Wednesday, January 20, 2021

FEAR the DARK - HeroQuest fanzine issue number 3

And this is the third and final issue of the first series of quests for FEAR the DARK, my new HeroQuest fanzine. As the previous issues, this is free (Pay What You Want on Drivethrurpg... of course if you want to throw me a dollar, your support will be appreciated!).

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/344012/FEAR-the-DARK--HeroQuest-fanzine--issue-3

This issue concludes the series of adventures which started in issue number one and continued in number two, bringing to an end the story of the Mad King and his alliance with chaos warriors and sorcerers. It surely was a tough journey for our heroes!

I hope you enjoyed these quests, and I would love to hear your feedback and comments, and especially your stories if you played these quests at home.




If you missed them, here are the previous issues:

1: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/329570/FEAR-the-DARK--HeroQuest-fanzine--issue-1 

2: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/334395/FEAR-the-DARK--HeroQuest-fanzine--issue-2


Issue number 4 is in the making... if you follow my blog you've probably already seen the draft I released asking for comments.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

HeroQuest maps forever

I wanted to try my hand at something, and here is my current draft, just before the holydays... So that perhaps you might give it a try and send me some feedback, if you happen to play HeroQuest in these days of festivities.

What is it? It's a series of instructions and tables to generate a random map in HeroQuest.

It uses only the original board and the original materials (no additional monsters, no special furnitures, just normal dice, etc.). It also provides you with a mission or theme for your dungeon, so that heroes know why they're going in there (except for killing monsters and taking treasures) and who or what they're looking for.

It has some variety: so it can generate a dungeon only of green monsters, or just undead, or a standard mix, it can give life to multiple-levels dungeons, and has guidelines for basically everything, including hidden traps, secret doors, wandering monsters. There are also some simple rules for a few special rooms, to spice up things a little bit.

Of course it would run better as a program on your phone or on a website, but this is if you want to play totally off the grid - just print it up, and play forever!

(Feedback totally welcome! I tested it a few times but without playing, but I wanted to put a draft out for christmas when maybe you all have more time to play and give it a try!)

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1QmhCAu0IFG0EFp7-HO9VrwVb4-FpG5tq/view?usp=sharing





Tuesday, December 15, 2020

A box for HeroQuest

Well, I didn't stop at mini-painting, but also found a great, large box for HeroQuest which is large enough for all the original materials, plus a lot of new miniatures. The original plan was to build one myself, but after checking the wood boards for sale in the local DIY store, I changed my mind (the wood looked either too thin or too heavy).

So I started checking ebay and amazon etc. and finally found a box that was large enough to fit the HeroQuest board (I would have liked more a smaller but taller box, but to fit the original board inside, I had to go for large and flat... Perhaps in the future I'll build my own board, to fold in 4 or 6 instead of 2...). Anyway: here is the box (closed... not much to see).



I guess you can find something similar, on amazon or ebay - as an example see this https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07LFWZ19F

As you can see from the link, the key was to look for a wine crate, large enough to hold 6 bottles in a single row. All the other wooden boxes (for jewels or decoupage) were too small for the HeroQuest board. Wine crates, though: large enough. Before you ask - this came empty (no wine inside) but I guess you could also find one which combines 6 nice bottles you'd enjoy, and keep the box for HeroQuest!

At the bottom of the box goes a foam tray with all furniture, plus pencils, dice, and there's enough space on one side for the manual, the Quest book, the hero cards, etc. There is plenty of space left on the side, so I will probably add prints of new adventures/heroes etc.

And there is plenty of space for the board, the terrible, large (too large) board.


The other two foam trays in the picture contain all the original miniatures (on the left) and many added miniatures (on the right) like alternative heroes.


And with the foam trays inside, here it is! I promised myself this summer that I would have had a painted HeroQuest set in a nice, organized box in time for christmas... and I made it, plus additional miniatures, and with the lockdown, all chrismas gaming is cancelled :-) I guess we'll play next year...


There is still room for improvements: I am thinking of the armory summary on the inside of the lid, plus maybe a rules summary or maybe something that would hold the Quest Book open at the proper page with the map... and of course, fill the last foam tray with another ten miniatures.

