Betrayal at House on the Hill is a very ambitious game. It’s a cooperative experience that becomes competitive in its second half, it’s got a randomly generated tile based game board and it includes over 50 different scenarios. But somehow, it just works.
I’ve played Betrayal countless times and almost every time I’ve come away satisfied. Sure, I’ve had a few playthroughs where room positioning has made objectives particularly difficult (or super easy!) and this can be frustrating - particularly if it’s your first time experiencing Betrayal.
But for the overall experience, it’s worth putting up with these minor complaints and is something i'm willing to accept for the variety of a randomly generated game board.
So, what is Betrayal?
Betrayal at the House on the Hill is an exploration game for 3 – 6 players which sees a youthful group of classic horror protagonists (and a creepy old professor or priest!) traversing a spooky mansion. In the first half of the game players will work together to explore as much of the house as possible whilst collecting items, weapons, uncovering room tiles and levelling up their stats so that they will be prepared for the second half of the game known as ‘The Haunt’.
If a player enters a room featuring a haunt icon they must take a haunt card and then make a haunt roll to determine if this triggers the start of the haunt. As the game progresses it gets more and more difficult to avoid triggering the haunt and inevitably, some unlucky player is going to make a poor dice roll.
Once the sinister second half of the game is triggered, one player will be assigned the betrayer, everyone will be split into teams of good vs evil and each team will be given their own scenario book informing them of what they know and the details of their new win condition. The betrayer will usually want to eliminate their former friends whilst the group of heroes will simply want to escape with their lives.