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Heroquest 2021 Review - Featured

After 30 years since it was first released, all the chaff surrounding who owns what trademark has been sorted. Hasbro has picked up the torch, charged many of us in advance, and finally brought HeroQuest to a new generation. But now that this box is out there, is it worth your money? Or even your consideration? Well, we’ll look at this and more in our HeroQuest 2021 Review (spoilers – it’s totally worth the money, stop reading now and just go and buy it).

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HeroQuest 2021 Review – Video

Check out our overview of the box and contents along with first impressions for the review on our video below.

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HeroQuest 2021 Review – Summary

HeroQuest is the best game ever made – and anyone who says otherwise, is wrong.

BardicBroadcasts

Citing the best review ever made (and anyone who says otherwise is wrong). HeroQuest is considered by many board game enthusiasts to be one of the absolute best games of all time.

Unlike other popular 80’s board games which have devolved throughout various iterations into complete obscurity (I’m looking at you Atmosfear), HeroQuest by MB Games has been off the shelves for near 20 years.

Now, it’s back with only a minor, almost imperceivable, evolution of the original game.

This is essentially an HD remaster rather than a remake, and as someone who is aware of the indirect evolutions of this game series, all the way through the various Warhammer Quests, this return to roots is also a return to form.

The beauty of HeroQuest after all this time is clearly its simplicity. yYes, a varied and constantly developing series of adventures all contained within the area of a single board. But no convoluted rules or mechanics. Move, Explore, Fight, Evolve in ways so straightforward that I was able to have a great time playing it with my 5 & 6 yr old kids. (They enjoyed it too).

A simple story adventure game with 4 unlikely companions in a fantasy world, coupled with tons of highly detailed miniatures making (IMHO) the absolute perfect D&D lite.

For miniature painters, the quality of the models in this box is somewhat lacking. You need to consider that these are made to be cheaply reproducible game pieces rather than display-level miniatures. But it is a bummer. I’m sad that the Games Workshop partnership element of the original game is gone. Because their current models are a far-cry from what we see here.

Yet, the value of this box is still almost unrivalled in regard to the sheer quantity of items in it, at an expensive but more than fair price.

Make HeroQuest your next board game purchase.

HeroQuest 2021 – Games Workshop

The Partnership with Games Workshop for the 1989 original HeroQuest was recorded to be spearheaded by one Stephen Baker. An MB Games employee who previously worked for Games Workshop. He petitioned bosses at MB to make a fantasy game.

Roger Ford, then Head of Development, agreed to explore the idea so long as the game was kept simple. During the design, Baker contacted his former employer (GW). Initially just to produce plastic miniatures for the game, but throughout development utilised GW’s knowledge and expertise to refine mechanics.

That partnership is what berthed the HeroQuest we know today.

HeroQuest 2021 Review – Contents

Just before we get into the meat of it, here’s a basic list of what you get in your base level Heroquest box.

  • 35 Miniatures
    • 4 Hero Miniatures
      • Barbarian
      • Wizard
      • Dwarf
      • Elf
    • 31 Monsters Miniatures
      • 6 Goblins
      • 8 Orks
      • 4 Skeletons
      • 2 Mummies
      • 2 Zombiies
      • 4 Dread Warriors (Chaos Warriors)
      • 3 Abominations (Fish Men)
      • 1 Gargoyle
      • 1 Dread Sorcerer
  • 15 Furniture Pieces
  • 21 Dungeon Doors
    • 5 Closed
    • 16 Open
  • Additional pieces
    • 10 Skulls (9 in my case)
    • 4 Rats
  • 101 Game Cards
    • 38 Treasure Cards
    • 23 Equipment Cards
    • 24 Magic Cards
      • 3 Water Spells
      • 3 Fire Spells
      • 3 Air Spells
      • 3 Earth Spells
      • 12 Dread Magic
    • 8 Monster Cards
    • 4 Character Cards
    • 4 Turn-order cards
  • 37 Cardboard Tiles
  • Quest Book
  • Rulebook
  • Game Master Privacy Screen
  • Pad of Character Sheets
  • 8 Dice
    • 6 White Combat Dice
    • 2 Red D6

Woah!

Heroquest 2021 Review - Box Back
The advertised “70+ Detailed Miniatures” is including the scenery pieces and little skulls

As I said in the summary, it’s huge and the contents are literally awe-inspiring.

HeroQuest 2021 Review – Unboxing

The box is absolutely massive. So much so my dog (full-grown Japanese Spitz (Google It)) was comfortably laying on it this morning when I came to write the review.

Not only is it a big box, but it’s also a fairly solid box too, with everything laminated in an almost linen-like cross-hatch pattern.