And because someone asked, here is the link for the foam trays: https://www.ebay.it/itm/KR-Multicase-New-N4-Trays-GW-Size-Pack-of-4/351211096900


Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Finally finished painting the whole HeroQuest set

At the end of this summer, I started playing HeroQuest again with some family members, and I started painting the 2nd-hand set that I bought on eBay. I started with the monsters, and while also trying my hand at different miniatures (like modern GamesWorshop skeletons, some Reaper Mini heroes, etc.) I slowly built enough skills and confidence to paint also the Gargoyle and the original 4 heroes.


With the Gargoyle I also tried for the first time a little bit of wet-blending on the whip and the sword, and while it's far from perfect, I am happy with what I achieved so far.


Once those were done, I had the full painted set. If you are the proud owner of an unpainted HeroQuest set, I encourage you to pick up brushes and paint and try paiting. Having a full painted set makes a huge difference, and even if you're new to the hobby of mini painting like me, it just takes a little bit of practice to be able to achieve a more than decent result.


(If you're totally new to the hobby like I was, get your hands on some cheap miniatures, maybe on eBay, and do a little practice before you start with the HeroQuest precious, out-of-print, minis... but it really takes just a few test minis to improve... Maybe use Contrast paint, like I did, for skin and clothes, practice a little of dry-brushing and edge-highlighting for details, and you're good to go!)


I didn't stop with the regular HeroQuest miniatures, and I started expanding my set. I did it by searching on eBay for relatively old models, to maintain a consistent feel across the original and added miniatures... I bought some skinks, some goblin and orc archers, and heroes variants, plus added a new chaos warrior.

I am planning to add more in the coming months (I want to kitbash a goblin shaman and some orc variant, plus a few additional fimirs and maybe more undead and chaos warriors, and I need to see which arch-enemies I can come up with, besides the chaos sorcerer). Anyway, last pictures, below, is the full collection so far.



Tuesday, November 10, 2020

How it was to paint HeroQuest

When I played HeroQuest again, after 25 or 30 years or so, what I had on the table was a second hand, very good set. All pieces were there, including candlesticks (I broke one while unpacking) and a perfect gargoyle (my sister tried to understand if the head was removable... it was, not just in the way she removed it...).

Anyway, accidents aside, the set was in perfect conditions, and unpainted. We played and it was like when we were kids. The monsters were green, sometimes white, the heroes red and in retrospective, they should be since they enter the lairs of the monsters and kill them one by one, so I guess it makes sense for the heroes miniatures to be blood red.

The furnitures made my players go wow almost as much as the miniatures. I'm saying it was almost like when we were kids because I was lucky enough to play with my daugther, my girlfriend, and my little sister and her husband - and none of them has ever played HeroQuest nor anything remotely similar. There were no discussions about the mechanics or their "simplicity if compared to ..." actually, in the first one or two quests they complained about "too many rules!" :-) 

So the sense of wonder and discovery was all there, and then I started painting!

It's something I failed to do as a teenager (I didn't even try); the few miniature games I had (or friends' games I played at their house) were all bare plastic. Even when my friends moved to Warhammer Fantasy Battles, for a long time they played gray (bare plastic, bare metal). In the end I moved to other games, and in general to other stuff in life.

Sometimes some of my old friends would show me a miniature they've painted (they were really good at it). I tried once to take a brush, painted a Bretonnian horse with a friend, gave up.

Well, not this time (I think it's called midlife crisis!).

And if you're like me, know that with under 100 coins worth of paints and brushes and primer, you can paint HeroQuest too! You just need to go slowly, and be patient. What you can see below, is the result of just a few months of work.

I assure you, it's not going to be perfect, but it's GREAT if compared to bare plastic!



So from the left, we have: skinks, fimirs, orcs, goblins, undead, chaos warriors and chaos sorcerer, and a mix of adventurers heroes.


They all have a little story to tell, and I'll be boring and tell you all about them!

