Board Game Review – Betrayal at House on the Hill

Betrayal at House on the Hill by Wizards of the Coast is one of the best board game purchases we have ever made.

Gameplay:

In Betrayal, you play as a group of adventurers who are exploring a mysterious house. Players take turns moving around the house discovering rooms and drawing cards for Items, Events, and Omens. Items are useful things, such as a magical tool or a weapon.  Events may cause the player’s stats to be increased or decreased by a lucky (or unlucky) dice roll. Lastly, the Omen cards will force the player to make a haunt roll. An unlucky dice roll will trigger the second stage of the game, the Haunt.

Betrayal gameplay example

When the Haunt begins, the specific Omen that the player drew will trigger a specific horror-themed scenario. (such as a ghostly possession, vampire attack, mad scientist, etc). Based on the specific scenario, one player of the group may turn into a traitor. The traitor will actively work against the other characters. The remaining heroes must work together to survive and meet the criteria to win.  All while the traitor will attempt to kill off the heroes or prevent them from succeeding in their task.

Betrayal scenario books

There are 50 different scenarios in the original game, and +50 more with the expansion. Each time you play the game you will encounter a new horror-themed trope.

Betrayal character tokens

Our Experience:

The original game is very smooth to play, and the written rules for each scenario are easy to understand. You can tell that it was extensively play-tested to make sure everything was clearly explained. I love that each Item, Event, and Omen card has a short little story to set the scene. The creators put a lot of time, effort, and attention into thinking of all of these horror themes and spooky events.

In our experience, the Widows Walk expansion is not as smooth and did not seem as extensively play-tested. The rules for the expansion scenarios are more difficult to understand and there seem to be some minor errors and inconsistencies. However, I like the new room tiles and new Item/Event/Omen cards and love seeing them when they are drawn in the game.

One downside to this game is that the original box does a poor job of keeping the various cards/figurines/tokens/etc organized and accessible. I finally invested in two Broken Token Box organizers (one for House on the Hill, one for Baldur’s Gate). Although the box organizers were an expensive investment for this game, they are worth every penny!

Betrayal game pieces in the broken token box organizers.
Betrayal Box Organizers by Broken Token
Broken Token Box Organizers

The best part:

The best thing about this game is its replay value. With 50 different scenarios in the original, and 100 total with the expansion, you will always be able to find something new in the game. We have had the original game and the expansion for several years now. Even though we play it frequently during game nights, we still have plenty of scenarios left. The basic rules of gameplay stay constant across the scenarios. It is pretty easy to adapt to the changes for the different individual scenarios.

Players and ages:

This cooperative/hybrid game is for 3-6 players. The manufacturer recommends ages 12+. The rules of this game are slightly different for each scenario, this is a pretty accurate age recommendation. Each round of play is 60-80 minutes, depending on how much discussion your group gets into during gameplay.

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