HeroQuest is a Dungeon Crawling Adventure Board Game set in a version of the Warhammer universe. It uses a board that represents an outline of a generic dungeon setting, modified to represent a different location for each adventure by placing different obstacles, doors, enemies and fixtures. Up to four heroes — the barbarian, the elf, the dwarf, and the wizard — explore each adventure and play against the other player, who represents the forces of evil and acts much like a Game Master in that they know everything about the current quest in advance and reveal it as the players advance. The whole thing amounts to a simplification of a tabletop RPG.
The game was originally released by Milton Bradley in Britain; later versions of the game changed some aspects including but not limited to: names, monster hitpoints, and available weapons. However, at least one translation to another language (Finnish) was based on the UK version.
The setting is modified and simplified from the Warhammer world. Different factions of monsters are all united under the command of the Big Bad Evil Overlord Chaos Lord Zargon (Morcar in the original British version), represented by the 'evil' player, and the heroes are students of the generic mentor known as Mentor.
Later on there was Advanced Heroquest which was a version with expanded rules such as the use of critical hits and fumbles, as well as Colleges of Magics to provide different schools of spells. After Advanced Heroquest, there was the even more rules and background intensive Warhammer Quest which jumps whole-heartedly into the Warhammer world, and now Warhammer Quest: The Silver Tower which takes it into the Warhammer: Age of Sigmar setting.
Not to be confused with the Hero Wars / HeroQuest RPG set in Glorantha like RuneQuest. Also not to be confused with Quest for Glory, which was originally titled Hero's Quest and had to change it to avoid a lawsuit from Milton Bradley.
This board game provides examples of:
- Barbarian Hero: The Barbarian is designated as one by his title. He wears no clothing but a loincloth, has long hair, and is the physically strongest of the bunch.
- Big Good: On the one hand, there's Mentor, whose apprentice Zargon was and who sends the heroes out on their missions. On the other hand, there's the emperor who leads the human Empire presented as the primary force of good.
- Boss Fight: The expansion "Kellar's Keep" has an extra-tough gargoyle at the end.
- Boss in Mook Clothing: The Ogres from the "Against the Ogre Horde" expansion. By far the hardest campaign in the game, even a basic Ogre warrior was a huge threat with high combat stats and multiple hit points.
- Canon Immigrant: Morcar/Zargon got incorporated into background material for the main Warhammer game during its 4th Edition as Morkar, the First Everchosen of Chaos.
- Elite Mooks: Fimirs, mummies and Chaos warriors are considerably tougher than most monsters, and there are fewer of them. Chaos Warriors are especially elite in the US version, with 4 dice to attack and defend, and 3 hitpoints.
- Decomposite Character: Morcar and Zargon were just originally two names (in Europe and US respectivelly), of the same character, but in the 25th Anniversary edition of HeroQuest, they are two separate characters.
- Dub Name Change: The Big Bad is known as Zargon in the US, but in UK, and rest of Europe he is known as Morcar.
- Evil Overlord:
- Zargon/Morcar is the Lord of Chaos that leads endless hordes of monsters.
- The Witch Lord is a powerful undead being leading legions of undead.
- Expansion Pack: There were several in the form of a collection of new figures, tiles and a booklet with new adventures.
- Giant Mook: The gargoyle (UK version) is just another standard piece, but there's only one of it, it's huge, and its stats are enormous, though it still only has one hit point. "Kellar's Keep" features a super-gargoyle with a whole three hit points. The US version gargoyles are equally rare, and always have 3 hitpoints. Then again, US version Chaos warriors also have 3 hitpoints — the only real difference between Chaos warriors and gargoyles is that gargoyles have an extra defend dice and Chaos warriors get 2 more movement squares per turn than gargoyles.
- Glass Cannon: Orcs in the US version have 3 attack dice, but only 2 defend dice and 1 hitpoint, so unless the heroes run into a lot of them at once it's unlikely they'll get much attacking done.
