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Subject: HeroQuest Review rss

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The European (Dutch) HeroQuest was used for this review.
Copyright 1990 MB International B.V. (Hasbro)

In the American version of this game, the Evil player is named Zargon.
In the European version of this game, the Evil player is named Morcar.
In this review I will name him DM, or Dungeon Master.

Excuse my poor English.



GAME

In HeroQuest, players control a Hero (or multiple Heroes) who enter or exit a dungeon (represented by a board) and fight monsters controlled by another player.


This is a 2-5 player game.

One player must control the "Evil" side.
One or more players control the four Heroes.


Killing Everything.

The goal of the game for the Heroes is to;
* Enter dungeon.
* Search for Monster (and kill it), resque Character and/or find an Item.
* Exit dungeon.


The goal of the game for the DM is to;
* Kill the heroes.

Important: The DM can win the game.
(In most roleplaying games or RPG-boardgames, this is impossible...)


Quests.

The DM reads the story of the dungeon, wich the heroes will enter.
The story and the quest are explained in his Brown manual.
The DM must adhere to the rules of these Quest. He can't change the quest or position of monsters on his map as he wishes. (This would be cheating.)

10 quests are included in this game. (More expansion exist.)
There is also one white blanc quest map, wich players are authorised to copy for personal use. The creation of quests is thus improved.

Quests include saving an important knight, killing a liche, attacking chaos warriors and searching for treasure.


BITS

1 Board
1 Book of quests

1 Screen
(information about the traps on the back, for the Evil player.)

35 Figurines
(8 Orks, 6 Kobolds (goblins), 3 Fimirs) in Green.
(4 Chaos Warriors, 1 Chaos Wizard, 1 Gargoyle or demon) in Gray.
(4 Skeletons, 2 Zombies, 2 Mummies) in White.
(1 Wizard Human, 1 Warrior Elf, 1 Warrior Dwarf, 1 Barbarian Human) in Red.

15 Furniture pieces
2 Tables, 1 Throne, 1 Alchemists desk, 3 Treasure chests, 1 Tombe, 1 Wizardtome table, 2 Bookclosets, 1 closet, torture table, 1 fireplace, 1 weapon-rack.

21 Doors
5 locked and 16 open.

1 Note-book (Hero stats)

64 Cards
(3 Fire magic, 3 Earth magic, 3 Water magic, 3 Air magic, 5 Magic treasure, 25 Treasure, 14 Equipment, 8 Monster cards.)

4 Cardboard (the heroes)

2d6

4 'special' combat dice (d6 with Black shield as 6, white shield as 1&2, skulls as 3&4&5)

8 cardboard (blocked square of rubble/wall)

2 cardboard (blocked 2squares of rubble/wall)

6 cardboard trap

1 cardboard dungeon exit

4 cardboard secret door

All models were created by Citadel miniatures (Games Workshop).
The basic story elements like 'chaos warriors' and ideas like 'Karak Azgal' were also invented by Games Workshop...


RULES

Turn

The rules are simple. There is line of sight and characters can perform a choice of actions, (two actions total) from a list of six actions:
1) Attack (Shoot)
2) Move 2d6 squares
3) Cast Spell (only Elf and Wizard Hero)
4) Search for treasure
5) Search for traps & secret doors (we call this architecture search)
6) Disarm trap (only Dwarf Hero)

The DM controls all the monsters on the table. He can only move and attack.

Dungeon Crawl

The only thing on the board is the first room, where the Hero start. The board has a number of rooms, seperated by corridors. There is one big room at the center. (There is no modular board in this game. One of the main problems of HeroQuest.)

As Heroes move and their line of sight sees new areas of the board, the DM looks at his map and places these new doors, furniture or monsters on the table.

Heroes can search for hidden objects like secret doors or traps.
If there is nothing written about special treasure in his Quest Book, the players draw a random treasure card.

One of the main problems of the game is this random treasure card system. There is no experience-level system in this game, so Heroes can only get stronger with Gold and Treasure. This will eventually lead to crazy Treasure searching. The only remedy against this are the 'trap treasure cards' wich place a monster or do damage...

Short Sword

Between adventures, Heroes can buy equipment with their hard-earned money. In the European version, this is represented with Equipment cards.

A weird detail in HeroQuest (maybe this is not included in the American version, where there are no equipment cards, players buy from a list) is the Short Sword card.
The short sword has no use for the Warrior Heroes (Elf & Dwarf & Barbarian already throw 2 or more combat dice) and the Wizard Hero can't buy the short sword...?

REVIEW

The main problem of this game is the hack&slash nature of it all and the lack of modular boards.

Hack&Slash
There is some story in the quest books, but it is very thin. There aren't any long RPG descriptions of rooms or long dialogues with NPC's. This is a simple dungeon killing game, wich is the main reason why HeroQuest is so popular. The rules are clean and simple.

But sometimes, the quest can get boring. Endlessly hacking away at Monsters that don't earn you any XP or other effect, feels useless for some players.

The combat system isn't open. When a player wishes to understand the differences in strength between a Hero and a Monster, it feels like guessing. There is no point system for players who create their own dungeon, they will have to play-test.

Replay
There is no XP system in this game. (A problem newer games like Descent by FFG also suffer...)
* This is the main reason for most players to buy Warhammer Quest by GW.

The equipment cards and the Henchmen (included in the 'wizards' expansion) allow for some customization of the Heroes, but not much.

If you know all the quests in the book by heart, there is a problem for the DM. But the designers knew this and included one blanc dungeon map for those creative players.


No Modular Board

Because players see the total board, they can alway plan ahead.
"That big center room must be where the boss is?!"

A solution for this is buying an extra HeroQuest and suddenly let your players walk out OR something like the teleportation effects used in some quests. (There is a quest included in the Brown Quest book wich uses random d6 teleportating rooms.)

This is again a reason for fans of the genre to buy Warhammer Quest.


ENDGAME
I would recommend HeroQuest because I like the simple mechanics and clear game-play. It also allows for competitive players to play a dungeon crawl (where the DM can kill those arrogant Heroes) and there are more tactics involved than people witness at first glance.

I would recommend HeroQuest because it is a classic and there is much nostalgia linked to this game. The FURNITURE pieces of this game are great and any player who needs such models for other dungeon crawl games will want them.

I would recommend HeroQuest because it allows for easy customisation. The rules can be changed or adapted and most people who own this their own system.

I would not buy HeroQuest if you are looking for something with more figurines or more RPG elements. If you want better quality models and a complete RPG experience level-up system, find Warhammer Quest.

I would not buy HeroQuest if you are looking for a more strategic Dungeon Crawl experience. Games like Nin-Gonost and Descent are more focused on the strategic combat elements of Hack&Slash fantasy.

Have Fun,

FFF
 
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Jason McMurray
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Rochester
New York
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I would have to disagree with the point of the board not being modular. I have played heroquest for a while. And only a few of the quests use the center room as the "main event" room. since no doors or walls are placed until the characters can see, there is very much an element of surprise as you play. The board may not come in little pieces, but it certainly is modular (you can change the mode in which it is played).

Heroquest is not a highbrow game, but it is fun, and does not bog down like Warhammer Quest can.
 
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