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HeroQuest - the Boardgame

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HeroQuest is a board game that was made available in the 1980s. It was designed and made by Games Workshop, who are now more commonly known as the creators of Warhammer. In fact, the HeroQuest boardgames are believed to have led to the creation of Warhammer.

HeroQuest is a boardgame with a difference. It comes with many small models and several separate game cards.

The Aim of the Game

The aim of the game is for the Heroes to navigate through each quest without dying, working as a team to defeat the GamesMaster.

How to Play HeroQuest

The game is designed for two to five players. However, the more players that participate in the game, the longer the Quest1 takes. No matter how many players you have, one must be the GamesMaster.

The game board is large and is printed with rooms and corridors laid out in a maze-like fashion.

The Game Pieces

The game comes with several figures. There are four Heroes and numerous monsters.

  • Heroes - The Heroes are, of course, the 'Good Guys'. There are four Hero models, representing a Barbarian, a Dwarf, an Elf and a Wizard. Each has individual skills which are necessary in order to succeed in the game.

  • Monsters - There are many types of monster, including Mummies, Zombies, Skeletons, Chaos Warriors, Orcs, Goblins, Gargoyles, Fimirs and Warlords. Since HeroQuest, these models have been adapted, and are now used in Warhammer armies.

  • GamesMaster - Although not a piece, this character controls the monsters and attacks the Heroes. Yup, the definitive 'Baddie'.

The Cards

Also included with the game are different types of cards. These are:

  • Treasure cards - These are used when a character does a treasure search. These cards can be good or bad. Some give wealth to a player, while others take some life away from a player.

  • Monster cards - These are used by the GamesMaster as reference cards. They show the different abilities of the various monsters.

  • Quest cards - These cards represent the various skills and weapons a Hero can gain and use once he's completed a quest.

  • Weapons cards - These show the different weapons that are available either for the Heroes to buy at the end of each level, or to collect from weapons' racks during the game.

Setting up the Game

It is the job of the GamesMaster to place all the objects on the board, such as monsters, furniture and traps. This is either determined by the level maps, or by maps that you yourself have created. Unfortunately2, the Heroes do not have access to these maps, so they have no idea of what will appear when their Hero enters a new corridor or room.

Movement of the Pieces

Each Hero has one turn per round, with the roll of two die determining the movement of each Hero3. The total of the die corresponds to the total number of squares the Hero can move.

There are various tasks that a Hero can perform per turn. However, a Hero cannot perform more than one task in one turn. For example, the Hero cannot look for a trap and fight a monster at the same time.

  • Searching - A Hero can search at any time during their turn. However, they cannot move, search and then move again in the same turn. Searching is performed by proclaiming to the GamesMaster that you wish to search the area. He will then check his map to determine whether there are any traps or secret doors. Only a section of the board can be searched per turn, such as a room, or section of corridor.

  • Treasure - During each Quest, a Hero may come across treasure chests and cupboards that contain hidden treasure. If a player decides that they want to take a chance, they can perform a treasure search in their turn. This involves the player taking a treasure search card, and the Hero finds the item stated on the card.

Once all the Heroes have had a turn it is the turn of the GamesMaster. It is his task to move the monsters and attack the Heroes. He is allowed to move as many monsters as he likes and attack as many times as possible. The character card determines the number of squares a monster is able to move. The difficulty of the game is determined by how aggressive the GamesMaster is.

Attacking and Defending

When a Hero or monster attacks, special 'attack die' are rolled. The characters' abilities and weapons decide on the number of die that should be rolled. These special dice have three skulls, two 'white' shields and one 'dark' shield printed on their six faces.

When attacking you want to roll skulls, as the number of skulls you roll is the number of lives you take off the victim. The victim then has a chance to defend itself. Again, this is done by rolling the die. The number of die rolled depends on the character aptitude. Heroes must roll an equivalent number of 'white' shields, while monsters must roll an equivalent number of 'dark' shields. If the number of shields equals the number of skulls, the victim is safe. However, if the number of skulls is greater than the number of shields, the difference is the number of lives that the victim loses.

Advanced HeroQuest

Several years later, a new version was released known as Advanced HeroQuest. This is a game similar to the original except the Monsters provided were all skaven4, encouraging people to complete the teams by buying the new models. This version allows unlimited combinations of levels because the game board is put together as a result of the roll of die. Unfortunately, this game came with a rulebook that was about 100 pages long. It contained many charts, all of which were necessary to play the game.

HeroQuest and Warhammer

How Did This Start the Warhammer Craze?

Due to the success of HeroQuest, Games Workshop began to produce expansion packs. These included new level maps as well as more models. Soon they began to produce and sell the models separately, and over the years, they have been adapted and improved. Now these models have become a bigger success than HeroQuest and are well known as Warhammer.

What is Warhammer?

Warhammer is a game that is well known to people in the UK and Ireland. The game uses model creatures which each have different abilities and skills. You can collect whole armies and play against other armies using special reference tables.

Is HeroQuest Still Available?

Unfortunately, both HeroQuest and Advanced HeroQuest are hard to get hold of now, as they have been withdrawn from the market. However, Warhammer is still available to purchase as a substitute.

1Each level of the game is known as a Quest.2Or rather, fortunately, or it would be an extremely dull and boring game to play!3Unless the Hero has lost the ability to roll both die and can only roll one.4These are rat-like creatures that walk on their hind legs.

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