- Great Big Book of Everything: The book Loretome that Mentor guards seems to contain hints about just about anything.
- Greater-Scope Villain: Zargon is pretty much behind all the evil seen in the setting, but he's far enough removed from the action in the game that he is closer to this than the Big Bad. "Kellar's Keep" is one exception, as he's leading the besieging army personally and can be seen having a Villainous Breakdown in the ending text. The nebulous chaotic powers that he supposedly pledged loyalty to in the backstory are even further removed from the main plot and bigger forces of temptation.
- His Name Really Is "Barkeep": The heroes' mentor is called Mentor.
- Loincloth: The barbarian wears one, and it actually goes well with his badass pose on the cover.
- Licensed Game: In the 90s Gremlin Interactive created a video game adaptation of HeroQuest, along with a sequell to it (HeroQuest II: Legacy of Sorasil). Warhammer Quest got an adaptation in the The New '10s, which also got a sequell, Warhammer Quest 2: The End Times. All 4 are generally thought to be pretty good video games.
- Lighter and Softer: The original Hero Quest doesn't have the bleak feel and dark comedy of the main Warhammer setting and It plays like a classic Heroic Fantasy dungeon crawler.
- Magic Knight: The Elf's entire role is to be an alright but somewhat fragile fighter with access to one of the 4 elements of magic.
- Mooks: The game is based around a small group of heroes entering dungeons containing hordes of monsters weaker than themselves. In the original game practically all monsters only have one hit point, whereas the heroes always have several. In the international versions some monsters had 2 or even 3 hitpoints, and the bosses might have more. Still, even the boss monsters rarely had more hitpoints than the Wizard.
- Night of the Living Mooks: Skeletons, zombies, mummies are at the evil wizard's command, and the Witch Lord's as well.
- One Hitpoint Wonder: (US version) Goblins, orcs, skeletons and zombies all have only one hitpoint each. In the other version, all but the most unique monsters do.
- Our Orcs Are Different: The orcs in the game are the same as regular Warhammer orcs, except they mostly work for Chaos. This was plausible in the background material of the time, where orcs (and greenskins in general) could be worshippers of Chaos. There was even an implication that the, now non-canon, greenskin god Khakkekk was actually an aspect of Khorne.
- Our Dwarves Are All the Same: There's not much to say about the dwarf other than that he's generic. He's a fighter who isn't quite as strong as the Barbarian, who can disarm traps with ease.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: While 1994 computer game HeroQuest II: Legacy of Sorasil adapts HeroQuest, it also uses elements from Advanced HeroQuest, DungeonQuest, other elements from Warhammer Fantasy itself, and even Dungeons & Dragons. Along with creating it's own lore, even if it is based on the background material for Warhammer Fantasy (i.e. the more or less land corresponding to the Old World being called Rhia, seemingly after the Old World Goddess Rhya).
- A Pupil of Mine, Until He Turned to Evil: Morcar/Zargon was a pupil of Mentor who got fed up with not being taught magic fast enough, read texts forbidden to him in secret, and ran off to become the Lord of Chaos.
- Schmuck Bait: One level in the original campaign has the heroes going into a mine to find a huge hoard of gold. The gold is very heavy, slowing movement and making fighting difficult, and teleports back to its starting location if dropped. It turns out to be fool's gold when the players get it out. The kicker? In their greed, the players will probably miss finding a very powerful one-of-a-kind magic ring.
- Shared Life Meter: Against the Ogre Horde (a UK/Germany only expansion pack) has a single life bar for all of the generic ogres in the dungeon you're playing. At specific points, the ogre currently being attacked dies. Even so, it is a single bar instead of several in succession as you always tick off a unit in front, even if the heroes are fighting multiple ogres at once.
- Squishy Wizard: The Wizard is defined by this trope. He gets plenty of spells but is fragile (only 4 hitpoints, which means some stronger monsters can one-shot him) and a poor fighter.
- A Villain Named "Z__rg": Zargon is the evil wizard controlling the monsters.