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Looking Back on Ten Years of Heroscape

Posted August 3rd, 2014 at 12:14 PM by Grungebob
It's Been 10 Years Heroscape

Hello everyone! My name is Jerry Hawthorne. I'm known around here as Grungebob. I have been scarce these days, but I come by daily just to lurk around and observe the community in action. The torch bearers, keepers of the flame, the creative geniuses who make Heroscape customs, build insane maps, post battle reports and foster community. I love what I see.

I wanted to take some time out of my schedule in observance of the decade of awesome gaming Heroscape has provided. That's right, ten great years. It is a credit to the game and this community. Ten years is a milestone in the board game industry. Most games have receded into distant memory after just a couple of years. Heroscape is what I call an heirloom game. The kind of game you just never get rid of because you never really get tired of playing it and even if you get pulled away on some other hobby, you know you will be back.

Heck, I want to play Heroscape with my grand kids if I'm that fortunate.

So ten years. Let's look back.

In February of 2004 I was looking through pics of the New York City Toy Fair, just browsing for gift ideas for my nephews. I was obsessed with toys and games at the time because my wife was pregnant with our son, and I was determined to recreate my own childhood through him. Anyway, I ran across some pictures of a Heroscape prototype that was on display. The look of the game just grabbed me! I knew my nephews would love it, and was fairly certain I would as well. The fact that Stephen Baker was part of its creation was a serious bonus considering how much I love HeroQuest. But, the game wasn't released yet, and I soon discovered it was due to be released in the summer of that year.

Starting in May if 2004, I began making regular searches for Heroscape on the net. Usually, nothing would pop up, but one day out of the blue a website popped up called heroscape.net! I quickly browsed the site and joined the community forum there. When I signed up, I was one of only five members Hero, Craig Van Ness, Rob Daviau, CBS42, and myself. I started posting right away and asked a few questions that were quickly answered by Rob or Craig.

In June, the most amazing thing happened. Hero, the guy who owned the site, got an advanced copy of the game and took a bunch of pictures of the components and shared them with the community. The game looked way better than the prototype! We were all terribly anxious to get a copy. Craig let us know when to expect it and the daily trips to Walmart began.

One day in July of 2004 on a typical daily trip to Walmart, I saw the holy Heroscape grail and quickly (stupidly) grabbed only 1 copy. I went home and opened it up to behold the most beautiful game ever! Lovingly painted figures from all across various action genres, sparkly water, custom dice, and the ultimate modular terrain. This game was it! I hopped on heroscape.net and gushed over the components. I went back to Walmart to get another copy but they were sold out. They had only received or stocked 3 copies!

I eventually was able to find master sets for my nephews and was scheduled to visit them soon. I mentioned this on the forum, and Craig requested that I write about our experiences. My nephews and my brother and I played the crap out of Heroscape that weekend and made some serious memories. I relayed all this to Craig.

Soon, The heroscape.net was bustling with forum members, and Hero asked me to be an admin to keep up with the traffic. The game was growing quickly in popularity, and Hasbro wanted to push expansions. I was contacted by Craig asking if I would be interested in play testing, and I enthusiastically said yes!

By early 2005, the first waves of Heroscape expansions were reaching the shelves and the community was thriving. I attended Gencon for the first time in 2005, and there I met Colby who was a talented custom unit designer on our forums. We cobbled together the bits of terrain we had crammed in our suitcases and played some Heroscape with strangers. It was great.

Gencon 2006 was amazing. We organized our own tournament events and really made an impact. The Hasbro booth at Gencon had an enormous map set up and they were previewing so many cool new releases for Heroscape. Good times!

Over the years, I worked on every wave of Heroscape, sometimes playtesting, and sometimes designing units. There were ups and downs, products with great potential that never saw the light if day, changes in manufacturing costs, shifts in Hasbro leadership, changing community forums. I got to work on other games like Battleship Galaxies, and I got to be there as the last bits of Heroscape product trickled out to the public in the form of D&D Heroscape.

Colby spun off on his own with Summoner Wars, a card game heavily inspired by Heroscape. I work for his company now: Plaid Hat Games. My game Mice & Mystics published in 2012 was inspired by both HeroQuest and Heroscape.

