I have a daughter who is a huge fan of Lego, fantasy books and board games, so when I came across this game from Lego I bought it straight away for her seventh birthday. It was opened with glee and has been played with everyday since.
Lego Heroica is one of Lego's range of games that you build out of the humble Lego brick. There are four games in the series, of varying sizes, length of game play and prices. Castle Fortaan is the largest set at RRP £19.99 and 304 Lego pieces (and 10-20 minutes of gameplay). Also in the range are:
Waldurk Forest- 225 pieces and £14.99 (10-15 minutes gameplay)
Caverns of Nathuz - 217 pieces and £14.99 (10-15 minutes gameplay)
Draida Bay- 101 pieces and £9.99 (5-10 minutes gameplay)
Each of these games is substantially cheaper on Amazon (i.e. Castle Fortaan was purchased for £15.99).
Each game can be played individually, or you can buy two or more sets and join them together to extend the game.
Inside the box are lots of very small Lego pieces, a game booklet with the rules, a construction booklet and a couple of suggested game layouts. It took me 20 minutes to put together all the little rooms and pathways; I found it fun but I suspect my daughter would have taken much longer and got bored half way through as there was quite a bit of repetition, especially with the walkways. Once made, you need a flat surface measuring around 30 cms by 40 cms.
**Playing the Game**
There are a selection of four 'heroes' with this game, each with their own special skill. First you select the one that you want to represent you - I generally get what I am given by my daughter! Then you roll the special dice not just to move through the game, but also to find out if you have defeated a monster, lost health points, won gold, or if you can use your special skill. In addition you can collect gold, keys, potions and 'treasure chests' (all little Lego pieces placed on the game board). Each hero comes with a little stand to place these items on and you can buy weapons with extra skills from the 'store'. All of the rules are pretty simple, but are also laid out in the game book which we keep open to remind ourselves of what each potion/symbol does. The aim of the game or the 'quest' is to get the magic helmet from the golden goblin, so you can choose to search for resources first or go straight on and tackle the goblin first before your rival heroes get there. Anything you 'earn' like weapons etc can be kept on your hero's store for the next game if you wish.
Whilst the game comes with several suggested layouts, there is nothing stopping you from coming up with your own combinations, building more walkways and rooms or adding in other potions or items. My daughter had a rummage in her own Lego and came up with several items that she added in and made up rules for herself. This adds a whole new dimension to the game and really encourages imagination.
Once a game is finished you can see if you can fit the game back into the box as is, or you can dismantle and set it up again afresh the next time you get it out. We have a plastic food bag that we use to keep all of the pieces together in the box as some of them are very small indeed. At the beginning of each game it can take between 5 and 20 minutes to set up a new layout, depending on whether you use an established one or come up with one of your own.
This is a simple but highly imaginative game that reminds me of the old Dungeons and Dragons game (only much much easier). Despite it being marked for 8 years and above, my seven year old quickly grasped the concept and enjoys playing it hugely. She is learning to plan ahead, to create strategies, to use her imagination and to beat her parents at a game. She is also immersing herself more deeply into the geekier side of life, something which fills me with joy.
Out of the four sets this is the best one to start with, not only because it is larger and you have a longer gameplay, but because you have four hero figures to start with and a nice range of goblin enemies. The flexibility of these games is enormous, you can change what you like pretty much and it really is something that can endlessly be updated and refreshed. In addition each different set has different enemies, things to search for and even more variations to add. I cannot recommend this set highly enough, it's the one game I will happily play over and over again with my daughter without getting bored.