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HeroQuest - Board Game Box Shot


| Published: 1989

HeroQuest is Milton Bradley's approach to a Dungeons & Dragons-style adventure game. One player acts as game master, revealing the maze-like dungeon piecemeal as the players wander. Up to four other players take on a character (wizard, elf, dwarf, or barbarian) and venture forth into dungeons on fantasy quests. Plastic miniatures and 3-D furniture make this game very approachable. Expansions were also released for this system.

User Reviews (10)

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Treasure Map
71 of 78 gamers found this helpful
“Fond memories...”

Heroquest was the first “role-playing” board game that I ever played. We played it on a family holiday in Wales and then my little brother was bought it for Christmas. So aged about 9 I began GMing and this has grown into a true love of role-playing and board-gaming that has never left me.

Heroquest comes with a fairly large board, plastic hero pieces (barbarian, elf, wizard and dwarf), lots of plastic monster pieces (goblins, orcs, chaos monsters, gargoyles, zombies, skeletons and mummys) and then cardboard and plastic furniture to decorate the board with. There is then a rule book and a quest book to work through.

The Dungeon Master is responsible for setting the scene by reading out text and placing furniture and monsters on the board. The players are given a quest to play through, which uses some or all of the board (they don’t know how much of the board is used each time).

At the start of the game the board is empty apart from a staircase tile, which holds the players and shows where they come onto the board. If there is any other furniture in the room with the staircase (including doors, which are put out unopened) this is put on the board as well. The DM then reads out the aim of the mission, which could be destroy some monsters, find a piece of treasure, rescue a captive, or simply escape the dungeon.

The players can move, using 2d6 to determine how far (although not all moves have to be taken) and either fight, search for traps and secret doors or search for treasure. The move can come at the beginning or end of their turn and searching can only be done if there are no monsters in the same room as them. Each room or corridor section can only be searched once for treasure. If there is treasure or traps/secret doors these are handed out or put onto the board. If there isn’t any treasure according to the quest book a random card is drawn. This may be gold, potions, armour/weapons or it could be a wandering monster that attacks immediately.

Monsters cannot open doors so players move around to find them and one common option is to open a door to see what is inside and then shut it immediately so that the monsters can’t attack until the party is ready for it.

Attacking is done by rolling special d6, which have skulls on 3 sides, player shields on 2 sides and monster shields on 1 side. Both player and monster roll a number of dice dictated by their character sheet and the equipment they carry. The attacker wants as many skulls as possible and the defender needs to roll a relevant shield for each skull. Monsters usually only have 1 hitpoint whilst characters have more (with barbarians having the most and wizards the least).

The quests are largely interesting, with expansions available (at least they were many years ago!) and a story develops. The characters don’t develop, except for the equipment they carry, which they keep between quests.

Apart from the DM this is a fully co-operative game with the goal being to finish the quest. We encourage sharing the treasure and gold out fairly so that all of the characters advance at similar rates.

The 8 rating that I gave this game is largely nostalgia on my part I confess and probably if I picked it up for the first time now I would give it a 7 as it doesn’t really go far enough to be role-playing but doesn’t have the interest that a board game needs to sustain it. It is a good introduction for younger players though, particularly if an experienced player is DMing.

We are playing my brother’s copy now with my 7 year old, although we’ve brought in a bit more role-playing than the game suggests by having all in-game interactions be done in character. I’m thoroughly enjoying this.

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Gamer - Level 5
Comic Book Fan
Smash Up: Robot Faction Fan
77 of 85 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“An Incredible Dungeon Crawll”

After running Pen and Paper Role Playing games for a handful of years, my group of players were getting pretty burned out. Together, the group had defended humanity countless times in Marvel Super Heroes (TSR), foiled at least a few dastardly schemes in DC Heroes (May Fair Games) & survived Call of Cthulhu (Chaosium) but after all of this, they needed a change of pace.

