Designer's note on HOMM3 Board Game gameplay

Being a kid Again

I still remember the moment when I was informed that Archon Studio was picked to create a tabletop board game in the world of “Might and Magic.” There was no outburst of joy but rather shock and disbelief. This is, after all, a series of games that I spent hours playing throughout my childhood and early adolescent years. I repeatedly enjoyed playing with my brother, neighbours, and friends. And now, after all those years of playing the computer game, I have been given the incredible task of transforming this unforgettable world into a tabletop experience. Oh, wow!

From the very beginning, I have had this constant passion to make, “Heroes of Might and Magic III: The Board Game,” the best tabletop experience it can possibly be. The conversion of the computer game elements into a board game must reflect the spirit of the original experience. But also, the selection of game mechanisms must work just as well on their own, too. I know! The great challenge and responsibility for me is to ensure that “Heroes III” not only reflects my childhood but also reflects the childhood of a whole host of players.

Testing Might. And Magic.

“Heroes of Might and Magic III: The Board Game” has been in development for a while. We have tested various concepts along the way; some ideas have been rejected while others continue to be developed. After weeks of internal playtesting, we reached the point of creating our first print-and-play prototype to start external testing. We’ve been able to rely on a group of proven playtesters from Chaos Games (a local board game club) who have had a significant share in the creation of two of our previous games, “Wolfenstein: The Board Game” and “Master of the Universe: Fields of Eternia.” We took advantage of an invitation to one of their board game events where we played two games with different groups. The feedback from these playtesters confirmed that we were developing the game in the right direction. We will continue to build on what we already have by listening to our playtesters’ feedback to draw upon specific conclusions. 

You are probably wondering what we already have in mind for “Heroes of Might and Magic III: The Board Game.” The purpose of this post is to unveil some parts of the game’s secrets. 

What can you Expect?

We can reveal that the game is designed for 1- to 4 players: including both a solo campaign mode and a multiple skirmish mode. We will provide different scenarios with various victory conditions, such as: defeating opponents or a certain monster, finding the Grail, getting a certain amount of resources, as well as many others. The adventure map will be represented by hexagonal tiles, each tile divided into 7 fields. An adventure awaits on almost every tile: a battle with neutral creatures, treasure chests, finding artifacts, or discovering a location. The adventure map tiles will include a whole range of famous locations from the original computer game. These tiles will be revealed as the game progresses, emulating the fog of war. Despite the game’s depth, we will make every effort to ensure the game is dynamic and smooth; hence, it is possible for players to perform their turns in the phases.

There will be ‘Resource rounds’ that will provide the resources needed for players to build their cities, and there will be ‘Population rounds’ where players earn points for recruiting units. Of course, a major part of the game is the ability to control iconic heroes such as Catherine Ironfist or Sandro the Necromancer. Each faction will feature 1 Might hero and 1 Magic hero of a player’s choice. The selection of these heroes will determine the player’s strategy for the game. Players will have the opportunity to level up their heroes to acquire new skills. However, we are forced to limit the levels of both heroes to the 7th level.

Prepare for the Battle!

There will be 7 types of units in each city. However, each hero will only be able to control 5 types. Currently, the maximum number of units in a squad is set to 12. Battles will include neutral units and enemy heroes. Combat in battles will take place on a board representing the battlefield. I operatively call this system “quick chess.” Each player can place up to 5 figurines representing a squad of units on their board; the positioning of these figurines is of great importance here! Each battle takes place in the initiative order of the units in play and is quite quick by comparing the attack values and HP of these units. The “flavour” of the battle is ever changing through a whole range of factors: artifacts, hero statistics, spells, war machines, as well as the differences between the levels of the units in play. These elements will allow combat to be quite balanced.

To be Continued…

Of course, there are many more details and elements of the game and we will certainly discuss these in time. We are doing everything we possibly can to make “Heroes of Might and Magic III: The Board Game” as deep and accessible as the digital original, but also to make sure it stands on its own feet as a well-constructed board game. 

We will continue our journey to bring the fabulous land of Antagarich to your tables. Are you coming with us? “Psst, in the tavern, they said it is an opportunity not to be missed!”

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Jakub Olekszyk, Archon's Lead Game Designer