- The skinks are actually the most recent addition to the set, made last week to extend the monsters range (and I'll add more in the future!)
- In the back row, the fimirs, the first models I painted! (I didn't know dry-brushing, and the metal was really messy and difficult)
- The orcs, with Ulag in brown and black (my first time taking the liberty of doing something "different" than what I saw on the reference images on the web)
- Front row, the goblins (they were the first were I tried to paint eyes, and they look a bit like The Kiss... then I went back to fimirs and orcs and did a slightly cleaner job)



- All the undead which were crazy easy between contrast paint and dry-brushing



- The chaos warriors and chaos sorcerer (I cursed all of the gods of chaos while trying to do the simple thin white lines on the chaos warriors



- And finally a group of heroes, from the back row: there is a female wizard (for my daugher), a female barbarian, a variant dwarf (I wanted to test Reaper miniatures), a resin elf reproduction (better than what I expected, with a recycled shield), a female elf for my sister, a red bearded dwarf (Chronopia model I found for sale) for my girlfriend, and then the (slightly larger than expected) resin sculptures of the barbarian (for my sister's husband - for now first and last attempt at NMM on the sword, because BROAAAADSWORD), the wizard (my daugher is considering switching to this model) and dwarf in the front



I didn't paint yet the original Gargoyle and original heroes... I am still afraid I will make a mess, and while original monsters are cheap to replace, Gargoyle and heroes are not...
Still, I expect before the end of the year to have the full - meaning, really, complete - set painted.
I will stick to a simple color scheme, be patient, and I will do the original heroes and Gargoyle as well.

Even if you never painted before in your life, if you have a HeroQuest set, give it a try. If you're afraid, buy a few spare miniatures and try with those. Be patient. Watch some videos (not too many). Make sure the videos are for beginners. Watch some more. Then paint. Paint. You might find it easier than you expected.

And I can tell you: when we played an adventure with ALL the miniatures on the board being painted, it was just GREAT.


Tuesday, November 3, 2020

FEAR the DARK - HeroQuest fanzine issue number 2

 As a follow up on issue number one, here is number two with four new quests. These are all about the undead (as you can guess from the cover).

It also introduces the usage of double doors (two doors placed side by side, that open together... making the "barbarian stands on the door and kills monsters one by one" strategy a little less useful).

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/334395/FEAR-the-DARK--HeroQuest-fanzine--issue-2

I am working on the adventures for issue three, and thinking about some changes starting from issue four... we'll see.


Issue 1 here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/329570/FEAR-the-DARK--HeroQuest-fanzine--issue-1 if you missed it.


Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Killing Ulag

So, last Sunday we played a little more... We were all worried for a possible new lockdown and in general for the whole Covid situation, so it was not a "regular" game. We all wore masks and I guess nobody was really focused on the game.

The best part for everyone was probably buying equipment at the start of the game. It was the first time they had enough gold coins to spend; the barbarian got an helm, the elf a shield, the wizard a staff. The dwarf had just 50 coins so had nothing to buy.

During the game the excitement for the new items they bought (giving a little defense boost to the barbarian and the elf, and a diagonal attack for the wizard) was fading quite quickly. I wonder if a slow progression of attack and defense dice will be enough to maintain a certain affection for the characters. The HQ rules are marvelously simple, but this means also that the characters are a little "flat".

Anyway, the game was quite easy; they learned their lesson and kept together without splitting the party, and relatively easily killed the monsters until they reached Ulag and the Chaos warrior in the final room. This is a simple quest, and was made easier by the fact that we're playing the Italian version which is one of those EU versions with monsters with 1 Body point only.

I gave the Chaos warrior and Ulag the American Body points (3 and 3 if I recall correctly) and this made the fight last a little longer, but a Ball of Flame by the wizard was putting an easy end to it.

I am not sure if it was the "right" call: we played with a certain set of rules and then I switched to more Body points for the final boss (which makes sense, yes, but it is still "cheating"). Yes, it was cheating for the purpose of adding a little tension and make the final combat last a little longer, and I didn't really have the chance to kill any of the heroes... but it still leaves me a bit uncomfortable. I tend to try to force myself to follow rules and obey the dice results - even when I don't like the outcome that much. The point is to make the best with what luck is serving on our plate... and the EU version of HQ is putting on my plate (and the one of my players) very simple quests...

What do you think?

Also, I want to think a little more about the equipment cards and possibly some "skills" cards... I don't want to make the game too complex or have players constantly looking at cards for special skills etc. but I also fear that a slow grind of one more attack die or one more defence die will be not enough to really get them attached to the characters.


Last thing: I received the resin remakes of the HQ heroes. They are really, really nice. I am still pondering if to paint or not the original miniatures (given their "value"), but in the meanwhile, I started with the remakes.

What do you think of the barbarian? (picture with and without flash)