13
Dec 13

Bringing back HeroQuest?

I’ve previously written about Heroquest so you should know how much I love this game, responsible as it is for getting me more into nerdy hobbies.

A wee while back, a petition started for a 25th anniversary edition. I obviously signed it, not holding out much hope.

Discussion has taken place many a time of what to do if you won the lottery, my number one item, every time, was to employ lawyers to navigate through Hasbro, Games Workshop and whoever else was needed to secure the rights to HeroQuest to do a re-release of it.

Well, there was rumbling of a re-release and then a Spanish site appeared promoting a 25th edition. This was due to appear on Kickstarter. Surely not!

They claimed to have the licence and someone dug up stuff showing they owned the trademark to HeroQuest in Spain. They intended to host in Kickstarter but be based in Spain, selling in Spain in multiple languages.

The cover and some prototype images were released.

HeroQuest25thCover

Immediately the fanbase was torn. Surely this can’t be, Hasbro has licenced someone and/or lost the trademark? A date was promised for the project to appear which was then missed.

Kickstarter

The project starts and within a few hours breaches it’s target with the base game and all extras running to around £93.87, when converted from Canadian dollars. Although steep, it was no great amount considering what people pay for some of the expansions.

Slowly, too slowly in fact, stretch goals started to be revealed. These were for the most part underwhelming. A single figure for €33K. Normally showing what the next reward is at the next level, which has already been reached. The video starts off with the original advert, again implying this was properly licenced. The fanbase started asking awkward questions such as

  • How much is postage, it doesn’t say?
  • Are you really licenced?
  • Do you have any sculpts?
  • Can we see some real work you have done on this instead of just a mocked up box cover?

The project was sitting at $300,000 and we were awaiting the first update from the project owner, which was more than a little unprofessional. Leeway was given for the poor English due to translations, but that made people a bit nervous about any future product.

Eventually updates appeared and some questions were answered. To find out postage sign up to their company site and then enter your details to find out. The postage calculator subsequently broke and was being worked on. When fans were outraged at the cost being charged and ambiguity over that being the final amount GameZone said they would give a voucher for their store for the amount you spent on postage.

Within a couple of days the project was unavailable due to an intellectual property dispute.

It was shortly announced that it would be appearing on a Spanish only Kickstarter site to avoid these issues. It did, then was dropped 5 hours later for, presumebly the same issue.

Ownership

The roots of all these problems lie in intellectual property.

But it wasn’t Hasbro or Games Workshop who sent in the scary lawyers, but by Moon Design (who they?). Well it appears they have the trademark to HeroQuest in the US, and so spotting US citizens pledging felt it infringed their rights. Secondly they intend to produce a board game of their HeroQuest roleplaying game and wanting to get a large chunk of cash from GameZone to continue.

Does that also mean that had Hasbro and Games Workshop decided to release a new HeroQuest they would try and block it? A bit rich considering the board game was out first. I was already annoyed with their RPG stuff for clogging eBay searches for HeroQuest but this just makes them bigger asses.

GameZone have tied themselves in knots, claiming they aren’t selling in the US whilst seeking US funders, seemingly not giving Stephen Baker credit for the game they are re-releasing, cocking up two crowd funding project, not being capable of telling people the postage cost etc.

It’s all looking a bit shit for HeroQuest fans just now. At least there’s continued work by fans on Hero Quest Revised as well as Descent and Mice and Mystics to play.


30
May 12

Hero Quest Update

After writing the blog post about HeroQuest I hunted around on Twitter and the like and found someone in Dundee talking about it – he has written a series of posts pimping his painting skills – Parts (1), (2), (3), (4).

I then took a trip up to the parents house to enjoy some of the weather instead of sitting indoors on the internet or playing games (nerdpoints–). Digging around in the attic for some old toys for my nephew (he’s not old enough for He-Man or Action Men yet, but soon) I found some random stuff. Looking in old room with niece for some other cool stuff I spotted something out the corner of my eye. It was another HeroQuest box. I have 3 copies of the second release where I only remember buying 2. It also contained a copy of WitchLord so I have 3 of that expansion. A couple of days later I did an audit and managed to check which sets were complete and complete Deks (missing a door and had some broken figures). Alzo will get his set checked at some point so hopefully we will all have at least one complete set.


13
May 12

HeroQuest

In 1991, Dek picked up a game for the ZX Spectrum called HeroQuest. This was an amazing little game where you had a party of 4 and adventured round a dungeon completing quests, killing orcs and searching for treasure. It seemed surprisingly large and had the most amazing atmospheric music (for the time).

Even though Dek had hundreds of games, this was one of the ones which was played the most.

Dek also managed to pick up a sticker book which was really different to the ones we were used to seeing, mainly football ones. What are these bizarre orcs, goblins and fimirs that are in here.