Heroquest 2021 Review - Box

As for the artwork, this is a direct evolution of the original. The characters and poses are all the same. The only notable difference being that the Dwarf, which now has more of an awesome Arabian-fantasy style and the default Elf is female.

Whilst the artwork looks great, it is a little more cartoony than I’d personally like – I much preferred the more realistic Grim and Dark stylings of the original. But hey, that’s the rub when things get changed. You won’t please everyone.

As soon as you open the box, you are greeted with another (almost identical) box. Boxception!

But below that box you have…

Heroquest 2021 Review - Box Open

Another Identical box.

Heroquest 2021 Review - Innner Storage Sleeves

These two cases are in fact sleeved plastic trays, used for housing all of your various miniatures and furniture.

Heroquest 2021 Review - Figure Sleeve

I have some things to say about these trays, but I’ll get onto that lower down in the miniatures section.

Below the trays is all your extra gubbins, which includes the Quest and Rulebook separately, and a privacy board for the DM to hide his stuff behind. Finally, you have a board with pop-out tokens.

Heroquest 2021 Review - Books & Cards

Then, you have the board itself. Along with the squares that occupy it, is slightly larger than the original board. Now folding in quarters rather than half.

Each Square is now 1″x1″ (25mm)

Heroquest 2021 Review - Board

Having a larger board is nice and suits the new scale of the miniatures. But it’s is also ever-so-slightly larger for reaching across and positioning your models. First world problems or what?

(Though I’m probably just older now and lazier than in my youth.)

Card stock wise, it’s ok…

Let’s just say it airs on the positive side of the current board games. But it’s not exactly “premium” in quality.

Heroquest 2021 Review - Board Thickness

As for the tokens, they pop out easy enough, with no risk of tearing. Once again these are on a laminated card with a textured surface.

Heroquest 2021 Review - Counters

Once these are removed from the card, there’s no place for them to go in the box. A little baggie would have been nice. I mean, Avalon Hill have been proving their worth in this respect for a while now. Would it really have broken the bank by putting these in?

The privacy screen is little more than a redrawn version of the original, showcasing Zargon and his horde of minions to the player.

Once again, It does have a handy cheat sheet of gameplay notes on the back.

Heroquest 2021 Review - Privacy Screen

It’s a cool thing to have and allows the DM to hide some of their equipment behind. It’s also useful when checking the quest map to avoid glancing eyes from on-looking players getting a clue to the dungeon’s layout. However – just like in the original game – Zargon is armed with so much stuff from monsters to cards and more, there simply isn’t the room to hide all of this behind the privacy screen.

You’re best using the screen for nothing more than the quest book and having your models and cards in their various trays off to the sides.

How to play Heroquest 2021

Continuing the unboxing, but with a helpful twist, I’ll run through how HeroQuest works. Personally, I believe it’s the comparable simplicity that the game possesses when vs modern dungeon crawlers which makes HeroQuest so special.

After all, 90% of those new games are little more than an evolution (for better or worse) of HeroQuest.

HeroQuest Gameplay Overview

HeroQuest is an asymmetrical tabletop board game, with 1v1-4 players.

1 Player controls Zargon, an evil (though I’d argue, misunderstood) Sorcerer, who is responsible for revealing the dungeon, placing board pieces and controlling the monsters found within.

The other 1-4 players control the 4 heroes (either, 1 each, or share control of them how you see fit). Don’t try and play the game with less than 4 heroes on the board, it won’t end well.

The heroes must work together and move throughout the dungeon, finding treasure and battling monsters aiming to complete a set quest objective and escape – yes you must escape. If you get killed on the way out – That’s it. You have failed.

Heroquest 2021 Review - Rule Book
The rules for the game are pretty straightforward

The beauty of HeroQuest lies in the steady reveal. As players progress in their adventures, they can discover more and more stuff as they make their way through the dungeon(s).

The board starts blank with only the stairway tile placed. This is always the heroes’ starting location.

The layout for each dungeon is pre-defined and known only to the player acting as Zargon. As heroes move through corridors and into rooms (actually, just open the door and wait at the threshold) Zargon will place pieces on the board whenever a hero has a line of sight to it.

In the example below, the heroes start in the room on the bottom left. As soon as they exit the door in that room, Zargon will place the closed door to the adjacent room and a blocked wall just west of the centre along the southern corridor. The heroes are now aware of another room they can enter and that the corridor further ahead is impassable. As they move on, more and more of the dungeon is revealed to them.

Heroquest 2021 Review - Quest Book
The Quest Book is used by the Zargon (DM) player to layout the dungeon and place its monsters, furniture and traps.