Suddenly, seemingly out of thin air, it appeared; a completely modular, easily adaptable board game dungeon crawl suitable for a party of 4 plus a GM! Hero Quest wasn’t just another in a long glut of dungeon crawlers. It was an explosion of gaming in a fantasy setting. The game had tons of 3d furniture bits to arrange wherever you like. There were a horde of miniatures of goblins, orcs, skeletons, mummies, zombies, Chaos warriors (I think they were called cultists in HQ) and a large gargoyle(Bloodthirster)! Since Milton Bradley had commissioned Games Workshop to create the game for a mass market audience, the GW crew used a lot of their Warhammer miniature molds for the HQ figs and it really worked! The minis were really well done.

The game play was pretty basic but functional. The game had custom made dice with skulls and shields on them. These dice where a really big deal back then since most games simply stuck to the traditional d6 and a chart. The HQ dice made the whole production that much better. The game board was clearly marked into corridors and rooms, but there were plenty of ways to change the appearance of rooms and the campaign book changed the entire make up of where the players began a level, which rooms where which, where the monsters began, where the furniture was placed and any secret panels that might be hidden from player’s eyes.

One of the best aspects of the game was the fact that although it could be played in a one-off fashion, it was really intended to be played in a long campaign. Players would get one of the 4 heroes along with basic weapons and some spells for the Wizard and Elf and would then earn items and upgrades during the campaign. Advancement was basically get bigger and better weapons but once a player had found the best of the best weapons, they were really too tough for most of the monsters. (Another board game that suffered from this unbalance as a result of advanced weapons was Mutant Chronicles Siege of the Citadel a few years later.) This unbalancing act could be managed by giving out tough weapons only rarely, giving them a chance of breaking, having them stolen or cursed, etc. but these are only house rules suggestions and not part of the actual rules. Still, the joy of finding a better weapon was part of the fun.

Each session would be a different experience with a clearly marked starting point and a pre-written storyline. The players would typically come from the spiral staircase into a room, then they would decide how best to confront the first closed door. (A lot of quick planning might go into how to best assemble the heroes to just open a door to maximize the party’s chances of confronting anything outside the door!) Then, the group would explore the corridors, rooms and crypts while discovering and having to fight all of the baddies the rooms contained. Along the way, the GM was given the task of setting up the rooms, attacking the heroes with the monsters and generally keeping the game flowing. Since most games were played right out of the campaign book, GMing was simple which was a welcome relief from months of careful story building I’d already been through.

Hero Quest was a magical gem amidst a sea of RPGs. It was really the first board game that I had ever played that captured the sense of wonder and excitement of a fantasy RPG without the complexity of world creation and NPC involvement. Years later, other games would aspire to become the new Hero Quest but HQ was so well done it still has a fond place in our game memories.

If you ever have a chance to play it, HQ delivers. Sure, there may be games with a better advancement system and their own horde of cool minis and furniture and stuff, but isn’t it all just updating this classic?

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Sentinels of the Multiverse fan
oddball Aeronauts fan
72 of 81 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“Retro Dungeon Adventure.”

Ah the 80’s that bygone age of big hair, bigger shoulder pads and florescent clothing. 1989 was a standout year giving us some great movies Lethal Weapon 2, Burton’s Batman and Back to the future 2 some pretty cool tunes, Nirvana’s Bleach, The Stone Roses all of them classics, it also gave us the board game equivalent of these much loved treasures Heroquest.

Milton Bradley teamed up with Games Workshop to give us the cardboard equivalent of lightning in a bottle the first true dungeon crawl boardgame Heroquest. As a kid me and my friends must have played this thing to death. As soon as you opened that box you knew you were in for a treat. It came with a wealth of so cool components, actual bits of furniture to adorn your dungeons, heaps of miniatures, spells, armor and treasure oh my, and a book chock full of quests.

I remember devouring this game, it filled the gap for me and my buddies giving us that great D&D RPG experience but with loads of really cool stuff to play with and a cleverly designed board that allowed for an infinite amount of possibility’s. Nostalgia is a great thing but sometimes those rose tinted glasses when removed can lead to terrible frights. Would this still be High Adventure In A World Of Magic.

So it was with some trepidation that I opened this once sacred item to try it out again now 30 years later, as an experiment and to skew my now cynical and aged disposition I recruited some youthful adventures to join my on my quest, my 11 and 8 year old and a couple of their friends. I got to be the DM I set up the first quest and we gave it a roll.

