[Heroica] Help me have fun with those Lego board games

edited July 2011 in Story Games
I dropped $20 on one of those Lego board games today. There is a D&D-esque series of four linked sets (sold separately) where you pick a barbarian or ranger or druid (each with their own powers), and run around a little dungeon picking up gold and fighting werewolves and spiders. Hurrah! Lego D&D!

Sadly, the game itself was not very fun to play, which blows, because a) my wife got interested in me putting it together and agreed to play, and b) $20.

A cursory glance around the internets did not turn up any rules hacks, but I know beyond the faintest shadow of a doubt that they are out there. I believe in the power of nerd culture.

Help me, Story Games. You're my only hope. Don't let that $20 have been spent in vain.



  • I totally want to get these and see what I can do with them. Too bad they're not inherently fun, but I'm convinced they're full of potential. I want the LEGO Die, if nothing else.
  • edited July 2011
    LEGO "Pick a Brick" doesn't seem to sell the dice, but Bricksmith does.

    I own a number of these games (both the "Heroica" and others). The are all... not great. Very simplistic, aimed at younger players. One encouraging bit, though, is that the rule books flat out tell you to hack the game and make up your own rules, which is at least a step in the right direction.

    Since I'm building my own brick game, it is tempting to try to incorporate these game sets in some way, if only for examples.
  • Totally not helping, sorry, but ever since I heard of the LEGO die, I want to use it to play Black Fire.
    Perhaps, there's something there for you.
  • Well, the thing to remember is that the LEGO board games are generally like the lego sets themselves - they're intended to be more fun when you put more work into them. The rules are a bit like a picture of things you could build - something to start on with building a better game.

    I got a different set than the one you've got there - with a Wizard, Barbarian, and a Thief. I'm planning on getting more sets, so I have more work with on building a larger build.

    1) Monsters are all about the same - the only difference really is how much damage they do. One idea is to expand how much damage it takes to kill one off from one point always to an equal amount as the strength. Shield results may be crits that still take them down.
    2) Let people buy speed and healing potions like they can buy weapons.
    3) After you move your own character, roll and move one of the monsters, and roll for it to attack if it ends up next to your opponent's character.
    4) Maybe you don't win when you get to the end - maybe you need to leave the dungeon before you leave... and your opponents can try and catch and grab the mcguffin off of you and win the game instead.
  • I was looking forward to it since I heard about it and then when the reviews came out, lost interest.
    Maybe I'd use the stuff to play a minis rpg, like savage worlds or d&d....
    But then the die is under utilized... It would be cool to get a bunch of the dice so you could do black fire like stuff but they're pricey and roll funny...
  • without owning them i don't know how to make them more fun.

    i thought maybe unique dice for each character class would be fun? not sure but it could add to the group stratagy if each player could be faster, stronger, or better at range. but that takes more dice.

    i hear larger maps also make it more fun.
  • The die is pretty cool as a board game mechanic. Each face has a number on it (1 through 3), plus some combination of swords and skulls. So you roll to move and look at the number, and you roll the same die to fight, but look at the swords and skulls. I like that part pretty good.

    One of the boring parts was how few different things you could do. Maybe a more complex board would be more fun.

    Also, I feel like it should be a co-op game, instead of competitive.
  • Hi Brian,

    I bought one of these as well and assumed I'd need to kitbash it to make it fun. It's Lego, right? Add more Lego. Change the rules. Build your own dungeon bits. The first thing I did was eliminate the need for 2x2 plates with one pip on top to regulate movement.

    I like the utility of the dice, but those dice also cry out for all kinds of modifications. They can carry a lot of information.
  • One of the games (the racing one) involves modifying the die during play.

    One option would be that as the game goes on, add tiles corresponding to one of the colors of the figures - then rolling your own color on a die would be a bonus of some sort.

