Heroica, like Heroquest with LEGO.

On my recent trip to Orlando, I visited the LEGO store in Downtown Disney and found a product that for some reason had completely missed my notice, most likely because it hadn’t been released in my area back home in Montreal. That product is one of the newer additions to LEGO line of board game sets, aptly named: Heroica. Needless to say, I quickly purchased all one of each set available in the series.

For those who are not aware, Heroica is a LEGO game, you build the set yourself and thus can customize ad infinitum. In Heroica you play one of several possible heroes tasked with defeating a great evil. Your character is reperesented by what I have come to call a microfig, it is essentially a LEGO minifig with no movable parts that is only one square in width and depth and stands two blocks tall, but still filled with all the lovably adorable charm of your standard LEGO characters. If you own all four of the sets, you and each other player can choose from six different characters to play as: Barbarian, Wizard, Druid, Knight, Thief, and Ranger. Each character has a single special ability, all special abilities in the game are classified as either melee or ranged.

The rules are simple, you and your fellow adventurers must make your way across the playing field and try to be the first to reach the boss area. To move around the board and combat monster you roll a single LEGO die which has 4 different designs on it’s 6 sides: a shield, a sword and 3 dots, a skull and 2 dots, and lastly a sword, skull and one dot. There are two each of the sword (3 dots) and skull (2 dots) sides, and only one each of the other two. There are two types of rolls you will be called to make, a move roll, or a combat roll. You roll the die on your turn and move a number of spaces up to the number of dots on the side you rolled. If you roll a shield, you may move up to 4 spaces or use a ranged special ability. If your character ends up in a space next to a monster, you must end your movement for the turn and combat the creature by rolling the die again. The results fo combat are based on the side you roll, a sword means you have defeated the enemy. A skull means that you take damage equal to the creature’s strength (you only start with 4 health) and move back one space. A roll of the side with a skull AND sword means that you have defeated the creature but are wounded too and take damage equal to its strength and move back one space. A roll of a shield means that you defeat the monster OR you may used a melee special ability.

The winner of the game is the one who reaches and defeats the boss of the map and moves to occupy the boss’s space. If however, your hero loses all their health, you must spend turns healing yourself by rolling the die and healing an amount of health equal to the number of spaces you would have moved with the roll. Once you have reached your max health, you can then move as normal on your next turn.

The four sets in the series can be combined, allowing you to play what is called Epic Heroica. In the 3 larger sets, the players may spend gold they find to purchase weapons from the shop, each weapon gives the character an extra special ability that they may use, which allows the player to perform an ability similar to one of the other classes only slightly weaker, this adds a nice dash of customization to the game is can allow you to have a wizard with a good melee special ability or a barbarian with a good ranged ability, or simply give the ability to heal to a hero other than the druid. These extra special abilities can really make a difference when playing a longer game such as by combining all the sets. The four sets are:

Draida Bay, the smallest set of the four and one that only contains two characters to play as and a handful of minor creatures. Draida Bay starts the heroes on the docks after disembarking from a ship and exploring a small grove to find and defeat the goblin general and his goblin warriors This is really more of an expansion to the other 3 sets.

Waldurk, a forest and wilderness area is one of the two medium-sized sets and has the heroes facing spiders and werewolves under the command of the evil Dark Druid.

Nathuz, the second mid-sized set, is a dungeon-styled area that has the heroes facing golems and bats led by the golem lord.

Fortaan, the largest set is a castle set filled almost to bursting with goblin warriors and goblin champions all led by the deadly goblin king.

Each set also has some special items and potiosn scattered throughout that give extra abilities to a hero or can simply be sold back to the shop for extra gold.

I played an Epic game last night with Deb and we had a blast. She was a druid who bought a bow and arrow when she had the requisite 3 gold (the price for any weapon in the shop) and I was a wizard who eventually ran around swinging a battle axe. Deb won by a mile because, as expected her rolling was a lot better than mine, but I didn’t mind, I was having too much fun.

The game plays quickly and smoothly and is simple enough for younger children, but has enough of an RPG feel to grab adult players as well. I can’t wait to play a full game with both Deb and Bry and see how that goes. And while the game plays great with the rules as-is, I’m going to give a little though into possibly working out some sort of co-op mode and maybe making my own additional tiles using other lego games or simply pieces from Bry’s LEGO bin, I think some city-themed tiles could make for a neat add-on and add to the role-playing feel. All in all, I highly recommend the Heroicasets to anyone who enjoys LEGO or used to love Heroquest.

Wizardly News

Well it’s been awhile with the flu’s and holiday activity at the house so here are some news from Wizards of the Coast

1. A new story entitled Tallfolk Tales by Lisa Smedman is now available for your viewing pleasure. Check it out

2. An interesting article on Dungeon Dressing is available. Should help add some more flare

3. Another Confessions of a Full Time Wizard is available. This time Shelly Mazzanoble guides us on the topic of House Rules.

4. A new D&D Podcast is also availabe. These are always fun to listen to

5. The Lost Library which is a 2nd level adventure is now available.

Game Design advice from Monte Cook

While we here at the hub haven’t ever really been into Live Action Role Playing (LARP), we definitely recognize good game design advice when we see it! While quite basic, it IS good advice and sometimes a little re-iteration is helpful.

Not that what you add or have in your rule should make it hard to play, but that you provide a good spread of items/details. It’s advantageous to have choices for other ways to experience the game as this helps keep the player coming back. These choices could be created by having different race and class choices (if you really must use classes), the way different skill trees are made up, the various skills, spells, other character abilities, or really any spread of choices that would allow a player to play the game again, but have a different experience through that play.

Read the rest at RPGnet