Heroes must venture forward in order to locate and then complete their objective(s) before returning to the stairway.

HeroQuest Gameplay The Heroes’ Turn

A round of Heroquest works as follows;

As the player(s) in control of the/a hero(es), you control the usual suspects of fantasy heroism. A Wizard, Elf, Dwarf and Barbarian.

The hero to Zargon’s left goes first. If you control multiple heroes, you must decide on a play order for them. This hero order stays the same each turn. The played Hero can do two things per round.

  • A Move
  • An Action

Start each hero turn with a roll of 2 D6. The result is how many spaces you can move. You can then perform an action before you move, move then perform an action, or skip either/both. You can’t do half your move, then an action, then the rest of your move. Though, during a move, you will be asked to pause as you either turn a new corridor or open a door allowing the Zargon player to place whatever furniture, new doors or beasties that are now visible to you. After this happens can then decide to continue moving or stay.

Your Actions consist of the following (things like opening a door do not require an “Action”):

  • Attack (a monster on a horizontally adjacent tile)
  • Cast a Spell (From your deck of Spell cards – Wizard and Elf only)
  • Search For Treasure (revealing either a defined result known only to Zargon, or draw a random card which has a 50/50 chance of being good or bad!)
  • Search for Secret Doors
  • Search for Traps
  • Disarm a Trap

Thankfully, Quest 1 “The Trial” has no secret doors or traps, these gameplay features are steadily introduced through later quests.

Combat encounters are decided by the roll of the Combat Dice, the number of dice rolled is defined by each character’s/monster’s individual attributes – I’ll talk more about the dice later.

Once a player’s move and/or action are complete play it the next players turn. Players take 1 turn each, moving clockwise until it comes back to Zargon, who takes their turn last in each round.

HeroQuest Gameplay – Zargon (The Evil Sorcer/DM’s) Turn

Playing as Zargon is rather simple in premise. You basically move any revealed monsters, traps and other objects during the heroes turns as they encounter things. Then on Zargon’s turn phase, attack heroes with the monster and spells. No movement distance rolls are needed, the monsters have set movement stats. Combat is still decided on combat dice.

Zargon also has some spells he can deploy to spice things up a bit for players

However, the true role, nay, responsibility, of the Zargon player – like with any decent DM – is to ensure the other players are having a good time rather than just trying to win.

Whilst this initially means deciding which players to chase down, perhaps only targeting the stronger heroes or those with the most Body Points (HP) left in order to keep players in the game a bit longer. Or, go the other way by specifically targeting one hero at a time to thin their numbers and add more of a challenge to seasoned players. The Zargon player can, and perhaps should, tweak the game based on the player’s skill & experience.

Though the rulebook doesn’t specifically state this, it’s generally accepted practice that the DM can define whatever house rules they see fit in order to keep the game moving. Whilst some may whinge that “this is not the true HeroQuest experience”, and they would be right, don’t tell me you “don’t use the free parking rule” in Monopoly, course you do.

For example, when I played with my wife along with our five-and-six-year-old children. Forgive me for allowing things like resurrection with healing potions they found (normally not allowed). Or, not allowing bigger monsters to exit the rooms they are found in (all monsters can normally travel wherever they want once revealed).

HeroQuest Gameplay – Permadeath and Progression

At the end of each quest, the heroes can use any treasure found (to the value of gold coins) to purchase equipment that will make them stronger in the next quest. The equipment works by increasing the heroes’ base stats. Affecting their Body Points (HP) or the number of dice rolled to attack or defend in combat. Gold can be shared between characters if the person who found it agrees to share it.

Used spells are also returned to the players.

To heal, players must use found potions or be healed by a spellcaster mid-quest.

But dead and injured players are not resurrected or healed (unless the DM invokes this as a hose rule).

Officially, on death during a quest, unless actual resurrection is possible, players lose all obtained equipment and treasure found. That character is dead and it’s player must sit the rest of that quest out of the game. The physical character model can return in the next quest, but this will be considered a new character, with a new name and base stats.

HeroQuest 2021 Review – Models & Dice

Your first storage tray is loaded with your character models – both monsters and heroes. There’s an absolute heap of them.

Heroquest 2021 Review - Figure Tray
  • 4 Hero Miniatures
    • Barbarian
    • Wizard
    • Dwarf
    • Elf
  • 31 Monsters Miniatures
    • 6 Goblins
    • 8 Orks
    • 4 Skeletons
    • 2 Mummies
    • 2 Zombiies
    • 4 Dread Warriors (Chaos Warriors)
    • 3 Abominations (Fish Men)
    • 1 Gargoyle
    • 1 Dread Sorcerer

As I said, it’s a lot of stuff.

