Uh Oh for Haunt Rolls
Game in Question: Betrayal at the House on the Hill
Created by: Wizards of the Coast
For 3-6 Players with a average 1 hour (on the box) runtime. I have found that this game can last anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour so it really depends on teh group and how early you achieve a “haunt”. The game recommends 12+ on the ages but I would go so far as to recommend players be at least 14 before attempting this game. With a traitor mechanic that results in one person being given a separate mission I feel a more advanced crew would be preferred.
At a Glance: Betrayal is yet another traitor based game with a twist. Anyone could be the traitor. The entire house is working against you and even better, it is haunted. With each character having its own unique reason to be at the house they all have one mission, getting out. The front door is locked and until the house gets its way no one can leave. In this haunted mystery house something has happened, and it your job as the victims to reenact the entire incident. Whatever it may have been.
Contents: 1 Rulebook, 2 Haunt Books (Traitors Tome and Secrets of Survival), 44 Room Tiles, 1 Entrance Hall/Foyer/Grand Staircase Tile, 6 Plastic Explorer Figures, 6 two-sided character cards, 30 plastic clips, 8 dice, 1 Turn/Damage track, 13 omen cards, 22 item cards, 45 event cards, 149 tokens (of a various assortment).
How to Play: The game is played via exploration of the mansions various rooms. Every time your character moves you can continue your move until you draw a card! Woot! Cards! The cards are divided into 3 types:
Omens: The very fuel of the game. Omens cause haunts and haunts cause the entire game to shift. Omens are bad items in the house that trigger the Haunt. That’s right, these determine the traitor and the room you found it in determines the event!
Events: That right, these are events that happen in the house! Some are good, some are bad and some are down right strange. These make the game happen prior to the Haunt! Otherwise exploration wouldn’t be fun!
Items: Stuff you find that will be useful in the future. Be it slaying your allies or saving your own life Items are vital to survival!
So by the time you draw almost any cards it asks you to roll a check of various types (Be it knowledge or sanity or physical or speed) you will get to roll some funny looking dice. They are in fact a six sided die that can roll at the most the number 2. These dice are used for every rolling mechanic in the game from a Haunt roll to an ability check and yes, they have 2 blank sides. These strange dice add an extra level of challenge to any roll in the game, and the amount you have in the ability in question is the amount you roll in the dice!
I might order me a set of these separate from the game, Use them in DND eh?
So now for a traitor mechanics.
Failing a Haunt Roll mean as the traitor is revealed. To fail the Haunt Roll you must roll 6 dice and roll below the total amount of omens on the field. You then use the most recently found omen and the room ti was found in and OH! you find the new rules of the game.
One player is assigned as the traitor and the rest are the Heroes. The Heroes, in msot cases, need to stop whatever the Traitor is trying to do. Meanwhile the traitor, with there super secret mission, have to make their personal goals work.
With separate missions means separate endings So 2 endings per mission with over 50 different scenarios means lots and lots of replays!
Things I enjoy:
- Replay-ability: It is definitely a game that encourages the players to come back hungry for more. With the chance of something new every game the crew wanted to play and play and.. play. If it wasn’t for this we probably wouldn’t have noticed the issues of this game.
- Traitor Mechanic: An unknown traitor is always fun. We spend the entire game gearing up for the inevitable and any one of us could be the big bad guy.
- Balanced: The game felt very balanced character wise. No character stood above any other character. I appreciate the balance in all of this!
- Repetition: The game has a tendency of repeats, which tends to happen with such a limited amount of material. My group tended to fall into the same Haunts over and over along with the predictable events. This caused a lot of the crew to become “Burned out”.
- The game is mean: One bad card at the beginning can ruin the game. This game knows no forgiveness and with that gets a bad line. With no chance at redemption it lessens the draw to play.
- Repetition: Did I mention repetition? Over and over and over its like some endless cycle of gaming with no clear sign of stopping (guess that’s why its endless?)
- Storage: In the box there is no way to keep the tokens separated. Although I invested in plastic bags to solve this with a game that relies so heavily on game tokens it is strange that there is no method to keep them separate.
So this game is definitely a keeper for a long time. I absolutely love this game and its ability. When discussing with the crew the general consensus for this game was 6/10 Pints. Although this game does in fact have its merits its repetitive nature ruins its score. Expansions or even more variation in the event deck would have changed this but as core it has a very obvious track that the experienced player has learned to see.
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