a DM mode is certainly a good idea. At least those unused parts of the game can be put on the table.
However, looking at the space it takes in the rule book and all the extra rules it adds, you could have removed that part and instead put an index of all items and a step-by-step for setting up the game. I think that would have had more added value.



Conclusion:
Would I buy this game again?
Most design decisions are a matter of taste. I like style, story, rpg elements, the rule system. So that's on the plus side.

But nevertheless, i think i wouldn't buy it again. Most of the money is for the minis, and they are just off scale. This is the one big fail of the game that I just can't overlook.


Will I play this game again?

Yes, now that I have it, i will play again. I just exchange the models with painted ones in the correct scale from my collection, use other doors and put some treasure chests.

Then this game is really great!


Edit for Erratum:
In the meanwhile i had my third game. And i agree with most of my critics here, once you have sorted through everything, the set up time is indeed faster. It is now, like, half an hour maybe, maximum. With journey phase.
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Max Corwyn
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Your main point is the scale of the miniatures not fitting to the rest of your collection.
Didn't they communicate the scale of 42-45mm during Kickstarter?

Just asking, because I missed the Kickstarter.
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jernej peter
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I agree with the great and good.

Scale of the miniature are no problem for me, but Im not a miniature collector. And since S&S this is a light game considering cards and tokens

I must disagree with setting the game up time. Now that I sorted everything, it usualy takes 15 min to prepare for play.

The rules could be better, but once you get into them thoroughly, they are OK.

Maybe you are right about monster stats, but I havent played enought to be shure.

Great review
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Nevver More
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The only miniatures you can't easily use in other games are the Accursed. For the monsters the scale doesn't really matter since... well, they're monsters. They can be any size. So I can't really understand why you would choose not to use them? Just replace the human-sized figures if you don't want to paint them.
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Darren Manington
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The scale of the miniatures was always present in the kickstarter, I'm not sure what other board games you've played other than the few you mention but Darklight minis are in scale with the likes of GW (games like shadespire or Warhammer Quest Silver Tower). Dario the miniatures sculpter explained that the scale is due to wanting to keep as much detail without compromise I personally love the minis.

The monster stats I think was a choice to make the game scalable as you progress without filling the tiles with monsters ie zombicide(figures don't even fit on the tile). If you use a piece of paper/card or ruler you can easily read them.
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Denis Maddalena
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How are the closest competitors Massive Darkness and Black Plague? Those two aren't even that similar to each other. Gloomhaven can generate random dungeons and is actually story driven. Dark Souls uses random spawns and stamina feats. Kinda felt like you just slapped any old miniatures board game comparison on here...
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Jared Wilson
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I kinda thought the OP did a good job describing what he liked and what he didn't like about the game. It's helped me decide that it isn't for me, which is what I want in a review.
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Finwe Telrunya
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Anderas wrote:
The doors/tile connections are a bit big, but worse, in the second game I had to explore the entire dungeon to find all the keys to the sanctuary - and suddenly I had no more connectors. Several times I had to move the entire dungeon to another part of the table in order to continue playing. Had I disassembled an explored part of the dungeon instead, the last ambush of ranged monsters would have looked differently.

Couldn't you use the archway from the entrance tile? I don't see how that would make an ambush on the last tiles look different, they can only spawn two tiles away from where you are.


Anderas wrote:
The scale of the miniatures. Why 42-45 millimeters? It fits with nothing else in my collection.

I can see why that would annoy you, but it was mentioned during the kickstarter. I love the miniature scale as it is.


Anderas wrote:
And all the statlines. Why giving complete statlines? A lurker has Strength 3 and makes 1d6 damage. Instead you could directly write 1d6+3, that would make things easier.
Also having 10 statlines per Monster can be annoying - currently i was just in the first statline so it was ok, but i can imagine that having to look for the 4th or 5th somewhere in the middle can be quite annoying after some time. Also, changing the monster stats if you level up somehow feels like cheating. Why leveling up if it just means the monsters get stronger? Rather avoid it.

You answered your own question here, you can't write 1d6+3, because the '3' changes when they are different levels.
The monsters also level every 3 dungeons you complete (dark bounty is the term i think?), so you need to choose carefully when you level up.


Anderas wrote:
A system to put all of it back into the carton. All those new games feature plastic inlets for the models, but the tokens, cards, dice, cardboard pieces... are just loose. That's not special for this game, but would be a good idea nevertheless!

I used plastic zipbags to sort all the tokens and everything fits back in the box without issues.


Anderas wrote:
There is no clear, concise overview about all the rules. In the base game, you have a reference card for the base rules.
For the extended rules, there are, like, 20 or 30 items added (didn't count). No index. If i want to go to the blacksmith, which page do i look up? Ah, and yes, for the lookup...

Agreed, the rulebook could be better, but this has been explained by DIG and we will get a new version/errata/faq to download. Someone already made an index file here.


Anderas wrote:
Tokens and card piles. Setting the game up can take an hour, just because you have to sort through all the cards and tokens.

Exactly the opposite of what i was thinking. I set up the game in 10-15 minutes. Without custom insert that is amazing. Unless you consider the zipbags as an insert.


