Friday, October 3, 2014

Frights & Dice: Betrayal at House on the Hill

Click HERE to Purchase Betrayal at House on the Hill
Throughout the month of October, I'll be posting recommendations for horror-themed games you can play to get into the spirit of the season. Let's begin with a personal favorite of mine: Betrayal at House on the Hill.

Published by Avalon Hill and designed by Bruce Glassco, Betrayal at House on the Hill is a strategic, semi-cooperative horror game. Players pick one of several characters to explore the titular House on the Hill. As they explore the different rooms, receiving strange omens, encountering eerie events, and discovering useful items. However, things go from bad to worse when one of the players is revealed to be a traitor who wishes to kill the others for one reason or another. Now, the remaining players must band together if they wish to survive their night in the house.

I'll be the first to admit that Betrayal at House on the Hill is not a perfect game by any means. The first phase of the game has the tendency to be a little dull if players are being too cautious, some of the scenarios are a little wonky, and the pieces could be of a better quality.

Luckily, I feel Betrayal's pros greatly outweigh its cons. The game is incredibly replayable due to the tile-based board (meaning the house will look different almost every time you play it) and the 50 different scenarios packaged with the game. You might find yourself running away from a werewolf attempting to eat your face one night, hiding from a fire-breathing dragon the next night, and attempting to escape from an alien dimension the night after that.

Also, the game can be incredibly tense at times. When you scoop up those six dice to make a haunt roll (the thing that can possibly trigger the traitor), knowing you have received about five or six omens, you get a little scared. What if you fail? Which of my friends will be trying to kill me? What will I be fighting? Will I be able to survive? All these questions flash in your mind as you let those dice fly and hear them bounce across the table, keeping you tense until you see the final result.

While Betrayal at House on the Hill could use some fine-tuning in places and the production values could be a little better, I feel it offers a fun experience at the table. Everyone I've introduced it to has loved it and had a blast playing it. If you're looking for a haunted house game that is incredibly replayable, check out Betrayal at House on the Hill.