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: