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Review: Heroquest

Subjects: arithmetic, categorization, mental organization, probability, problem solving, reading, simulation, social skills, spatial thinking, storytelling, strategy, vocabulary, and writing

Age Range: 6 and up

Time: 15 minutes or more

Heroquest is an elegantly organized, generic rule system. It is designed for use with any kind of story or setting from fantasy to science fiction, from westerns to detective noir. A game can begin with minimal preparation, whereas a group of players can also choose to develop intricate characters and settings. The person running the game, referred to as the Narrator, can make a few choices, such as basic abilities or required flaws, and the game is ready to present to players. Character creation can take as much time and detail as they game group would like, though I have completed character creation in as little as two minutes with a group of eleven year olds.

Heroquest has simple rules that allow the Narrator to scale a story to any level. The base level of abilities can be set to simulate small children or the gods of the ancient Greeks. Challenges can scale up from there. Large numbers or special rule systems are not required. The game is designed to support narratives, so a trait, such as Brave or Good Climber, just has to pass a subjective credibility test for the players. The rules are only there to support and resolve the scenes in the story at hand. They can remain simple and in the background, or you can make them as elaborate and descriptive as you would like.

While the latest edition supports any genre or setting, Heroquest was originally designed as a rule system for the venerable and detailed Glorantha setting. This is a fun, mixed-fantasy world, and Moon Design has published a fantastic, ready-to-play setting in Sartar: Land of Heroes. This and other Glorantha material are not, however, required to use Heroquest, especially if you have some other setting in mind.

Heroquest is the most flexible, intuitive, kid-friendly and student-friendly role-playing system I have ever found and has become a valuable educational tool in my classroom.

Moon Design’s web site, (external link), offers Heroquest, as well as products for the company’s Glorantha setting.

Created by: WJWalton4831 points . Last Modification: Wednesday 13 of January, 2010 19:17:27 PST by WJWalton4831 points .

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