Long ago, the HeroQuest board game was my gateway into role-playing games. If you aren’t familiar with HeroQuest, it was an adventure board game that Milton Bradley and Games Workshop collaborated on. The game worked like a streamlined role-playing game with one player taking the role of the evil wizard Zargon to control the monsters and dungeons, and the other four players playing the heroes – a barbarian, a dwarf, an elf, and a wizard – on a quest to defeat Zargon. The game featured a campaign of different quests with heroes able to collect treasure to become more powerful throughout the campaign. The game’s conclusion was a showdown against an undead spellcaster known as the Witch Lord. While I never owned them, there were also expansions with new quests that could be run after the main campaign.
The HeroQuest game was pretty great as a product. The box included a game board with a fixed map of dungeon corridors and rooms, but doors and blocked passages were created with standees and tiles so that each quest’s dungeon could be unique. The rules supported heroes buying new equipment and finding magical items during the campaign while still keeping the rules fairly simple. The production value was also great with hard plastic miniatures for the heroes and monsters, dungeon furniture that was a mix of cardboard and hard plastic, cards for spells, treasure, and monsters, and even a GM screen for the Zargon player to use. I feel like this made it a nearly perfect introduction to the concepts of role-playing games.
A couple of days ago, I saw a friend tweet out a link to heroquest.avalonhill.com. The page has a picture of the Witch Lord and a countdown timer that will finish at noon eastern time Tuesday, September 22nd. That’s less than a week away! While I don’t know what is coming when the countdown ends, I’m definitely excited to see what it is!
In addition to the website, there is also a twitter account that has been created for the new game: @heroquest. It hasn’t tweeted much, but it would be good to follow if you’re excited about HeroQuest’s return.
One possibility is that Avalon Hill will do a rerelease trying to stick as closely as possible to the original game. The teaser site doesn’t mention Games Workshop, so it doesn’t seem like they’re involved. I don’t think that would require any real changes though because while the original game was nominally set in Warhammer’s Old World setting, there really weren’t any specific ties to Warhammer that couldn’t be easily replaced.
It’s also possible that the game could be a reimagining of HeroQuest with updated elements. This could be done in a lot of ways, but I could see making adjustments to the rules system, using dungeon tiles rather than a game board, or even having a new campaign story. If Avalon Hill does take a reimagining approach, then I hope the new version preserves a lot of what made HeroQuest so great – a campaign of linked adventures with some character advancement, relatively simple rules compared to full role-playing games, and high production values with miniatures for the heroes and monsters.
The HeroQuest twitter account posted a picture with symbols that look like new versions of the custom die faces for the original game – a white shield, a skull, and a black shield. That implies the dice mechanics of the original game are being preserved in the new version. Maybe there will be some more hints at what’s to come before the countdown ends.
There is no game better positioned to leverage my gaming nostalgia, so I’m pretty sure I’ll end up buying the new HeroQuest no matter which approach Avalon Hill takes in its resurrection.