GAME REVIEW: Betrayal at House on the Hill

Betrayal at House on the Hill

By Margeaux "Nrrdeh" DeMott

Betrayal at the house on the hill

Gameplay

Betrayal at House on the Hill is a board game by Avalon Hill Games. To play Betrayal at House on the Hill you need a minimum of 3 players and a maximum of 6 players. Betrayal at House on the Hill is for ages 12+ and takes about an hour to finish a game. Each player gets a character tile that has two different sides with a character on each side that has its own stats.  Once the characters are chosen, you place plastic clips on the character’s base stat and then place your corresponding character piece in the entrance hall of the house. We had some problems with the plastic clips and had to place paper slips behind them to keep them in place.

The board itself is made up as you go with room tiles that you draw as you move through doors to discover new parts of the three story house. When you move from room to room, you will often have to draw one of the following three cards: item card, event card, or omen card. Once the room is discovered and the card is drawn, anyone else who goes into that room cannot draw that card. Item cards are self-explanatory - you gain an item. Event cards cause something to happen, such as an effect or forced dice rolls. Omen cards are much like item cards because you acquire a usable tool or gain a companion who can raise your stats. However, omen cards are the biggest deal because they force a haunt roll at the end of your turn.

Betrayal at the house on the hill

Betrayal at the House on the Hill character miniatures.

Haunt rolls can trigger the haunt or allow the players to play together peacefully. In order to start the haunt, the person who draws the omen card must roll a number less than the amount of drawn omen cards. When the haunt begins, one player becomes the traitor and the rest become the heroes. At this time the traitor will leave the room with the rule book for the traitors called the Traitors Tome, and the heroes will stay in the room and read from their rule book called Secrets of Survival. The haunt is chosen by the room and omen card combination of the player who made the roll that started the haunt. After reading the scenario, the traitor and the heroes create plans on how to destroy each other.  In total there are 50 different haunt scenarios to play. The only time players can start to die is after the haunt begins. Death is achieved by losing all your stats in a skill. Your skills are speed, might, sanity, and knowledge. You can be attacked mentally or physically and you can divide the damage inside the appropriate category.

My Thoughts

Betrayal at the house on the hill

Betrayal at the House on the Hill character cards.

I absolutely love the design for Betrayal at House on the Hill. Visually it is pretty spooky. The box has a wonderfully creepy blue/green and black color palate with yellow accents. It looks very Lovecraftian to me. The cards have different symbols representing them with a raven for the omen card, a bull’s skull as the item card, and a spiral for the event cards. To me they are reminiscent of Poe, but that might be influenced by the omen card. The designs on the character cards are excellent. They all look pretty disheveled and a bit nervous, e.g., they really they look as if they could be smack dab in the middle of a Tales from the Crypt comic. Unfortunate. The miniatures that represent the characters are okay. Personally I would have preferred one color models so I could just paint them myself. The little girl model is creepy as hell, though. She’s just a little girl smiling from ear to ear with a teddy bear that has a x shaped patch of what I believe is bandage tape. Why she is happy that she is stuck in a scary abandoned house on a hill with a bunch of (probable) strangers is beyond me. Not once was the person who played her picked as the traitor so maybe she just waits to see who is left over to feast on or do whatever it is creepy children do to their victims. One of ours, the blue lady, had a hard lean forward and looked as if she was Michael Jackson. This is because she’s just a plastic model that was packed in an unfortunate manner. All attempts to correct her posture have been futile.

Betrayal at the house on the hill

Betrayal at the House on the Hill cards.

Playing Betrayal at House on the Hill was so much fun that as soon as the first game was over we immediately played it again. The first round was spent with myself exploring the entire third floor by myself and everyone else remaining on the ground floor until after the haunt started. My strategy was to go to an area to open as many rooms and hopefully gain as many skill upgrades through drawing cards as possible. That didn’t work out for me, and I actually ended up losing skills. I wanted to prolong the time before the haunt for as long as possible so every time someone had to make a haunt roll I was on the edge of my seat. Eventually it happened, and we played the haunt scenario known as Comes the Hero. I will not reveal anything about the haunt because part of the fun of the game is not knowing what you will be doing until you are doing it.

Long story short, the heroes lost. I was on the hero side and losing sucked. Losing sucks normally, but I thought we could have pulled our plan off, but we had no idea what the traitor had to do to win and it turned out that we were in the perfect place for him to achieve his win. The second haunt we played was called The Feast. I was on the hero side again, and we lost. Again. You have to be very well organized to win against the traitors that I played against.

Betrayal at the house on the hill

Betrayal at House on the Hill: Widow's Walk expansion.

GUYS! There will be an expansion called Widow's Walk that is coming out this fall! I can't wait to get my hands on that one too.

Posted by Margeaux DeMott

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