Betrayal at House on the Hill

General Information:
Manufacturer: Avalon Hill
Author: Bruce Glassco
Graphics: Kate Irwin
Number of Players: 3-6
Age: 10 years plus
Time: about 60 mins.
Year: 2004


 Deutsche Spielerezension

Game Components:
2 Haunt Books - 44 Room Tiles - 1 Entrance Tile (3 rooms) - 6 Plastic Character Figures -
6 Character Cards - 30 Plastic Chips - 8 Dice - 1 Turn/Damage Track - 13 Omen Cards -
22 Item Cards - 45 Event Cards - 291 Tokens - 1 Rulebook

All the players are exploring an old and spooky house. As the players explore the house they continously discover new rooms. As the players advance one of them turns traitor and now the exploration turns into a struggle for survival......

Before the game begins each player chooses a character and takes a character card. As the character cards are two-side each player has two choose one of the two characters. Each of the 4 plastic clips has to point on the 4 green numbers - so 1 number for each trait. The different card types are shuffled seperately and put face down on the table. The entrance tile and the Upper Landing/Basement Landing have to be laid on the table. All other room tiles are mixed together and put facedown next to the cards. This is the room stack. Each player now places his/her plastic character on the Entrance Hall. The game is about to begin.

One player starts and the others go clockwise. In his/her turn a player can do the following things - in any order he/she wants to:

The player can move his/her character up to number of tiles equal to the character's trait Speed. So if the plastic clip points on the 5 a character can move up to 5 tiles.

As part of the movement a player can discover new rooms: Whenever a character enters a door and no room is behind that door the player takes a look on the room stack. The room tiles got floor names on them. The tiles can only be used in that floor or floors - so if the tile has got the name of the floor where the player is he/she takes the tile and turns it over and connects it to the doorway he/she just entered. Each new tile should be built in as logically as possible. If the top tile can not be used in that floor the player discard the tile and looks at the next one. A player discards tiles till he/she finally finds a tile that can be used. The discarded tiles can be used later in the game when the first stack runs out. The player than moves his character on the new tile. If the card does not show a special symbol or a special room he/she can continue to move. But a room can have a raven, a bull's head or a spiral symbol on it. If that is the case a card has to be drawn and the movement ends in that specific room:

Once during a turn a player can use an item or an omen card (most omen cards are items). Most items can be kept after use and can be re-used. Once during a turn a player can give an item to another player in the same room or he/she can drop any number of items he/she wants to - the items may be picked up later - or a player can pick up an item from an item pile.

Each player can make one opponent during his turn (after the haunt has started): The players have to roll a number of dice equal to the current Might of their characters. The opponent does the same. If the player or the opponent rolls a higher result than the other one the player with the lesser result suffers physical damage. The damage points is the difference between the players' rolls. The plastic clips for Might and/or Speed have to be lowered equal to the number of damage points. If one of the plastic clips points on a skull the character is dead and has to be removed from the gameboard. Some cards or characters inflict mental damage - than the plastic clips for Sanity and/or Knowledge have to be lowered. Some event cards may instruct the player to make a dice roll and so use one of his/her traits.

What if the haunt roll was "successful"? If the haunt roll was successful the haunt begins. The player who made the roll takes the "Traitor's Tome" and uses the haunt chart on the first two pages to find out who the traitor is and what the haunt is. The traitor then keeps or gets the book (the haunt revealer is not always the traitor) and leaves the room. The other players now get the book "Secrets of Survival" and become the heroes. Both parties now read the instructions of the specific haunt they have to deal with (there are haunts 1-50 in the books). After reading the haunt both parties know what they have to do to win the game. The heroes may discuss certain strategies to overcome the traitor - the traitor is alone. When both parties are ready the traitor returns and both parties now perform the actions told them by the book in the "Right Now" section. When the haunt has begun the player on the left of the traitor goes first so the traitor goes last. He/She may not only move his/her own character but supporting characters as well (Frankenstein's Monster for example). If one of the characters' plastic clips is moved down to the skull that character dies and is removed from the game. All characters can continue to move and discover new rooms but the traitor gets some new powers: The traitor's characters can ignore all non-damaging room effects. The traitor can choose not to be affected by an event card he/she has drawn and read. All the monsters move and attack after the character of the traitor moved. In some haunts it is not neccessary that the player's own character survives and the supporters may complete their mission without him/her.

The game ends as soon as one side accomplishes it's mission's goals. The heroes always loose if all the heroes die. All the surviving characters of that certain side are the winners of the game.

(Troudi 25/01/05)

Further Information:
- Homepage of Avalon Hill

Troudi says 8 of 10 points:.
Another typical American game? Obviously: A lot of coloured material, dozens of chips and tiles. The most interesting part of the game is of course the exploration of the house. The players never know what might expect them behind the next door and a scary atmosphere is guaranteed. So far so good but what about the game? The game gets really interesting after the haunt has started. Unusual about the game is that both sides know what they have got to do to win the game but that both sides do not know exactly what the have to do to prevent the other side from winning. And sometimes that can be tricky: If all heroes come together to combine their strenghts and e.g. overcome Frankenstein's Monster they have to find out that they did what the traitor wanted them to do. So the heroes have to cooperate to win. What about the traitor? Traditionally - in most games of that kind - the traitor as a mere "puppet master" moving his characters in order to loose. Is there any difference here? Yes there is. Admittedly "BaHotH" is not an easy  game - but normally both sides will have their particular difficulties and both sides have a chance to win the game. But still - in some scenarios it can be of disadvantage for the traitor if more than 2 or 3 heroes take part. The only bad thing about the game is the material: Especially the character cards are of bad quality and the plastic clips seriously damage the cards. Often a lot of material has to be searched for - there simply is too much. All in all a very good game - worth being at least tried out. The first round probably will be a bit frustrating but the second round is just fun. And - most fascinating - each new round will be played in a completely different house!!!!!!!! I recommend the game for all groups of game interest but especially horror freaks and RPGs will enjoy the game.

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