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I need some help with "Looking"

Discuss the Rules of HeroQuest as set out by Milton Bradley Game Systems and Quest Packs.

I need some help with "Looking"

Postby JoshRitter » Thursday March 19th, 2020 3:06pm

Hi guys! :D

I wonder if you could help me with a section of the rules that has always been unclear to me: “Looking”. I have several questions regarding this activity. Please, bear with me because the post is a bit lengthy…

a. The rules state that “Looking gives you the opportunity to see what is directly within your line of sight, such as closed doors, blocked square spaces, and monsters”.
Let’s image the Hero is standing on the square at the bottom left corner of the gameboard and that for whatever reason that is his starting point (i.e. he hasn’t yet been anywhere else). He could look up (north) or right (east). Let us also imagine that on the right corridor there is a closed door leading to the middle room and a Goblin standing on the square just before this east-facing corridor joins the wider corridor (2 squares wide) leading north towards the middle of the gameboard. My questions are as follows:
1. Is the door within line of sight? (My guess is yes).
2. Before the Hero throws the dice, and considering this square as his starting point (i.e., the stairs) do I need to place the door and the Goblin on the gameboard? The Goblin is clearly within line of sight. But if the Hero does not state that he is looking, does he actually see either the door or the Goblin? Does the Goblin materialize out of the blue when the Hero reaches the adjacent square if he does not state that he is looking? Does the same happen to the door?
3. What is the point of looking if any time the Hero turns around and enters a new corridor Zargon has to place on the board everything that is within line of sight (if that is indeed what he needs to do)?
4. Do I have to place anything on the north facing corridor even if the Hero doesn't look that way?

b. The rules also state that “you may look down a corridor or through an open door”. However, they also state that “When a Hero opens a door, place on the gameboard the monsters, treasure chests, and nay other items that belong in that room”. But then:
1. What is the point of looking through a door? Even if the Hero only opens the door and doesn’t look Zargon still needs to place everything that belongs into that room. So, it doesn’t matter whether the player says that he is looking or not looking, Zargon still needs to populate the room. Right?
2. Even if a Hero opens a door and carries on walking down the corridor, Zargon still needs to populate the room, right? Even if the Hero clearly states that he is not looking in.
3. Based on my questions above, what would be the point of looking through an open door?

I hope I've managed to present my questions clearly! :?

Many thanks in advance for all the help you can provide with this. And apologies if this has already been dealt with in another thread that I have been unable to find! ;)
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Re: I need some help with "Looking"

Postby Jalapenotrellis » Thursday March 19th, 2020 7:45pm

As Zargon, you reveal based on line of sight (assume they look always) if not opening a door. If opening a door, the entire room is laid out (not based on line of sight). If you review line of sight rules, monsters block line of sight, so doors beside/beyond aren't revealed in my opinion nor are multiple monsters in a row. That is the official rule. I think most Zargons on this forum do reveal the whole corridor though. How you play is up to you. Consider the implications of whatever you decide.
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Re: I need some help with "Looking"

Postby Stig » Friday March 20th, 2020 12:54am

The way we play it, looking isn’t a thing. The assumption is the heroes are always looking and we place everything in “line of sight” ie what they could see by “looking” in the 180 degree forward arc.

Granted, not the clearest rule book and open to interpretation. I imagine having to constantly state who is looking where would get rather dull.
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Re: I need some help with "Looking"

Postby wallydubbs » Saturday March 21st, 2020 9:50am

The way I see it, you don't really need to treat "looking" as an action or even a non-action, it's automatic. That's part of Zargon's job, to lay out the board accordingly. So the hero doesn't need to say "I'm looking down the corridor."

The rules are a bit convoluted when it comes to blocked line of sight. I believe Jalepeno's right where it says heroes can't see behind monsters, and yet when you play Keller's Keep the expansion comes with extra monsters and the last hallway in The Great Citidel is full of monsters. I don't see why it would add additional monsters unless they're needed for such scenarios. So I allow heroes to see past other monsters to give the heroes a better idea of what they're up against. You're allowed to play it whichever way you see fit.

So to put it altogether:
A1.) I think the hero should still be able to see the door.
A2.) The hero doesn't need to state he's looking and since the goblin is clearly in line of sight, yes you put him on the game board.
A3.) Exactly, there is no point in "Looking."
A4.) Even if the hero technically isn't facing the north corridor I would still lay it out, he's going to see it eventually anyway and if there are monsters in that corridor they would most certainly see him.

