Cardboard Children: Heroquest & More..


Hello youse.

Today I am going to write a column purely from memory. It will be riddled with mistakes, and there will be places where you say “He’s wrong on that. We got him. We got the sumbitch.” I ask your forgiveness in these places, and ask you to just go with it. I also beg your patience, because I have my reasons for writing this today.

I’ve been thinking a lot about games lately, and why they matter to us. Why, specifically, they matter to men and women in their thirties and older. I’ve been thinking that it isn’t just about the experience of “play” for us – it’s also about making a connection with our past. I’m not suggesting games are a nostalgia trip – it’s nothing as simple as that. I’m saying that games open a door to that unique place we all existed in when we were young. That memory palace with the Long Summer Days Wing and the Secret Place Where No-One Can Find Us attic space.

Today I’ll remember a few of the board games of our youth inaccurately. Come with me.

HEROQUEST

There was a time, and this might seem strange to some of you, when you could walk into a high street shop and take a fantasy board game straight off the shelf. The very same shop that sold you He-Man toys, and Star Wars toys, and SuperNaturals figures. The ones with the holograms, remember? I’m sure none of these things were on the same shelves at the same time, but go with it. Just go with it.

Do you remember the advert?

I don’t even have to click play. I can remember every second of this advert.

OW YOOZ MA BWOWDSOWD!

FAYA UV ROF!

Do you remember seeing this on TV? Do you remember how it felt to see this advert playing in the ad break after an episode of Knightmare? Do you remember what you were wearing at the time?

I was wearing, almost certainly, my school uniform. Primary 7 of St Catherine’s Primary School in Glasgow, Scotland. I had come home from school an hour or so before, and I was–

I am sitting in my living room. My ma is making my dinner. It’s my da’s favourite – mince and peas, on plain bread. Mince and peas from a tin, and some good gravy, all laid on a thick slice of plain bread. Beautiful. I can smell it.

My da’s not home yet. He’s a roofer. When he comes home, he’ll be black with dirt and dust and work. He’ll wash up and sit in front of the TV with his dinner, and then we’ll watch Star Trek: The Next Generation together. Me on the arm of the chair, leaning on him, and nudging him to keep him awake if it’s a Wesley Crusher episode.

That’ll happen. But right now, he’s not here.

Knightmare’s just finished. Everybody at school is mad about Knightmare. We talk constantly about putting together a team to go on it – but we never will. In truth, the thought of being on telly horrifies and scares every one of us, so we’re happy just watching.

And, I mean… Who wants to be these dicks?

And then that HeroQuest advert. FAYA UV ROF! Four heroes. Barbarian, Wizard, Dwarf, Elf. Little doors. Little bookcases. Orcs, Goblins, Chaos Warriors, Skeletons. Little toys. Let’s face it. Little toys, and rules to play with them. And you can even play it in a room that looks like a dungeon. With friends who can’t speak properly.

I got it for Christmas.

Christmas morning. I’ve already unwrapped my Oor Wullie book. Or was it a Broons year? Sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of the fire. My ma in her dressing gown, smiling. Noel Edmonds on telly, probably. My da in the kitchen, getting things prepared for Christmas dinner. I can hear him in there, singing some Perry Como song at the top of his voice. A great voice, my da.

And this present – right size, right shape. Hoping it’s HeroQuest. Hoping. One tear. Rip! Enough to see this:

HIGH ADVENTU
IN A WORLD OF M

Smiling at my ma. Tearing the rest of the paper off. Soon it would be Christmas dinner, and my sister would be round with the kids. The kitchen table dragged through to the living room, all of us crammed in around it. And I’d be eating my da’s homemade soup and leafing through the HeroQuest adventure book. All of that would happen. But right now he’s in the kitchen, singing. And I’m here.

I’m here.

I’m here in my bedroom. I have this weird big thing in my room. It’s like a cupboard, but instead of a door it has a big fold down table thing, with legs. Impossible to explain. But that big table/cupboard/shelf thing is where I do my gaming. And I have HeroQuest laid out on it. Everything is assembled. My friends are here. Graham Hannah is here. Matthew Cook is here. Spiel is here. You don’t know any of these people, and I barely know them these days, but I loved them and love them and so they’re here.