In 1992 or 1993 at then end of a primary school year we were all allowed to bring in a game for the last day to play. Someone turned up with this boxed game called HeroQuest. Wow – that’s the game of the Speccy game. Dek, myself and a couple of others crowded round it. Not knowing what we were doing, we all helped unpunch all the bits and set up all the items on one of the maps.

This was pretty cool, there were toy orcs and barbarians with little trap squares and cards and dice. This was really different to monopoly or playing cards. These dice had skulls on them, how awesome is that! Just as we had set up the map (wrong) that was the end of the day and it all had to be packed up.

In 1994 it was summer, we were in high school and spent some time gaming at Deks. Even though we had Mega Drive and Snes games we still pulled out the Speccy and C64 every so often for these awesome old games especially the seemingly dead text adventure. One day we were playing HeroQuest and another guy in our class came round. cool says he, that’s HeroQuest, I have the board game of it. Our faces both lit up and he popped round to his house to bring it round, gifting it to Dek.

Boxed Set of HeroQuest

From that year on, every summer we played HeroQuest, Dek, myself, Deks brother and occassionally others, including one summer – a girl too!

The series of games led to lots of running jokes and back-references in our group. The elf in the photo below is at a bizarre angle due to a clumsy incident with a large foot and an attempt to glue it back together.

Through car boot sale after car boot sale we trawled trying to find more of this game, another copy at least so we could make multi level dungeons with pits where you could fall to the lower level and so on with double the monsters, so Dek could use twice as many Chaos Warriors as he already did on his brutal home made levels. Also there were apparently some add on packs too.

A couple of years later I was in a Cash Generator/Convertor and spotted a copy of the base game for £5. This was pretty awesome, now we could have those multi-level dungeons.

I got home and opened it, look through, hey there’s bits missing. It turned out we had two slightly different editions of the game. I had found the later release, Dek had the first one.

When I got to college we had access to the internet where you used rocketmail to send messages for free and searched for stuff on Yahoo. Geocities was a place to get free webpages and it had loads of HeroQuest sites (now archived by 30+ year old nerds). Bulletin boards and scans slowly told a picture of expansions, German and French releases and expansions only available in North America.

There was this site called eBay and people bought and sold things on it. A quick check revealed two expansion packs were available for about £10 each, Ogre Horde for about £30, Morcar about £50 and the two American ones – over £100! Extortion we thought. Eventually, probably using my dads credit card we managed to get copies of the first two expansions. One of them was un-punched. How the hell can you play the game like that? We quickly un-punched it and got to work playing the expansions. Idiots.

Still playing every summer we added the expansions in the mix although as we usually started a new campaign every year I can’t remember if we completed the second one or not.

Later still, around 2004, I was at my first car boot sale in years. I glanced ahead as I was going keeping an eye out for books and records. What’s that under that table – it looks like a HeroQuest box. I increased the pace and wandered over, all casual like.

Recreating the HeroQuest advert - Fire Of Wrath!

Oh cool, HeroQuest, is it all there, how much? I enquire not wanting to appear too keen.

£5, please take it, our brother used to force us to play it when we were kids answered the girl enthusiastically, with the other sister nodding in agreement.

I pop it open and have a look.

There’s other stuff in there too one says.

I dig around and find more booklets than I expected. The base game, Kellars Keep (score) and Witch Lord too. Awesome. Looks like the figures are all there I’ll just…wait a sec, what’s that figure? Quickly handing over the £5 I dashed away safe in the knowledge I also now owned Ogre Horde. The base game and three expansions for same price I had paid for the base game years back. Ebay price for the haul at the time – about £70.

A greedy wizard searches and is killed by a wandering monster

More recently we started a monthly day called Nerd Fest to play board games. Alzo was introduced to the game and we started a campaign to go all the way through the sets we have. Later we played more Carcassone, Doom, Zombies!!! etc but the game is still going and we will get through it one of these days. I missed the last session and apparently the third wizard actually made it to become a champion in my absence. I won’t believe it until I see the character sheets.

There is still an active community around the game, one of my favourite forums being Old Scratch‘s.

People are still making their own quests, one project – Allied Heroquest has tried to consolidate the best of the rules from the UK and US edition of the game and some of Advanced HeroQuest. It also fills in some of the rules contradictions and edge cases.

The community is also excited about a French expansion in progress right now: Champion de l’Empire

Current wish list:
Wizards of Morcar
Barbarian Quest Pack
Elf Quest Pack
HeroQuest Master Edition

Did you ever play HeroQuest, remember a time when RPG style games were available in big shops and the Argos catalogue? Live near us and want to pass over a copy that’s been gathering dust in your attic?

Game Details
NameHeroQuest (1989)
BGG Rank [User Rating]555 [7.09]
Player Count2-5
Designer(s)Stephen Baker
Artists(s)Gary Chalk and Les Edwards
Mechanism(s)Dice Rolling, Grid Movement, Modular Board, Partnerships, Role Playing, Roll / Spin and Move and Variable Player Powers