Date: 15th October 2004
Game played: Betrayal at House on the Hill ( Avalon Hill ) BGG Id: 10547

This week, Nige wanted to try the new Avalon Hill game, Betrayal At House On The Hill. The game's theme is about exploring a haunted house and fighting the monsters that reside there but it has a number of elements that set it apart from other games of its kind.

First thing to say is that there are lots of bits, a few plastic character pieces and loads of cardboard tokens. Not all are used as the game is actually a variety of different scenarios, which emerges part way through the game. In the first of two phases, players are exploring the house, laying new room tiles and collecting things to help in the remainder of the game. However, certain rooms trigger omens and a die roll to see if the horror within the house is revealed. If the die roll is greater than the number of omens so far revealed, the first phase continues. Otherwise, the game moves into the second phase. The omen and room it was found in determine which one of the 50 different scenarios will be played in phase two. Also, one player is revealed as a traitor and in the second phase he plays on the side of the monsters against all the other players. A scenario book describes to both sides what the scenario is about and what each side's objective is.

In our game, the traitor (Mark G) led a number of vampires, Count Dracula and his bride, trying to turn the remaining players into vampires. The other players basically had to get rid of all the vampires. It didn't take long for Mark G to force us into the basement level of the house but the good guys had discovered a formidable weapon. The bad news was it was in the hands of Mark K and this guy was the most inept adventurer of all time. All he needed to do was get across a chasm to join the rest of us and we could then get on with kicking some vampire butt. He tried, he failed. He tried again, he failed. He tried again, he f..... well you get the idea. Meantime, Dracula had sunk his teeth into my neck and turned me to the side of the bad guys. Nige and Chasm Guy were all that was left to save the world. Tough luck world, we lost.

The game was good fun with lots of atmosphere. There was a small degree of decision-making and tactics but not a lot. However, this isn't meant to be that type of game and it's all about the theme and getting into character. We all thought it pretty good and the large number of scenarios mean that the game should have quite a bit of replay value.

Mark G
Mark K

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