I’m behind the Gamesmaster screen. I’m running the game. It’s not the first time I’ve run a game, and it won’t be the last. I don’t dare to dream for one second that I would still be running games of swords and sorcery when I’m in my mid-thirties. That’d be crazy talk, right?

I’m following the little adventure layouts in the HeroQuest rulebook. I’m moving Goblins around a corner. I’m surrounding the Barbarian. I’m watching my friends’ faces. I’m seeing excitement there. I’m hearing laughter. No-one is thinking about school tomorrow. No-one is wondering about how unpopular they are. No-one is working out the best way to walk home to avoid running into someone who might swing for them.

We’re in a dungeon. We’re in a battle. We’re in my bedroom. We’re in our element.

I’m seven.

I’m seven years old.

I’m playing I Vant To Bite Your Finger. It’s a simple board game with a standing Dracula, and you can stick your finger in his mouth. Not long ago I was cuddling in bed with my ma, and we were watching Love At First Bite on the telly, and I fell in love with a song I would listen to even in my thirties. I Love The Nightlife, it’s called. And George Hamilton was Dracula in that film, he was dancing to it. And we were laughing. And in I Vant To Bite Your Finger, Dracula looks nothing like George Hamilton. If you get caught in the game, you stick your finger in Dracula’s mouth, and push a little tab down at the back. The game barely gets played, but we all like getting our finger bitten. His teeth are like little red pens, and they leave little red bite-marks on your skin. And the pens are running dry.

The pens are running dry. My da can probably fix them.

I’m playing Jaws: The Game. It’s a plastic shark, and its mouth is full of junk. I don’t know why. You have to get the junk out of his mouth. I don’t even know why you’d want to do that. Sometimes the shark bites you. It was garbage. But I loved that film. I remember my da laughing when I jumped at that bit. You know the bit. You know the bit. My da, shaking his head, laughing.

I’m playing Perfection, from Action GT. My sister Annette is amazing at it. She winds up the timer and pushes down the play board. It’s a game where you have to fit all the little pieces into the play board before the time runs out. If time runs out, everything pops into the air and you lose all the bits and stuff. Annette is putting all the bits in as I watch, like a demon. I’m staying at her house tonight, because my ma is on the night-shift at the hospital. She’s a geriatric nurse. My da is at home, of course. Sitting at home on his own while I play Perfection and Monopoly with my sister. I could have stayed home with him more nights, really. Let’s be honest.

POP! Time up!

I’m fifteen.

I’m playing the Army of Darkness board game. Paul Doonan is playing it too. Hannah is still here. The game is terrible, but we’re hooting and laughing. Quoting bits of the film. Talking about how much we fancied Embeth Davidtz, and what we’d do if she made a horse blanket for us. Different chat now in this room, a different perspective. But sitting around a game, as ever. And laughing so loud, dummy fighting, rolling around. “I SLEPT TOO LONG!!!”

My da downstairs, never complaining about the noise. Thump! Bang! Teenagers Jackie Channing each other. Sammo Hunging each other. Screaming “THIS! IS MY BOOMSTICK!”

No complaints. Him downstairs. Me here.

Him there. Me here.

I think games connect us to a time when we had time. In your youth, time is elastic. You have exactly as much of it as you need. You have no responsibilities. No job, no children. Nothing but time, and friends, and shit to play with. When we play games now, as adults with too much stuff going on, we do so because we’ve made time for them. We’ve set time aside to indulge in some nonsense with people we love. When you make that time, you HAVE that time. And when you have that time, it’s like being back there – back in that place, that living room, that bedroom, that house full of memories. With time to spare, and everything exactly as it was.

When I play a game, It’s like peeking through the window into that house, and it delights me.

Tomorrow is the first anniversary of my da’s death. It brings me some comfort to know that he lives in that house forever, singing in the kitchen, dozing in the chair.

103 Comments

  1. JFS says:

    Oh Yeah Heroquest

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  2. Inigo says:

    Did HeroQuest have any relation to Warhammer Quest? I’ve never been entirely sure.

