Back in the 90's one of my high school friends introduced me to Hero Quest and after opening the box and showing me the game, I was hooked. Recently Hasboro Game Lab worked in partnership with Avalon Hill to re-create the original game and ran a Kickstarter-like that smashed it's initial funding goals and made several stretch goals to bring extra characters and campaign game books to fans. After quite a while in the making, with what I imagine was more than a few delays due to COVID, Hero Quest shipped and in nearly every way I've really enjoyed the recreation. In some instances I prefer the original sculpt(slightly more meat cleavers please!) to the new one but the detail and love shown on the new version is incredible. I've also included a video on this review that showcases many of the differences and most of them are entirely cosmetic. Avalon Hill kept all the original rules and missions intact, which is a lovely surprise.
Hero Quest was a game initially targeted at kids to provide them with an epic dungeon crawling game that was easy enough to understand and play. I find that Hero Quest is a great game for everyone looking to play a sword and magic board game because it makes it accessible and fun in a way that few do. The new version also includes a Companion App that allows you to play the game if you don't have anyone that can act as the Zargon/Dungeon Master character. Does everyone you are playing with want to just play as the heroes, welp, that works with the companion app.
"The HeroQuest Companion App unlocks new, optional game modes for the HeroQuest board game (sold separately). Traditionally, a game of HeroQuest requires one player to take on the role of Zargon, the Dread Sorceror who also acts as the game master in command of the dungeon board. However, the app can take the role of a Digital Zargon, allowing up to four human players to play solely as the heroes. And we do mean “up to,” because with Digital Zargon you can now play HeroQuest as a solo board game, controlling all four heroes yourself!"
When I first got Hero Quest I played the initial mission with the companion app and it worked out really well. Wasn't as fun as playing with friends though, which makes sense.
I've had three parties at my place where we played Hero Quest and I'd say the game has been a hit. Early on we figured out a way to make the game a bit easier and I suggest absolutely not doing what we did. You can speed up the gameplay by not rolling the dice after you kill all the monsters on the board and just move your characters where you want to go but when you do that it makes the game very formulaic and not fun. I had that idea and it turns out, it's a terrible one as ALWAYS rolling the dice to move is more fun. In our last play sessions we also stopped making choices as a group and let the main party split up into two parties, making the mission more dangerous and compelling. It's possible if every player played it safe and got good rolls, each player could solo a room by themselves except the Wizard, which is who I am playing. I'm not sure we'll break out four ways, but it's possible.
Hero Quest is a classic board game that needed a remake. If you are looking for an accessible game to play with friends and this sounds interesting, you should give Hero Quest a try. It seems like Avalon Hill is re-releasing each Hero Quest expansion and after that I hope they can create a new one. With the original 14 mission campaign and the two expansions (Witch Lord, Kellars Keep) and the quest books I got as Kickstarter extras I have more than enough Hero Quest to play. Still, more is always fun and I hope Hero Quest has a long life ahead of it.