HeroQuest + Outdoor Survival Map = Awesome?

I’ve recently (as in today) gotten nostalgic over Milton Bradley’s old dungeon-crawl board game HeroQuest.  It was one of the first miniature dungeon-crawl games, and as far as I know, the first to offer quality 25mm miniatures in the game at a reasonable price.  The rules were very simple but allowed a great deal of flexibility and expandability.  Re-reading the rules, it struck me that HQ comes within striking distance of being playable as an actual role-playing game, not just a dungeon-crawler.


And then I had an interesting idea:  what if you combined HQ with the Outdoor Survival Map from the OD&D days of yore to create some kind of quasi RPG campaign world?  Come up with a simple character progression system akin to leveling, expand the HQ Armory a bit, and you could have a simple but quite functional D&D-esque RPG or, alternatively, a free-form HQ campaign where the players choose which quest to do next.  True, it would have a strong combat emphasis, but the rules would be vastly simpler than most combat oriented RPGs of today (such as 4E or Pathfinder).  And the simplicity of the rules allow for easy tinkering so you can add just the right amount of complexity to suit your gaming table.


There’s a wealth of fan-brewed content out there for HQ, plenty of material to adapt to an RPG campaign.  You’d have to come up with some kind of wilderness tiles for outdoor encounters, but affordable options exist (such as this from 4E).  You could probably adapt the original encounter tables from LBBs.  The castles on the Outdoor Survival Map can represent the various HQ dungeons.  Between the official quests, third party and homebrew there are probably enough to fill every castle.

Anyways, something to think about.  Here are the some HQ related links if you’re interested:



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4 Responses to “HeroQuest + Outdoor Survival Map = Awesome?”

  1. mikemonaco Says:

    HQ was a great game. The “Advanced HeroQuest” game was even better, with (IIRC) rules for random dungeon generation with no GM, but I never bought it BITD because it was so expensive and had all those skaven figures I never thought I’d use. My brother ran a AHQ game when our gaming group was too irregular to support a serious RPG and we had a great time. One of the best things was the ‘guard’ monsters who tried to run away and open doors to let in more monsters! Good times.

    The granddaddies of all these “dungeoncrawl boardgames with minis”, the Heritage “Paint & Play” sets “Crypt of the sorcerer” and “Cavern of doom”, are another option with simple rules and room for expansion. A while back a guy (Scottsz) was working on adapting those rules to allow you to go through TSR modules solo or DM-less… that’s still in limbo though.

    Where oh where are the retroclones of HQ etc?

  2. edowar Says:

    I remember AHQ as well. I wished I’d picked that up back in the day, but now it’s prohibitively expensive for me. Oh, and Warhammer Quest, which had a ton of great minis, though was pricey even for its time.

    I imagine there are no HQ retroclones simply because of the expense involved in making the minis. MB could do it affordably due to economies of scale, but a small publisher doing a Kickstarter (or some such) would have a much harder time producing an affordable clone.

    • mikemonaco Says:

      Yeah, really you’d have to just do a book plus maybe some maps or geomorphs; players provide their own minis…. everything commercially produced nowadays has very specific/proprietary minis, which is of course sensible for a business but too bad for hobbyists.

      • edowar Says:

        You’re right, it’d be easy enough for someone to come up with a rulebook and maybe some maps, if they’re artistically inclined. Most gamers have a decent miniature collection, or you can use D&D tokens or Pathfinder pawns as an inexpensive alternative (lots of cheap paper minis available, too).

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