    • Jackablade says:

      I believe there was an “Advanced Hero Quest” (not that it ever made an appearance in my backwards country) which Games Workshop developed into Warhammer Quest some time later. They both had the tile-based dungeon mechanic.

    • Lord Byte says:

      It was based on it, even the lore was similar, but MB made it easier (and cheaper to produce) around a set board instead of letting you piece the rooms together. (you could still place doors and walls making it different though). Parts of it didn’t even get used (like intelligence, I think they used it once in an expansion).

    • G_Man_007 says:

      I never got to play it, but I was inspired and captivated by the scope of Warhammer Quest. The idea that it could go from simple dungeoning, to sailing the high seas to get to the hot, sweaty southern lands where the Lizardmen lived, perhaps fighting pirates along the way, to rampaging across the face of the Warhammer world, linking the mass battles of Warhammer games to the adventures of your heroes, perhaps with a visit to Mordheim thrown in. In my head, I did it all, but I never got to play in the real world. That’s what I love about gaming, both video and board, the way in which they feed your imagination. And I loved the fact that in both Warhammer and 40.000, you could link different games within the same background universe to create an overall story (Warhammer, Warhammer Quest and Mordheim, and 40K, Epic, Battlefleet Gothic, Necromunda and Inquisitor). It makes me salivate even now; assaulting a star system with an imperial fleet, fighting to get to each planet, making planet fall, fighting 2000 point 40K skirmishes, success or failure leading to other battles in either 40K or Epic, success or failure leading to different paths and results. Imagine a pc game that allows you to go from mass space battles, perhaps with a little Privateer/ X-Wing thrown in, to a land based RTS, that then might require your character to go in FPS mode, guns blazing to retrieve vital intel or supplies. I think board games and a little imagination got there first.

      Thanks for the article big man, makes me wish I was 11 again, but that I did all these things instead of just watching the ads in between Knightmare (best show ever). Now that I can afford to get all those things I wanted as a kid (within reason), I don’t have the time to play… :(

  3. Mad Hamish says:

    Ah Heroquest. Whenever I finally had enough gold coins to buy the crossbow I’d be feckin dead before i could get it. I was always chasing that crossbow. Can’t clearly remember if I ever got to use it. Maybe in a dream.

    • callmecheez says:

      Wasn’t the crossbow the most powerful weapon in the game? That was odd, looking back. Heroquest was ace :)

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Crossbows are pretty goddamn powerful in real life. At close-ish range, they’re very armor-piercing. And they don’t take much skill to use. They’re just really slow to reload.

  4. wiper says:

    Wonderful piece, Rob. Really wonderful. I’m pretty sure that’s the first time a piece of board game commentary has brought tears to my eyes.

    • bigredrock says:

      Me too. Beautiful piece of writing.

    • Nick says:

      yup.

    • futage says:

      *nods*

      *wipes eye*

    • AlwaysRight says:

      Wikipedia says that you can receive a Pulitzer for online journalism. Nuff said.

    • protorp says:

      ditto; I think part of me knew what was coming when the mentions of him kept coming in, but I didn’t want it to be true. I call that powerful writing. RIP Da Florence.

    • Saiwyn says:

      Indeed.

      I’ve not ever had a bit of games writing effect me like this brilliant piece did.

      My own father passed away in 2005. The picture RAB paints is flawless and heartbreaking and strikes so close to home…

      I had to get a hug from my wife after reading this.

      Damn you RAB.

      Bravo RAB.

    • danteGideon says:

      Just lovely.

    • qrter says:

      Very moving.

    • JB says:

      I’d say it was just a piece of dust in my eye, but that would be a filthy lie.

      Played a game of Settlers with my old man (and 4 other family members) today. Good times. Well written, Mr Florence, very well done.

    • gulag says:

      You sumbitch *sniff*

    • manveruppd says:

      Yeah, really moving stuff, it took me back too… :( Thanks, Rob!

  5. Caddrel says:

    It always amazed me how incompetent some of the players on Knightmare could be. I’d have loved to go on that program, and all they could do was get their friend killed in embarassing ways!

    (envy)

    • something says:

      “There’s a bottle.”
      “Pick it up.”
      Picks up bottle marked POISON.
      “What’s on the label?”
      “It says ‘potion.'”
      “Drink the potion.”

