Have you played Betrayal At House On The Hill?
This game was first introduced to me in 2012. It was actually my first experience with contemporary, modern board games. It was my gateway game, my portal to where I am today. I absolutely adore this game – including the rough, unbalanced edges.
Betrayal At House On The Hill (referred to in my circles as “Betrayal”) is all about exploring a haunted house. Players explore by flipping room tiles as they enter the new rooms of the house. As rooms are explored, players gain items, experience events, and try to survive the various horrors within the haunted halls.
About halfway through, the game defining event happens:
The Haunt is a game mechanic that, depending on how the house was explored (the order of rooms explored, items discovered, and a dice roll), a certain scenario is chosen for the players to complete.
Within Betrayal, there are 50 different scenarios that could haunt the house! Each one presents a unique story which often pits one player, the traitor, against all the rest. Werewolves, mummies, vampires – any horror story you’ve heard could be included, and many more that you haven’t!
Why I Like It (And Don’t)
There are two problems I have with Betrayal At House On The Hill.
The first, is randomness. Specifically, output randomness. The game relies heavily on dice rolls and it can become horribly unbalanced. One character might be much weaker or stronger than the others. If that character becomes the traitor, the game will end very quickly.
The other problem I have with the game is rules complexity. The idea of having 50 scenarios in each game is exciting! But each scenario requires different rules, and the rules are often ambiguous, disorganized, or complex. Becoming the traitor as a new player can become the scariest experience of the entire game!
But I still love Betrayal At House On The Hill. It’s one of my favorite games of all time. Each time I play, I imagine I’m experiencing a B-level horror movie. It might not make sense, the game might end shorter or longer than planned – but I always have a lot of fun in a goofy and spooky way.
As an aside – if you’ve ever seen the movie Cabin In The Woods – it matches very well with this game’s theme. Also, if you are a legacy fan, Betrayal Legacy is out!