HeroQuest 2021 Packaging & Storage

These trays however are an absolute PITA! They are excellent for transporting your copy of HeroQuest to you without risk of damage to your miniatures. It is intelligently designed that everything for the game will go neatly back into the box.

But its design is a double-edged BROWADSOWAD, because just getting the models out is really hard. They are all wedged in here so tight.

Several people have already reported near-breakages when trying to remove things.

Those, I guess, are the lucky people because many of my models were clearly damaged, warped or at least bent going into the box.

Heroquest 2021 Review - Figure Tray Damage

I’ll come back to the miniatures further down.

This casing is almost intentionally designed to tease you into using it just well enough to cause damage over time. I certainly wouldn’t be using this once the models are painted.

Thankfully companies like Feldherr are releasing one of their foam storage solutions in December 2021!

HeroQuest 2021 – Dice

As for the dice… eugh! They are nasty.

Before we go into detail on the quality, I’ll explain the config below. It’s super simple and fits into the gameplay section above.

Your 2 red D6 define how far your heroes can move on a particular turn and are sometimes called into play when specific actions are used.

The other 6 dice are combat dice. Where 3 sides are given to Skills (Hits), 2 sides to White Shields (Hero defends) and 1 side is a Black Monster Face (Monster defends).

Each hero or monster has a set Attack/Defence attribute which is indicated the number of dice rolled to attack or defend. Combat is easily decided by Skulls vs Shields. Any skull rolled to a greater number than (faction corresponding) shields the defender rolls is a body point of damage.

That’s how simple the combat is. No crazy convoluted math involved, no comparing of attributes on a power grid. Just a number of dice vs a number of dice. Skull vs Shield. with the number of hero shields per die being twice that of the monsters. It’s obviously more likely that the heroes will defend against attacks vs the monsters. But with the monsters, there’s a lot more of them.

You also need to be careful of the number of dying a particular foe can cast. Even the mighty barbarian can be felled in a single blow from some creatures.

Heroquest 2021 Review - Furniture

Ok, they are dice, they probably don’t matter to you, and they work just as well no matter the quality. But, in the last 3 decades since the original came with better quality wooden printed dice, Our fate-rollers have become important to many of us.

These are just awful. surely the cheapest cubes you can make. With an inconsistent embossing level for the design on each face.

Notes to Hasbro here. D-minus. See me after class.

However, like with much of this stuff. Thanks to the game’s age, if dice quality matters, you, can get more premium quality stuff online. I certainly will be.

HeroQuest 2021 Review – Furniture Cards & Character Sheets

Your second tray is also jam-packed, and this is easily the heavier of the two. Not only housing your large, bulky furniture pieces, but also your character sheets and cards.

Heroquest 2021 Review - Scenery Tray

The furniture itself is chonky. Things like the bookcases and the cupboard sandwiched between them (above) are solid. No attempt was made to hollow these out from the base. They have some real heft to them.

HeroQuest 2021 Character Sheets

The Character sheets are mightily important to the game. There are a load here, but you can easily print more off from a source online, or using the various tracker tools created over the years by players.

The most important aspect of these sheets is using the “Name:” field to call your Barbarian Stabby McStabface.

Heroquest 2021 Review - Character Sheets

These sheets are used to track your characters’ progress through multiple quests. If you take damage or obtain treasure, potions, artefacts and weapons. it all gets recorded here. There won’t be enough space on one sheet to carry you through all 14 initial quests, but you can just carry details over to a new sheet when full.

HeroQuest 2021 Cards

Ok, there are lots of cards! Specifically

  • 101 Game Cards
    • 38 Treasure Cards
    • 23 Equipment Cards
    • 24 Magic Cards
      • 3 Water Spells
      • 3 Fire Spells
      • 3 Air Spells
      • 3 Earth Spells
      • 12 Dread Magic
    • 8 Monster Cards
    • 4 Character Cards
    • 4 Turn-order cards

Don’t let this mass of cards put you off, the game isn’t really that card heavy and introduces more of them to you as you progress.

The turn-order cards are just a reprint from the rulebook and a handy reference for each player, these can be discarded and just have the DM manage the play order.

Monster cards are equally useless, though they feature some nice artwork with (IMHO) a better style than the box art. Strangely though there is no card for the Dread Sorcerer. All other enemy types are here bar the one big-bad. Strange…

Character cards can be used for transferring the characters base stats to your character sheet, then also discarded.

The spell cards are given to the Elf and Wizard. The Wizard chooses an element first, then the Elf, then the Wizard gets the remaining two. Dread spells are only used by Zargon.

Finally, the Treasure and Artefact cards are found throughout your quests. Most of the time, they noted on your character sheet and put back in the deck.