Anderas wrote:
Worse, there are cupboard and fireplace card tokens, pit traps and blocked squared, just like in heroquest. Those were actually luring me into buying it. Well yes. Those tokens are in the pile, they add to the clutter, but they are not used at all in the standard game! Sad that.

They are not used in standard games, so i don't understand why they would add to the clutter, just keep them aside for now... There will be custom scenarios/campaigns that will use them later for sure.


Anderas wrote:
The hero dashboards. They don't help, they just add to the clutter on the table. Worse, one of the most changing values in the game (stamina) is not even on the dashboard. Going directly to the RPG-like paper dashboards is making the game less beautiful , but more playable. (more space on the table!)

Stamina tokens go on your equipment board. The dashboard is only there to check your stats.
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Simon Webster
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Re: The review of a Heroquest fang
Huh? I don't get why being a Heroquest fan is relevent?

Heroquest is a kids game.
It's like having "A review of 1830 from a Ticket to Ride fan".
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Daniel Davis
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Setting up the game takes no where near an hour.

It takes about 10-15 minutes, tops.
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Daniel Davis
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eypyeash wrote:
How are the closest competitors Massive Darkness and Black Plague? Those two aren't even that similar to each other. Gloomhaven can generate random dungeons and is actually story driven. Dark Souls uses random spawns and stamina feats. Kinda felt like you just slapped any old miniatures board game comparison on here...


It sounds like he didn't know what he was getting into.

The two closest competitors are Warhammer Quest and Shadows of Brimstone, and SoB only because it, too, is a clone of WHQ.

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Henrik Schmidt
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D_Davis wrote:
eypyeash wrote:
How are the closest competitors Massive Darkness and Black Plague? Those two aren't even that similar to each other. Gloomhaven can generate random dungeons and is actually story driven. Dark Souls uses random spawns and stamina feats. Kinda felt like you just slapped any old miniatures board game comparison on here...


It sounds like he didn't know what he was getting into.

The two closest competitors are Warhammer Quest and Shadows of Brimstone, and SoB only because it, too, is a clone of WHQ.



A very close competitor in DM mode would be Descent 1st Edition with Road to Legend campaign expansion.
 
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Daniel Davis
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LarkinVB wrote:
D_Davis wrote:
eypyeash wrote:
How are the closest competitors Massive Darkness and Black Plague? Those two aren't even that similar to each other. Gloomhaven can generate random dungeons and is actually story driven. Dark Souls uses random spawns and stamina feats. Kinda felt like you just slapped any old miniatures board game comparison on here...


It sounds like he didn't know what he was getting into.

The two closest competitors are Warhammer Quest and Shadows of Brimstone, and SoB only because it, too, is a clone of WHQ.



A very close competitor in DM mode would be Descent 1st Edition with Road to Legend campaign expansion.


Not really, because Descent 1st edition was competitive, even with the Road to Legend expansion. The role of the DM was to win by killing the heroes as many times as possible.

Darklight w/ a DM is an RPG, and the DM isn't meant to win, they are meant to create the best roleplaying experience they can, so, too, in this regard is Darklight similar to Warhammer Quest with the RP rules.
 
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Denis Maddalena
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D_Davis wrote:
eypyeash wrote:
How are the closest competitors Massive Darkness and Black Plague? Those two aren't even that similar to each other. Gloomhaven can generate random dungeons and is actually story driven. Dark Souls uses random spawns and stamina feats. Kinda felt like you just slapped any old miniatures board game comparison on here...


It sounds like he didn't know what he was getting into.

The two closest competitors are Warhammer Quest and Shadows of Brimstone, and SoB only because it, too, is a clone of WHQ.



I could definitely see Shadows being a comparative. ... reasonably intense setups, time being a bit of a factor, very diverse character cast skill sets. WHQ I'll always remember as a "This is it?" game, nostalgia driven and uncomplicated but really just a bit busier form of HQ. They're all definitely born of the same stock, looove their dice for enemy generation.

I guess what I'm saying is, Shadows would be the most comparable, but both Shadows and Darklight are evolutions of the WHQ formula that actually stand up to today's theming and mechanics standards, at least to a point, demonstrating randomness can actually work. Shadows definitely needs a personal assistant in the core box to help deal with all the expansion material, though.
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Denis Maddalena
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D_Davis wrote:
LarkinVB wrote:
D_Davis wrote:
eypyeash wrote:
How are the closest competitors Massive Darkness and Black Plague? Those two aren't even that similar to each other. Gloomhaven can generate random dungeons and is actually story driven. Dark Souls uses random spawns and stamina feats. Kinda felt like you just slapped any old miniatures board game comparison on here...


It sounds like he didn't know what he was getting into.

The two closest competitors are Warhammer Quest and Shadows of Brimstone, and SoB only because it, too, is a clone of WHQ.



A very close competitor in DM mode would be Descent 1st Edition with Road to Legend campaign expansion.


Not really, because Descent 1st edition was competitive, even with the Road to Legend expansion. The role of the DM was to win by killing the heroes as many times as possible.

