Betrayal at House on the Hill Review

Betrayal at House on the Hill Review

Basic Information

betrayal at house on the hill review

Number of Players: 3-6

Age: 12+

Time: 60 minutes

Price: High

Introduction to Betrayal at House on the Hill

Betrayal at House on the Hill is a horror themed board game by Avalon Hill. It is both a cooperative game and a competitive game which pits the players against the traitor who reveals themselves half way through the game. The board changes every time you play and each scenario has a different betrayer with unique abilities and goals. This is a fantastic game for adults who like a game that is a little more complicated and has insane replay value with 52 different haunt scenarios! If you are looking for a game to play this Halloween look no further than Betrayal at House on the Hill.

How to Play Betrayal at House on the Hill

Betrayal at House on the Hill is a little more complicated to play due to variety of haunts that it offers. I highly recommend watching a lets play of the game to get a better idea of the game and its rules.

Each character has 4 traits; speed, might, sanity, and knowledge. They traits are used throughout the game to complete certain tasks. For example, you may need to do and knowledge roll of 6 to open a vault. A character with a knowledge of 4 rolls 4 of the game’s dice and if the sum of those rolled dice is 6 or greater they open the vault. They are also how to measure damage taken. Damage comes in two forms, mental and physical. If you take physical damage, you move your marker down on might or speed. Likewise if you lose mental damage, you lose sanity or knowledge. After haunt, if any of these values falls to the skull, that character is dead and out of the game.  

At the start of each game players start in the entrance hall and explore. They can move up to their speed value (so if their speed is 3 they can move 3 rooms) and keep exploring until they discover a room with an event, omen, or item symbol. They then stop and draw the related card to the symbol. If it’s an omen card, they must also make a haunt roll where they take 6 of the games dice and roll them. If the value of the dice is below the number of omens held by characters (as marked by the haunt tracker) the haunt begins. Players then consult the rule book by checking which omen was found and what room it was found in to see who the betrayer for that game is as well was what scenario they will be completing.

The betrayer must go to a separate room with their betrayers hand book and learn what their new abilities are, what monsters they controls, and what their goal is to win.  The players have the survival book which they read to learn what they need to do in order to escape or kill the betrayer (and his monsters). The betrayer and the survivors don’t know what the other party needs in order to succeed, but you can always make an educated guess.

If the betrayer is using monsters, they have separate rules which they use. For example, a monster cannot explore rooms and when moving. Instead of moving the speed value (eg 4), the betrayer rolls that number of dice and the added number of the dice result is the monsters movement for that round.

Important note: When the haunt happens and the traitor (as a monster) is trapped in the basement, the stairs to the foyer automatically reveal themselves since monsters cannot explore rooms to find the stairs themselves. I have found that this rule is often missed by new players and could lead to bad experiences for the person who is playing the traitor.

Notes on Betrayal at House on the Hill

Betrayal at House on the Hill is one of the first board games that I absolutely fell in love with. Each game brings a new story, new board, and new experiences. I must have played this at minimum 30 times between the time that I bought it 6 years ago to today. I also own the expansion, the Dungeons and Dragons version, and the Legacy addition that was released in 2018. Any adult looking for a fun board game that they can play with their friends over and over, look no further than this beast of a game.

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Gloomhaven Review

gloomhaven review

Basic Information

gloomhaven review

Number of Players: 1-4

Age: 14+

Time: 30 minutes per player (varies between scenarios)

Price: Very High

Introduction to Gloomhaven

Gloomhaven is the board game of this decade with its amazing gameplay and huge campaign. It’s a semi-legacy style game where each scenario impacts the overall game in small ways. You and your team need to work together the defeat monsters and loot treasure in this epic fantasy style board game. Its clearly inspired from the likes of the pathfinder board game and table top RPGs like Dungeons and dragons, but has its own unique style and story. For the avid board game enthusiast, this will be the crowing jewel of any board game collection.

How to Play Gloomhaven

Gloomhaven is quite a bit more complicated than the average board game, for a deeper look at the rules I suggest checking out this YouTube video by the creator and to also check out forums for niche rules that occasionally come up.

As a basic overview, each game is typically one scenario. A scenario is set up by combining the tile pieces together and placing door tokens over the joins. You then place your characters on the board in an pre-set area. The monsters that are in the first room are also placed along with any loot, treasure tiles, traps and so on, but do not place them for any up-opened room. Players then choose their turn using two cards from their hand. They are choosing a top action of one card and a bottom from another. You then announce how early you are going (without saying the actual number!) along with what you plan to do and your team mates will do the same. You want to try and work together, linking up actions and initiative order to try and do the most damage while also staying alive. Those cards you played are then out into the discard section (unless they were a lost card which are placed in a separate pile). When you run out of cards, you can choose to take a long rest, where you lose a turn but get to choose which card to become lost and gain 2 HP, or you can take a short rest, where you lose a card from your discard at random but do not lose a turn. Play continues until the winning conditions are met for each scenario.

Notes on Gloomhaven

Gloomhaven is my favorite game of all time. Its stellar gameplay, great story, and insane replay value (with over 90 scenarios) make it an easy win for me. The high cost point is quite a barrier for some people when looking to purchase the game, but when you compare it to the cost of a movie or even some video games in cost per hour of entertainment, it is great value for money. While not everyone will enjoy the sometimes brutal game play, it is by far one of the best experiences I have had playing a board game.

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