B1.) Right again, there is no point. However in certain expansions, notably in Return of the Witch Lord, some doors start off as already open.
B2.) Yes, anytime a doors open you layabout its contents, the hero doesn't need to state whether he's looking or not.
B3.) There is none and you don't need to.
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Re: I need some help with "Looking"

Postby JoshRitter » Saturday March 21st, 2020 2:08pm

Jalapenotrellis wrote:As Zargon, you reveal based on line of sight (assume they look always) if not opening a door. If opening a door, the entire room is laid out (not based on line of sight). If you review line of sight rules, monsters block line of sight, so doors beside/beyond aren't revealed in my opinion nor are multiple monsters in a row. That is the official rule. I think most Zargons on this forum do reveal the whole corridor though. How you play is up to you. Consider the implications of whatever you decide.


Many thanks for your reply! I agree with not revealing a door if there is a monster blocking line of sight, but monsters in a row I feel it's different as they are not static and the monster in front may be smaller than the monster behind. In any case you've given me something to think about. Thanks!
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Re: I need some help with "Looking"

Postby JoshRitter » Saturday March 21st, 2020 2:22pm

wallydubbs wrote:The way I see it, you don't really need to treat "looking" as an action or even a non-action, it's automatic. That's part of Zargon's job, to lay out the board accordingly. So the hero doesn't need to say "I'm looking down the corridor."

The rules are a bit convoluted when it comes to blocked line of sight. I believe Jalepeno's right where it says heroes can't see behind monsters, and yet when you play Keller's Keep the expansion comes with extra monsters and the last hallway in The Great Citidel is full of monsters. I don't see why it would add additional monsters unless they're needed for such scenarios. So I allow heroes to see past other monsters to give the heroes a better idea of what they're up against. You're allowed to play it whichever way you see fit.

So to put it altogether:
A1.) I think the hero should still be able to see the door.
A2.) The hero doesn't need to state he's looking and since the goblin is clearly in line of sight, yes you put him on the game board.
A3.) Exactly, there is no point in "Looking."
A4.) Even if the hero technically isn't facing the north corridor I would still lay it out, he's going to see it eventually anyway and if there are monsters in that corridor they would most certainly see him.

B1.) Right again, there is no point. However in certain expansions, notably in Return of the Witch Lord, some doors start off as already open.
B2.) Yes, anytime a doors open you layabout its contents, the hero doesn't need to state whether he's looking or not.
B3.) There is none and you don't need to.


Wow! Many thanks for such a detailed reply! I always felt that looking was automatic, but since there is a section of the rules devoted to "Looking" and, as I seem to remember, at some point the rules even mention that a Hero can state that he is looking, I wasn't quite sure.
I do agree with letting Heroes see past other monsters because monsters are not static beings, plus they come in different shapes and sizes (if you have an Ogre behind a Goblin, there's no way the Hero does not see the Ogre!!!!). But that's my approach!
I really like your A4 answer as it never ocurred to me that " if there are monsters in that corridor they would most certainly see him". Many thanks for that insight! I was being Hero-centric! I totally take it on board. :D
I wasn't aware that in Return of the Witch Lord some doors start off as already open (have not played that expansion yet). I guess then the whole looking through doors thing makes much more sense.

Once again, many thanks for taking the time to help me with my queries! It's been really helpful!
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Re: I need some help with "Looking"

Postby Jafazo » Sunday March 22nd, 2020 3:33pm

The problem with “Looking” is that the game doesn't cover how it works clearly. On page 13 I believe (Going off memory), it says that a Hero “may” look down halls or corridors and into rooms. That's the keyword that messes this all up because it implies you may also choose not to, so you'll get players trying to tell you they won't “Look”. I've dealt with this problem in the past a few times so it's embedded. That same text tells you to reference page 15 under the Line of Sight section to get a better idea about it, but the problem here is when you go to page 15 it talks about line of sight in reference to identifying qualifying targets for a magic users spell. So it tells you how one monster blocks line of sight to a monster behind it, but it doesn't dig deep and explain how ling of sight works when noticing doors, furniture and other objects.

It's an incomplete and poorly worded explanation on Sight and Looking and What's Visible and whatever else so at the end of the day, you're going to have to make the call. Oh yeah and then the rules piss on everything and say, “Except when you set up a room. When you have to set up a room, totally ignore line of sight and just set up everything except stuff the hero wouldn't normally be able to see, like traps.” So the game is giving you two different ways of handling line of sight; when setting up a room and when setting up a hall or corridor.

My conclusion is when the game talks about Line of Sight on page 15, it's talking about determining who is or isn't a valid target to a spell like fireball, but when it talks about sight on page 13 in the sense of seeing everything else, it tells you to just lay everything out. So that effectively translates to a rule like this...

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Seeing & Line of Sight
As a Hero, you are always considered to be “Looking”. Looking gives you the opportunity to “See” what is directly within your “Line of Sight”, such as closed doors, blocked square spaces and monsters. Throughout the game Zargon will place anything you can see within your Line of Sight. Looking is NOT one of the 6 actions, it is always in effect. A Hero's Line of Sight originates from the middle point of the square he is on and expands outward in all directions. Line of Sight continues to expand until it reaches a wall, closed door, fallen rock trap tile, or blocked square tile. Everything within the range of this Line of Sight is what a Hero can see and is placed on the board. Some things cannot be seen and must be discovered, such as certain traps and treasure.

How Zargon Reacts to Hero Movement
As Zargon, you must carefully watch a Hero's movement. Continually refer to the Quest Map in the Quest Book. When a Hero “Looks” down a room or corridor, place on the gameboard any closed doors, blocked square tiles and monsters that are directly within that Hero's Line of Sight up to the point where his Line of Sight ends.

Action 2 – Cast a Spell (Elf or Wizard Only)
Visible

As an Elf or Wizard, you may cast a spell instead of attacking. You may cast a spell at any visible target. Important: You may only cast a spell on your turn.

“Visible”
For the Elf or Wizard to cast a spell, the target must be visible. Heroes and monsters are only visible if an unobstructed straight line can be traced from the spell caster to the target without crossing through a wall, closed door, block tile, hero or monster.

A Good Rule of Thumb: Draw an invisible straight line between the center of the square the spell caster is on and the center of the square the target is on. If the line does not cross a wall, closed door, block tile, Hero, or Monster, the target is declared visible, even if the line just touches a corner or wall edge. The following diagram shows an example of what is visible.
(See Books Diagram)

Agreement on Line of Sight, Seeing and Visibility
Throughout the game there will be many situations where what can be seen and what is visible may be put to question. These endless variations contribute to what makes Heroquest so unique. Unless the rules specifically explain how these situations are handled, players should talk and come to an agreement on them, but if no agreement can be reached, the final decision is left to Zargon. A few examples that will require agreement on seeing and visibility are as follows;

Whether the target of a spell is visible behind different kinds of furniture.
Whether the target of a spell is visible behind a particularly small sized monster.
Whether something can be seen under special conditions, such as within thick fog or smoke.
Whether something can be seen at the floor of a room filled with a foot of water.
Whether line of sight stops at a wall that is made of glass.
Whether line of sight stops at a very large sized creature who is stuck within a hallway and can't move.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

This adjustment tries hard to stick to as much of the original game's design including its wording. I grew up on this game and don't like changing too much. Simple is key, in my opinion. If it isn't simple it isn't Heroquest, it's Dungeons and Dragons, but even Dungeons and Dragons gives up and tells the Dungeon Master to decide.
Unless you specify your version I'm going by the US rules.
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Re: I need some help with "Looking"

Postby JoshRitter » Wednesday March 25th, 2020 6:19am

Hi Jafazo!
What can I say? You definitely went beyond the call of duty! Many thanks for such an elaborate, detailed answer. It has been incredibly helpful!
Pretty much, I had the same problem you mentioned with the word “may” when dealing with “Looking”, i.e. that it implies that a Hero may choose not to look and, because of that, some other parts of the rules were unclear or, even, contradictory, and that’s why I started this thread. I needed to see how other members of the community had approached the issue – or maybe, even discover that I was being stupid and was not understanding something very obvious!!!
I completely agree with your approach to the different controversial "looking-line of sight" issues in your very detailed outline and will use your (clear) rules from now on. I also take notice of your list of situations that will require agreement on seeing and visibility… In fact, I may even produce some kind of written document for my players detailing what happens in each of those situations.
Finally, I do agree that simplicity should be at the core of any HeroQuest game. And, in any case, you may have notice that in Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition, the rules have been streamlined, so even Wizards of the Coast seem to agree on the fact that “simple is better”.
Once again, many, many thanks for your help. It is really appreciated!
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Re: I need some help with "Looking"

Postby The Admiral » Wednesday March 25th, 2020 11:41am

I play it nice and simple. Open the door to a room or corridor and then lay out everything in that room or corridor except traps.


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