Heroquest 2021 Review - Cards

Quality-wise, these are fairly good. Decent card thickness, high-quality prints, which appear to be carbon copies of original artwork. They are now mostly in scroll-sepia and slightly textured which gives them a nice feel whilst also fitting with the olde-world theme of HeroQuest.

HeroQuest 2021 Review – The Miniatures

When I first saw the digital sculpts of these models, I was super excited by them. Highly detailed. Dynamic poses. Everything you would want from a modern update to a classic game.

But when I opened the box it dawned on me: these are now Hasbro models, not Games Workshop models.

I invoke Geedubya’s name here for two reasons. One: this site has primarily focussed on Warhammer and such Miniatures. I mean, we are a miniature painting site first and foremost after all. Two: for those unaware, the models in the original 1989 HeroQuest were made by none other than Games Workshop themselves.

At that time, the included models were among the pinnacle of high-quality plastic miniatures.

Here, they are board game pieces – no more.

Heroquest 2021 Review - Models - Heroes
yep, the elf and her base are warped.

The heroes themselves are nicely styled and are a massive upgrade from their original counterparts. My favourite new model is certainly the dwarf which now bears his own unique style when compared to traditional fantasy dwarves.

If you were a Kickstarter (technically Hasbro Pulse) backer, you were able to upgrade to the Mythic Tier which awarded you with gender swaps for the 4 main protagonists. However in 2021, with how focused we’ve become gender specifics, it would have been nice to see these options in the base game.

Makes it more accessible.

Heroquest 2021 Miniatures vs Modern Miniatures

Below, I have compared the signature models. The Barbarian against an equally… shirtless… Warhammer model (from a few years ago).

Heroquest 2021 Review - Models - Barbarian Vs Khorne Berzerker

It’s a strange comparison as the HeroQuest model is both more, and at the same time, less detailed than the Warhammer model. The best way to put it is that the HeroQuest model has a lot more surface texture, but the Warhammer model’s smoother details are much more sharply defined.

Also, that Broadsword looks so flimsy. I suspect this is due to how thin the edges are and the plastic used could not fully define them to the scale shown in the design images.

I need to point out here, we have a difference in scale. The GW miniatures since the dawn of Age of Sigmar have all been very much 32mm scale. Whereas the HeroQuest game is on the more traditional 25mm scale. If modern HeroQuest moves up to this scale we’d see a much more expensive box with everything being 25% larger than this. And considering its already almost 25% larger than the 1989 version… you see what I’m getting at.

Heroquest 2021 Miniatures – Painting Preparation

Another “feature” of the HeroQuest models is that no assembly is required as all of the models come pre-built. And I say “built” because many of them are clearly made of separate parts and attached together in the factory.

For those wanting to paint their Heroquest models, this saves a big part of your usual task for painting miniatures.

However, because they are pre-built, the builder has not taken the care and attention you would probably be taking when preparing your own. Large stumps on many of the model’s bases and large surfaces show clearly where they have been torn from their sprues in manufacture.

If you want the best quality paint job from these miniatures, you’ll be trimming, filling, and in some cases re-sculpting to deal with these stumps.

Next up… mould lines.

Heroquest 2021 Review - Models - Barbarian Mould Lines

An annoying but necessary task on models. If you don’t clean them, they will stick out like a sore thumb on your final paint job, especially if you utilise skills such as washes (shades) and/or drybrushing.

Normally, it’s a simple case of scraping a mould line remover or hobby-knife along these to remove them, but the plastic on these models is so soft that it just folds out of the way. The placement of these lines is also across and embedded within the fine details of the models, scraping these away in the usual method would result in many of them looking more damaged than by just leaving them on.

Which is exactly what I’ve opted to do, bar the few cases where a smooth surface can be cleaned up. I’ve just ignored the mould lines and left them on.

Heroquest 2021 Miniatures – The Monsters

The box contains a whole host of meanies for your heroes to fight.

Whilst the box houses duplicates of many models (just like the original) the different versions of the Orks and Goblins now have more than simple weapons swaps and now have completely different poses and genders from each other.

The previously Warhammer universe named enemy types of; Fimir, (Slambo posed) Chaos warrior and Fimir have now been renamed to Abomination, Dread Warrior and Dread Sorcer respectively.

The not-so-creatively named Abomination is the biggest change. Now being one of the largest models – it’s a Murloc-esque Fish-Man (Fish-Person).

Heroquest 2021 Review - Models - Baddies

Above shows 1 of each type of unit available. once again it’s a much more dynamic improvement over the original.

