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Subject: A capsule overview of the game, with component manifest rss

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A Game of Adventure in the Catacombs
Yaquinto Games
(1980, thin album $7, thick album $9)
Designed by Michael S. Matheny

Players: 2-3
Playing Time: 1-2 hours
Period: Medieval (Fantasy)
Scale: Tactical
-- Turn: 1 minute
-- Map: 8 feet
-- Unit: one man or beast

Box: Album game box, folds out into 24"x12" game board.

Early editions came in a thin album (like an LP record jacket). Later editions were in a 1" thick version with a cardboard storage insert. [Both box types are depicted in the image below.]


Both editions
12 page rules booklet, card with 3 perforated hero set-up sheets, 2 plastic ziplock bags.

Thin album edition
3 panel folder (Yaquinto catalog), Space Gamer Magazine advertising flyer.

Thick album edition
Yaquinto price sheet dated "Feb 1 1982", rules booklet marked "Second Printing, March 1981".

Summary Counter Manifest: 52 3/8" counters, 130 1/2" counters (9 white, 1 blank, and 3 identical sets of 40 colored red, blue, or green.)

Yaquinto says: "[A] wild, no holds barred man-to-man (or beast) game on two levels. Players control their own Hero in their portion of the maze as well as monsters in the opponents portion . . . Your Hero must avoid traps, slaughter monsters, gather gold, and make it to the end of the labyrinth to win the hand of the stunning, voluptuous daughter of the most powerful wizard in the land."

The reviewers say: "[A] fast-playing, exciting adventure game . . . The rules are direct and straightforward. Play flows smoothly and combat is not bogged down in a sea of tables and charts . . . a relaxing change from other, involved, complicated fantasy adventure games." Paul Manz in The Space Gamer #30.

"Instead of devising yet another open-ended system, the designer . . . opted for a limited but polished one-scenario game . . . [C]ontributing to the game's flavor is the map of three identical catacombs strewn with skeletons, mummies, bottomless pits, and the other elements that give a dungeon its charm . . . HERO is an enjoyable game . . . However,
after a few playings, it becomes repetitive and a bit worn . . . What HERO is tailor-made for is as an introductory game, utilizing the strong allure of superior graphics to entice a newcomer, showing him a good game and leaving him wanting more." Roberto Camino in The Dragon #43.

"All in all, the game lacks real excitement but can be enjoyed purely as a 'beer and pretzels' game." Bob Schroeder in Campaign #101.

Comments: Hack and slash dungeon with a twist -- the mapboard consists of three dungeons that lead to a central area where the princess is patiently waiting to be rescued. Each player guides a lone Hero through one of the three dungeons to reach the princess. The twist is that in addition to playing their own Hero, each player controls the monsters in an opponent's dungeon. As per the reviews, it's beer and pretzels all the way, but a fun introductory game.

Collector's Notes: "Hotter" album game titles include Swashbuckler, French Foreign Legion, and Adventurer. "Colder" titles include Neck and Neck, Market Madness, and Fast Attack Boats. Hero seems to fall somewhere in between these groups. Boone's Internet Wargames Catalog (3rd edition) lists low/high/average prices of $3/$18/$8 at auction and $5/$20/$12 for sale.

Other Yaquinto Album Games by this designer: Asteroid Pirates, Beachhead, Commando Actions, Demon's Run, and Superiority.

This article was originally published in issue issue 12 of Simulacrum, July 2001.

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Pavel Hammerschmidt
United States
Federal Way
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This was one of my favorite games when I was 14 years old.
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