Betrayal at House on the Hill – Game of the Month Review

Betrayal at House on the Hill
In Search of a Good, Scary Game  
Betrayal at House on the Hill is a really cool game of exploration and traitorous mayhem set in a spooky haunted house.  From my relatively limited experience with “horror” games, I find it to be probably the best of this genre to strike a balance between complexity, fun, theme, and atmosphere.  I’ll take a few minutes here to discuss the game’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as the Hypermind BoardGamers experience with it as Game of the Month!    

Components and Setup 

click here for full rules)

First off, before you play your first game, download the FAQ document and the revised Traitor’s Tome and Secrets of Survival booklets.  The biggest problems with this game come from poorly written rules and some occasional imbalance issues.  These documents clean up a lot of the mess and make the game far easier to understand.  Now back to the game itself…
At the start of the game, the players explore the house by moving their character and responding to the cards they draw.  Each round, characters can move through one room per point of speed they have.  As these explorers move through a doorway that doesn’t yet connect to a revealed room, a new room tile is flipped over and placed there.  If the top tile does not correspond to the floor where the explorer is, it is discarded (for now) and the player continues to draw tiles until one can be placed on that level.  If the new room has multiple doors, the player may choose how to orient the tile as long as it connects to the door they are coming through.     

Betrayal at House on the Hill a handful of times before we made it the Game of the Month!, and we then played it another 5 times throughout the month of October.  In our first game together, we totally misinterpreted the Haunt description (as well as having a few basic rules questions), making it completely unbalanced and not much fun at all, and I was feeling a little worried about having to play it four more times.  In the meantime, we found the FAQ and eventually added the revised booklets as well, all of which dramatically clarified the rules.

Betrayal at House on the Hill and gave it an average rating of 7.7.

Rules: As written in the original documents, they are vague and confusing.  Once clarified, the game is rather simple and easy to play or teach.
Downtime: Turns are quick, and much of the game is cooperative which means that players are often involved with each others’ turns.
Length: Our games averaged a length of about 68 minutes.  That seems just right to me. 
Player Interaction: Significant.  Players have ways both to aid and attack each other.
Weight:  Medium
GamerChris’ Rating: Innovative, Cooperative play – Mediocre but Fixable Rules + Craploads of Atmosphere = 8.


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