Several weeks ago, when at my in-laws, K.’s brother J. decided to search the attic for old comic books. While rummaging around old boxes, we found this among a pile of board games:
Yep, it’s the German edition of the original HeroQuest! It came out in 1989, but J. told me he probably got it a bit later as he was pretty young at the time. I never owned it myself, although I remember seeing ads in White Dwarf and I think a member of our RPG group had it.
Generously, J. gave the box to me and also gave me permission to paint the figures. When I opened the box, it felt like Christmas… 1989! A quick sorting through the pieces revealed that the game was almost complete – some doors and trap markers are missing, but all the miniatures are there, even if some goblins lost their swords.
Some of the figures have a bit of paint on them, but J. couldn’t (or wouldn’t) remember if it was him. I’m not yet sure if I should strip them or try to incorporate the paint into my own painting… just as a souvenir to the youthful joy of the kids playing it. Because from the look of it, it had been played extensively, and the blank map in the booklet even contained a self-designed dungeon.
I have to say the whole thing took me back to my youth. Although I couldn’t afford Warhammer Fantasy or 40K and preferred 6mm Epic at the time, I regularly read White Dwarf and generally liked the GW aesthetics. A quick glance at one of the HeroQuest Orcs told me why:
The quirky pose, the whimsical grin and 80s accoutrements like the spikey wristband (or the Goblin’s bucket top boots) have nothing of the cynical grim-and-gritty nonsense that has become such a tiring cliché in fantasy. Instead, they radiate a fun and imaginative world full of wonders and light-hearted stories that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
I’ve decided to paint the figures bit by bit, as an Orc now and then will add some variety to my usual painting diet. For a starter, I painted a zombie, two Orcs, a goblin and a Fimir:
J. already announced that he’d love to play HeroQuest again and I’m also curious to see how it plays. If I get tired of it, I might try Songs of Gold and Darkness, the dungeon crawling supplement for Songs of Blades and Heroes. Having a bunch of 28mm fantasy figures might even convince me to try out Frostgrave, which has exerted a strange attraction since it came out…