Heroquest vs. Descent: Which Board Game Is Best?

If you like dungeon-crawling, tabletop board games, you’re probably familiar with both Heroquest and Descent. They are both immensely popular games that offer a ton of replayability with new (or current) gaming partners. But which one is better? 

Heroquest is a classic dungeon crawler that has been around for years. Descent is a newer game, but it offers more variety and options. If you’re looking for a classic dungeon crawler, go with Heroquest, but if you want something with more depth, then choose Descent.

Heroquest and Descent are similar in many ways but also have unique features that make them stand out from one another. In this article, I will take a look at the similarities and differences between Heroquest and Descent and the pros and cons of each game to help you decide which one is suitable for you.

Hero Quest DnD Board Game
A good look at a layout of HeroQuest with the cards, the pieces, and the stories all on the table. Original Picture: https://heroquest.fandom.com/wiki/Loretome:HeroQuest?file=Hero_Quest%2521-9746.jpg

What Is Heroquest?

Heroquest is a challenging adventure board game. The Gameplay is around three to six hours and is intended for two to five players. Players will have to use their skills to make it through the four worlds and win the game.

The goal of Hereoquest is to help your hero reach the Well of Light and save your homeland from the Dark Lord’s curse. You must face many challenges along the way, such as combat, magic, obstacles, and puzzles.


  • The game is designed for a variety of player types, making it fun for everyone.
  • There are multiple ways to win the game, keeping players engaged until the very end.
  • The storyline is engaging and makes you feel like you’re part of the adventure.
  • The artwork is beautiful and captures the essence of each character and scene.
  • The components are high quality and will last for many years.
  • There are many different characters to choose from, each with unique abilities.
  • The game board is randomly generated, making each playthrough unique.


  • The game board is not very big, so it can feel cramped and uncomfortable.
  • It can be hard to keep track of the different characters and their locations.
  • Combat is not very exciting or stimulating.
  • It can be frustrating when other players do not take the game seriously.
  • It has complicated rules, sometimes leads to a lack of player interaction, and has a tendency to drag on for too long.
  • Ultimately, Heroquest is not as well-designed as other popular board games like Monopoly or Scrabble.

Check Amazon for up to date prices on HeroQuest!

General Gameplay

The basic premise revolves around players trying to collect enough treasure and weapons to beat the dungeon boss. The game initially came out as a two-player game but has since been adapted for more players. 

Players take turns in rolling dice and moving their figures around the board. They can move their figures to any adjacent space, but they cannot pass through walls or other figures. The objective of each player is to reach the center room of the dungeon by fighting monsters and overcoming obstacles along the way.

Large Hero Quest Board Game
So so many pieces in Heroquest. You said you wanted a challenge…you said the last few games were too easy…well….good luck!

What Is Descent?

Descent: Journeys in the Dark is a board game published by Fantasy Flight Games. It is set in a fantasy world named Terrinoth, where players take on the roles of heroes and attempt to delve into dark dungeons, fighting monsters and earning treasure along the way.

The Descent was initially published in 2005, with its first expansion following in 2006. Since then, the game has received several expansions, including some that are compatible with the campaign books.

Descent Board Game
Descent brings the thrills of a D&D one shot to a board game in a way TTRPG players will be used to.

The newest Descent was considered more its own new style of game than an expansion, and caught attention immediately because of the box that was unbelievably huge.


  • Descent is a board game that can be enjoyed by gamers of all skill levels.
  • The game is easy to learn but challenging to master, providing hours of entertainment.
  • There are many different ways to play the game, ensuring that each session is unique and exciting.
  • The components are high quality, and the artwork is stunning.
  • The game can be played with up to six players, making it perfect for gatherings with friends or family.
  • It is a great way to improve teamwork and communication and is ideal for players who want to test their skills.


  • The game is very complex and can be difficult for new players to understand.
  • There is a lot of luck involved, which can make the game frustrating for some players.
  • It’s often considered a challenging game because there are so many rules and strategies to remember.
  • The pieces and boards are costly, which can make the game prohibitively expensive for some people.
  • There is a lot of downtime between turns, which can lead to players becoming restless

Check Amazon for Up to Date Pricing on Descent the Board Game!

