In an earlier Blogpost I reminisced about the game Starquest. But travelling down nostalgia avenue, you can’t help but also stumble over its “sibling” Heroquest. Also published by Milton Bradley by the way.
With Starquest being inspired by Warhammer 40k, Heroquest is (obviously) inspired by the fantasy setting Warhammer. If yor not familiar with the concept of Heroquest (not the tabletop wargaming parent Warhammer), a small rundown of the game:
You play with 2 to 5 players, of which one has to be the dungeon master (D&D as a guideline to simplify matters?). You have a standard board, on which the dungeon master has to set up doors and cave-ins, according to the setup as prescribed in the manual. The players each have a Avatar. The game is set up to be played in a succesion of maps or levels (each one different from the previous one). With a simple start, each level gets progressively more schallenging, but the players also get the cahnce to upgrade their heroes in between levels. Movement and combat is doen with simple dice, and those characters able to use magic have a finite amount of magic cards which they can use (but cannot be replenished). The characters are the standard fare: a barbarian, a wizard, an elf and a dwarf. As with Starquest, you could get a number of add-ons which expanded the game with soldiers for hire for the heroes, magic and villains for the dungeon keeper, and more and varied missions and monsters to battle through and with.
In our family we got our gifts and games quite fairly. I had Starquest, my younger brother had Heroquest. Although it seemed we played Heroquest more often in the first few years after we got it. Whilst I obviously loved the science fiction setting of the game I had, it seemed to appeal to my imagination more thatn it did to my sense of actually playing it. Perhaps also because, if you played the game-master, the chances of you winning were quite small the further you progressed in the game. Heroquest, while also slightly suffering from this, played out faster per “level”. thus making it an easier game to get into and set up. You did not have the bleeps you had to move around. And especially in the beginning of the game, the models that were actually on the board were low in numbers. Meaning less moving around, and more actual playing (and more turns to do something!).
For me, the game was great fun. Though it did not leave a lasting impression on me the way Starquest did (having flung me into the world of 40k), we did have quite a bit of fun when we played it as kids. I do highly recommend to play it with friends or family if you still have it.