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The updated game master’s screen features the same iconic line-up of monsters, fronted by the imposing gargoyle.

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The new version of HeroQuest is a faithful remake of the classic board game

An exclusive first look at Hasbro’s ambitious crowdfunding campaign

Image: Avalon Hill/Hasbro

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Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

HeroQuest, the classic tabletop board game, is being relaunched. On Tuesday, toy and game publisher Hasbro started a crowdfunding campaign with the goal of raising $1 million in pre-order sales. Polygon has an exclusive first look at the lavish remake, plus the first details on exactly what’s inside the box. Fans will be able to pre-purchase a copy of HeroQuest for as low as $99.99, which will get them a revised edition of the original game with all-new miniatures and scenery (if the project is fully funded).

“While the gameplay featured in the original 1989 version of HeroQuest will remain true,” said brand manager Patrick O’Rourke in an email interview with Polygon, “the game will be updated to deliver the high quality experience it deserves.”

The crowdfunding campaign also brings the promise of stretch goals, which will add additional value for consumers at the campaign’s $149.99 level. The crowdfunding effort begins Tuesday, and runs through 11:59 p.m. EDT on Nov. 6. O’Rourke said that, if all goes well, there will also be a version of the game available at retail in late 2021.

The original HeroQuest was published by Milton Bradley, which Hasbro purchased in 1984. The archetypal dungeon crawler was produced in partnership with Games Workshop, and utilized that company’s art and miniatures. It was known for having dozens of highly detailed plastic miniatures, as well as an assortment of furniture and other terrain pieces. The game had a number of expansion packs, some of which are highly sought after by collectors. As recently as Sept. 10, the Mage of the Mirror quest pack for HeroQuest sold on eBay for $810.

This new version will include two price points during the crowdfunding campaign. The $99.99 Heroic Tier of HeroQuest will come with 71 miniatures, a game board, and a game master’s screen. It will feature more than 90 cards and six custom engraved dice — an upgrade to the original game’s painted wooden dice. It will also have a pad of traditional paper character sheets, allowing you to name your own heroes and keep track of their hit points and loot between games. And it will feature four alternate gender hero sculpts and another exclusive miniature — Sir Ragnar, the object of one of the original game’s early quests — which will only be available during this campaign.

The contents of the basic HeroQuest bundle, including dice, cards, a game master’s screen, and dozens of plastic miniatures.
This time around, HeroQuest will come with plastic doors and furniture. A render shows that this remake includes the game’s iconic scenery, such as a fireplace, treasure chests, a tomb, bookcases, and a torturer’s rack.
Image: Avalon Hill/Hasbro

The $149.99 Mythic Tier will feature all of the above, plus new versions of two rare expansion packs, Return of the Witch Lord and Kellar’s Keep. It will also feature two exclusive miniatures — the in-fiction leader of the heroic party, Mentor, and the evil WitchLord himself. That’s all in addition, of course, to whatever else Hasbro promises to throw in as the campaign’s dollar total reaches and potentially eclipses its goal.

As O’Rourke said, this new version of HeroQuest appears to hew very close to the original, right down to the colorful game board and endearing card art. But there are several notable changes.

HeroQuest still comes with the same four hero characters — the barbarian, dwarf, elf, and wizard — but this new version swaps the canonical gender of the elf character. Pre-ordered copies will come with alternate sculpts, including a male elf and female versions of the other three characters. Additionally, the base game includes female sculpts for some of its monsters, such as the orcs and goblins.

Elements of the lore also appear to have been altered, likely to clearly separate this new version from Hasbro’s past collaboration with Games Workshop. Chaos Magic, for instance, has been renamed Dread Magic. The original game’s fimir — a race of one-eyed monsters borrowed from the Warhammer fantasy universe — has also been changed to more closely resemble a bipedal fish creature. All these changes can be seen in the trailer, which we’ve embedded above.

A character card for the male barbarian. The sculpt includes the original’s baseball-bat pose, but adds actual sandals. Image: Avalon Hill/Hasbro
The character card for the dwarf includes a much more dynamic pose, with the dwarf rearing back to swing a single-bladed axe. Image: Avalon Hill/Hasbro
The elf is now female, and wears plate armor. Image: Avalon Hill/Hasbro
The Wizard looks a bit more like a hipster, with a day’s growth at least. Image: Avalon Hill/Hasbro

Another oddity with this version of HeroQuest, of course, is how it’s being funded. HasLab is Hasbro’s own boutique crowdfunding platform. It’s an all-or-nothing system, much like Kickstarter. It also includes stretch goals, which are incentives for more consumers to add their pre-order dollars to the campaign total. In a news release issued Tuesday, Hasbro called these goals “tier unlocks,” and they’ll only be available to backers who buy in to the $149.99 Mythic Tier.

“This relaunch is all about the fans,” O’Rourke told Polygon, “and we want them to believe in the product and feel invested in it. By putting this on Hasbro’s crowdfunding platform [we] will have the opportunity to truly engage with the fan community and work together with them.”

O’Rourke also said that even if the project is successful and a retail launch is planned, those who contribute to the crowdfunding campaign will get their copies first. HasLab has previously been used to fund a toy playset version of Jabba the Hutt’s sail barge from Star Wars and a massive Unicron Transformers toy. Not every campaign has been successful, and if the $1 million goal isn’t reached, no copies of HeroQuest will be produced.

Four alternate hero sculpts, including a female barbarian, dwarf, and wizard and a male elf. Image: Avalon Hill/Hasbro
Image: Avalon Hill/Hasbro
Alternate sculpts for the game’s ork characters include two female-presenting images. Image: Avalon Hill/Hasbro
Image: Avalon Hill/Hasbro

It’s also notable that HeroQuest has been attached to the Avalon Hill imprint. The iconic strategy game maker was purchased by Hasbro in 1998, before being transitioned to its subsidiary — Wizards of the Coast (Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: The Gathering). Most recently, the team published games such as Betrayal Legacy and Axis & Allies & Zombies. In August, management of that team was transitioned from Wizards back to Hasbro itself.

“With Avalon Hill moving to Hasbro,” O’Rourke told Polygon, “it opens opportunities to broaden and enhance our portfolio of games. Hasbro is rooted in family games and fostering connections, and with the reputable expertise and intricate strategy that Avalon Hill has established in the tabletop gaming industry, we’re looking forward to the different ways we can work together to provide games for consumers of all different ages and interests.”

More details on the HeroQuest relaunch will be broadcast during the Hasbro PulseCon online event, which will include an interview with the game’s original lead designer, Steve Baker. PulseCon will take place Sept. 25-26 on the Hasbro Pulse YouTube channel.

Update (Sept. 23, 11:44 a.m. EDT): The campaign for the revised version of HeroQuest is officially a success. The game will be made, and, according to O’Rourke, that means it will also show up on store shelves in 2021. A number of stretch goals were revealed when the project went live, including a campaign by the game’s original designer, Steve Baker. Pre-orders remain open until Nov. 6 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

Update (Oct. 8, 10:10 a.m. EDT): Previously, the campaign for HeroQuest was only available to consumers in the U.S. and Canada. Hasbro has partnered with Zavvi in the U.K., EB Games in Australia, and Mighty Ape in New Zealand to offer pre-orders in those countries as well.


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