Getting to Know the HeroQuest Game System

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HeroQuest is a classic dungeon crawl game originally published in 1989. HeroQuest Game System saw much success in the early 90’s, during this time several expansion packs were released.

The game slowly declined and production was ended in 1997. During this period of retail dormancy, fans kept the game alive through several online communities.

The game was redesigned by Avalon Hill under Hasbro, and re-released in 2021 following a successful crowdfunding campaign.

The goal of HeroQuest was to be a sort of “gateway game” to expose new or inexperienced gamers to the expanding world of TTRPGs. Many fans went on to play much more complex games, while others prefer the simplicity of the rules offered by HeroQuest.

Designer:Doug Hopkins (Redesign 2021)
Stephen Baker (1989)
Publisher:Hasbro, Avalon Hill (Redesign 2021)
Milton Bradley, Games Workshop (1989)
Publication Date:Redesign 2021
Original 1989
MSRP:$134.99
Players:1 – 5 (1 Game Master or Companion App + Up to 4 Heroes)
Ages:14+ (Debatable – I introduced my kids to it at 5)

Where to Purchase HeroQuest Game System

Also check at your Friendly Local Game Store for Availability.


For many years the land has been at peace. The darkness that once threatened to engulf it is forgotten. But the darkness was not destroyed, merely banished. And now it gathers strength once more and an ancient evil stirs in the depths of the earth, The land has need of heroes, for without them we are doomed.

HeroQuest Game System Box

Game Component List

  • 1 Gameboard
  • 1 Rulebook
  • 1 Quest Book (14 Quests)
  • 1 Zargon Game Master’s Screen
  • 1 Pad of Character Sheets
  • 6 White Combat Dice
  • 2 Red Movement Dice
  • 10 Plastic Skull Pieces
  • 4 Plastic Rat Pieces
  • 4 Hero Miniatures (Barbarian, Dwarf, Elf, Wizard)
  • 21 Plastic Dungeon Doors (16 Open, 5 Closed)
  • 31 Monster Miniatures (8 Orcs, 6 Goblins, 4 Dread Warriors, 4 Skeletons, 3 Abominations, 2 Mummies, 2 Zombies, 1 Dread Sorcerer, 1 Gargoyle)
  • 15 Plastic Furniture Pieces (3 Treasure Chests, 2 Tables, 2 Bookcases, 1 of each: Cupboard, Throne, Torture Rack, Tomb, Alchemist’s Bench, Fireplace, Sorcerer’s Table)
  • 97 Game Cards (24 Treasure, 23 Equipment, 14 Artifact, 8 Monster, 12 Dread Spells, 12 Hero Spells (3 Water, 3 Earth?, 3 Air, 3 Fire), 4 Hero Character Cards, 4 Reference Cards)
  • Cardboard Tiles (Stairs, Blocked Squares, Pit Traps, Falling Block Traps, Secret Doors, Skull Markers)

Below you will find a very brief overview of the rules. The full, official rules can be downloaded directly from Hasbro here: https://instructions.hasbro.com/api/download/F3649_en-us_heroquest-game-instructions-rulebook.pdf.

Player (Heroes) Rules

Heroes, Your Goal is Simple – Survive each quest while also accomplishing the objectives read to you by Zargon. Each quest has different objectives that need to be solved. Work together or your party will surely be doomed.

Taking Your Turn – On your heroes turn, you may perform the following either Move, then Perform an Action, or Perform an Action, then move. Movement may not be split, it must all occur at the same time.

To Move, you must roll the 2 Red Movement Dice, add the numbers together and then move, orthogonally, that number of spaces. You may choose not to move the full total of your movement roll.

Actions you are able to perform include:

  • Attack a monster adjacent to you
  • Cast a Spell or Use a Skill
  • Search a Treasure in a room you occupy
  • Search for Secret Doors in a room or corridor you occupy
  • Search for Traps in a room or corridor you occupy
  • Disarm a Trap on a space you occupy

A hero may use a Potion as a free action anytime, not only during their turn. Opening a Door is also a free action and does not stop your movement.

Attacking a Monster – During your heroes turn, you may choose to attack a monster adjacent to you. To perform an attack, roll a number of Combat Dice equal to your characters Attack Dice + additional Attack Dice from Equipment, Potions, Artifacts, Spells, or other sources. For each Skull result rolled, 1 damage is dealt to the monster. Zargon then has an opportunity to defend against the total amount of damage dealt by rolling Defend Dice.

