Hello everyone, it is again that time again on Clash of the Nerds, Table Top Thursdays with your contributor, Me.
This week I will be reviewing a true favorite of my group of friends, Betrayal at House on the Hill, or how I had to describe it to a friend of mine so she would be enthusiastic to play, you must be willing to kill your friends. Another way to describe this game is you are playing Scooby Doo in the genre of the original cartoon show.
The premise is simple, you are one of 6 people who have happened to decide to go and investigate the old supposedly haunted house on the hill; there’s the old man, the jock, the middle aged woman, the college girl, and the young boy and girl. Each of the hexagon boards which represent one of the 6 characters and keeps track of your stats has 2 sides so you can choose which version to play. Each side has slightly different stats and being one character or the other can vary the outcome of the game once the haunt is revealed.
The initial game set up is simple; all 6 of you are in the entrance hall and there are only 3 tiles on the table, the entrance hall and the upstairs and basement landings. How the house is set up is random and different each time you play which is one of the reasons this has such immense replayability. (I think I may have just made that word up but I am going to go with it. I have also had way too much caffeine this morning… ) The person who goes first is the character whose birthdate on their hexagon is closest to the day on which you are playing and thus you go wandering in this house. Honestly wonder who left those children in the hands of this group but hey they have to learn sometime right…
As the rooms are revealed by characters walking around the rooms may have various symbols on them which trigger different things; items, events, and the omens which trigger the haunt roll. Each time an omen is revealed one must roll 6 dice and see if the haunt happens. The dice in this game are 6 sided but the sides are 2 blank, 2 1s, and 2 2s. If you roll less than the number of omens that are in play then the haunt is triggered and the traitor is discovered!
Which omen is found in the room that triggered the haunt determines what story line is being played and why you were lured here. The booklet will tell you who I the traitor and that person then leaves the room to read the traitors instructions while the heroes now read what they need to do to survive. We have had mummies, to vampires, to being transported to another plane of existence to everything in between. One where the little boy is the traitor you are all shrunk and have to try to escape via the toy plane or what have you all the while do not get eaten by his cat.
The game was originally made by Avalon Hill which is the edition I have but there is a remake available that has been made by Wizards of the Coast. The 2nd edition is almost the same as the first but changed a few things that were deemed wrong and added a couple other changes with events and items. This game we have found to be a hit with a group especially if you can get the full complement of 6 people. We played it one New Year ’s Eve and did not even realize we had not touched a drop of alcohol all night we were having so much fun.