    • sinister agent says:

      I watched most of them again on youtube (thanks to some kind soul) last year, and I’m amazed at some of the ones I still remember. One lot were so monumentally hopeless that the staff were obviously fixing the game so that they’d get anywhere, giving them a spell to bypass the very basic ‘questions three’ round. They did so badly at that (all three questions wrong and had to use said spell) that even the wall-monster asking the questions said “I SCORN YOU”.

      Hilarious tv, though. I’ve still never met anyone who met anyone who went on Knightmare.

  6. Antsy says:

    Brilliant Rab. One game that really stands out in my memory from the early 80’s was called Danger UXB (or something very like it). My friend had it and it was a Buckaroo type setup with an unfortunate Soldier waiting to be blown to smithereens if you didnt defuse the bomb properly. Needless to say it was promptly banned. I’ll never forget how sad that soldier looked!

    You really nailed something inherent to those boardgames that computer games rarely replicate. The memory of other people and times and places. Time shared.

  7. World One Two says:

    Well everyone can give up now. Robert Florence has won games journalism.

    • Lambchops says:

      That must be a disappointment for him, I hope that claiming a cash equivalent isn’t against the terms and conditions.

    • Biscuitry says:

      I suspect that might bankrupt him.

  8. Gnarf says:

    OW YOOZ MA BWOWDSOWD!

    It’s bro sword.

  9. Fiwer says:

    I had HeroQuest as a kid, it was the most exciting thing I’d ever seen and I never got to play it even once. There was just no way to convince anyone to play with me due to the seeming complexity, so I just dicked around with the figures while the sad Charlie Brown music played in the background. Now that I’m an adult, I find awesome games I want to play and nobody wants to play those with me either, because all of the people I game with immediately stop paying attention and start doing other shit if it takes more than 5 minutes to learn a game. Again, sad Charlie Brown music.

    • Phinor says:

      You were lucky. My cousin had Heroquest and I was never allowed to play it. We visited them maybe once a month and I usually only got to see the box. I’ve never been more jealous of anything.

    • thebigJ_A says:

      Me too, Fiwer, me too.

    • bill says:

      Like basic Red Box D&D for me…. not sure I ever got to play that.

      But reading rulebooks and imagining is half the fun…. if you have time.

    • Howl says:

      Me too. I picked up Chaos is the Old World based on Rob’s brilliant video review. I popped all the pieces out and dream of having other people to play it with amidst this sea of mid-30’s London professionals with children and no time to dick around with boardgames, that is my social network. I bought it about a year ago and still have not played it.

    • Azazel says:

      I look back on a childhood of playing Warhammer Quest BY MYSELF with sad fondness.

    • sybrid says:

      I got to play it a couple times, I think, but only by basically dragging people to play. No one wanted to play it with me, so it was a game that I had to subject people to instead.

  10. McDan says:

    Ah the Broons, and oor wullie, my dad still gets them, excellent stuff, I keep them afterwards.

  11. Shadowcat says:

    The sumbitch is presumably an adversary in some kind of educational maths-based game for primary school children (which makes the name a little inappropriate, frankly).

  12. Kieron Gillen says:

    I’LL USE MY BROADSWORD!

    KG

    • McDan says:

      AND YOU HAVE MY AXE!

      …oh wait, wrong thing. Although there is a dwarf.

  13. malkav11 says:

    I never saw any television ads for HeroQuest. And I’m not British, so Knightmare isn’t a thing we had as far as I know. But I do have such fond memories of it. Really, it’s very, very basic dungeoncrawling. Hardly anything to it, and these days something like Descent scratches that itch much better. But back then, oh, it was magic. A friend of mine, Lizzy, and I had this whole elaborate fantasy set up in third grade, loosely based on the very sparse setting details from HeroQuest, which occupied our every recess, running around the playground and pretending to be wizards. And when she invited me to her birthday party sleepover (me the only boy of the lot), what did we stay up playing until the early morning? Heroquest, that’s what.

    Unfortunately after that she found an interest in proper girly things and I didn’t, so I haven’t really talked to her in probably the better part of twenty years. Thanks to the magic of Facebook I have discovered she’s going for her doctorate in biochemistry and molecular physics.

