D&D General Now That We Have HeroQuest, Do We Need D&D?

Retreater

Legend
The Milton Bradley board game HeroQuest was my introduction to TTRPGs. For me it was equivalent of the Red Box for Basic or the "Lost Mines of Phandelver" for 5e, as there was no good entry to AD&D when I joined the hobby in 1989. I had many memories of playing with other kids in my neighborhood who wouldn't touch AD&D, but loved HeroQuest, even to the point that we talked about it 30 years later at a recent class reunion. I learned to DM on that board game, made custom classes/monsters/spells/magic items, expanded the quests, etc.

Sadly, I lost my original copy after letting a friend borrow it, when he unexpectedly (to me) moved to Hawaii. For the past 30 years I have attempted to find the replacement board game dungeon crawling experience, but bounced off Descent, Gloomhaven, Warhammer Quest, Shadows of Brimstone, Massive Darkness, and others. Last year I decided to cobble together HeroQuest using proxy miniatures, hand drawn board, self-made cards, etc. Again, the magic was there as I introduced it to friends and family as a casual, fast-paced adventure game.

Now a reboot has been released by Hasbro Pulse, and I went all-in. After getting my shipment and playing several quests over the weekend, I'm legitimately wondering why would I want to play certain types of D&D games anymore: dungeon crawls, one-shots, one-page dungeons, introductory quests.
 

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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
The Milton Bradley board game HeroQuest was my introduction to TTRPGs. For me it was equivalent of the Red Box for Basic or the "Lost Mines of Phandelver" for 5e, as there was no good entry to AD&D when I joined the hobby in 1989. I had many memories of playing with other kids in my neighborhood who wouldn't touch AD&D, but loved HeroQuest, even to the point that we talked about it 30 years later at a recent class reunion. I learned to DM on that board game, made custom classes/monsters/spells/magic items, expanded the quests, etc.

Sadly, I lost my original copy after letting a friend borrow it, when he unexpectedly (to me) moved to Hawaii. For the past 30 years I have attempted to find the replacement board game dungeon crawling experience, but bounced off Descent, Gloomhaven, Warhammer Quest, Shadows of Brimstone, Massive Darkness, and others. Last year I decided to cobble together HeroQuest using proxy miniatures, hand drawn board, self-made cards, etc. Again, the magic was there as I introduced it to friends and family as a casual, fast-paced adventure game.

Now a reboot has been released by Hasbro Pulse, and I went all-in. After getting my shipment and playing several quests over the weekend, I'm legitimately wondering why would I want to play certain types of D&D games anymore: dungeon crawls, one-shots, one-page dungeons, introductory quests.
The most important thing in D&D , for me, is the characters. I could hack HQ to use customized characters, but why would I when I could just play D&D ?

For me, while HQ was also my intro to the hobby, the two satisfy different needs.
 



Wolfram stout

Adventurer
Once it comes to full retail: Since I was a penny-pincher and didn't back it (stupid me): No, I will not really need D&D as my gaming group has faded away and HeroQuest hits my sweetspot for quick and easy Dungeoncrawls (my favorite type of D&D).
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
HQ is a board game. D&D is a TTRPG. I don't use those two types of thing for the same reasons or even with the same people. One is not a really replacement for the other in any kind of general sense, although what a given individual gets out them is of course up to them.
 

Mercurius

Legend
Putting aside the character and story elements--which are the main, or at least most obvious, differences between the two--I'd like to mention two others, which for me are at the heart of why I tend to have little interest in board or video games, but great interest in roleplaying games.

One, imagination. A board or video game is not an imaginative experience, or at least not nearly as much as an RPG. Two, and this is related to one, an RPG has no bounds on its possibilities, while a board or video game has limited--even if great in number (especially video games)--possible configurations.

These two factors are related and interact together. In a way they can be illustrated by the idea of an old map with "Terra Incognita." That is part of the fun of an RPG: What's off the map? That element simply doesn't exist in a board game, or at least only in a tiny way. It exists somewhat in a video game, but is still bound by simulation and algorithm.

