HeroQuest is an adventure RPG board game for 2 to 5 players. One player is the gamemaster, he reveals the board as the other players explore and controls the monsters they encounter. The remaining players take on the roles of heroes – a wizard, an elf, a dwarf, a barbarian, and work together to finish the designated quest.
The goal of the game is to complete the quest chosen by the gamemaster. The win condition can vary based on the quest, some examples include saving a character, killing a powerful enemy, finding treasure, etc. There is also the possibility to create a custom scenario. The gamemaster must follow the rules of the quest and set up the board properly, explain the story and the objective to the players, and reveal the map as the game progresses. The heroes must work together to complete the quest and exit the dungeon, whereas the gamemaster’s goal is to kill the heroes.
Pro Beautiful visual design
While the game board is not particularly big, it’s quite colorful and aesthetic. The game also manages to catch the eye due to the figurines and the small furniture.
The game features a big variety of remarkably detailed miniature figures - orcs, skeletons, zombies, goblins, etc. All the figures are originally single-colored, the heroes are bright red, whereas the various monsters come in white, dark blue, dark green and light blue.
The box also packs some beautiful and detailed pieces of colored cardboard furniture that add a lot of aesthetic value to the game by filling up the emptier places on the playing space.
Pro Easy to grasp
The game is teachable to players in a matter of minutes due to the simple rules. It’s also simple enough for children, as the game is made for ages 10 and over.
After the gamemaster has introduced the players to the scenario and readied the board, the game starts with the player to the left of the gamemaster. During the player’s turn the player can perform two actions – move and either attack, cast a spell, search for traps and secret entrances, or search for treasure. On the gamemaster’s turn the gamemaster can attack the heroes with the currently visible monsters.
Movement is done by rolling two regular dice, which show the amount of squares the player can move in their turn. Combat is done by the player and the gamemaster rolling special dice with 3 skull sides, 2 hero shield sides and 1 monster shield side. The number of dice rolled in combat is determined by the statistics of the monster or the hero, specified in the character cards. Each skull is a hit and each shield can block one skull. When “body count” reaches zero, the character is removed from the game.
Pro Great for parties
HeroQuest is a perfect activity for a small gettogether. The game is meant for 2-5 players, a quest takes up to 90 minutes.
Not only is it simple to learn and easy to set up, but it requires good teamwork and communication between players. There’s also always room for roleplay, which can lead to some humorous and memorable moments. Moreover, the playing surface is not too big, so there should be plenty of room for snacks and drinks on the table.
HeroQuest encourages creativity. The quest book has a blank scenario, so players can design and play their own quests. Moreover, since the miniature figures are single-colored, many people choose to color them, creating some beautiful pieces.
On top of that, the 3D furniture in the game doesn’t serve a different purpose other than the aesthetic one, so you can craft your own pieces or use small furniture from different games.
If you lack ideas, then the HeroQuest fan site Ye Olde Inn has some great fan-made content – quests, cards, printable furniture, etc.
Pro Active community
Con May be hard to get
It's a somewhat older tabletop RPG, with a decent number of expansions. You may end up paying a high price on ebay or other sites to get yourself a copy.
It’s also worth noting that you can’t always be sure about the physical quality of the game. The 3D furniture is made from cardboard and if the copy you’re buying has been used then it’s a bit of a risk.
Con Requires a good gamemaster
If the gamemaster doesn’t know what he’s doing then the game will be more frustrating and take much longer than usual, and it’s already a long game. The gamemaster is the only player with access to what the quest is supposed to look like and is solely responsible for creating the dungeon as the game goes on – spawning monsters, revealing objects, etc., so the players need to trust that the gamemaster isn’t cheating.
Con Doesn’t scale well
The game is at its best when played in a full group of 4 heroes and a gamemaster. Otherwise the odds are more on the gamemaster’s side and it’s a lot more difficult to complete the quest. To counter this, it’s recommend for a player to control more than one hero, but that also adds unnecessary difficulty.
Con A lot of first-time setup
When you first open the box the amount of work can seem overwhelming. You have to de-peg your pieces and assemble all the furniture, which is quite tedious and inconvenient due to the relatively small size. Furthermore, your first games might take a longer while until the gamemaster gets the hang of the process.