  14. Inigo says:

    No-one is thinking about school tomorrow. No-one is wondering about how unpopular they are. No-one is working out the best way to walk home to avoid running into someone who might swing for them.

    Your friends lived in a hopeless world of deranged, futile denial and I would consider it a miracle worthy of holy scripture if none of them have been glassed yet.

  15. Eclipse says:

    “I’LL US MA BROWN SWORD”

    “FIRE WORF!”

  16. Daiv says:

    My whole gaming life has been one long attempt to recapture the magic of Hero Quest.

  17. AmateurScience says:

    Very dusty in here, think I’ve got something in my eye, yes can you pass a tissue? Something in my eye…

  18. Durkan says:

    I open the link and read the article … bits of it intermingle with mini flashbacks of my own.

    I am 15, my brother 11 – we can stand each other just long enough to play a Game of Space Crusade without fighting… Dad arrives home on his motorbike we scramble to do the fastest house tidy in history before he walks in.

    …Suddenly, I know whats coming….

    I am 12, my brother 8 – he’s painting his first miniatures and getting it all wrong. He doesnt appreciateme telling him that. Dad eventually seperates us.

    … I know it’s probably going to hurt as well ….

    I am 10 my brother 6 – we’re playing scrabble on holiday with my parents. He’s just played a oo for a treble word score, which is allowed because the terrible dictionary we’re using actually lists “oo [oo] scottish slang word for egg”. He is triumphant we’re all crying with laughter as dad lights the gas lantern.

    —The end comes as I knew it would. A single tear rolls down my face and I hope my wife doesnt notice – It’s not cool to cry in the middle of Thunderball.

    I want to tell you it’ll be ok and that, after 8 years, it hurts less with time but I know you’ll know I’m lying.

    Instead I’ll just nod and silently smile as I think of happier times in long ago places.

    • Aedrill says:

      Shit. Would you all just stop? My dad still lives, although his heart is crap and we’re all expecting the worse every time he catches a cold, and now I’m reading stuff like this, and it’s all beautiful and lovely, and makes me feel terrible, because I know one day I’ll have to go back to memories like that to find some reassurance. It’s not really cool thing to think about on Saturday evening, you know?

  19. Lleamen says:

    Seeing as the anniversary of my Dad is coming up soon, too, this brought fond memories back for me. Even if this will never be as good as the real thing, gathered around a table, who’s up for a game (assuming that this will work, anyway.)

    link to kitana.org

  20. Sardukar says:

    Youth. Fragile, durable, all-knowing, ignorant. Seemed to go on forever and now, it seems so far away. Everyone is there, no one has moved or drifted away. Or died.

    It’s been four years since my father died. He ran our first D&D games, in the early 80s, before anyone had any idea it was supposed to be for nerds or outcasts or whomever. Everyone tried it. Everyone was there.

    Do you know, I’d forgotten that, until you wrote this. Thanks.

  21. Jimbo says:

    What I wouldn’t give to be a Face-Battling Barbarian!

    Also, the HeroQuest electronic computer game was great.

  22. Binary77 says:

    It’s not made of cardboard & so probably doesn’t count, but the Heroquest game on the Amiga brings back exactly the same happy memories for me & is easily my favourite game from my childhood. It probably has the greatest & most apt soundtrack of any game of it’s time aswell. It’s truly my happy place.

    I remember even trying to impress my Nan with the graphics at the start, but she had no clue what i was talking about. “Graphics?”

    Great article aswell. I read these each week even though i never play boardgames.

    • apocraphyn says:

      YES. Dear god, the nostalgia. Loved playing Hero Quest on the Amiga, it was one of my favourites back in the day, too. There was some sort of Wasteland-based post apocalyptic game on the Amiga as well that was bloody good, though I can never remember what it’s called…

    • Binary77 says:

      Post apocalyptic you say? Was it turn-based aswell? There was a game called Walker, where you stimped about in various wastelands throughout time & The Chaos Engine was kinda post-apocalyptic/steampunk, but neither were turn-based. Cracking games though!

