As you stand at the foot of the hill, staring up at the old mansion, you can feel a sense of unease creeping over you. The mansion has always been covered in darkness and mystery, and you’ve heard townspeople whispering about strange events occurring within its walls for years. Many believe that the house is cursed and those who enter its doors will never return.
But despite the rumors, you and a group of bold adventurers have decided to explore the mansion and uncover its secrets once and for all. You have also heard rumors of hidden treasures and ancient artifacts, and that gives you more motivation.
As you make your way up the hill, your heart pounding with excitement and fear, you can’t help but feel doubtful about the journey ahead. Will you find the treasures you seek, or will you uncover something far more sinister than you have ever imagined?
As you step inside the mansion, the door ominously creaking behind you, you can feel the weight of the darkness pressing down on your chest. You realize that you’re in for the adventure of your lifetime, and that the dangers ahead are to be taken seriously.
But at least you are not alone. You have your fellow adventurers by your side, and together, you shall face whatever this mansion has in store for you. But… wait. Why are they all staring at you like that?
Betrayal at House on the Hill is a semi-cooperative board game for three to six players. The game simulates the experience of exploring a haunted mansion, with players taking the roles of different characters who are investigating this mysterious and spooky house.
The game begins with players exploring the mansion, moving from room to room discovering new items and dealing with different events. Each player has their own character set with unique abilities, backstories, and relationships. Each character also has different stats, which are speed, might, sanity, and knowledge.
As players explore the mansion, they will encounter various events and items that can help or hinder their progress. Some rooms may contain traps or monsters, and others may have helpful items or clues to the mystery of the house.
At some point throughout the game, the “haunt” will be triggered, which is when the game switches from cooperative to competitive play. One player will become the “traitor” and will have a secret objective to complete, while the others must work together to stop them and survive the cursed mansion.
The game contains 50 different haunts, each with its own unique story and objective. The haunts range from classic horror scenarios such as a werewolf or vampire attack, to more unusual scenarios, such as a corpse bride or a cursed painting. These haunts are provided in two booklets for the traitor and the survivors.
Betrayal at House on the Hill is a thrilling and suspenseful board game that combines exploration, strategy, teamwork, and storytelling. It’s a great game for fans of horror and mystery, and it’s highly replayable due to the different haunts and scenarios.
How to Play
To set up a game of Betrayal at House on the Hill, you must first set up the mansion. Place the three beginning tiles in the middle of the table with enough space between each other. These tiles represent the three floors of the house; the entrance to the ground floor, the upper landing, and the basement landing.
Give each player a character tile and the matching miniature. Each tile contains two separate characters with different stats and stories. Place a marker on the beginning space of the four stats for each character, and place their miniatures on the entrance space on the ground floor.
Separate the cards by the symbols on their backs to create three decks; Events, Items, and Omens. Shuffle the house tiles and form a face-down deck. Determine a starting player and the adventure begins.
On each turn, players can move around the house, explore the rooms on each floor, use items and special actions, or attack each other. Whenever a player moves through a door without a room, they explore a new room by drawing a tile from the deck matching the floor and placing it in the house.
Most rooms contain a symbol matching the symbols on the back of the cards. After exploring a new room that has a symbol, the player must draw a card from the deck matching the symbol and resolve it.
These cards could be various events, like a creepy vision or an accident in the room. Events could be helpful or harmful, and some require players to roll dice to perform tasks based on their stats. The second type of cards are items, which help the player in different ways. They could be weapons, tools, or weird trinkets.
The mansion also contains omens, from haunted items such as a crystal ball or a terrifying mask, to different companions providing aid to players. Once a player encounters a new omen, they must perform a haunt roll. If the haunt roll is successful, nothing happens and the game continues. But if it fails, the haunt begins!
Players must then refer to The Traitor’s Tome to find out who the traitor is. Depending on the room where the haunt occurred and the omen that triggered it, players are referred to one of the scenarios in the booklet, and the traitor is determined.
The traitor could be chosen in one of three ways; either the scenario states the character to become the traitor, or the traitor is chosen secretly using face-down tokens. Some scenarios don’t have any traitors, meaning that players are all on the same team and must survive the terrors of the mansion to win the game.
