|The board cover (larger image here)|
including all the monsters and heroes.
The other players would take up the mantle of one of the four heroes. Each hero has their own strengths and weaknesses - The barbarian was tough and powerful in combat but weak against mental attacks. The wizard could cast spells but was weak in combat. The elf was half way between the wizard and barbarian - he could fight well and cast some spells. Finally, the dwarf was a good fighter and could disarm traps.
|A special Heroquest die|
Each character had a certain number of attack dice and defence dice. When you wanted to attack someone, you would roll the number of attack dice you had. Each skull counted as a hit. Your target would then roll a die for each defence die they had. If the target was a hero, then each white shield they rolled on defence would negate one skull on attack. If the target was a monster, it would need to roll a black shield to negate an attack. The target lost body points equal to the number of skulls the attacker rolled - the number of appropriate shields the defender rolled.
|I'll use my broadsword!|
There were various adventures to play with their own special rules. There were also several expansion packs and also Advanced Heroquest. If you search on the internet, you will find plenty of custom content, such as this website, this website and this website.
Heroquest has also spawned a lot of computer games such as this one.
Dave Morris wrote three Heroquest books which had a similar format to the Knightmare books - they all included a novella and a gamebook. The second and third books also included a scenario for the boardgame.
The gamebook was actually quite challenging but if you were daring and clever enough then you could be richly rewarded. There was some good mileage in such a short gamebook.
I also enjoyed the story, split into five chapters. The first four focused on one of the heroes as they came together and the last one was how they saved the world together.
The final book, The Tyrant's Tomb, focused on the Barbarian. The story was more action packed and involved a barbarian trying to break into a tomb to get lots of treasure. Naturally, it all goes wrong. Unlike the other two books, the gamebook's story is similar to the novella. Strategy revolves more around gathering the correct items and combat as the barbarian cannot use spells. I think this is the most difficult gamebook due to the tough opponents and the lack of healing in the book.
I don't know if there were ever going to be books based on the dwarf or the elf, but I guess Heroquest stopped being profitabe at some point. However, typing it into google still shows that it has a cult following.
Like the Knightmare gamebooks, the Heroquest gamebooks could have been a bit longer; however, the Heroquest books are good to provide a few hours entertainment if you see them on Amazon as is the boardgame.
And if you want some free gamebooks to read, how about heading on down to the Chronicles of Arborell where this year's Windhammer Competition gamebooks are out! There are 14 in all this year, so there will be something for everyone. We are currently in the voting phase which will end on the 30th October. To vote, you need to give the names of your 3 favourite books to Wayne Densley at firstname.lastname@example.org.