    • Binary77 says:

      *stomped about* haha

    • apocraphyn says:

      Hm, wasn’t Walker or Chaos Engine. I think it came out ’round the end of the Amiga’s “life cycle”, so to speak, so it may have gone under many peoples’ radars. Pretty sure it was real time, you had to treat over-exposure to radiation with meds, you had to drink water, you could hire mercenaries to fight alongside you…game was more similar to the original Fallouts and Shadowrun on the SNES. Would give anything to try it again.

    • GameOverMan says:

      @apocraphyn, I think you are referring to the game Burntime (1993-1994). Amiga ECS, AGA and PC MS-DOS versions exist.

  23. gwathdring says:

    That was quite beautiful. I really enjoyed that. Thank you.

  24. WPUN says:

    1989? Poo. The time of the Great Axis-and-Allies-ing. It was fun while it lasted.

  25. Jackablade says:

    I got Hero Quest for Christmas (inspired by that ad, though I have a sneaking suspicion it might have been redubbed with Australian accents) when I was 9. I used to play it with my brother, aged 6, who had a nasty tendency to break the miniatures. In his defence they were made out of some ridiculously brittle plastic and had a nasty tendency to snap off at the ankles if even a little weight was placed on them.

    I think the expansion packs may have been amongst the first things I ever purchased with my own earned money.

    • thebigJ_A says:

      It was redubbed with American accents here in the US. (Though, being from Boston, regular American sounds as funny to me as a British accent.)

  26. Kouvero says:

    So, is it Christopher Lee voicing the commercial?

  27. mechabuddha says:

    My dad used to run Hero Quest campaigns for our family every month or so. Years after my brother and I moved out of the house, whenever we came home for the holidays Hero Quest would come down from the top shelf in the closet. I can vividly remember my dad’s evil grin whenever we made a mistake. “I search the room for treasure.” “Really? You really search the room for treasure?” “Err, maybe not. No, no I don’t search the room for treasure.” “Too late, you already said it. While searching behind a bookshelf, a poison needle shoots out and (rolls dice, always rolling dice behind that know-it-all screen) oh, gee, that’s too bad, it hits you and (rolls more dice, my brother and I are fidgeting in anxious terror) and are hit for 2 damage.” He chuckles. “Are you dead yet?” Yet despite his best efforts, he only managed to kill us once. I think he really did want us to succeed, but certainly played the villain quite well.

  28. oatish says:

    Man, kids can grow up similarly anywhere huh… anywhere with dice I guess.

  29. BathroomCitizen says:

    Damn, Robert. You nearly made me drop a tear.

    Really wonderful piece of writing.

  30. Sinomatic says:

    Next time I visit, I might be forced to dig out Heroquest and see if the paternal one fancies a game. Although we will inevitably decide that we’d rather play Talisman instead and take over the entire dining room table for 3 days. Happy times.

    Also, is it even remotely possible to mention knightmare without getting the theme tune stuck in your head? link to youtube.com

    • Antsy says:

      Yeah Talisman was always so much more satisfying.

      Also, damn you!

  31. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    This was a nice piece, Robert. Thanks for sharing. C’mon, who’s next?

  32. Navagon says:

    That was like the Gaming Made Me of Cardboard Children. Thanks for sharing this.

  33. mollemannen says:

    so many hours i have invested in heroquest. from three years of age and forward at that.

  34. Noseybonk says:

    Totopoly – train up your horses and enter the big race! Little plastic horses and a oval track that in my head was always Aintree and a race that was always the National. Will Marmaduke Jinks finally triumph? Oh shit no he’s broken his leg again, two barrels in the head, it’s just because you love him.

    Treasure of the Pharaohs – Archaeology and Intrigue in ancient Egypt, a massive roll and move game and a race to find the Pharaoh’s mask. Closer, closer, so close – oh shit, fallen into the Pit of Snakes again, game over.

    Super Striker – football game where you’d kick the ball by pushing down on your little fella’s head, making his foot shoot forward and hit the ball. My mate was brilliant at this, I’m finally winning though, 3-2 with a couple of minutes to go… oh shit, a cup of tea’s gone over, match abandoned, waterlogged pitch.