After the traitor is revealed, they must leave the room and read The Traitor’s Tome in private, while the other players read The Secrets of Survival and discuss their plans with each other. The scenarios each include a unique story, as well as setup instructions, new rules, win conditions, and special abilities.
After the two sides read the scenario and understand it, the traitor returns to the room and the second phase of the game begins. Now the explorers and the traitor have secret information about each other and follow a goal without the other knowing. Whichever side is able to fulfill their win conditions is the winner of the game.
How’s the Experience
Playing Betrayal at House on the Hill can feel like being part of a horror movie or mystery novel. The game’s immersive atmosphere and unpredictable events can make players feel like they’re really exploring a haunted mansion and uncovering its secrets. Once the game begins, the players are fired up and curious to explore the different parts of the house and find out more and more about the house.
The phase before the haunt is an important one. Players don’t know which of them is going to become the traitor, so they must get ready for it. If you’re going to become the traitor, it’s better to prepare yourself and strengthen your stats and collect items so you can be a match for the other players. If you’re not going to become the traitor, it’s better you do the same so you can survive the evil within the mansion.
One of my favorite moments in the game is the intense feeling of suspense and anticipation after a haunt roll fails. The players are all on the edge of their seats waiting to see who is going to leave the room and come back a different person. Sometimes, the strongest character turns traitor which is met with the lip-biting and forehead-slapping of the other players as they worry about surviving. And sometimes, a weaker character becomes the traitor, only to come back as an entirely different being with whole new and stronger abilities. Sometimes even some monsters and minions are added to the game to help the traitor haunt the explorers.
The scenarios in the game are brief but well executed. With a short plot and a few adjustments to the house, players are fully immersed in the challenge between the explorers and their friend who somehow betrayed them. The different objectives and rules in each scenario are entertaining enough, so that you could play scenarios again knowing the story, but still have a good time. But with 50 different scenarios, you could play Betrayal at House on the Hill 50 times and have a whole new experience each time.
If you enjoy playing games like Betrayal at House on the Hill that involve exploration, adventure missed with a sense of mystery and horror, and a strong narrative, here are some games you should try out today!
Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game is another semi-cooperative board game that we’ve fully discussed here. This game is set in a post-apocalyptic world infested with the walking dead where players take on the roles of survivors trying to live out a harsh winter and a zombie attack in a colony.
Dead of Winter is similar to Betrayal at House on the Hill in its narrative. In Dead of Winter, players are trying to complete a common public objective as well as individual secret objectives. While moving toward these objectives, players are faced with various events and people, and they are placed at a crossroads where they must make a decision, and these decisions can affect the course and outcome of the game drastically.
Also, there is a possibility that one of the players is a hidden betrayer, and has a goal against the other players in the colony. In Dead of Winter, the traitor may choose to reveal themselves whenever they want throughout the game to succeed in their goals. This adds to the suspense of the possibility of a traitor in the colony.
Mansions of Madness is a cooperative board game for one to five players set in the horrifying yet amazing world created by H.P. Lovecraft. The game is set in a haunted mansion, or other locations, and players are investigators who are trying to solve a mystery or stop a supernatural threat to humanity.
The game is unique in that it uses an app to manage the game’s narrative and control the game’s events and story. The app provides players with a map of the mansion, as well as various clues and events that occur throughout the game. The app also controls the actions of the monsters and other supernatural threats to humanity.
Players must work together to explore the mansion, gather clues, and solve puzzles to progress through the game. The game contains several scenarios, each with its own story and objective, such as investigating a murder to stopping an ancient summoning ritual.
Betrayal at House on the Hill is a perfect game for fans of horror and mystery as well as fans of story-driven board games. With its unique gameplay mechanics and unpredictable outcomes, the game offers a very high level of replayability and keeps all players engaged from start to finish. Whomever you’re playing with, Betrayal at House on the Hill is sure to provide hours and hours of entertainment and excitement. So gather your fellow explorers, investigate the haunted mansion, and uncover the secrets that lie within. Who knows what horrors await you in the mansion?