clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

HeroQuest expansion leans into replayability, giving players more characters to explore

The best thing about HeroQuest is the... rogue?

Two elf miniatures, one male one female. Both have a hand raised to throw a dagger, and a bandolier with more where that came from. Image: Avalon Hill/Hasbro
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.

Originally launched in 1989, HeroQuest — the cult-classic dungeon-crawling board game — is back. The latest edition arrived at retail in 2021 after a successful crowdfunding campaign. Now the designers at Avalon Hill are expanding the line, adding a new hero with unique and powerful abilities. Called the Rogue Heir of Elethorn, the swashbuckling hero will be available at retail starting in October. Pre-orders begin Wednesday.

HeroQuest made a name for itself by being among the first campaigns-in-a-box, a model that is now among the most successful board game genres around. From its humble beginnings on the shelves of the local Toys R Us, it is the template for modern masterpieces like Gloomhaven, Descent: Legends of the Dark, and the upcoming ISS Vanguard. The original also featured several popular (and hard-to-find) expansions that added additional monster miniatures, bits of terrain, and even rules. But the franchise never did branch out beyond the original four heroes — the melee-focused barbarian, the spellcasting mage, the versatile elf, and the handy dwarf.

The reboot changed all that, adding additional female-presenting sculpts to the game along with additional character classes, like the bard, the druid, and the warlock. Now Hasbro’s board game imprint is adding another class, the rogue, who’s described as “a nimble skirmisher deadly with small blades.”

Cards show off the rogue’s stats, 1/2/5/4, along with a narrative card. Image: Avalon Hill/Hasbro

Anyone who has played HeroQuest knows that daggers are pretty much useless beyond the opening few missions. Maybe you’ll carry one or two around for a handy ranged weapon, but they’re basically trash. A rogue character could change that. The new class will also increase your need to manage mobility, a difficult prospect when you’re rolling dice for movement. That’s because this particular character is prohibited from using metal armor or shields of any kind.

“The Rogue Heir gave us an opportunity to present unique skills that improved upon two specific challenges large parties can face in the dungeon,” said Chris Nadeau, senior director of design and development at Avalon Hill, in an email to Polygon. “First, through the use of the Rogue’s Combat Mobility the character can move through crowded rooms and hallways and attack Zargon’s minions from behind. This mechanic alleviates those bottleneck situations on the game board, where players may be forced to stand idle while the heroes in the front do all the dice rolling. Secondly, through a combination of the Dagger and Bandolier equipment cards, as well as the Rogue Skill card Opportunistic Striker, players will be able to make attack rolls at range and move around the dungeon more freely, while still getting to attack targets almost every turn during combat. A fast, agile and nimble character seemed like a concept that could really change the way HeroQuest is played.”

Plus, even more characters are on the way.

“We are constantly looking for opportunities to introduce variations in play-style through the inclusion of new characters in HeroQuest,” Nadeau said. “Like any good game where players can choose from a wide range of classes and archetypes to alter their style of play and generate a sense of ‘replayability’, HeroQuest’s selection of heroes should reflect the vast world we are building within the brand’s story and provide countless hours of repeat play for players who want the most out of their game.”

The next level of puzzles.

Take a break from your day by playing a puzzle or two! We’ve got SpellTower, Typeshift, crosswords, and more.