    For me now in my early 40s, it’s absolutely all about the nostalgia. New games that look and play nothing like the old ones sure, and a life that’s full of all the usual stuff good and bad – friends, work, mortgage, divorce and kids I only get to see half the time because of it.
    But then I play a game and all of a sudden I’m that little boy again, passing the time in a council house with the rain beating on the windows half a world away from where I am now, with paper, and pens, and boxes full of little pieces.

    Thank you Rab.

    • JB says:

      I have fond Memories of Treasure of the Pharoahs too. Though I’m sure we were missing some of the pieces and a bit of the rules. Still, fun stuff back then.

  35. Chunga says:

    Wonderful writing, Robert!

    You had me at “No-one is working out the best way to walk home … ” part, it took me back to those horrors. My childhood game was DungeonQuest (or Drakborgen as it was called in Swedish) which I played with my cousin, and we kept track of all the different ways our adventurers met their (often grisly) death.

  36. sonofajoiner says:

    Absolutely beautiful.

    My dad & I don’t speak anymore but your piece reminded me how much I have him to thank for encouraging my interest in games, fantasy, sci-fi & a whole host of other things that were generally considered unsuitable for girls. And of how much I actually miss those long, grey, saturday afternoons spent trying to understand the rules to Kingmaker or trying to make Talisman enjoyable with only 2 players.

    I might give him a call. Once I’ve stopped crying.

  37. shitflap says:

    Fucking beautiful Rab, hope tomorrow isn’t too much for you

    Edit: Reading it again, I really want some plain bread :'(

  38. Jake says:

    I’ve still got my copy of Heroquest, but I seem to have misplaced my Fimir.

  39. TooNu says:

    This was REALLY good to read, Rab. Thanks very much for writing that. Though I was a Space Crusade kid. I didn’t like the attached bases that heroquest models were on…and also Assault cannons are much much better than “FIAH OF ROFF!”

    I’ll never forget that Heroquest advert.

  40. Whosi says:

    For myself, another reason to play boardgames in my late forties is to share the love of a hobby with my children.

    Wonderful article, thanks for sharing.

  41. Freud says:

    Well done. That was a great read.

  42. endintears says:

    £21.95! Damn inflation…

  43. Cosmo Dium says:

    Powerful article.

  44. Sif says:

    We replayed Hero’s quest a few years ago, some friends and I. If you chose to do the same, take my advice: Don’t Pick the Wizard.

    Oh he seems cool, with his flashy spells and mystic insights. But while the Barbarian saves up for 5 adventures for a shiny new sword and the dwarf is proudly donning a new suit of armor, you’ll be purchasing the following:

    1. Daggers.
    2. A new staff just like your old one! In fact the exact same one!
    3. More daggers.

    God, I still love this stupid game anyhow. I used to set it up for my little brother and run it. First experience as a GM in my life.

  45. joeymcjoeysalot says:

    Great piece. Thanks for sharing.

  46. j3w3l says:

    aah heroquest, playing with my cousins for hours was great.. i always tended to be the dungeon master and twist the story to my own whims.. fun times mwhahahaha
    i had a space marine version that was pretty awesome too (eyes of youth maybe) but for the life of me i can’t remember it’s name

  47. Squishpoke says:

    During the article- :)

    After the last sentence- :(

  48. MrBluesky says:

    I’m 42 and remember playing this game along with freinds at the time before I got into D&D. My kids who are 12 and 9 always want me to setup one of my old D&D modules of which I still have many. My youngest gets the manuals out and the blank character sheets and dice and goes on at me to ‘set it up’, my excuse is always, it’ll take too long, you won’t understand it, its too hard, etc, etc. after reading you very poignant piece I feel I should wake em both up (its 02.10am in the morning) and get going now!
    Very good, thought provoking stuff. Well done Rab. You have inspired me :)

  49. thebigJ_A says:

    Hey, finally something on here I’ve actually played!

    I begged my parents for Heroquest after seeing the commercial (they used the same ad posted above here in the US, but replaced the kids with Americans). I even made my father play once (he was not amused).

    None of my friends at the time were interested, so it just collected dust, and I’ve never played any board games since. :(

  50. Escalus says:

    Thanks for this Rab