An Age of High Adventure! HeroQuest Tabletop Board Game
In 1990, Milton Bradley produced a board game that would go on to be an epic frontrunner for an age of miniatures gaming.
Wait! That's an awfully bold statement, how did I get there? Let's run down how this game first started off.
The true genius of this game came from it's designer Steven Baker, who had the fortunate luck of working with Games Workshop (WarHammer, WarHammer 40,000 and the Lord of the Rings/the Hobbit) early on, and brought this fantastic idea to Milton Bradley. In essence, Heroquest is a boardgame version of Game Workshop's WarHammer, but turned into more of an episodic adventure series, complete with their own version of a DM/GM - Zargon, the antagonist. As this game got it's start in the UK, it saw differences from the what the American product would be, as well as a full sequel (HeroQuest Advanced) that was never released state-side.
Drawing upon Games Workshop's miniatures line to produce classic monsters; Goblins, Orcs, Zombies, Chaos Knights, and cast of 4 heros (Barbarian, Elf, Drawf and Wizard) that would have adventures searching though caves and ruins represented by a multi-section playing board. The characters could only "see" so far and as they progressed, the GM would unveil doors, blockages, furniture, props and monsters to fight, magic spells and potions, armor and weapon upgrades, secret treasures, and hidden traps. This gave you the best aspects of WarHammer and a role-playing board game. Easy to follow rules, minis that could be painted and customized , along with inventive quests and adventuring.
The original game comes with a booklet full of fun quests that help you learn the game and skills to survive. It also has hints to help develop your own adventures.
The publishers did a little more in giving this game unexpected longevity by releasing expansion packs. These packs would come with extra and new monsters, floor tiles, and new quests keeping things very interesting.
HeroQuest ceased production in the US in about 1994. Games Workshop would take the ball in the UK and released Heroquest Advanced, and WarHammer Quest( they would also release a WarHammer 40k version known as Space Crusade with much of the same set-up.) These sequels did away with the game board and instead gave players the ability to use tiles to make any dungeons randomly or in anyway they saw fit. This also led to fantastic 3D dungeon design pieces as produced by Dwarven Forge.
A resurgence of HeroQuest has become available since the rise of the internet and a want for simple, fun, yet evolved gaming. More players are able to find copies and expansion packs from both US and UK versions of the games, as well as loose miniatures. Resources such as Games Workshop for more characters. Dwarven Forge for fantastic dungeons and forums to help beginners and give new ideas, spells, characters, maps, and quests to veterans. Resources such as Agin's Inn , which led the way to Ye Olde Inn HeroQuest site (http://www.yeoldeinn.com ) with a great blog page. It would be great to see this game get a re-release. If you love fantasy and/or miniature gaming, I highly recommend you give this game a chance if you find someone that asks to play or can find it cheap enough. You won't be disappointed.