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Epic Campaign Reviewed

Another post about design (rather than code).

I did more research on the expansion order.  Let’s start with the obvious:

1) Basic: Original Quests, Kellar’s Keep, Witchlord
2) European: Against the Ogre Horde, Wizards of Morcar
3) North American (and Advanced): Dark Company (EU Advanced Quest), The Mage of the Mirror (Elf Quest), The Frozen Horror (Barbarian Quest)

The order is obvious within “1” and “2”.  Within “3”, the order is less obvious.  According to boardgamegeek.com, the quests were released Mirror then Frozen, but most people say Frozen is more difficult.  As for Dark Company, some say to put it before Mirror/Frozen, some say to put it after.  It’s hard to tell just by glancing at the quests, so I’ll have to do some mathematical analysis and/or play testing.

Another nuance is that the European version of the game has easier monster stats, eg every basic monster has only 1 body point.  So using NA monster stats in the EU expansions (including Dark Company) makes them more difficult.  Even with that caveat, Ogre and Morcar are less difficult than Mirror and Frozen.  For Dark Company, north-american.yeoldeinn.com links to a pseudo-official localized version with NA style monster stats for Dark Company’s unique monsters (Dark Warriors and Doomguard).

Thus far I’m still leaning towards the following order.  Dark Company is a big challenge with a big reward at the end.  Mirror you get Elf spells.  Frozen you get mercenaries.  So I’m tentatively sticking with that order, unless I see a reason to change it.

When everything else is done, I plan to playtest and balance the maps to make sure the difficulty increases gradually and hero advancement happens gradually.  The game will increase in difficulty faster than the heroes (non-literally) level up, plus it will become more complex as more options (items spells etc) are added.  And I’m hoping to make the game focus more on strategy/tactics within a particular quest (ie deemphasize cross-quest item hording).  I’m still going for authenticity and nostalgia, but the game needs tweaks, balance, and play testing.  This was true of the original game, and it’s especially true for merging NA and EU versions into a well structured video game epic campaign mode.

So here’s the order again:

1) Original Quests: 14 quests
2) Kellar’s Keep: 10 quests
3) Return of the Witch Lord: 10 quests
4) Against the Ogre Horde: 7 quests
5) Wizards of Morcar: 5 quests
6) Dark Company: one long 13-stage quest (4 boards)
7) The Mage of the Mirror (Elf Quests): 10 quests (3 solo, 5 group, one double)
8) The Frozen Horror (Barbarian Quests): 10 quests (3 solo, 5 group, one double)

At this point, I’m not planning to include any unofficial fan quests or semi-official quests from magazine etc in the primary Epic Campaign mode.  Although the game will support custom quests using the standard HeroScribe XML format.  And I may even add a random campaign mode (that’s separate from the standard epic campaign).  So far I am really just focusing on developing a polished version of the original 14 quests, because the expansions don’t just add new maps and art assets – they also add new content that requires me to implement (and debug) more code.  My main focus is on implementing the game (ie programming), but I occasionally take breaks to consider design issues (as seen in this post).

It’s turning out to be more work than I’d originally expected for a part-time hobby project, but I love HeroQuest and it’s a unique contribution to the HeroQuest community (fandom) (niche).  Plus the work is giving me great experience using Unreal Engine 4 (UE4) and with detailed game design issues like balancing and player experience (UI/UX).

To close, how many quests is the epic campaign in total?  If we count Dark Company as 4 quests, then it’s 14+10+10+7+5+4+10+10 = 70 quests.

The epic campaign is going to be my primary long-term focus.  Beyond that, I may also add a custom quest mode and a random quest campaign.

Image result for heroquest Image result for heroquest kellar's keep Image result for heroquest return of the withlord

Image result for heroquest the ogre horde Image result for heroquest wizard of morcar Image result for heroquest advanced quest dark company

Image result for heroquest mage of the mirror Image result for heroquest frozen horror

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