In Which Betrayal Becomes the Name of the Game

Last night we all were a little disorganized and there was some lateness involved so to kill time we played a board game while waiting on the last player. However the game took a while to resolve so instead of trying to shift gears and such we just had another round of the board game. I think fun was had.

It was actually a board game I had recently bought: Betrayal at House on the Hill. Some history: this game was actually released some years ago but troubles in the company led to its removal from store shelves. However, it sold well and people enjoyed it and over the years interest in it has been significant. Finally a second printing of the game was released just eleven days ago. I had heard of this game almost a year ago and attempted many ways of obtaining a copy. Finally I heard of the new edition coming down the road and I decided to bide my time.

And now I own it.

The premise of the game is that you are one of twelve characters (it’s a six player max game, each game piece can be used to represent one of two separate characters) each connected to the others in some way. For unknown reasons they have decided to explore an old house…on a hill. The game is tile based, so each room you enter is randomly drawn meaning the board will never be the same way twice (barring very random coincidences). You must explore the house, revealing rooms and collecting items, and surviving events.

Eventually you will collect Omen cards after each you must make a haunt roll. Should you fail the roll the haunt begins, and that is where the ‘betrayal’ comes in; after the haunt one of the players will become the ‘traitor’. The game comes with two books, one for the survivors and one for the traitor. The traitor must read his own rules in his book, while the survivors read theirs. Then the game really takes off.

Before last night I had played two sessions on this game and decided I liked it quite a bit. Last night we played two more, this time with a full six players.

The exploration phase on the first session lasted a bit too long, mostly due to learning rules and other minor things including really good rolls on the haunt rolls. Finally someone failed and became an invisible psycho. The rest of us were heavily armed and we managed to take him down pretty easy. Fun was had.

The second time I ended up being the traitor, an evil cannibal overlord who was attempting to devour all my friends. My minions managed to kill one of the players, but the rest were pretty much mowed over; I’m still learning monster rules. Even worse I was killed by the person playing as the small boy. It was a dramatic death though, with him trapped in the basement being stalked by me.

Betrayal at House on Haunted Hill is a fun game, and one of the few board games that actually justifies its price. I look forward to using it on nights I have writer’s block and at some point taking it up to Chicago.


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