Like the heroes, all the models stand on 25mm round bases (a change from the 1989 square bases). Whilst this is necessary to fit within the board tiles, it does look a bit daft on larger models like the gargoyle.

Quality-wise, we are facing the same issues with the models showcasing lots of detail, but that detail is often not very well defined. For example, the teeth on the skeleton: they are imperceivable when you come to paint it.

Once again I’ve compared the HeroQuest models to a current GW Equivalent I had to hand. The (ahem…) Dread Knight vs the (ahem…) Chaos Warrior.

Heroquest 2021 Review - Models - Chaos Warrior Vs Chaos Warrior Front

I feel this is the most direct comparison I can make in this set. As the Dread Knight was originally the Chaos warrior in the 1989 set, we can see the latest evolution of that model from Games Workshop. It just so happens that these guys share a similar pose. They also stand of an equivalent height.

here you can see all of the additional texture detail on the HeroQuest version. The cape and shield especially showcase that surface texture. Whilst the new HeroQuest Dread-Knight mas more detail in general across his armour.

Heroquest 2021 Review - Models - Chaos Warrior Vs Chaos Warrior Back

Once again though, they are let down by lots of mould lines and soft plastic which has warped in several places.

The gargoyle is another piece that is let down by this. With a mould line going right across the chest, teeth and face, important details on a miniature.

Heroquest 2021 Review - Models - Gargoyle

When it comes to the models, I need to stay my own expectations somewhat. On the one hand, this isn’t really a miniatures game by a leading miniatures game manufacturer, and it never was. Back when the original was made by MB games (long before MB was acquired by Hasbro) they were making games like Battleship and Guess Who. It happened by chance due to one person’s employment history that the partnership with Games Workshop.

Whilst GW is known today as a global powerhouse, back in 1989 they were only stepping into their 15th year in operation. The miniatures they produce now are some of the best in the world, especially for plastics. Back then, they were very much on par with many others. It was, at the time, GW’s other products and metal miniatures where they really showcased what they could do.

But on the other hand, as I’ve said, this site’s primary focus is miniature painters. And whilst the design of these models is good, here they are once again, only equivalent to other current board games – not miniatures games.

However, as HeroQuest is beloved, and has been off the shelves for so many years, the love for the game has grown amongst its followers. With so many people getting into miniatures board games using HeroQuest as a gateway, their passion has inspired a lot of work.

If you really want better quality miniatures, then you can easily find some 3D printable alternatives online. Or if you really want to push it to the ultimate degree, check out these awesome fantasy models from Zealot miniatures which would serve as excellent proxies.

Heroquest 2021 Review - Brushstroke Proxies - Zealot Miniatures
Painted by Brushstroke

So when you look at HeroQuest 2021 for what it is, rather than what I hoped it could be, it’s an absolutely excellent product with a decent variety of dynamically posed models. My expectation now is that it could be again what it once was: a perfect gateway game for future miniature painters to enjoy and cut their teeth on.

Heroquest 2021 Miniatures – The Scenery and Furniture

The scenery is really stand out in this game, not only comparing it to the original’s half cardboard half-plastic offering, but just in general. The level of detail here is incredible.

The doors alone, whilst being identical copies of each other, are excellently sculpted with cracked ancient stone and vines crawling across the surface.

Heroquest 2021 Review - Models - Doors

The doors have sculpted grain detailed handles and baroque-esque hinges

The bookshelves and cupboards are solid pieces, with the latter being unnecessarily solid. Hasbro could have surely saved some money here by hollowing this out from beneath.

Heroquest 2021 Review - Models - Scenery 1

However, just like the models, these things do once again suffer from things like mould lines and the soft plastic has caused some warping on the components

Heroquest 2021 Review - Models - Scenery 2

The handles on the rack are a sure example, along with the candles on the table. The crypt however is a solid piece, even the lid is removable. though I’m upset to find that there isn’t a moulded corpse on the inside.

Flimsiness is also shown on the apothecary table in the image below, with the scales being off-angle.

If this stuff really bothers you, just carefully heat the plastic with a hair-dryer, then hold it back into place until it sets.

Just don’t put it back in the storage tray because it will likely bend again

Heroquest 2021 Review - Models - Scenery 3

There are further issues with some pieces, at least in my case. In the example below, the chair has had so much glue applied that it has splodged out across the bases and down the left rear strut. Painting some weathering effects on here could easily solve these issues and it ends up as more of a feature.

However…

Heroquest 2021 Review - Models - Chair Front

On the rear of the chair, you can see that the part has not been assembled properly. Unfortunately, whatever glue they have used to build this is ensuring that the model will not come apart. There’s no way to re-align this.

Heroquest 2021 Review - Models - Chair Back

Despite having similar issues with the plastic of the models, I’m really happy with the furniture in this set. I think it’s how bulky it is that really makes it stand out

HeroQuest 2021 Review – Companion App

I just want to give a quick shout out to this app which has been released alongside the game. The app is free and available now on Android and iOS.

Heroquest 2021 Review - Companion App 1

The app is really helpful and actually allows you to play the game solo if you wish. The app’s main function is to take on the role of Zargon. You would still roll the dice, move your characters a set number of spaces open doors, pick up cards etc, but Zargon (the app) will tell you when to place a piece on the board as you progress.

When it is Zargon’s turn in the game, however, the app will move the beasties (with you copying their movements on the physical board) Zargon will attach and display his roll results on the screen. You then need to roll the physical dice and decide on the result and record any changes to your body points on your character sheet.

Enforcing the physical element of rolling and recording on your game pieces keeps you engaged with the physical game itself. If the app were to substitute all dice rolls, actions and record your characters stat changes, you would literally be able to play HeroQuest entirely using the app itself. They’d probably do themselves out of selling as many copies.

The app is not locked to the rules of the game either, so if you want to pretend you rolled 12 movement spaces each time, the app will not stop you. further to this, once you have moved a character 12 spaces, you can even move them another 12 straight away, without even needing to take turns by any of the other characters or even the end of round Zargon’s turn. Want to cast a spell or use any potion or artefact at any time without collecting them?Yep, you can do that too.

You can easily cheat in the app, or perhaps consider it as allowing you to invoke some house rules as you see fit.

One thing I love, however, is that the app tracks which character has searched which room already (as each is only allowed to search each room once). It’s so hard to keep track of this manual when playing as Zargon

In addition to the above, the app has a full audio score, setting the atmosphere and voicing the intro to HeroQuest along with each mission.

Heroquest 2021 Review - Companion App 2

I’m not sure who was hired to do the voice acting, but kill an Ork in the game and tell me that’s not Mark Hamill?!

Personally, I love the fact that this app exists, and whilst it’s intuitive and has clearly had some care and attention. I personally prefer a person in the Zargon role.

Especially for me when playing with my kids: it’s far more engaging (and I’m sure emotionally healthy) to actually speak to them, have one-on-one interaction and have some level of control in their adventure.

HeroQuest 2021 Review – Where to Next?

If you missed it plastered on the front of the box, the HeroQuest base set is a “game system”. There are expansions to this game already available.

Hasbro Pulse Mythic Tier backers already have their hands on the first two official expansions. Kellar’s Keep and Return of the Witch Lord, mirroring those from the 1989 game.

Heroquest 2021 Review - Expansion Packs

Beyond this, the same Mythic Tier backers also have the below box. Along with extra cards, models and dice. You also get 3 extra quest books.

Heroquest 2021 Review - Mythic Box

This set contains

  • Prophecy of Telor Quest Book by Stephen Baker
  • The Spirit Queen’s Torment Quest Book by Teos Abadia
  • The Crypt of Perpetual Darkness Quest Book by Joe Manganiello

The latter of these 3 is by Joe Manganiello, from True Blood, Magic Mike and tons of Men’s Health magazine covers.

Worth noting that this third Quest Book which comes with a huge dragon miniature and custom game tiles were unlockable stretch goals in the crowdfunding campaign. These are significant as they are rewards for the $4M and $3.8M respectively and publicly these goals were not achieved during the campaign.

But Hasbro, being the wonderful company they are (and surely not in any way having influenced a self-managed crowdfunding campaign on their own platform, despite no clear jump in backers after Zavvi opened up the campaign to the UK) have given these final stretch goals to all backers.

Heroquest 2021 Review - Mythic Box Contents

With only 3 models noted as “exclusives” crowdfunding campaign exclusives, (these include Sir Ragnar, Menor Wizard and Witch Lord) all of the remaining content in the Mythic Tier pack is open for release on their own. That’s all 3 of these quest books and miniatures along with them.

The original 1989 version also had more official expansions in the form of;

  • Against the Ogre Horde
  • Wizards of Morcar
  • The Frozen Horror
  • The Mage of the Mirror.

There was also an adventure design kit that expands your ability to create your own adventures – beyond the included blank “create your own adventure” page in the back of the base game’s Quest Book

We could see these classic expansions return in the near future. We could see even more if HeroQuest proves its popularity once again.

But even if this is not enough for you, the last 20 years of devoted fan content has already given us hundreds of adventures we could go on. one quick google search for “HeroQuest Quests” gave me this page which houses an overwhelming number of fan-created Questpacks.

And if your love for the game is strong enough, why not upgrade your board and miniatures with better-sculpted proxy models or even a full 3D game board. There are literally tons of 3D printable items you can use for this game.

