horror gaming

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 Alan Smithee in FAMILY HORROR, GAME REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments

COMING SOON: Call of Cthulhu (Video Game 2017)

Call of Cthulhu (Video Game 2017)

Call of Cthulhu was first announced in 2014 with a few screen shots of what would be. Very little else has been heard about the game since then. At the date of its original announcement Focus Home Interactive was working with Frogware studio to create the game. However instead of working with Frogware, Focus Home Interactive is now working with Cyanide Studio to make the game. They both sound excited to be working together on this project.

‘We are happy that Focus entrusted us with the development of a videogame adaptation of the legendary RPG Call of Cthulhu. As long-time fans of the license, working with longtime partner publisher Focus Home Interactive on such an original and exciting project is, once again, a privilege. We hope to offer fans the game they’ve long been waiting for.’
Patrick Pligersdorffer – CEO of Cyanide Studio

‘We are deeply honored to be partnering with Cyanide again. They’ve grown alongside us for the past 10 years, to become today one of the best independent developers in Europe. With titles such as Styx: Master of Shadows and the Blood Bowl series, they’ve proved their creativity and ability to offer strong gaming experiences in original worlds. Cyanide has been wanting to make a Call of Cthulhu adaptation for years. They now hold all the cards to create a game that will please fans of the Cthulhu mythos, as well as players eager for rich and original gaming experiences.’
Cédric Lagarrigue – President of Focus Home Interactive 

We now have new screen shots from Cyanide Studio and Focus Home Interactive along with a website. The website is pretty empty right now, but at least we have one.

callofcthulhu-02

The game is being built in Unreal Engine 4 and will have a semi-open enviroment to play in. Call of Cthulhu is set in a deeply immersive world that uses psychological horror and stealth mechanics to pull you into the experience of the game. As an RPG-Investigation game you are on a mission to find what really happened behind the death of an acclaimed artist and her family on a backwater island. We are promised that we will uncover a disturbing truth as the Great Dreamer, Cthulhu, begins to awaken.

callofcthulhu-01

Stay tuned to House of Tortured Souls. We will keep you up to date with any more announcements from Focus Home Interactive on Call of Cthulhu.

Posted by Alan Smithee in COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, 0 comments
COMING SOON: Friday the 13th: The Game (2016)

COMING SOON: Friday the 13th: The Game (2016)

By Margeaux DeMott

JV Mask

A while ago we heard about a game called Slasher Vol. 1: Summer Camp being made by Gun Media with the help of Tom Savini. This game was in the works to be an asymmetrical multiplayer game for the PC, Xbox one, and PS4. inspired by 80s slasher films where you could play as the killer or one of the camp counselors. The group of counselors consists of six or seven players and they have to try to survive in a don't be a hero type of way. Stealth, avoidance, running like hell (or at least faster than everyone else) are all acceptable ways to keep your blood inside your body and all of your bones in their proper alignment. As the killer, you have one job: kill. Sounds like a game most of us would like to play. Plus, it was touted as a volume 1 game, which meant we could have possibly different killers and settings based on other 80s slashers.

Moving forward to October 13, 2015 where we have a new announcement. Slasher Vol. 1: Summer Camp is now a full-fledged Friday the 13th game. That's right. They got the green light to use Jason, which means that not only do we get to play as a slasher villain, we get to play as fucking JASON VOORHEES in CAMP CRYSTAL LAKE. Oh, and did I mention that they have Kane Hodder to do the motion capture for Jason, and he's coordinating his stunt men so we can have the most epic animations possible. They also have Sean S. Cunningham himself to lend a hand in making the game. Who's doing the soundtrack, you may ask yourself? Well, guys, it's Harry Manfredini. The composer for the original Friday the 13th score, along with countless other movie music works.

Friday the 13th: The Game will have multiplayer and single player. The single player will revolve around scenarios based off of scenes from the franchise. This goes for both Jason and the counselors. There will also be a movie trailer at the end of the matches. Like a game highlights video, which we can share!

You will be able to unlock different Jason character models as well as more camp counselors. There are tiers to the Kickstarter campaign for the game that get you special in-game content. For example, at $65 you get a Kickstarter exclusive Jason character with unique a weapon designed by Tom Savini. Their tier rewards are really well thought out and might make you drool.

Friday the 13th: The Game has an estimated release date of October 2016 when it will be available for the Playstation 4, Xbox one, and PC via Steam. (Am I the only one that hears Steam and hopes it will be open to mods in the future?)

Here's the Kickstarter.

Here's the official website.

Posted by Alan Smithee in HORROR NEWS, 0 comments
GAME REVIEW: Fingerbones (2014)

GAME REVIEW: Fingerbones (2014)

By Margeaux DeMott

fingerbones

Fingerbones is a very odd, indie, psychological horror game. It is less a "game" and more of a "narrative"... think walking simulator. You just wander around the room clicking on everything you can until you find the next piece of the puzzle. You begin the game in the first room with no weapons or knowledge of what you're really supposed to do. Looking around the room you find some scattered notes. They're written by... yourself - or rather - the character that you are playing. Like a sort of found journal. Using the information from the notes you are able to unlock the other rooms in the game. The point of this is to get the rest of the notes in this safe house to remember who your character is. You are not going to like him. If you do like the character please do the world a favor and lock yourself away forever, and unsubscribe from my YouTube channel.

The first note you find throws a thought into your head screaming "This guy is an asshole!" That thought is correct - but hold on it only gets worse. I can not stress enough how completely terrible this guy is. It really hits harder when you finish the game and think about the contents of those notes. No spoilers needed here. because…

The game only takes about thirty minutes to complete in its entirety. There is no save option so make sure that if you exit you do so on purpose and not accidentally. I did that within the first 5 minutes because I forgot that one of the doors is the game exit. Whoops! The music in it is perfect for this creepy lonely shelter. In the game you can hear eerie sounds of a child. They really ratchet up the tension because you are sure that when you turn around or finish reading there will be an angry something ready to get you. Which makes up for the basic graphics. They're so bad. The whole game looks like Minecraft with a sepia filter. The notes look like QR codes. If you are a graphics snob, then you should not bother with this game.

The game was made and produced by David Szymanski. It is currently available on Steam, IndieDB, and Game Jolt for free. If you have thirty minutes to waste and would like to lose a little faith in humanity then go for it. If you don't want to play it, but still want to know the contents of the notes then you can watch me play it here: Fingerbones Let's Play.

3/5 Oldboy fingers

Posted by Alan Smithee in GAME REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments