When you change the rules, it's important that all the players reach an agreement about how the rules work before you begin playing your customized LEGO boardgame. Be sure to discuss your desired changes as a group, so everyone can ask questions. The goal is clarity and consent! Rules shouldn't need to be changed or invented in the middle of the game, because it gets confusing and can cause arguments.
We invented several new game pieces and features that required group discussion before we could begin rolling the first dice. Some were devised as a way to link the Minotaurus labyrinth to our newly expanded Heroica gameboard, without requiring any significant alteration of the labyrinth itself. We then used the red, yellow, blue and white starting positions of the labyrinth as our new starting positions for each game or mission. We raced each other to the center of the labyrinth not to win the game, but to travel to the other gameboard!
To win in the standard Minotaurus game, the players race to a corresponding red, yellow, blue or white landing space around the temple at the center of the gameboard. Basically, whoever reaches the temple first is the winner. In Heroica, whoever completes the mission first just wins the mission, and everyone keeps playing the game. This way players accumulate items in their "pack" for use on later missions.
So where the temple is normally located in the Minotaurus' labyrinth, we placed the Traveler's Brain. Forget the temple, any player who reaches the center gets instantly and automatically transported outside the maze by the telekinetic power of the Traveler's Brain. This links the Minotaurus gameboard to the Heroica gameboard. Of course, everyone wants to reach the brain and the next gameboard as quickly as they can, because we agreed that the mission objective will be somewhere on the expanded Heroica gameboard. But we had to agree where players would land, because if we left it up to each player to decide, someone is bound to short-cut straight to the mission objective...
We also created ways for our heroes to get way-laid, in a bid to slow down some players and allow others to catch up. For this, we invented Boiling Alive, placing the witch's cauldron (from Dracula's Castle) somewhere on the Heroica gameboard. A player can get trapped in the cauldron for six whole turns! Players do have a chance to escape: if the dice rolls to a black tile, the player goes free! But it is surprisingly difficult to roll a black tile, when you want one. And with rules like this, we figured no player would knowingly approach the space where this cauldron was located. Would you?! And so we agreed the Traveler's Brain was going to transport Heroes directly into the cauldron, forcing each and every player to undergo the same inconvenience at some point in the game.
With the invention of our Bouncing Blooms, this risk becomes magnified. When a player lands on the bloom, he or she may choose to send any opponent back to the starting position. You'll remember that the starting position, in our game, was inside the Minotaurus labyrinth? So anyone forced back to the beginning races to the Traveler's Brain and sits in the cauldron Boiling Alive for up to six turns, all over again! Talk about a setback. We found this was very effective to discourage some players from getting carried away picking on other players. Because if you upset someone too much, they may make it their mission to bounce you back!
But this is also a heck of a lot of power to leave lying around the gameboard. So we reasoned that each bloom should only be used once. A Bouncing Bloom that's been jumped on must wilt. (Perhaps by removing it from the gameboard or placing a brick on top of it, or something similar. You could remove the yellow bloom, and leave the green stem, for example.) I have a whole bunch of these pieces, so there really was ample opportunity for each player to exploit these perilous petals!
I have a few of these snake pieces from an old Pharoah's Quest set. We placed them like "Magic Doors", blocking the path and impossible to jump over. A player must correctly spell a word to pass our Serpent Sphynx. The word to spell must be selected by an opponent player, but it must also be printed in a book, legibly written on a piece of paper (preferably machine printed), or displayed on a screen (like a smartphone) to be an appropriate word. Because the player being tested must have an opportunity to confirm the correct spelling of the word after each attempt — no dirty tricks or dishonesty allowed! Of course, a new word may be selected each time. And it may be best to have three or more players in the game, so the opponents can alternate playing the riddling role of the Serpent Sphynx...
Another way to get knocked back to the starting position is the Minotaur. Players have the option to move the Minotaur eight spaces each time they roll the dice to a black tile. And if a player's Hero figure lies in the path of the Minotaur during his movement, that player goes back to the starting position, and the Minotaur returns to the temple. Of course, both the starting position and the temple were in the labyrinth, for our game. And we thought we might enjoy bringing the Minotaur into our Heroica gameboard, too... So we agreed it was possible for the Minotaur to use the Traveler's Brain and any teleporting Magic Space Pads to skip and jump around, just as the players do!
Moving the Minotaur is another way for players to pick on each other. And it may not be fair if someone gets stalked by the Minotaur all the time. So we invented the Scape-Frog! A player can use the Scape-Frog to lure monsters away. Once your Hero figure is within three spaces of a monster — including werewolves, spiders, trolls, and Minotaurs — the player can deploy a Scape-Frog, moving the frog instead of their Hero figure according to the roll of the dice. The monster must follow the frog at a distance of two spaces behind, and in the case of the Minotaur, it cannot be moved in the usual way until the effect of the Scape-Frog expires. And we agreed it would expire after three turns (though you could make it longer), then it either returns to a space on the gameboard, gets retired to the box, or it could go to the store where players could buy it for three gold pieces. If a player wants to buy an item like the frog from another player, this can be negotiated at any time, preferably during his or her turn.
The standard Heroica game includes a "Strength Potion" that makes a player temporarily invincible to monsters. A player uses this potion to defeat a monster without rolling the dice, but it can only be used against one monster at a time. If you're facing two or more adjacent monsters, the potion only helps you to defeat one of them. So we added the Magic Mushroom. If you have the mushroom and use it, it will make you invincible to monsters for three whole turns! The Minotaur can't knock you back, and you can automatically defeat any monster you encounter, until the mushroom's effect wears off.
We also invented entirely new monsters. I already mentioned our "extra" werewolves. We just wanted to have more werewolves on the board, but didn't have any more of the brown werewolf Heroica figures. So we used all twelve Minotaurus player figures, and dubbed them werewolves. They functioned the same, with a standard strength of two.
Our newly invented monsters, however, have a strength of four! One of them is the Shooting Spider. Unlike the standard spiders, it is white during the day, it glows green in the dark, and it has an alien ray gun! (This spider piece literally glows in the dark, by the way. Part of what makes it so special.) Since each player only has four health points to speak of, being defeated in battle by a monster with a strength of four is serious business. Defeat will mean sitting in one place for as many turns as it takes to regain full health, a delay many players are unwilling to risk.
Rolling Rubies are a great way to recover from any setback. A player who has one or more of these miniature red gems has the power to make an additional roll of the dice. In a hurry? Feeling impatient? Roll now, without waiting for your next turn! Each ruby can only be used once, before it goes back to the gameboard, box or store. And we never agreed to forbid a player from using multiple rubies in a single turn, so.... Look out! I have a handful of these things, thanks to the LEGO wall at our local LEGO Store. But if you don't have as many as I do, players may insist that a used gem gets returned to the gameboard so everyone can compete to possess it, over and over again. And if you don't have any pieces like this at all (a very real possibility), just dig through your LEGO bin to find something else to use!
("Make it your own", remember?)
Anyone who owns more than one LEGO set knows some unusual pieces are included in almost every package. And many other plastic brick toy sets are compatible with LEGO bricks, too. MegaBloks and Kre-O, for example! (I own one or two Transformer sets from Kre-O... I really like Soundwave.) There are also lots of other "LEGO-clones" you may never have heard of: AreaLite, BrickArms, CitizenBrick, OYO, Oxford, and more. So imagine the possibilities!
... Lastly, we invented some unusual new weapons for our game. Would you like to know what special abilities these weapons bestow on our Heroes?