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Looking Back on Ten Years of Heroscape

Posted August 3rd, 2014 at 11:14 AM 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


IAmBatman's Avatar
Great post, GB! Thanks for sharing! I know we all wish you could be around here more, but understand why you aren't. You love for the customs community and the support you've given it over the years were a huge part of making it what it is today! The legacy you helped build in Heroscape is still going strong and the community that I love and is such a big part of my life is forever indebted to you for your contributions in getting it started!

P.S. I love me some Heroquest too!
Posted August 7th, 2014 at 02:30 PM by IAmBatman IAmBatman is offline
CrzyRaccoon's Avatar
Happy 10th B-DAY Heroscape
Posted August 31st, 2014 at 10:00 PM by CrzyRaccoon CrzyRaccoon is offline
noodles's Avatar
Here I am seeing this 8 years after the fact. In fact this is my first post since 2015 I think. Geez, this game and this community were staples of my life for years. I started getting into other games as the official product line came to its conclusion.

GB, I'm really happy for your success and jealous that I didn't join the .net site just a tad bit sooner. Do you remember when .net went down and a site went up to "save" the community (this was before this site started)? Ah good times. And who can't forget, "hot lava death"?

It's good to see that this site is still going and C3V is still going. Wave 23? Just wow? And the Codex? I wrote on that - it's still around? Geez. This community still amazes me.
Posted January 21st, 2022 at 09:49 AM by noodles noodles is offline
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