The game is initially an exploration game, with players taking turns in building up the ‘house on the hill’ by placing tile after tile. Players move from room to room looking for helpful items and goodies but sometimes encountering less friendly circumstances; this leads us to the game’s major plot twist, when it is discovered that one of the party members is actually a traitor, a betrayer, who starts the Haunt. This player is then given his own rule book and starts his quest for victory by attempting to kill the other players in all kinds of creative ways determined by the scenario that they’re in. The remaining party members also receive their own rule book and start plotting a way to kill the betrayer.
Rule books for the survivor and traitor. Photo by author.
The base game contains over 50 scenarios in which the betrayer and the remaining players fight to the death, with the expansion providing over another 50 new scenarios to experience. This makes the replayability of Betrayal at the House on the Hill to skyrocket, being easily one of the most replayable games I have come across to this day; the scenario will most likely be different every single time you play it, for a good while, at least. Not knowing what will happen and who the betrayer will be makes the buildup to the Haunt very intriguing and fun but also makes the game quite a strategic one if desired; you can play this game casually with family or friends by just ‘going with the flow’ or players can plan their moves more closely by watching their positioning and taking account of what items can be obtained and how, among other things.
Map view. Photo by author
Like I mentioned in the beginning, one of my favorite things about this boardgame is that even with 6 players, there’s never a dull moment; the gameplay is great. Where some boardgames have turns that players do individually, this game is more of a co-op and everyone can have a say in what is going on at any time, especially after the betrayer is revealed as it turns into even more of a team game. This mechanic helps keep everyone engaged and focused on the task at hand better than I have seen more popular games do it. I definitely think it’s quite an underrated boardgame at this point in time although it’s doing very well considering it came out in 2004. Other noteworthy things are the designs and the overall tidiness of the board and character tiles, making it very easy to understand and track.
Whether a fan of boardgames or not, this might be one you should try! Whether you have 2 friends or 5, it will be just as much fun to explore the house and massacre your friends!
Publisher: Avalon Hill Games
Designer: Bruce Glassco et al.
Release date: 2004
Time of play: 60 min
Player number: 3-6
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