Here’s the first shocker you may have forgotten, but Heroquest is a Roll & Move! really! The rules are so simple you roll your two dice and move that many spaces opening doors willy nilly the only ruling that you cant move back onto a space you’ve already passed. You also get a couple of actions, you can fight by rolling the tiny little custom dice, roll a skull you hit something, need to defend you need to roll shields to offset any attack. You an search for secret rooms/traps dependent on quest (i remember searching a lot for traps and secrets excitedly and never finding much) or treasure which is decided upon by a random card from a deck. And the Wizard and Elf can cast spells by playing a card from their magic deck, mostly involving killing something.

But you know what, once this was set up and going I didn’t care, and the kids they loved it. The cool thing was always the exploration, as you opened doors and moved about the board evolved with new doors appearing or monsters,, that excitement still holds my audience was lapping it up. I used years of proper grown up RPG experience to help build the atmosphere throwing in sound effects and maniacal laughs for the villains and my little band of adventurers where living it, forget your games consoles they were eating this up.

It is all very simplistic, pretty much all the dungeon dwellers have 1 health so a solid swipe from a character will pretty much wipe out most of them, but the kids didn’t care and neither did I. It took a while to get them to work cohesively as a team my youngest was loot ******* like a Warcraft newb on their first raid, racing around throwing caution to the wind opening door after door spilling untold hoards of Goblins and Orks onto the party in that search for an elusive treasure chest.

Just sitting back and watching their joy and squabbles as they battled the hoards was hilarious, especially when George (the 8 year old treasure obsessed Elf) used his walk through walls spell to abandon the party that he’d gotten outnumbered by the evil denizens in his quest for shiny trinkets, and step through into the main baddies Lair seeing their delight that he was going to get his comeuppance, only for him to one shot the boss. Brilliant.

We’ve played this all week and yep its light, and incredibly overbalanced in favor of the heroes, by the third adventure they had bought a bunch of equipment pretty much making them unstoppable killing machines, but you know what they didn’t notice and I didn’t care, we were having a hoot.

Games Workshop tried this again with advanced Heroquest but they broke the game trying to bolt on the more traditional RPG ruleset of line of sight and abilities and a ton of stuff that just slowed it to a trudge. I have it and maybe after they have grown tired of this, we might give it a go. But I’m tempted to move them up to Descent or Mice & Mystics because I think those will blow their fragile little minds.

So yes by today’s standards its over simplistic, completely unbalanced in favor of the heroes, a roll and move. But it has all those mini’s and bookcases and doors, its a hoot to play both sides of the table. If you have kids then yep I think this is the best way to enjoy this game to really get that feel we would have in those balmy oldie times of our youth.

As a game its been surpassed by its more sophisticated brethren and in no way would be worth you investing the serious coin this gets in the second hand market, but I enjoyed my jaunt through these familiar old corridors and if its encouraged my kids to try out something it bit more challenging then thank you Heroquest my old Pal, your still fighting the good fight.

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My First Heart
71 of 92 gamers found this helpful
“Boardgame of Aracade - Gauntlet... Loved, Owned, Reminiscent!”

Really good game from my teenage years.

This may have ignited the eternal flame for boardgames.
We had always done the Risk, Stratego, Axis & Allies etc…

Enter Hero Quest.

A classic boardgame complete with classes, spells, DM, and prebuilt scenarios, which if you’re anything like us, you play the first couple and quickly begin building your own, realizing the potential.

The variety in creatures was great and not overwhelming.
It was simple but not too simple and allowed for continuing with your characters for future adventures.

This was the single strongest boardgame competitor to the D&D/Battletech/Star Wars/Palladium full on RPG’s we would spend entire weekends on, devouring endless bags of chips, countless liters of Iced Tea all the while, needing showers.

We played this so much, the box went first, the doors bent in half after a year, the tables peeled away to white cardboard after two, and finally the swords, candlesticks, and other items of war snapped off.

Certainly a fun filled beginning down the yellow brick road bound for endless hours of boardgame madness!