In a way it is like comparing the "menu" of world cuisine and what you can come up with in your own kitchen with access to any and all ingredients, with going to a local food cart or fast food joint. Even if it is a favorite and you like variation, you'll quickly exhaust the menu options. For some, that is fine - there is comfort in familiarity. But for me, I like to mix in Ethiopian, Indian, Mexican, Italian, Thai, Greek, etc et, and then even play with my own ideas and hybrid recipes.

That said, I played a lot of Hero Quest one summer, I think back in 1993 or 94, and had a lot of fun. I remember enjoying it a lot more than other D&D-based board games I've played, such as Dungeon (kind of fun, but simple) and Wrath of Ashardalon (terribly boring).
 

TTRPG is about to create worlds. HQ is the ultimate Dungeon-Crawler board-game but only four PCs within an underground dungeon, never in outdoor, and nothing of social interactions. In HQ you can't use illusory magic to trick enemies and other storytelling effects.

HQ is to play with people who don't know the d20 system, for example the children of the family.
 

payn

Legend
I also eagerly backed the HQ Hasbro pulse. This game taught me how to GM and use miniatures and scratched my sword and sorcery itch when I was a teen. The perfect intro product at the time. There is just something great about how simple it is at times, and just complex enough at others. However, it left me hungry for bigger and better adventures. D&D took it to another level and I was glad for its expanded complexity. A lot of folks say newbs cant handle complex games, but I flocked to them. Figuring out how to mesh so many mini games into one was fun in and outside the game. Took my adventures to another level.

Now I find myself expanding beyond chargen, beyond the dungeon, and beyond leveling. I want to tell grand stories and I want to tell them in any setting with tools that aid roleplaying. I also want a variety of sub-systems and mini games to choose from so that the right story has the right fit at the table. Now I find myself asking if I need HQ or even D&D anymore?
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
TTRPG is about to create worlds. HQ is the ultimate Dungeon-Crawler board-game but only four PCs within an underground dungeon, never in outdoor, and nothing of social interactions. In HQ you can't use illusory magic to trick enemies and other storytelling effects.

HQ is to play with people who don't know the d20 system, for example the children of the family.

Children can perfectly well understand D&D concepts, even my 5 years old grandson who cannot even read. And adults can enjoy boardgame too. It's really a matter of taste and effort, it certainly takes more effort to run a D&D game, including finding a DM, but if you just want to enjoy a boardgame, it's also fine too (and we often do some - limited and often silly - roleplaying even when playing boardgames). It's almost a continuity, I would just mention that there are a fre hard frontier in the concepts somewhere when you start needing a DM, or when you move from full collaborative to coopetitive to competitive.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
I remember seeing HeroQuest commercials on TV when I was a kid, before I'd discovered D&D, and was intrigued by what they showed. When I saw a copy of HQ (and one of the expansions) at a friend's house, I was eager to take a look at it and see what it was all about.

So naturally, I was upset that they wouldn't let me. But that turned into greater intrigue when they explained that the game was one of discovery and unearthing things as part of play, and that only the person running the game was supposed to know that ahead of time (and they couldn't run me through a game without some prep work and a few hours to devote to actual play; in hindsight, I think they just didn't want to go through the trouble). Looking back now, they were invoking the same ideas behind why GMs don't let players read their notes before the campaign starts, but at the time all I knew was that I was more interested in HQ than ever.

It would only be a year or two later when I came across D&D though, at which point I was satisfied to explore the myriad worlds and possibilities that game offered. Still, I remain curious about HQ even today. Maybe someday I'll go back and pick up a copy...
 
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overgeeked

B/X Known World
Now a reboot has been released by Hasbro Pulse, and I went all-in. After getting my shipment and playing several quests over the weekend, I'm legitimately wondering why would I want to play certain types of D&D games anymore: dungeon crawls, one-shots, one-page dungeons, introductory quests.
1. Because it’s not an RPG, it’s a boardgame. 2. For anything not confined to the provided board. 3. The ability to try anything.

