New HeroQuest starter set is like Avalon Hill’s answer to Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion

art of a barbarian adventurer and elf with sword on mountainous background
(Image credit: Avalon Hill)

Talisman and HeroQuest are two beloved fantasy board games classics, and thanks to upcoming expansions and new editions, they can find their audience all over again with a new generation of players.

The games’ publisher, Avalon Hill have quite the legacy behind them and they’re not slowing down in their pursuit of producing and refining some of the best board games in the genres of strategy, wargames, and adventure RPGs. So, the team had plenty to share regarding upcoming Avalon Hill games.

Fresh off its 2023 revision, HeroQuest is getting even more TLC with a quest pack called HeroQuest: Jungles of Delthrak and a lighter, more newbie-friendly game system called HeroQuest: First Light. Meanwhile, Games Workshop’s Talisman is becoming a whole lot more streamlined in its upcoming 5th Edition, and offering co-operative, legacy-inspired play as part of its first expansion.

Talisman 5th Edition

board of Talisman with character cards and equipment cards

(Image credit: Avalon Hill)

 As recently announced, Talisman is due to receive a more player-friendly refresh for its 5th Edition. Players will now have a greater level of agency and heightened ability to mold their journey in a way that suits how they want to play.

For example, cross-board shortcuts like ferries and hidden caves can be used to speed your progress to securing Crown of Command. To cut down on slog, Talisman: The Magical Quest Game - 5th Edition will also have fewer of the dreaded turn-skipping events. And when the going gets tough, players can perform a saving roll of the dice or use Fate tokens to quickly zip to safety.

All in all, the game will prioritise quality over quantity – bringing average playtime for a game of Talisman down from four hours to a – still lengthy but far more manageable – two hours. If you’re a bit more of a masochist, alternate rules will be available that more closely align with the classic Talisman experience too. Whatever playstyle you embrace though, you can pre-order Talisman 5th Ed for $59.99 at Amazon right now. Its full retail release will follow July 1.

Talisman Alliances - Fate Beckons

game components fropm Talisman Alliances: Fate Beckons, sealed boxes and quest card

(Image credit: Avalon Hill)

Talisman is usually a fevered marathon, asking you to beat out your opponents in being the first to get their hands on that all-important magical MacGuffin. However, 5th Edition’s first expansion is shaking up that formula by having adventurers share their resources and work together to complete five perilous trials.

While Game Designer Doug Hopkins insists there won’t be anything like stickers or destroying game components, the expansion certainly boasts one feature with big legacy board game energy. Each of these five trials will be tucked away in secretive little boxes that players will gradually dip into across their adventure. What these boxes contain remains a mystery for now, but I’m hoping it’s a cool mini. If this is a mystery you want to get to the bottom of too, you can pre-order Talisman Alliances: Fate Beckons for $33.99 now. 

HeroQuest: First Light

HeroQuest First Light box art showing adventurers

(Image credit: Avalon Hill)

HeroQuest: First Light is designed with new players in mind, taking plenty of steps to ease in those who may not be familiar with adventure board games. As part of the ‘no homework, no sprues’ experience, First Light will be an all-in-one starter kit that allows tabletop gamers of a wide range of ages and experience levels to dive right into the fantasy RPG-inspired action. 

While First Light will be many players’ first step into the world of HeroQuest, that certainly doesn’t mean their journey has to end there. HeroQuest: First Light is compatible with all HeroQuest expansions. Even established players will be able to find plenty to enjoy in this beginner-friendly box as its quest takes place in the same timeframe as the base game, meaning you can expect to find new elements to discover.

That’s all we’ve learned about HeroQuest: First Light so far but a full reveal will take place at GenCon.  

HeroQuest: Jungles of Delthrak

HeroQuest Jungles of Delthrak Quest Pack components including minis and cards

(Image credit: Avalon Hill)

HeroQuest’s next Quest Pack, Jungles of Delthrak contains 16 exciting quests set in sense trap-filled jungles, which are only further enriched by the expansion’s choose-your-own-adventure mechanic.

As if this branching adventure doesn’t offer enough of a reason to replay, there are also two new Hero types introduced. The Berserker is tanky and becomes stronger as they take damage while the Explorer is a more of utility class, thanks to its uncanny ability to hunt down loot. These additions are perfect for experimenting with different playstyles.

HeroQuest: Jungles of Delthrak will release September 1 but you can pre-order it for $44.99 now. So, if you fancy battling monstrous apes and giant spiders in the jungles of World’s Edge, you should pop that in your basket ASAP. 

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Abigail Shannon
Tabletop & Merch Writer

Abigail is a Tabletop & Merch writer at Gamesradar+. She carries at least one Magic: The Gathering deck in her backpack at all times and always spends far too long writing her D&D character backstory. She’s a lover of all things cute, creepy, and creepy-cute.