HeroQuest 2021 Review – Price and availability

The base HeroQuest Game System is £19.99 ($30.00) with the expansion packs coming for £6.99 ($9.99) each. If you jump in a time machine and travel back to 1989.

In 2021 the retail HeroQuest game System box will cost £99.99 ($124.99) with expansions costing £22.49 ($24.99) each.

Many FLGS with preorder options are offering a discount on the preorder price, with my local providing a bundle of the base game and both expansions for £130 (that’s less than I paid as a backer!).

As of publication, the game is up for pre-order at many FLGS with the expectation that shipping will begin in January 2022. I strongly suspect that as word gets out about this game, with us backers forcing friends and relatives to play it over the Christmas period, by January 2022 most pre-orders will be sold out.

I think we will be looking at mid to late 2022 before the game is readily available on store shelves.

Do yourself a favour and pre-order it now.

Heroquest 2021 Miniatures – Final Thoughts.

ProsCons
The best game ever made. Fact!Miniatures aren’t the best Quality
Storage trays are dangerously tight

HeroQuest is the best game ever made. FACT!

No matter how many times I’ve requested the company of (forced) my family to play various Warhammer games, they have all given up halfway through, dreading the next box I throw at them. Yet this morning, two days after playing HeroQuest, my wife, unprompted and through a Covid infused fever, exclaimed to me “I really loved playing that new Warhammer with you all the other night”. (She meant HeroQuest, she doesn’t understand what I do at all).

And this is exactly what Games Workshop is missing in their line-up. A family game.

From Warhammer Quest and Space Hulk to Betrayal at House on the Hill, adventure board games have all become so much more complicated than they really need to be. 20 years later HeroQuest is still proving itself capable of providing endless fun for all ages. And that’s the key, for all ages. MB’s original directive that the game must be simple was key to HeroQuest’s success.

Less is more, and whilst there’s a lot here, the “less” I am talking about, is the ruleset for this game.

HeroQuest came out in 1989 as a board game. The specific part of this I want to draw your attention to is that it is a game, played on “a” board. Not an ever-growing dynamically positioned chasm. One single fold-out board.

It was so popular that it spawned several expansions of that base game. And despite being off the shelves for near on two decades now, it has still been picked up, played, and enjoyed by several generations of people hoarding old copies or even building their own from scratch.

But once Advanced Heroquest (from Games Workshop taking over the series exclusively) and subsequent Warhammer Quest games came out, with modular boards and more depth and complexity to the game mechanics, they’ve lost the “board” element of the game.

Whilst that approach, which Games Workshop continues to this day, maybe more enjoyable for the specialist/die-hard fantasy roleplayers, it immediately becomes less accessible to a mainstream audience. And people like myself who have a busy work schedule along with a pair of young kids. Or for people who just have a more casual interest in playing miniature tabletop games. We get put off.

Advanced HeroQuest and Warhammer Quest are the perfect games for people who loved HeroQuest and want to delve into something deeper. But without there being a basic HeroQuest, there’s been nothing available that would allow people to even dip their toes in the water and get the initial taste for this type of gaming.

And sure, many of us want to wall up and shelter in our clique of dedicated war/miniature gamers. There are still surely plenty of people out there who we would welcome as wargamers/miniature painters if only they had such a gateway into it.

HeroQuest is something that Games Workshop themselves are sorely missing nowadays as even their current entry-level/gateway products (I’m talking Space Marine Heroes) are still either overly-complicated or are otherwise just not anywhere near as fun to play as HeroQuest is.

I have genuinely dreamed of the day that HeroQuest would return. But now that day is here, it’s time for a new dream.

Now I dream for the day that Hasbro release HeroQuest collectors edition, with models and tokens on par with a Games Workshop game. Or a day that Games Workshop releases a Warhammer Quest game with these simple and accessible mechanics.

An adventure based miniatures “board game” (with one board) I can easily play with my kids.

But until that day, I’m gonna enjoy and play the heck out of HeroQuest 2021 – and you should too.

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Authors

  • Self-appointed Editor in chief of FauxHammer.com - But I need to thank the team for existing and therefore enabling me to give myself role - without them, I'm just a nerd with a computer and a plastic addiction.

  • Rob has spent most of the last 15 years playing World of Warcraft and writing stories set in made-up worlds. At some point, he also managed to get a Master's degree by writing about Medieval zombies.

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About FauxHammer 401 Articles
Self-appointed Editor in chief of FauxHammer.com - But I need to thank the team for existing and therefore enabling me to give myself role - without them, I'm just a nerd with a computer and a plastic addiction.

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