Review – Betrayal at House on the Hill
A co-operative story driven game.
Title: Betrayal at House on the Hill
Year Published: 2004
Designer: Bruce Glassco
Publisher: Avalon Hill
Game Time: 60+ Mins
Set-up Time: >3 Mins
Theme: Modern Day Horror
Mechanic: Tile Laying, Role Playing
How to win: Complete your, or your teams goal first.
Betrayal at House on the Hill is a tile game that allows players to build their own haunted house room by room, tile by tile, creating a new thrilling game board every time. The game is designed for three to six people, each of whom plays one of six possible characters.
Secretly, one of the characters betrays the rest of the party, and the innocent members of the party must defeat the traitor in their midst before it’s too late! Betrayal at House on the Hill will appeal to any game player who enjoys a fun, suspenseful, and strategic game.
Each player gets a character card, either randomly or by choice. Then place 4 clips on the card pointing at each starting stat. That stat is the number in Green so it’s easy to see.
The Item, Omen and Event cards are shuffled and put to one side for use during the game.
Put the Basement Landing and Upper Landing tiles on the table. Take the longer Entrance Hall/Foyer/Grand Staircase tile on the table too.
All players put their plastic figure in the Entrance Hall which is where they start their adventure.
Now players look at their character. The player whose characters Birthday is next goes first.
The start player takes his turn exploring the house, then play continues to the left.
On your turn you can do any of the following in any order…
Move – Move a number of spaces equal to your characters speed. If you draw a card for any reason your movement stops.
Discover a Room – If you move into a doorway you discover a room. Find a tile that shows the current floor you’re on and flip it over and place it so the doors connect and move your character in. If there is an icon on the floor of the new tile or rules text then do this now. We’ll look at these icons in a bit.
Use – If you can and want to use an Item or Omen card then go ahead, the rules text on the card will tell you what to do.
Attempt a Die Roll – If you have something that let’s you attempt a dice roll you can do this too. You can attempt any number of dice rolls but you can only attempt each one once.
Attack – You can’t do this right now… (We’ll come back to this later)
When you go into a new room it may have an icon on the floor. The icon matches the back of the deck you need to play the card from so theres no need to memorise them, yay! 🙂
An Event icon means draw an event card. You read it out loud and follow the instructions.
An Item card means you draw an item, read the text out loud and put it in front of you.
The Omen cards are what make the game interesting…
When you draw one you read it out aloud, follow any instructions and place it in front of you, then you need to do something special…
Omen cards let you make a Haunt roll. When you make a Haunt roll you roll 6 dice. The dice have 6 sides of 0,0,1,1,2,2. If the total of these dice is equal to or less than the number of Omen cards players have uncovered as the game progresses, nothing happens, play continues.
But, if the roll is LOWER than the number of Omen cards, the Haunt begins…
AND THIS IS WHERE THINGS GET FUN! 🙂
There is a table that has all the Omen cards across the top and the room across the side. You compare the Omen card with the room it was found in that started the haunt and this will tell you which adventure to follow. It also tells you who the Traitor is.
Now the Traitor takes the “Traitors Tome” book and slinks off to another room to read the story and found out what he needs to do to win.
The Survivors stay around the table and read the story from the “Secrets of Survival” book. This will tell the same tale as the Traitors Tome but from the point of view of the Survivors, it will also tell them how to win.
When all players have read their pieces and sat back down, the game continues. Now players can attack by rolling the dice.
Play starts with the player sitting to the right of the Traitor and continues to the left.
As soon as one of the teams reaches their success of fail goal, the game ends, they read the relevant part from their book and the story ends
I love hidden traitor games. This is a “I may or may not be the traitor I have no idea” game. Before the Haunt begins no one knows who the traitor is going to be so it’s hard to plan for anything, you just explore and go with it.
There’s still plenty to do as Special rooms and Event cards keep the game ticking over until the Haunt begins.
The Haunt is fun. I WANT the haunt to start and cheer every Omen icon revealed. My friends have the opposite reaction and pretty much Boo the appearance of an Omen icon on a tile.
The stories are fun and a much as I want to talk about them I don’t want to spoil it. I’ve heard reports of “Broken” scenarios but I have yet to come across one that wasn’t fun to play.
It’s not outstanding but it is fun. It has a place in my collection until it’s been overplayed or something similar kicks it out.
I give it 5/10