This Betrayal at House on the Hill review was made after playing the game six times.
What is Betrayal at House on the Hill?
Betrayal at House on the Hill is a horror board game that has players explore a mansion, which changes with each playthrough. Players start out not knowing much about this questionable house, but they will move through its three levels discovering everything from toy monkeys to mysterious creatures biting you in the back!
Betrayal at House on the Hill Rules Overview
Betrayal at House on the Hill consists of a deck of room tiles that players will reveal as they move throughout the mansion. Each room will have some effect that the players will resolve before the next character can explore.
Each character has his or her own attributes: Speed, Might, Sanity and Knowledge. This makes each one play a bit different than the others, but all of those traits can change as the game moves along.
Players will pick up cards throughout the game that will have either immediate or ongoing effects. Omen cards will eventually bring about the Haunt, which is when all of the players get to see who the betrayer is for the first time.
Once the Haunt is triggered, two more rulebooks are introduced: one to the good guys, one to the traitor. The game completely changes at this point and both sides are trying to complete their hidden objectives found in the rulebooks.
BoardGameGeek user tin0men typed up a great PDF that summarizes the Betrayal at House on the Hill rules if you want a bit more info on how to play the game. You can also use this Betrayal at House on the Hill app to make it much easier to track each character’s stats.
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Betrayal at House on the Hill – Pros and Cons
- There are 50 different scenarios in the game! We’ve played Betrayal at House on the Hill six times now and each scenario has a unique feel to it. Not only do the storylines change from game to game, you also have the room tiles randomized, which means that it is pretty much impossible to play the same game twice. It’s a slightly new board game experience each time it hits the table.
- That shift from co-op to semi co-op midway through the game is fresh and fantastic. It feels like you’re starting a new game.
- The designers deserve a lot of credit for creating a smooth yet unpredictable gameplay experience. You can’t just assume that the game is going to go your way after a couple of lucky draws because one card or action can change everything. Without that unpredictability, Betrayal at House on the Hill wouldn’t be nearly as fun as it is.
- This is a horror game, and it’s one of the very best in the genre. It has become known in many gaming circles as the best board game to play during the Halloween season because of the way it captures that horror feel. Even if you aren’t a fan of games that have you read a lot, you will have no problem going through each stage of the Betrayal at House on the Hill story. There’s simply nothing like it.
- Most games take an hour or less yet you get a full-game experience.
- Because the house tiles are randomized, you could end up making the game very easy or very difficult for yourselves through no fault of your own. You might randomly make it tougher to reach a tile you need to reach to win the game, which is definitely frustrating.
- There are quite a few turns where you have very easy decisions to make. For example, you want to have tough choices when it comes to moving around the house, but often it’s very obvious where you should move. These turns aren’t exciting at all.
- Some of the many Betrayal at House on the Hill scenarios simply aren’t as enjoyable as the others. They’re all pretty entertaining, but it is not uncommon to play an epic game where you are in a serious back-and-forth with the traitor, followed by a game where there’s very little interaction.
Betrayal at House on the Hill – Final Thoughts
Betrayal at House on the Hill is an intense horror board game that most people will enjoy thanks in large part to the great theme and the unique experience it offers. It doesn’t have quite as much meat on the bone as a game like Ghost Stories, but it’s still a horror game that I keep around because it is different than all of the other games in my collection. It also happens to be one of the best traitor board games, if you’re interested in that mechanism.
Betrayal at House on the Hill has been out for over a decade now yet is still a favorite among families and gaming groups, and for good reason. It’s considered one of the top horror games around and has been a go-to Halloween game for many groups for years now. It’s not a fully cooperative game, so it’s not going to make it onto the Best Co-op Board Games list, but it’s certainly a game that my group will be coming back to.
Update: A new third edition of the game was released in 2022. All links now point toward that version of the game.
Betrayal at House on the Hill Links
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