On Friday, toy maker Hasbro dropped a bombshell on the world of tabletop gaming. HeroQuest, the classic dungeon-crawling adventure first published in 1989, is back. The Rhode Island-based company launched a new website, including a mysterious timer.
Originally published by Milton Bradley, with art and miniatures by Games Workshop, the light role-playing game was designed by the legendary Stephen Baker (Space Crusade, BattleMasters, HeroQuest expansions). Older fans will likely remember the game for it’s lavish live-action commercials, while modern fans may recognize it more for its meme-worthy celebration by YouTuber BardicBroadcasts.
After a series of expansions and a more advanced sequel, the lineage of HeroQuest was split in two. Games Workshop continued to publish spiritual successors under the Warhammer Quest line. The latest was set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, and titled Warhammer Quest: Blackstone Fortress. The HeroQuest name itself went to Moon Design Publications, which uses the brand name for its line of tabletop RPGs set in the world of Glorantha.
Hasbro’s website includes art showing a skeletal minion with an elaborate gold mantle around his shoulders. Both the skeleton’s headdress and his mantle resemble art for Return of the Witch Lord, an expansion for the original HeroQuest game first published in 1991. Sets go for nearly $165 on the collector’s market today while the base game can command upwards of $250 or more.
How the HeroQuest brand made its way to Hasbro is not entirely clear. The website indicates the new game will be published under the Avalon Hill imprint (Betrayal at House on the Hill, Axis & Allies & Zombies), which was recently moved from the Wizards of the Coast team (Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: The Gathering) to Hasbro proper.
Last month Restoration Games (Fireball Island: The Curse of Vul-Kar, Downforce, and the upcoming Return to Dark Tower) made headlines when news broke that it had sought to register the trademark HeroQuest Legacies — likely a nod to co-founder Rob Daviau’s line of Legacy-style board games (Risk: Legacy and the Pandemic: Legacy series). Polygon has reached out to Restoration Games and Hasbro for more information.
Update (Sept. 17): A representative from Restoration Games got back to Polygon, saying that the timing between its registration of HeroQuest Legacies and the launch of Hasbro’s website was merely a coincidence.
“Our trademark filing was a purely preliminary step of interest,” the representative wrote in an email. “The timing with Hasbro’s announcement was coincidental. We have no involvement in Hasbro’s project and have no immediate plans with regard to an HQ game.”
Update (Sept. 22): The campaign to relaunch HeroQuest is now live on Hasbro’s boutique crowdfunding platform, HasLab. Read more about in our exclusive feature story.