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Review: HeroQuest Game System

By David G. Paul · 20th Nov 2021 · 5 minutes read

All the way back in 1989, American board game manufacturer Milton Bradley partnered with a smaller, lesser-known English company named Games Workshop to create a Dungeons & Dragons style fantasy board game using miniatures. There were already big, complicated fantasy role-playing games out there, D&D itself had been around since 1974, and what HeroQuest aimed to be was something simpler and more accessible. The game was such a success that it spawned a number of expansions, a video game, and later Advanced HeroQuest which was a sequel with individual tiles to allow for unique dungeons, and introduced the Skaven as the enemy. It almost seemed like the start of the road towards Warhammer Quest being released in 1995, and which has seen various incarnations since that initial version was discontinued in 1998. In the UK, HeroQuest was originally priced at around £19.99 which compared to games such as Warhammer Fantasy Battles at around £40, t his wasn't too bad at all. Back then, and at the age I was, those prices seemed phenomenally expensive, but today you can be looking at £55 or more just for an expansion pack, and £120+ for HeroQuest itself. It's a lot to pay now for nostalgia, but where there's nostalgia, there's money to be made.

The appetite for this sort of game has seen a sharp increase in recent years, maybe in part due to Dungeons and Dragons in Stranger Things, or maybe a combination of nostalgia and people seeking new hobbies during the pandemic. Whatever the reason, Hasbro Pulse's HasLab in September 2020 announced the HeroQuest game system which would be a re-release of the old game with updated miniatures and scenery, and using the updated US rule book. This was a crowdfunded project akin to what they'd done before with The Khetanna sail barge for Star Wars. To entice more people to back it, there were different goals to unlock which would increase the rewards the more funding they got. They announced two tiers: Heroic ($99.99) which was the base game, and Mythic ($149.99) which included the two expansions as well. Once they reached $4 million this would unlock a quest book written by actor Joe Mageaniello (Justice League, Spider-man, True Blood, etc.), a dragon miniature, and new tiles. Even though they only reached $3.7 million, they still went ahead and included this quest book.

HasLab would only accept pledges from within the US which meant that in the UK, what I feel is the home of HeroQuest, we were out of luck until UK retailer Zavvi decided to step in and offer the Mythic Edition pre-orders for £149.99. Of course I was going to pre-order it - why wouldn't I? It's been just over a year, and mine arrived this week! First thing is that it arrived in a very large Hasbro box with 'HeroQuest' printed on the side, so there was no doubt about what had arrived. When I opened that, there was another box inside, and inside that box was:

  1. HeroQuest Game System
  2. Kellar's Keep
  3. Return of the Witch Lord
  4. Mythic Edition extras

The game system box is a decent size, and is held closed by four circular pieces of tape which are very difficult to remove without damaging the box surface so are better to cut. The new box is deeper than what the old one came in and not as long, the artwork has been updated a little as well but still strongly resembles the one we're familiar with. The new publisher is now Avalon Hill, and the age rating has changed to 14+. Once the lid is free, you'll see the HeroQuest artwork once more, and this turns out to be a wrap for a tray containing many miniatures and eight dice. The new sculpts are incredibly detailed in comparison to what came before, and the plastic they're made from is softer. It does mean though that some of the thinner parts easily warp, and a few of them bent taking them out of the tray. In my opinion, whilst the detail of these is good, they don't feel quite as good as the modern plastic miniatures coming out of companies such as Games Workshop. It's likely this is down to the softer plastic.



The next tray is also wrapped with the same artwork, and contains all the scenery items you'll need, the adventure sheets, and the cards. They all look very familiar if you've played HeroQuest before, but the improvements are also noticeable as well. The fireplace for example is no longer a plastic base with a carboard backing, it's solid plastic. The same can be said for other pieces such as the bookcases. There's definitely an improvement in the details too.

Then underneath that tray is the game board which is folded into four. The old board used to be folded in half, but other than that it looks incredibly familiar with strong vibrant colours. I think if you'd not seen the original board recently, you'd be hard-pushed to tell the difference. Finally, we have the Games Master screen, tiles, the quest book, and the rule book sitting on top of some cardboard that is used to fill the excess space. The extra space seems wasteful - I feel it would have made sense to have made the box shallower, but there may be a good reason for it such as protecting the card parts.


In the Mythic Edition box we have 4 hero miniatures, 18 monster miniatures, 6 white combat dice, 14 game cards, 4 character cards, cardboard game tiles, 3 quest books, and the smaller Heroic contents box containing 5 miniatures and 4 cards. I won't go into too much detail of these as it looks like these won't be available outside of the original crowdfunding project.

The two expansion packs come in boxes at that resemble the originals in size and design, but are far sturdier with lids rather than the type of thinner packaging they used to use. Both of the expansions include a quest book, tiles, and additional miniatures needed for these quests.

Whilst the Mythic and Heroic editions may not be available now, retailers such as Wayland games are now taking pre-orders for the HeroQuest game system, and the two expansions. These will be released on 15th January 2022.


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