As a fortunate accident my father bought an older Lego set from a closing sale and brought it to my son. He believed to have bought a regular castle with some minifigs but instead he had bought Heroica – Castle Fortaan. In essence it is a dungeon bashing “board” game that follows the style of other Lego game (only a few rules and encouraging words to come up with your own). So naturally I had to try it.
The game itself is really simple. You choose one of the characters (Barbarian, Wizard, Knight, Druid) and get on with it. All actions are done by rolling the Lego dice that is the simple most annoying dice ever for a dice fanatic like me. It is big and clumsy and has soft edges so it is extremely likely to bounce of the table.
Castle Fortaan comes with instructions to build corridors and rooms and a couple of maps showing the starting point and goal (reach this, capture this, or kill this). Unless someone really wants to play the Game Master the monsters do not move. They simply wait to be slain by the characters. On your turn you move you character according to your dice roll and if you reach a monster, chest or a something similar you make another roll that tells you the outcome. Yes. With the same dice.
Even though Heroica is pretty clearly aimed for children with the simple rules and ongoing action I caught myself enthralled by it. This is the closest I have ever got to the original experience of playing HeroQuest all those years ago. And that is saying something.
While my five years old son kept on just playing with the pieces I took the role of the Barbarian and slew my way through the keeps of Goblin King to butcher that overlord of evil. And it was kind of awesome!
Do not get me wrong. There is nothing for a gamers to be gained from this game – unless you love Lego. There are bound to be a lot of similar games with better rules but this just has “the thing” I cannot but into words.
After trying it out I searched Finnish online auction sites for the add-ons but could not find any. So I ended up ordering suitable pieces via Bricklink and building new environments for fun.
For rpg players with children this game is a must. It should be relatively simple to convert your children into gamers with this set even as it is. And if you like to take the role of the Game Master, coming up descriptions, adventurers and whatnot I dare to say this game will rock.
And I would not even be surprised to find out that some others of our gaming group would find it enjoyable as a beer and pretzels kind of game.
(At least it has more coherent rules than Age of Sigmar…)