Saturday, August 6, 2016

Test played Reviews: HeroQuest

In depth Reviews
Starting a more in depth review series.
Test played Reviews: JAGS Revised
Test played Reviews: Hackmaster
Test played Reviews: Dungeon World
Test played Reviews: OpenQuest
Test played Reviews: HeroQuest

Heroquest was a game that started out with a lot of lacking information. Fortunately for them, I was able to actually find enough information from the Wikipedia rules summary, two great rules reviews, two forum posts explaining rules, and a gameplay YouTube video to actually put together enough information to test play the simple rules-lite system - even without a sample game book.

It was the clear winner of the games that lack playable sample rules.

It even defeated it's first competitor in phase III, the testplay battle rounds.

Looking at available material and scoring the availability of material

Heroquest - E - I can't find much about this version.

Phase 1 - Losers Bracket 

To try figuring out the rules of several games, I arranged a loser's bracket to evaluate other alternative sources of information about the game. Here is how the loser's bracket was structured.

Phase 1: losers bracket battle round
*Phase one Criteria might be three:
1. Official Rules - How good are the rules that I can find on the official site? And I don't want to create an account to access it or given something not available officially to all. Unless it's available on RPG Now, which I already have an account.
2. Gameplay - Can I figure out the rules by looking at or watching a few gameplay media?
3. Reviews - Can I figure out the rules by reading or listening to rules review?

*Criteria are subject to change, if between now and then I think of something different or better.

I'll use the same grading scale - A through E as the winners phase 2 battle round.
If any of the systems are missing any of those three data points, it will be an automatic E = 0 for that criteria.
If I can't remember or forget or am distracted hearing or reading a detail - tough, too bad, so sad. My attention and memory can only go so far when media isn't in front of me.

I'll then divide the score by three to get the score.

Phase 2: losers bracket
The winners of the first losers bracket phase I'll try to do a full evaluation using what I've learned about the game like the other games taking the winners and tied games of the first round against each other. Anything that I can't figure out or remember from a few gameplay, reviews, and rules notes in the full-20 criteria will be an automatic E = 0. And all the total of the scores on my criteria spreadsheet is divided by 20.

Only one game from the losers bracket will emerge.

If there is a tie ... maybe a dice roll if I can't decide.

I think it's tough but fair.

Heroquest v Hero System.

Hero Battle
Hero System
1. Official Rules - D
2. Gameplay - E
3. Reviews - D
= 0.67

Heroquest Glorantha
1. Official Rules - E
2. Gameplay - C
3. Reviews - D
= 1

Heroquest Glorantha moves on

Hero Battle - Hero System 0.67 v Heroquest Glorantha 1.0

Heroquest joined the other Loser's bracket games in the criteria evaluation for material that I could find. Unknown information was left blank, which in effect acts as a zero or E.

Phase II - My Criteria Evaluation

First up Heroquest.

I'm not going to format the criteria into table for the losers round. First up Heroquest, based mostly on a video of play. Missing scores means I can't evaluate the system from what I saw and are treated like E 0 in the scoring.

10 Major Criteria & 10 Sub-criteria Heroquest
1. Depth - B 3
a. Meaningful - B 3
b. Utilized Functions - B 3
2. Flexible/Adaptable - C 2
3. Consistency - B 3
4. Understandable - D 1
5. Character - A 4
a. Behavior tied to character - A 4
b. Unique Character - B 3
6. Combat System - C 2
a. Turn/move/action - 
b. Attack speed/ hastened/quicker - 
7. Spell System - 
a. Spell Regulatory - D 1
b. Spell Breadth - D 1
8. Creatures - D 1
a. Standard Fantasy - 
b. Creation - 

9. Content - 
10. Aesthetic - C 2
Total 1.65

Key to Criteria

10 Major Criteria & 10 Sub-criteria1. Depth - how meaningful and utilized are the data & functions are used?
a. Meaningful - does data recorded makes a difference in the game?
b. Utilized Functions - are there multiple uses for data recorded?
2. Flexible/Adaptable - how usable is it with other custom settings?
3. Consistency - how many different systems are there within the game?
4. Understandable - are concepts defined before they are presented, Or is it just a rule dump without explanation?
5. Character - how is behavior explained and can characters be unique?
a. Behavior tied to character - how well does the data determine how a character behaves?
b. Unique Character - can the characters stand out from other characters of similar nature?
6. Combat System - are the mechanics interesting and innovative?
a. Turn/move/action - does the game use the same boring turn based mechanics?
b. Attack speed/ hastened/quicker - will having higher quickness make the attacks go faster and multiple times?
7. Spell System - does the game use the boring overused spell set?
a. Spell Regulatory - how does the game use data to limit magical powers?
b. Spell Breadth - is there a wide variety, yet coherently grouped collection of spells?
8. Creatures - how many provided creatures are available?
a. Standard Fantasy - does the game provide the expected common monsters and creatures?
b. Creation - are there creature creation rules so that I can add my own creatures?
9. Content - is the overall content presented in the core detail depth and have variety. Do elements differ in sufficient degree among other data?
10. Aesthetic - does the game have a subjective coolness factor?

I plan on using the A, B, C, D, and E again, this time tying them to points so I can convert it into a total value for the game.
For each criteria
 = 4 - beyond my expectation
B = 3 - great
C = 2 - sufficient
D = 1 - below my expectation
E = 0 - horrible, unusable

Total evaluation = sum of criteria/20

Losers Bracket Phase 2
Burning Wheel Gold 1.4
Shadow of the Demon Lord 0.95
Heroquest Glorantha 1.65
Blades in the Dark - NA

Phase III Testing the game.

Heroquest 2 RPG
1) total grade from phase II 1.65
2) character creation test 4
3) skill system test 2
4) combat system test 1
5) magic system test 1
Total score 9.65
Average 4 pt scale 1.93
Grade C+

Certainly HQ made exactly the character that I wanted, due to the using my own Keyword, skills, abilities, and magic. It receives max score.

The mechanics felt like a roll under version of any other simple narrative game, resolving entire battles with one roll. I gave it a mediocre for skills, and low scores for combat and magic. Something felt largely lacking for some reason - probably because of the narrative summary focus of resolution - lacking details.

For me, it's more of lacking details - which is how the game was built. Extended contest felt like just felt like piling on numbers, not details to describe what was happening. So for me, the lack of details works for character creation, but not for combat and skills. The difference being that the customized keywords and skills actually have meaning. The results of fumble, failure, success (marginal, minor, major, complete), and critical success seemed like - let me put it in story terms.

In a story, there is narrative summaries which add transitions.

"And Wiluwichi defeated the mighty Korkrisp spider using his newly honed stick-blade skills."

Where as the extended contests felt like a race of numbers, rather than a series of battling maneuvers. I cared more for the number than describing what was happening. 

Neither felt satisfying in themselves, I guess because of missing details. If I didn't care about the pile of numbers, extended contests might feel more meaningful.

Heroquest Character

30 min
Battle Musician (Keyword)17
Battle Magic13
Son of Epimo'olv ‘Blood Bear’ 19
Mentor Tsum'il18

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