My first experience with roleplaying games was with HeroQuest. I remember trying to play it for years before I finally got my hands on the game. I always saw it on shelves at my friends, but there was never enough time to play, let alone set up the game. When I finally did try the game it changed my perception of games entirely. Here was a game that changed entirely from time to time. A game I could modify myself and make only better with time. It wasn’t long before I got into heavier stuff such as MERP and Mutant Chronicles. But HeroQuest has always been lingering in the back of my mind. So to celebrate that some inspired, amazing people are remaking and releasing a 25th Anniversary Edition, here’s my reasons HeroQuest was the best game of the 90’s!
1. The amazing artwork by Les Edwards
Let us be honest; if anything helped capture the hearts of every kid that saw this game it was the distinct art of Les Edwards. Though certainly of the old school of fantasy illustration, Les Edwards art has a dimension to it that sets it apart from the peers of his day.
HeroQuest was a fantasy role-playing game aimed at kids. I painted the box cover to the main game and several add-on packs. All the characters had been designed previously so I didn’t have a great deal of leeway with interpereting them. Using dice to move little figures around a board seems oddly old fashioned in this age of computer gaming, but Heroquest was very successful. – Les Edwards
2. The Dungeon Master Screen
This was THE Screen I would measure all later dungeon master screens to. The inspired, curved design make all other screens feel square and boring. I remember trying to take on the persona of the depicted, white-haired wizard. When it comes to immersion; this screen rocked!
3. This commercial from the 90’s
Do we need to say more? It will transform you!
4. The epic heroes
They were all cookie-cutter, generic characters. Heck, the barbarian was practically Conan. But being so generic allowed us to put ourselves in the roles of them more easily. The elf could even pass for a female character if you squinted.
6. The exploration
We tried Descent some time ago and I was exceptionally excited for it. Until I realised I could see every treasure and map feature at game set up. No revelations save for a few monsters and randomized treasure placements. HeroQuest did that right; you had to explore the dungeons on your own. And if you were really lucky the DM would change things from the maps in the book.
7. The treasure cards
Searching for treasure was groovy! With the wandering monsters there was a risk, but finding a coin purse or a healing potion was usually worth it.
8. The grand quest!
You were able to bring your characters from one mission to the next, including your hard earned treasure and equipment. It all lead to a final showdown.
9. The greed!
See that treasure chest in the back of the room? Sure, there might be four fimirs between you and it, but nothing would stand in your way. The game would bring out the greed in my friends more than even Monopoly did. But ultimately this is what would lead to the most fun situations. Especially when the treasure chest was trapped.
11. The randomness of the map
You’d think that the game would be repetitive with a premade board, but with clever placement of the walls the journey through Morcar’s dark labyrinths were always a fresh experience.
12. Always ready to go!
HeroQuest maps required very little set up. The DM would usually just need five minutes to read through the mission and place a few rocks and a staircase. Compare that to setting up a game of Settlers or Merchants and Marauders. Or.. eh… Risk.
13. The Advanced HeroQuest
The game was so successful that it spawned a sequel. We didn’t play it, but we sure would if we got our hands on it! The sequel had more involved rules compared to the simplicity of HeroQuest. Almost as if it grew up with its audience.
14. The weapon rack
Enough said. If you saw this in a room you knew you’d hit the jackpot! There was ALWAYS a weapon on that thing if you searched for treasures in the room.
15. The equipment cards
If you didn’t find the weapon rack you at least got to go buy equipment between adventures! What other fantasy game includes both shopping AND interior decorating!??
16. The diverse enemies
As with the screen, the enemies of the game had a great mixture of ‘nuisance’ and ‘horrifying’. Fighting goblins and orcs was hard enough, but you better run when the room revealed a Chaos Warrior or heavens forbid; the dreaded gargoyle! Only years later did I learn what ‘gargoyle’ actually meant (I played the game in Norwegian).
17. The spells
You might feel underpowered as a wizard. Until you got to walk through stone! The spells were incredibly powerful and would often save the day. Just like wizards did in the campy fantasy novels you’d read inbetween game sessions. Oh Fizban…
20. The expansions
In our hometown we only had one expansion, Kellar’s Keep, but for those in the UK and beyond you’d be able to find up to seven expansion packs.
22. The Amiga video game
Ok, to be honest; this was a horrible experience. A video game should streamline a physical game, but the video games took forever. But it made us love the board game all the more for what it was!
23. The goodhearted nature of the game
HeroQuest was about having fun together. The Game Masters job was to ensure the players were having a great time, not to kill them. His enjoyment of the game came from knowing what trouble laid ahead and giving the players a challenge that ‘almost’ killed them.
The mini’s were ready to be painted and could easily be transferred to your other favourite games. Who didn’t use the dwarf in their D&D campaign later on?
25. Being creative!
The makers of the game even released a HeroQuest Adventure Design Kit that encouraged players to make their own stories. I never saw that kit, but I did it on my own regardless. I’m sure others did as well. I’d make my own maps, pieces, and even spell and equipment cards. So like we stated earlier; HeroQuest wasn’t just about having fun; it was about using your creativity and imagination. That’s a winning combination and why we believe the game definitely deserves its 25th Anniversary Edition!
I these 25 reasons weren’t enough, we’ll leave you off with a comparison of the old and new editions. If they don’t make you want to play the game you’re most likely on this site by a mistake.