Defending Against an Attack – Defending your character against damage dealt by a monsters attack is done in much the same way as attacking a monster. Roll a number of Combat Dice equal to your characters Defend Dice + additional Defend Dice from Equipment, Potions, Artifacts, Spells, or other sources. For each White Shield result rolled, 1 incoming point of damage is defended. Defending does not count as taking an action on your turn.

What Happens if Your Heroes Body Points Reach Zero – If your hero ever reaches 0 Body Points, the hero dies. Fortunately, there are a couple of ways this can be avoided: 1) If you have a Potion of Healing you may use it when your Body Points hit 0 to restore some of them. 2) If your hero has a Spell that heals Body Points, you may use it to recover, as long as your hero has not yet taken an action.

Refer to the full rulebook for detailed explanations of the actions available to your Heroes.

Zargon (Game Master) Rules

This section is for Zargon’s eyes only. Click the text to reveal the secrets.

Zargon, Your Goal is Simple – Use the monsters under your control to hinder the heroes from achieving the quest objectives, this is usually accomplished by defeating them all in combat. Honestly though, you don’t have to take it that seriously, your true goal is to advance the plot of the Quest Book. Give the heroes a challenge, but you don’t have to kill them all every time. Keep the game fun.

On the Heroes Turns – As the heroes move through the quest map, it is your job to pay attention to their movement and respond to their actions.

If a hero Steps on a Trap that hasn’t been searched for, and disarmed, you must stop them and tell them what the trap does. When the heroes Open Doors, you must reveal the contents of the rooms before they enter. Place the furniture and monsters in the room according to your secret quest map.

When the heroes Search for Treasure, you must either have them draw a treasure card, or read to them any notes for treasure that are located on your quest map for the room they searched.

When the heroes Search for Traps, you must point them out to the heroes, but not fully reveal what they are until they’ve been sprung. Finally, when the heroes Attack your Monsters, you must defend your monsters against their attacks.

Taking Your Turn – On your turn, you may Move, and Perform an Action for each of the monsters you control that have been revealed. Just like for the heroes, your monsters may not split their movement.

To Move, simply look at the Movement value printed for the type of monster. Monsters do not use the Red Movement Dice.

Each of your monsters are able to perform one of the following two actions on your turn:

  • Attack a Hero
  • Cast a Dread Spell if the monster is able to cast spells

These are the only actions available to monsters, they may not perform any other actions, including opening doors. Monsters may be controlled, until they’ve been revealed by the heroes exploring the dungeon.

Attacking a Hero – During your turn, you may choose to attack heroes that are adjacent to your monsters. To perform an attack, roll a number of Combat Dice equal to your monsters Attack Dice + additional Attack Dice from the effects of Spells, or other sources. For each Skull result rolled, 1 damage is dealt to the hero. The Hero player then has an opportunity to defend against the total amount of damage dealt by rolling Defend Dice.

Defending Against an Attack – Defending your monsters against damage dealt by a heroes attack is done in much the same way as attacking a hero. Roll a number of Combat Dice equal to your monsters Defend Dice + additional Defend Dice from the effects of Spells, or other sources. For each Black Shield result rolled, 1 incoming point of damage is defended. Defending does not count as taking an action.

What Happens if Your Monsters Body Points Reach Zero – If your monster ever reaches 0 Body Points, the hero dies. There is no way to prevent monster death, monsters may not use Potions like heroes can.

Refer to the full rulebook for detailed explanations of the actions available to your Monsters.

Expansions and Quest Packs

Looking for what order to play Quest Packs? Checkout the Official Quest Order page to see the recommended order straight from Avalon Hill sources.

Small Quest Packs

Prophecy of Telor
(Page Coming Soon)

Spirit Queen’s Torment
(Page Coming Soon)

Hero Collections

Commander of the Guardian Knights
(Out of Print)

The Rogue Heir of Elethorn
(Page Coming Soon)

Path of the Wandering Monk
(Page Coming Soon)

Large Quest Packs

The Frozen Horror
(Page Coming Soon)

The Mage of the Mirror
(Page Coming Soon)

Rise of the Dread Moon
(Page Coming Soon)

Against the Ogre Horde
(Page Coming Soon)

Jungles of Delthrak
(Page Coming Soon)


Let me know in the comments if this page was helpful to you, or if you see any errors or information that you think should be added. Thanks for stopping by, hope to see you again soon!

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Ben
Ben
18 hours ago

Played the game back in the 90s. As a returner to the game with the new version, this is very helpful – thank you!

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