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72 of 98 gamers found this helpful
“A great introduction to RPGs.”

Just as some others have said, this was one of my very first role playing games. I loved everything about it. I won’t go into detail about how the game is set up, or how it’s played, as many others before me have already done so. But what I will say is how much I enjoyed the replay value. Yes, there were expansions for the game (which I had two of them… unsure now if there were more – this was many moons ago), but what I most enjoyed about it was creating my own dungeons.

I remember photocopying the grid of the dungeon map (which came with the instruction manual (I believe anyway)), and then creating my own adventures, complete with back stories and quests and missions. Another cool aspect I enjoyed was that the weapons one could purchase for their respective characters, took up specific amounts of slots in their inventory, on a grid fashion (think Diablo on the PC). Naturally, I created my own weapons which I added to the inventory, with their own slots and damage they dealt.

My only problem was finding people to play with me when I wanted (which was quite often), but that still did not deviate from the amount of fun I had with this game. Good times indeed.

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Gamer - Level 4
68 of 101 gamers found this helpful
“The Big one”

The First good RPG in a boardgame that I could remember.
Is now dificult to get it in good conditions and the Price going up very day.

If you think that you are a great board gamer you have to play this, it´s a Little bit complicated but you will be rewarded for the time.

With a great components, and a great playable fórmula, this could be the one that you need to get yourself into the dungeons and dragons basis, just like the new ones like the legend of drizt.

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My First Heart
70 of 110 gamers found this helpful
“Great Game from the past!!”

I’m still hoping for a re-release of this game and all it original glory. My copy was sadly destroyed, I continue mourn its loss. If someone could get their hands on it, I recommend playing as much as possible. I heard there is a copy write problem with the kickstarter a couple of years ago but my fingers are still crossed. It is the dawn of dungeon crawlers as we know them today, however I find you do need a great DM or it is a little funky in playing. As I find most gaming crews have a member who generally plays DM rolls it should be a too hard.

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United Kingdom
69 of 111 gamers found this helpful
“My first ever board game”

…and the reason I’m such a hopeless game fanatic into my thirties. Heroquest was, and still is, absolutely brilliant, and was my introduction to what gaming could be. Role selection, hand management, dungeon crawling, tough decisions, brilliant theme, it was doing all these things 20 years before it became fashionable.

Can be found for peanuts on ebay, and well worth picking up.

A true classic.

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Gamer - Level 9
Explorer - Level 6
Guardian Angel
34 of 55 gamers found this helpful
“Opened new horizons”

This game was the beginning of a new sub-genre which Games Workshop dubbed 3-D role playing. The idea was to combine tabletop miniatures gaming with board gaming and role playing elements. In the game you and your party are adventurers. You choose and adventure from a book of adventures and prepare the board and then play the adventure. Some expansions were made for the game adding more adventures, monsters and heroes. The other breakthrough was that prior to this game the common wisdom was that only metal miniatures had a decent quality and detail to them. this was the 1st game to have quality plastic miniatures. The game is popular and expensive to find intact copies. However, if you want the game look for the later more detailed version called Advanced Heroquest which added more of a roleplaying element to the game. Also, look for Space Crusade and Advanced Space Crusade which are the sci-fi versions of the game.
Additionally, A few years later GW released a new version of Advanced Heroquest called Warhammer Quest. Again, this is a good version of the game. Since then nothing new but there was a quickstarter version for the 25th anniversary that did not seem to be as good as far as most people that have played it have commented.

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Miniature Painter
Intermediate Reviewer
Master Grader
8 of 13 gamers found this helpful
“A trip down Nostalgic Lane, but avoid on game night”

I recently bought this off ebay to relive my childhood and it was everything I hoped: cardboard bits fraying and brittle brown plastic set decorations as squat monsters and heroic champions work through the dungeon!!

The old-timey feel and the slapped-on campiness of the gameplay are fine for reliving a misspent youth and I encourage everyone to buy their version of “had this as a kid” and go to town on it!! But DO NOT try to drag anyone else into this morass of memories unless they share that gleam in your eye!! Great game for its time, though.


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