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HeroQuest Revealed

The teaser countdown at heroquest.avalonhill.com has finished and revealed some details on Avalon Hill’s new version of the HeroQuest board game. What surprised me most is that the game is being crowd-funded rather than getting a normal release. Also, apparently Hasbro has their own crowd-funding platform.

From the previews shown on the game’s site and the crowd-funding campaign, it looks like the new HeroQuest will be pretty faithful to the original. There are the same four heroes, a similar selection of monsters, and hints that the quests will be similar to the original campaign. The game will have new art and miniature sculpts, but its clear they are taking a lot of inspiration and design cues from the original game. [Update 28 Sept 2020: The campaign has added a FAQ that says there will only be minor changes to the rulebook and quests.]

Some of the elements more linked to Warhammer’s Old World setting have changed. For example, rather than referencing Chaos the new game has Dread Magic and Dread Warriors. The fimir monsters have also been replaced by new fish-like abominations. I don’t think those changes will have much impact on the actual game though.

One change that I’m happy to see is that the game looks like it will improve representation a bit. Where every miniature in the original game was a male, the new set of heroes has the elf as a woman. Backers of the campaign will also get four bonus miniatures that will give them both male and female versions of each hero. The orcs and goblins also include a mix of genders. Since I’m likely to be playing with my wife and daughter, I’m glad they’ll have the chance to pick a woman as their hero.

I think crowd-funding the game is a bit of an odd choice. It feels like there is an obvious market for the game rather than it being a riskier idea that would need crowd-funding to test whether there is demand. The campaign offers two tiers. For $100, you can get the base game along with alternate gender versions of the heroes and a Sir Ragnar miniature. The higher tier comes in at $150 and includes everything in the lower tier plus two expansions. Those prices do not include shipping or tax, and my order for the higher tier came out to just under $200 after adding those in. The campaign has a goal of $1,000,000 which is high for a board game, but as I write this less than a day after launch it is already 75% of the way there. If the campaign gets past its goal, there are a range of stretch goals. These will only go to backers at the higher tier. The stretch goals include a new Warlock hero, additional dice and miniatures, and an additional book of quests. One interesting thing is that there isn’t an estimated shipping date for the project yet, but in my experience the dates listed for Kickstarters usually aren’t accurate anyways. [Update 28 Sept 2020: The campaign has added a FAQ that provides an estimated ship date of Fall 2021.]

It’s also worth noting that the crowd-funding campaign is limited to only the US and Canada. I’m not sure whether that is some rights issue with HeroQuest, a limitation of Hasbro’s crowd-funding platform, or some other reason. It does seem like it’s a big disappointment for HeroQuest fans in other countries though.

Even if I’m not thrilled with the crowd-funding approach, I have enough nostalgic love for HeroQuest that I’ve backed the game. I’m looking forward to having a chance to play it again.

By Scott Boehmer

A game enthusiast and software engineer.

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