I want to sincerely thank all of you! I'm deeply touched by your passion and loyalty to Heroscape. I appreciate that you guys have allowed me to come and go with the changing craziness that is my hectic life. I no longer moderate the forums or contribute that much. I'm constantly pushing myself to meet deadlines in my own game designs. I want you all to know that it is this experience of being in this community that has lead to all of the good stuff. It is like magic.

Total Comments 18


Tornado's Avatar
Thanks GB. Excellent read. Very interesting to hear about the birth of heroscape.net. Best of luck in your future endeavors, Sir Hawthorne.
Posted August 3rd, 2014 at 01:43 PM by Tornado Tornado is offline
elvenwizard9's Avatar
That was beautiful... And inspiring. Especially inspiring for the novice TD with his second tourney just a few days away.

Thanks so much for your contributions to this game GB - by the way, though it's been a while, I absolutely love Battleship Galaxies too. It reminds me of Ender's Game, in a way. Had you guys ever planned/talked about expansions?

I'll be sure to try out Mice and Mystics sometime.
Posted August 3rd, 2014 at 02:58 PM by elvenwizard9 elvenwizard9 is offline
ZBeeblebrox's Avatar
Thanks GB for that trip through memory lane. And thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to write that inspiring story.
Posted August 3rd, 2014 at 05:16 PM by ZBeeblebrox ZBeeblebrox is offline
theGuru's Avatar
*raises glass*

To Heroscape, and the lasting friendships the community has created!
Posted August 3rd, 2014 at 05:28 PM by theGuru theGuru is offline
Dad_Scaper's Avatar
GB, thank you for the tour of memory lane. This community, and the game it describes, is why the internet is a good thing.
Posted August 3rd, 2014 at 08:05 PM by Dad_Scaper Dad_Scaper is offline
Sherman Davies's Avatar
It's always great to see you around Grungebob, and this time is no different. You are truly living the dream; you should be as proud of Mice and Mystics as Craig Van Ness and the rest are of Heroscape.
Posted August 3rd, 2014 at 10:11 PM by Sherman Davies Sherman Davies is online now
One of the first five on site and the first (if I remember correctly) to have a character named after him.

Thank you for all that you've done for the game GB!
Posted August 4th, 2014 at 12:00 AM by AMIS AMIS is offline
Updated August 4th, 2014 at 12:01 AM by AMIS (Although why a black knight I wonder :))
Grungebob's Avatar
I got revenge on Craig for making me a villain! I named the villain in Mice & Mystics after him.
Posted August 4th, 2014 at 12:38 AM by Grungebob Grungebob is offline
CupidsArt's Avatar
Awesomeness, this made me even more stoked for the events at GenCon. "SHOW ME THE SCAPE"! Thanks for the read Jerry,
Posted August 4th, 2014 at 10:24 PM by CupidsArt CupidsArt is offline
Serenity's Avatar
Thanks for all that you've done, Jerry. I've had tons of fun with my son playing Heroscape and with my son and wife playing M&M.

Cheers to Heroscape!
Posted August 6th, 2014 at 12:47 PM by Serenity Serenity is offline
caps's Avatar
Thanks for sharing this, GB. As someone who got into the game after it was "finished" it is cool to see a summary from someone who was there the whole time.
Posted August 6th, 2014 at 12:58 PM by caps caps is offline
Porkins's Avatar
Thanks for your many contributions over the years, Grungebob. Thanks especially for helping to create a community and culture at this site that has enabled the game to continue growing through tournaments and contests, customs and collaborative projects, game days, online scape and good friends. Without the welcoming culture that is found here, we would have all left long ago. I truly believe that this site is THE reason why Heroscape lives on.

I hope you are able to become more active here someday!
Posted August 6th, 2014 at 03:27 PM by Porkins Porkins is offline
1Mmirg's Avatar
Thank you, Jerry. You are one of the main reasons I stayed around this site and slowly got more and more involved. Your work here and on things as wonderful as Mice and Mystics inspire me. Keep up the excellent work!
Posted August 6th, 2014 at 04:00 PM by 1Mmirg 1Mmirg is offline
chas's Avatar
You'll always be one of the gang here, GB! You're our Hero of Scape.
Posted August 6th, 2014 at 06:44 PM by chas chas is offline
MegaSilver's Avatar
Awesome post GB! This post: "products with great potential that never saw the light of day" always gets me... I wish we could know what those were....
Posted August 7th, 2014 at 11:24 AM by MegaSilver MegaSilver is offline
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