Way back when I had my own gaming store one of my old gamer buddies asked me to order him a copy of a new game he wanted to play with his family. They had been playing Milton Bradley’s Heroquest, a copy of which he had picked up at his local Wal-Mart. I had played it with him a couple of times and enjoyed it. The game play was smooth and innovative and the miniatures were eye catching. The mechanics of the game board that was partially obscured differently at each session to simulate a different dungeon was unusual and a bit confining though. Still it was a good game even if the PC’s were the stereotypically bland quartet of elf, dwarf, wizard and obligatory barbarian.
Now though he was looking for something called Warhammer Quest. I assumed it was something similar, an expansion maybe.
I added it to my next order and when it arrived my life changed.
I was with him when he opened it and was stunned. This was no expansion but a complete revisioning of Heroquest.
The models of Heroquest were good. These were great! And there were so many of them. The box was packed full of rats, bats, spiders, orcs, goblins, ratmen and minotaurs. Minotaurs!
Oh, and that clunky partly obscured board?
Gone. In it’s place, finely detailed thick stock cardboard tiles and plastic doorways of simulated stone blocks and skulls.
And those boring old characters were now denizens of Games Workshop’s wonderfully rich fantasy world.
The elf from the Forest of Loren was a backwoods cousin of the elves of Ulthuan.
The dwarf was a survivor of the crumbling empire of the Old World Mountains.
The wizard was a battle mage from the Empire’s College of Magic.
The obligatory Conanesque barbarian was now a Norscan berserker.
The game play now either a mix of randomly generated dungeon tiles and encounters brought about by card draws that needed no game master or a game master controlled dungeon crawl with whatever level of randomness or role play was desired. Either way there was no end to the game’s replayability.
And this was just the basic game. There were expansions and character packs that added new fantastically complex PC’s.
I immediately ordered six copies of the game for my store, added one to my personal collection and loaded up my shelves with character packs. I ran games in my store and played it on weekends with my friends and family. My daughter played it when she was just barely able to read. My step son played it, as did many of their friends. Everyone who played the game with us loved it and wanted to play again and again.
It was the D&D style gateway drug of its generation and still would be if Games Workshop hadn’t discontinued it in 1998.
They have however released a new game inspired by the old classic. Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower.
I haven’t play this one yet, but I have heard some good reviews of it. If you’ve played it let me know what you think.
In the meantime though we’ll be playing the original. We’re about to start a new campaign and this time I’m playing a dwarf.
Until next time, game on!
First Edition Dad
If you want to know why it’s exciting that I’m getting to play a Warhammer Quest dwarf, check out my Generic Universal Roleplaying Daughter’s page.