    You get one of the lego dice with most of the games, so if you're really interested in modifications, grabbing another inexpensive set isn't a bad idea. One die for movement and another one for special effects is an idea...
  • I guess I'm one of the few who kinda likes it straight out of the box?
    I mean, true, I looked at it more as a kid's board game, than anything else, so I didn't have great expectations. I got all four sets at once (because my Lego store was offering cool freebies if I did), and took it over to my friend's house a few days later. We put everything together, and we PLAYED THE HELL out of those games. We started off with the main castle set, then the next time we added some pieces from the wilderness set, and so on and so on. We played it, I think, eight times in a row.
    And it pretty much met my expectations as a kid's board game. But it was still pretty fun in my opinion.
    But yeah, the rules do state that they expect people to hack the rules (I left them all at my friend's house, so I can say for sure what the little rulebook says, but I think they also want people to post stuff they do with it?), and really, it's simple enough to hack.

    Like, for me, I've come up with:
    -Characters start with abilities equal to their associated weapon (Barbarian gets the axe ability, Ranger gets the bow ability) which is slightly weaker than their normal ability. When they buy the weapon in question, the weapon boosts them to their normal level of ability (I think only the Thief gets a raw deal out of this...but hey, he's a thief). Anyone using a weapon not associated with their class essentially multi-classes, as per the normal rules.
    -I've been thinking of making character cards, with the regular abilities on the front, and epic-level abilities on the back, which are unlockable if they can collect and spend 10 gold at once. The epic-level ability would only last until the end of that adventure. ...not sure yet what I'd DO for the epic-level abilities...maybe just making it possible for their special abilities to work on a regular attack roll? Anyway, that is still in tinkering-mode.
    -Also making cards for the enemies, with special abilities for each. I mean, yeah, it's kinda cool the Dark Druid and the Bats are "flying" enemies, but there are no rules for it. Also, still in the tinkering stage.

    ...and just because I'm an uber-geek, I've been saving up some money to buy various Lego Kingdoms sets, so that I can make a regular-sized version of Heroica.

  • ...and just because I'm an uber-geek, I've been saving up some money to buy various Lego Kingdoms sets, so that I can make a regular-sized version of Heroica.
    THIS! Why on Earth did they use the stupid microfigs in Heroica? If they had scaled it for minifigs I would have been collecting them like crazy.
  • I think LEGO is spiritually uncomfortable, still, with making things for adult nerds. They're making progress, but the whole notion of games that aren't for children may be anathema to the company's self-image. This assumes a lot about LEGO's brand positioning in Denmark and Europe generally, but in America I'd sure bet on it.

    I have a game for five LEGO dice, some tiles, and some little black cloth bags that I need to polish up for playtesting.
  • edited July 2011
    Posted By: Wilhelm
    ...and just because I'm an uber-geek, I've been saving up some money to buy various Lego Kingdoms sets, so that I can make a regular-sized version of Heroica.
    THIS! Why on Earth did they use the stupid microfigs in Heroica? If they had scaled it for minifigs I would have been collecting them like crazy.


    I've played miniatures battles with the minifigs - they are wonderful for customization and crits (those arms can be pulled right off!)
  • edited July 2011
    I let my son pick our first (and currently only) Heroica set. He chose the Druid in the forest one. Tonight we bought the LEGO game Monster 4 and inside were four microfigs for skeletons, werewolves, pumpkin people and.... orcs! OK, maybe goblins, but they have tusks, so I say ORK!

    I so want to kitbash a big dungeon now.

  • THIS! Why on Earth did they use the stupid microfigs in Heroica? If they had scaled it for minifigs I would have been collecting them like crazy.
    Well, cost for one. Some people are already a little weird for the cost with what they had there.