Darklight w/ a DM is an RPG, and the DM isn't meant to win, they are meant to create the best roleplaying experience they can, so, too, in this regard is Darklight similar to Warhammer Quest with the RP rules.


This is actually my favorite, and really only, thing I liked about Descent. Being encouraged to screw the players hard and often because you need those xp to keep them in check in later adventures was quite good. It's the only role worth playing in the system, though... I've openly wished for a solo overlord mode for the 2e app. Characters in Descent bore me to absolute death.
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Sebastian Beck
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I disagree on some ofy your points.

a) The scale is not a negative aspect but a huge pro. This game is massive on the table and I love it for that.
I do not buy games for cross-over compatibility. I love it when a game is unique.

b) The setup-time is very fast actually. No other game I have (Sword & Sorcery, Galaxy Defenders, Perdition´s mouth, Brimstone etc.) is faster according to that. And I only organize with zip-baggies. In addition to that Darklight is not that fiddly when it comes to gameplay.




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Andreas Wagener
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Small erratum:

In the meanwhile i had my third game. And i agree with most of my critics here, once you have sorted through everything, the set up time is indeed faster. It is now, like, half an hour maybe, maximum. With journey and settlement.

Why i state Massive Darkness and Zombicide? Because I compare only with other middle-age-rpg-like-games. No Wild West Gunslingers, no space games. The theme is an important part of the game.

And yes: My main critic point is about miniature size. I had a third game today and it was great again. Only, i used my painted collection in another style and not the delivered miniatures. So, my main critic point is not applicable for anyone who's not collecting minis. If you take this game and play it completely stand-alone, this point is not applicable.
I don't know if they stated it ever during the Kickstarter. I checked yesterday after the unboxing, not deeply, only on the start page, and didn't see any mention of scale. But it's possible that I just missed it.
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Jack Bryant
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Hi

Thanks for the review I really enjoyed reading it. I am a KS backer and just opened the game up today.

I remember the KS clearly stating the scale of the miniatures dude
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Boof Boofski
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I completely missed the scale of the minis during the campaign as well, somehow. Discovering the larger scale as I opened up the box was a very happy surprise. I am flush with 28mm and 32mm minis, so it is fun and interesting to paint figures on this scale. And I rarely, if ever, end up using figures from one game as a proxy in another, so that aspect does not bother me.
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Denis Maddalena
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Anderas wrote:

Why i state Massive Darkness and Zombicide? Because I compare only with other middle-age-rpg-like-games. No Wild West Gunslingers, no space games. The theme is an important part of the game.


That's probably even more off-base, then... MD and Zcide aren't particularly deep or dense, nor are they particularly thematic, just slapping zombies or life counters shaped like minion monsters around until something dies. While this game ain't wild west gunslingers, it does ooze the same thematic gushiness as Shadows, light on rules but much more immersive than any CMON game to date (Rise of Moloch being maybe the exception). Being firmly middle aged myself, CMON stuff feels like a chore to set up. I'd rather play Gloomhaven than just dig out a bunch of 1 hp 1 damage 1 action zombies every turn.
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Kevin Outlaw
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eypyeash wrote:
Anderas wrote:

Why i state Massive Darkness and Zombicide? Because I compare only with other middle-age-rpg-like-games. No Wild West Gunslingers, no space games. The theme is an important part of the game.


That's probably even more off-base, then... MD and Zcide aren't particularly deep or dense, nor are they particularly thematic, just slapping zombies or life counters shaped like minion monsters around until something dies. While this game ain't wild west gunslingers, it does ooze the same thematic gushiness as Shadows, light on rules but much more immersive than any CMON game to date (Rise of Moloch being maybe the exception). Being firmly middle aged myself, CMON stuff feels like a chore to set up. I'd rather play Gloomhaven than just dig out a bunch of 1 hp 1 damage 1 action zombies every turn.


I may be wrong, but by middle age I think he means the theme is the Middle Ages (fantasy, basically).
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Denis Maddalena
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That would totally make more sense.
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Rob Keith
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The part about damage really annoys me, too. They really should have put the requisite ability next to every damage printing. For example, 1d6+S for a sword or 2d6+2+P for a shortbow.
 
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ClanPsi wrote:
The part about damage really annoys me, too. They really should have put the requisite ability next to every damage printing. For example, 1d6+S for a sword or 2d6+2+P for a shortbow.


We did, this is partially why all Attributes have a unique first letter. However it ended up confusing new players a lot more, I am not sure why, to me it was quite clear but almost anyone that played it was a bit confused.
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d4zman wrote:
The scale of the miniatures was always present in the kickstarter, I'm not sure what other board games you've played other than the few you mention but Darklight minis are in scale with the likes of GW (games like shadespire or Warhammer Quest Silver Tower). Dario the miniatures sculpter explained that the scale is due to wanting to keep as much detail without compromise I personally love the minis.

The monster stats I think was a choice to make the game scalable as you progress without filling the tiles with monsters ie zombicide(figures don't even fit on the tile). If you use a piece of paper/card or ruler you can easily read them.


GW minis aren't 42mms scale. They are heroic 28mm, which is actually 32mm.

 
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