It’s like saying: now that we have TV and movies, why do we still have books?
 
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Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen
Now a reboot has been released by Hasbro Pulse, and I went all-in. After getting my shipment and playing several quests over the weekend, I'm legitimately wondering why would I want to play certain types of D&D games anymore: dungeon crawls, one-shots, one-page dungeons, introductory quests.
You may not want to! If you're content with the range of content (setting, character types, monsters) available within the board game for those kinds of scenarios, you may not need D&D for them.

For my part, I still think the imaginative space you play within in a D&D game is distinct enough to provide a qualitatively different experience. I expect to use my new copy of HeroQuest more like a board game.
 

Retreater

Legend
The most important thing in D&D , for me, is the characters. I could hack HQ to use customized characters, but why would I when I could just play D&D ?
Right. I can agree with customized characters, deeply personal or epic stories. But what I'm getting at is the dungeon crawling, one-shot type of adventures. It seems like this is a more streamlined, faster-paced way to handle those types of experiences.

Now I find myself expanding beyond chargen, beyond the dungeon, and beyond leveling. I want to tell grand stories and I want to tell them in any setting with tools that aid roleplaying. I also want a variety of sub-systems and mini games to choose from so that the right story has the right fit at the table. Now I find myself asking if I need HQ or even D&D anymore?
Exactly. HQ is replacing the things I liked about casual D&D. For the types of games about killing monsters and looting treasure, I think HQ does it better. I'm not going to run a serious Call of Cthulhu investigation for my in-laws on Christmas break or bring Warhammer Fantasy to the local bar for some dice rolling with our beer.

For anything not confined to the provided board.
Some of the new expansions have alternate boards, such as for a tavern brawl. It seems simple to use the system for any type of grid-based map. Likewise there are new monsters, spells, character classes, so it seems fairly expandable.
TTRPG is about to create worlds. HQ is the ultimate Dungeon-Crawler board-game but only four PCs within an underground dungeon, never in outdoor, and nothing of social interactions. In HQ you can't use illusory magic to trick enemies and other storytelling effects.
You can draw any map you want, and there are examples in the expansions of outdoor maps. There are illusion spells as well that can enchant, confuse, etc., the monsters.

The story and roleplaying can be done just as well with HQ as you do in D&D, using HQ for combat encounters as needed. It's the same excuse that 4e forbade roleplaying because most rules were focused on combat.
 


el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Matt Colville told a story in one of his videos about a friend or co-worker who told him that once he and his friends discovered Hero Quest they never played D&D again. This post reminds me of that story.

Personally, I have never played it (played plenty of Warhammer Quest, tho - and I figured it was basically the same thing) and while it seems fun and I would play the heck out of it, I can't imagine it'd scratch exactly the same itch as both running and playing D&D does.
 

jgsugden

Legend
If you only play Delves (one shot dungeon dips), you may very well be able to replace D&D with Heroquest, Gloomhaven or another dungeon delve strategic game of your choice.

However, if you play adventures or campaigns with story, character growth and investment by the players - then you'd never have asked this question.

I think when 6E eventually comes, they need to release a rule set for "Delving" (playing D&D just as a strategy game without role playing a character) and then have a discrete rule and guidance set to explain how you add role playing to the strategy game. AD&D was the only edition that discussed the role playing side of the game as well as they discussed the strategic side of the game... but that was mostly because the strategic game discussion was pretty flawed.
 
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payn

Legend
Exactly. HQ is replacing the things I liked about casual D&D. For the types of games about killing monsters and looting treasure, I think HQ does it better. I'm not going to run a serious Call of Cthulhu investigation for my in-laws on Christmas break or bring Warhammer Fantasy to the local bar for some dice rolling with our beer.
Its true, there is a lack of appreciation for causal games these days. I've never really seen D&D as casual tho.
 

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