General Gameplay

Descent is a board game where you play as an adventurer exploring and fighting in a fantasy world. There are many ways to win the game, but your goal is to be the first player to collect the victory points.

Each game lasts between 60 and 120 minutes and can be played by several people. In each round, one player takes on the role of the overlord and controls the dungeon, while the other players control heroes. Each player has a different character class with unique abilities; typically, these abilities are used to move through the dungeon and fight monsters.

Descent Legends of the Dark Board Game
The newest Descent, Descent: Legends of the Dark definitely made waves with the very different setup from previous games and the BIGGEST box you’ve ever seen.

Heroquest vs. Descent Comparison


  • Both Heroquest and Descent are dungeon crawlers, where each player takes on the role of a hero. The goal is for players to fight their way through the dungeon and defeat the evil boss at the end. Both games have many similarities but also some essential differences that make each unique in its own way.
  • Characters in both games gain experience and loot as they progress. The games share similar mechanics, including dice rolls and character abilities. Heroquest is less complex than Descent, making it a good choice for new gamers.


There are several key changes between the two games. 

  • Firstly, Heroquest has a more open-ended scenario system, where players can choose what quests to take and even create their own quests. In contrast, Descent comes with a pre-written campaign story arc which is designed to be played out in sequential order. 
  • The second main difference is that Heroquest characters are represented by cardboard standees that move around the game board. In contrast, in Descent, the character miniatures are moved about on the game board. 
  • Heroquest is a cooperative game where players must work together to complete the objectives, while Descent is competitive – the players are all fighting against each other to be the first one to finish. The goal of Heroquest is to complete the quest and defeat the final boss, while in Descent, your goal may be different (e.g., find the treasure, assassinate the villain).

What Heroquest Does Better Than Descent

Heroquest and Descent are two dungeon-crawl board games with the same genre that appeal to similar audiences. However, Heroquest surpasses Descent in several ways.

In Heroquest, the players have more control over their characters’ actions, which allows for more strategic plays. Also, every hero has a unique skill set rather than generic skills like in Descent.

  • Heroquest has a more diverse set of monsters.
  • The quests in Heroquest are better designed.
  • There is more player choice and agency in Heroquest.
  • The treasure system is more rewarding in Heroquest.
  • Heroquest is easier to learn and play than Descent.

What Descent Does Better Than Heroquest

Descent’s popularity can be attributed to several critical decisions. Descent uses a bigger board and miniature figure size than Heroquest, giving players a lot more terrain to explore. Descent is also skill-oriented, making it ideal for veterans and experienced gamers. 

  • Heroquest is more about fighting monsters and completing quests, while Descent is all about strategy.
  • In Heroquest, players can simply hack their way through enemies, but in Descent, they need to be careful and use tactics to survive.
  • There are many different scenarios and maps in Descent that make every game unique, while Heroquest has only a few sets of scenarios.
  • The Descent allows for more player interaction than Heroquest – players can use teamwork to complete tasks or backstab each other for victory.
  • The equipment and abilities available in Descent give players a lot of flexibility in how they want to play the game, while Heroquest is more limited in execution.

Heroquest or Descent: Which One Should You Play?

You should play the classic dungeon crawler Heroquest if you’re looking for a board game that will take you on an epic adventure. This game has been around for years and is still just as much fun today as it was when it first came out. 

However, if you’re looking for something with more variety and options, then I would recommend 

choosing Descent instead. It offers more depth and can be tailored to fit your own specific gaming needs. Whichever game you choose, I know you’ll have a great time playing it with your friends.


The choice is ultimately yours, but after reading this article, we hope you have a better understanding of what to expect from each game. If you’re ready to dive into the world of tabletop gaming, I recommend starting with Descent. Hopefully, you have a better idea of which game to choose! 

Other Board Game Articles You’ll Love