Things Get Played - Hero Quest
About a week ago, I got invited to a friend's place with another friend so that he could try cooking Moroccan food. The other thing in the invite? This:
There was mention of bringing our own minis for the event if we wanted, so I turned up with the two most Hero Quest-y models I had in terms of stereotypes: Legolas, and a random Dwarf model I painted years ago (Burlok Damminson seemed overkill).
We played through the first quest, and it took about two hours. I should point out that the last time I played this I was probably 12, but for a while, it was the board game a few friends and I played for several school holidays. A Hero Quest goblin is also the first mini I ever painted, and to the best of my knowledge is still in the possession of my best friend. As an intro game, this was what got my friends and I interested in wargames like Warhammer, and eventually, this influenced my love of DnD and adventure board games. In short, this game is responsible for igniting an interest 20 or so years ago in a lot of the hobbies I have today. In fact, I'm pretty sure that the original Evil Wizard screen influenced my decision to go with the official DnD game screen that I picked up at the start of the year for my DnD campaign.
Playing the game after all these years was still great fun, but I had a great appreciation of it. Yes, the game is a lot simpler than a lot of other games in the same style that I have, play, and enjoy, but it is still a great game.
The original minis in the box are still a classic, including the original mini modelled on GW's White Dwarf character, but throwing some newer minis into the game still makes it fun. The actual mechanics are fun, but not over the top: the dice have shields and skulls to defend and wound, you have two stats you can lose, and if one reaches 0 you die. The dungeon opens up as you explore more, so there is a nice fog of war aspect to it.
The map may seem static at first, but one of things we discussed during the game was that as you explored, and more sections opened up, and the are were tiles to block off passages as well as doors to connect rooms, you got a very large range of options you could map out. The 4th edition starter kit of DnD had a map poster you could fold to reveal rooms, and while it was a good method and helped keep the cost down I really like this method more. It feels like you're going into a dungeon, which may look like all the others, but who knows where the goblin builders put e doors, or what parts are caved in.
The narrow corridors and small rooms also help block in characters. Combined with the fact you can't attack diagonally, it means there are very few options for a group attack on one enemy, which means there is both the risk of injury, and the reward of getting your heroic monster kill or final revenge blow for your fallen comrade. Adding in some of (what I still consider to be) the best dungeon dressing available in a near-ready-to-use format changes the rooms, and they can be filled with monsters I once feared as a child, like the tough Chaos Warriors or ugly Fimir.
So how did we go? Well, with the Elf and the Dwarf under my control, I lasted a while, even if they both got knocked around a bit as the dice remembered who I am and turned against me early on. Not far from the dreaded Gargoyle (I remembered the first time I had seen the room open 20 years ago when the pieces were laid out last night, with great glee) our Wizard fell, and not long after the Elf was overwhelmed by a Chaos Warrior. Before he went, he imbued the Barbarian with Courage, allowing him to tear through the room and defeat many monsters before they overwhelmed the surviving party members. With the enemy defeated, we were victorious!
We just need to find a new Wizard and Elf for our next adventure...