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Betrayal at House on the Hill» Forums » Reviews

Subject: My first "quick review" of BAHOTH rss

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Joe C
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For my first review I decided to take a look at one of my groups favorite games, Betrayal at House on the Hill.

Betrayal is a tile laying / modular board game in which you are part of a group of survivors exploring a house where strange mystical and horrifying things are occurring. At first, there is no story or objective. Your job is just to explore and survive. As you explore the house you will resolve effect cards and collect item cards and omen cards determined by the symbol on tile you flip to represent the room you are exploring. As the game progresses the omen cards you collect will (in addition to altering your stats) have you perform a "haunt roll" which is rolling 6 dice (which only have a blank, one, and two side) and if you roll less than the number of omen cards in play, the real story begins. There are three (yes 3!!) books included in this game: a rulebook, one for the survivors, and one for the traitor. When the haunt begins you will look in the traitors book to find out what story is about to unfold. If there is a traitor (some scenarios have a hidden traitor, one that I know of all players are survivors) that person will read the story and rules to themselves, and the survivors will read the same story from the survivor’s side in the corresponding book with rules for them to follow. Then the game gets very interesting as the rules will change on how to defeat the bad guy, how to escape the house, how to break the ancient curse, etc. The game comes with 50 possible haunt stories.

Components - 10
I give the components in this game a 10. The cardstock is textured which is a huge plus to me that they took the time to make the cards more than just plain standard cards. They are long rectangular shaped cards to afford space for the descriptions written on the cards. Some cards include more than just flavor text and what the card does, but some you will have to roll for the effect to take place. This makes a simple turn more interesting since on your turn prior to "the haunt" you are just moving and exploring a house without reason (again, only before the haunt). The minis are nice plastic and pre-painted. The game also includes TONS of tokens to act as placeholders for lasting effects from events in the house and also for enemy tokens for when the traitor has to take on the role of an evil demon or other similar baddie. The tiles and cardboard pieces I had all warped and bowed, a simple email to WOTC and I was sent an entire pack of all of the cardboard components that do not bow or warp. Hats off to WOTC for amazing customer service!

Theme - 10
The theme and immersion you feel in this game receives an easy 10. I’m not a big fan of scary movies, however, when I play this game I feel like I am the starring role in the best low-budget horror movie of all time. If you enjoy feeling like you are IN the game, and you aren’t turned off by horror games or cheesy scary movies. You will feel as though this game was custom made just for you.

Mechanics - 5
I had to be honest on the mechanics of this game and although prior to the haunt the mechanics are simple enough for anyone who can read English can figure out, the haunt really alters the mechanics in a sometimes very clunky way. Granted, this is (I’m sure) partly due to the fact that there are 50 different possible haunts included with this game. The amount of time spent trying to figure out the haunt rules can really put a hindrance on the climactic moment when the haunt is revealed. It can very easily go from excited by the haunt reveal and story, to disappointed and people exclaiming "how in the heck do we do this."

Replayability - 10
Because this game comes with 50 possible endings (haunts). Easy 10.

Overall grade: 9
This game gets a 9 simply because I don’t know another game like this. I have heard that Level 7 escape has a similar mechanic, however, I have also heard less than great overall reviews of that game. This game overall is fantastic and I would recommend this game to anyone enjoys creepy themes, because if you enjoy horror games, scary stories, etc. you will be hooked just on theme alone. I’m hoping one day a game similar to this is released or that WOTC releases an expansion because believe it or not, we have played almost every single haunt in the book! We will keep playing this game and it will never leave my collection.

Spiralsoap
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Mike Ng
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Hi, just wondering how you can justify a 10 (out of 10 I assume?) on the components without mentioning the terrible sliders used to track character stats?

I like this game a lot too, but those sliders are one of the worst things I've ever seen in a game.
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Joe C
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I agree with you that the sliders "should" fit more snugly on the cards. However, I squeeze mine a little and they work fine, and have never had a problem with someone bumping them or anyone forgetting what stat they were on, etc. It hasn't affected the gameplay enough for me to lower my component score just for the sliders even if they really should have made them a little more snug. Also, I would much rather use these sliders on the cards rather than have to write down my stats, or use a character card with tokens that represent stat numbers.. just slide and done.

Thanks for the comment!

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Mike Ng
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I find my biggest problem with the sliders is how far away the pointer is from the numbers. I don't have a lot of plays, but each time I've found myself at some point looking down and having to guess which number I was at because the slider had shifted enough to make it look like it was in between numbers.

Nice review, hope you do some more.
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Joe C
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Ah, very good point on the distance between the pointer and the stat number. I agree completely that at times the pointer could seem to be between the numbers, point taken. Thanks for the kudos, I look forward to doing more reviews soon!
 
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Aron Liljeskog
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Thank you for the review but I also find it odd you gave the components 10/10. The painted minis do a lot for the game but the sliders are terrible and most of the game is just generic cardboard bits, where is the artwork? This game is all theme yet little of it shine through other than on the minis and the room tiles. Much of reviewing is about personal preferences but 10/10 is perfect, as in cannot be improved, and Betrayal's components are far from perfect. Added to that there has been issues with product quality, as you yourself experienced. I myself had problems with badly printed cards.

All reviews are greatly appriciated, but be stern and save the 10s for the things that truly deserves them!

Just a question, have you played Mansions of Madness? It would be great if you could compare the two games!
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Joe C
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Fallen_Legacy wrote:
Thank you for the review but I also find it odd you gave the components 10/10. The painted minis do a lot for the game but the sliders are terrible and most of the game is just generic cardboard bits, where is the artwork? This game is all theme yet little of it shine through other than on the minis and the room tiles. Much of reviewing is about personal preferences but 10/10 is perfect, as in cannot be improved, and Betrayal's components are far from perfect. Added to that there has been issues with product quality, as you yourself experienced. I myself had problems with badly printed cards.

All reviews are greatly appriciated, but be stern and save the 10s for the things that truly deserves them!

Just a question, have you played Mansions of Madness? It would be great if you could compare the two games!


Good points. If I were to re-review this game I would probably be a bit more conservative with my scoring on components because as you said 10 IS perfect and you're right it's not perfect. I would still score it very high, maybe 8 or even 9 because every component of this game other than the sliders and the warping (which was fixed quickly with all new components sent by WOTC) impresses me and fits the game perfectly. For example, if this game came with extremely detailed hard plastic (prepainted or not) mini's it just wouldnt have worked. I like the "scooby-dooness" of it. The art to me is fantastic for this "type" of game given the theme and stories.

I have played Mansions quite a few times and although there are many many more problems that I have with that game, I love it. I think that the execution was off but that the idea and even some of the design even if just in regards to story/plot is immaculate. I really wish that Mansions was released after more testing, etc. That said, I am very much looking forward to giving Call of the Wild a try.

Now, if they would only make an expansion for betrayal equipped w new stories, characters, and SLIDERS! hehe..
 
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Aron Liljeskog
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Well you do have a point that it is in line with the b-horror movie/Scooby genre.

I think this game could be a great one if they improved the scenarios and rules. I bought this and had a terrible first experience but I love the ideas behind this game...

Well I am hoping to see a review on Call of the Wild if you get to play it

Keeping my fingers crossed that they make 3rd improved edition
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