    But consider - if you get a 2x2 round plate, and put a minifig on it, then it'll work in Heroica just fine, because the center stud on the move spaces will line up with the center round bit under a 2x2 round plate. So with a little customization, it works fine with minifigs. (well, it works with a 2x2 square plate, but then you have to be careful how you line up the square plate with the grid, where with a round plate you don't have to worry about it.)
  • I haven't purchased any of these new games but I've played a bunch of games with LEGO elements. See http://gunth.com/brickquest/ for the one most like what I think I'm seeing here if you're interested to see what's gone before.
  • So I know this is an old thread, but it just saw it. Love Heroica... yes its not Perfect straight out of the box maybe a little to simple (but i guess thats good for young kids), kind of like a Candyland game with fighting. But it has enormous potential and reminds me of Heroquest. That game I think is responsible for a lot of people getting into RPGs. Also lego has a great Star Wars game in the same scale. Play like a 2 player version of Feudal, and could be turned into a Star Wars Dungeon Crawler. Any any way if you are interested check out this page http://www.facebook.com/LegoHeroicaAndStarWarsAdvanced
  • You don't have to make frames to use Mobile Frame: Zero rules with LEGO (micro-/mini-/Bionicle-)figures.

    You'll have no use for the Lego die (although... it might be interesting if the Lego die was setup to randomize which system a damaged frame loses!).
  • edited January 2013
    Because building Lego is the most fun part for me, I would like to see a Dungeonkeeper kind of game with Heroica, where one player builds the dungeon (places with traps, rooms and ambushes for the heroes) and controls the monster units and another player brings chaos within the troops ("we want a toilet!") and can send in heroes when appropriate.
  • I just got the Castle and Cavern sets for Christmas, and I'm pretty excited about them, as I've been wanting the games since I heard of them last year (well, 2011, that is). They arrived today (I had to ship them back home to myself from my parents' place), which spurred me to look online for house rules, and also for the availability of the remaining sets.

    First, on the remaining sets, I learned two things: one, the line apparently is being discontinued, as most of the sets are already "retired" on Lego's site and seem to be limited or out of stock in local (Seattle-area) stores. Two, Lego released a fifth set in 2012, the Catacombs of Ilrion, which features two new heroes (the Prince and the Sage) plus the Wizard in a mostly-flooded setting against a Vampire Lord, zombies, and bats. Oddly, they include the "King of the realm" as a microfig, and explicitly mention he's a captive you're supposed to rescue from the Vampire Lord, but then don't actually have any new rules in the game to cover that idea.

    Second, on the subject of house/variant rules, a Google search now turns up some interesting ideas, in particular on BoardGameGeek, such as this thread boardgamegeek.com/thread/743799/advanced-heroica-ruleset-still-under-testing and this thread boardgamegeek.com/thread/722606/quest-heroica-new-heroica-rules-variant. (Aside: the BoardGameGeek forums aren't well organized. There are totally separate forums for the Heroica line in general and for each individual set, so you have to do some hunting to find discussions of variant rules.)

    One idea I had, that I haven't seen mentioned yet (in my cursory glance at a few variant rules discussions), is to have certain tiles provide special effects if you pause a turn there. For example, the Castle set has the kitchen tile, with that big turkey leg; pausing there for a turn could fully restore your health. It also has a couple "study" tiles (with a desk and chair); pausing there to study the tome on the table could provide some other beneficial effect, like increasing your strength in combat or revealing some kind of secret passage.

    Like everyone else, I'm also working on hacking advanced weapon and combat rules. My current version is that heroes start with strength 1, and when fighting a monster you roll for both the hero and the monster and add each's strength; the winner does the difference in the result as damage to the loser, ties are re-rolled. Most weapons increase a hero's strength by 1, but having your special hero weapon (such as the sword for the knight or the wand for the wizard) increases it by 2.

    One thing that's kind of a drag is waiting for a Shield result on the die in order to use your hero's special skill. I feel that skills should be available by choice, but I'm not sure how to adjust that without making them overpowering. I guess the obvious limiting factor would be to drop a health point each time you use it, though I'm not sure that's sufficient.

    Okay, I think that's enough for now…
  • @Rickard - Yeah, I'd be more-inclined to play a "sandboxy" game than rejigger d20 (OSR, Hero, etc, etc, etc) to use Lego elements in a static manner (sorry, Philip!). For instance, I was (mangling) a semi-freeform "RPG" system using Icehouse pieces years ago: davidartman.com/games/stacktors

    One might be able to springboard off of that, using Lego and figs (though, really, it's going to be tough to map all of the Abilities to minifig elements like backpacks, cloaks, and held items...).
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