Betrayal At House On The Hill

A New Edition: ‘Betrayal at House on the Hill’ – Game Review

I recently got to sit down with some friends and play the newest edition of Betrayal at House on the Hill. I’ve been a fan of this game since I first got into tabletop gaming in 2015, and I was curious to see what changes and improvements they made for this new release!

Here’s a look at the promotional trailer!

Betrayal at House on the Hill

If you’re not familiar with previous versions of the game, Betrayal at House on the Hill is a haunted house themed tile placement/hidden role game with essentially two parts of gameplay. The first part of the game, you and the other survivors are cooperatively exploring the house, laying down tiles, and collecting items, omens, or event cards. Every omen card you collect triggers a haunt roll, in which that player will make a roll to see if they trigger the second part of the game: the haunt, and become the traitor.

The original game comes with 52 unique haunt scenarios that are chosen based off what card triggered the haunt roll and what room it was found in. The game easily became one of my favorites because I loved the descriptive writing and having a different creepy story to play each time! Gameplay could be a little clunky sometimes. A common complaint was players having to come up with “house rules” to get around weird hang ups such certain rooms where players would get stuck indefinitely, and not all the haunts made sense or worked well mechanically. Nevertheless, it was still a good group game to pull out on game night and I love the theme.

Betrayal at House on the Hill

What’s New?

This edition of the game comes with 50 haunts and 44 different danger-filled rooms with creepy, eerie, and sometimes gross things waiting for you inside! The haunts are based on classic horror themes like ghosts, vampires, werewolves, cultists, and more. Some of them are brand new haunts, some are revised haunts from the original games, and some are fan-made scenarios that were selected by the designers. The haunts always have been my favorite aspect of the game as it provides for a unique adventure each time you play. Because even if by some rare chance you got a haunt twice, what are the odds you’ll ever get it with the same group of players?

There are also new mechanics added to the game such as a randomly selected reason your group is supposed to be at the house that affects what haunt you possibly roll, and the haunt mechanic itself has been adjusted slightly in what seems to be a way of balancing out when your group triggers the haunt. The new edition also comes with instructions for using the newly revamped mobile app, which isn’t required to use for the game, but strongly encouraged and can offer an atmospheric factor if you choose to use the sound.

But most importantly, if you were a fan of the previous editions, please take solace that someone finally heard our pleas and made better character card stat indicators that actually stay put!

Our Gaming Session

So, six of us sat down at our local game bar and busted out the new edition. I’ll say right off the bat, I love the new art! It still has that aesthetically pleasing horror movie vibe but with a much more modern look and more vibrant colors. Some of the group had played previous editions, some hadn’t; I found the rules to still be simple enough to quickly explain to newcomers and we got right down to exploring rooms.

A huge noticeable change was how streamlined game play is with some of the mechanical changes. A game typically takes 1-2 hours and that is what I had allotted for us to play, and we were done in 45 minutes. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, 45 minutes is a decent amount of time to play a group game and it is better than some games of Betrayal I’ve gotten stuck in that just dragged on for way too long!

We ended up getting the alien haunt, I actually got to be the traitor! My role was as an alien being to inhabit the bodies of the other players and collect specimens for my ship; I didn’t even have to kill anyone. Their goal was to destroy my assistant robots, collect treasure for a Djinn real estate agent, and escape the house before the event tracker ran out.

They succeeded. I clearly did not invest in quality robots.

My Thoughts

I liked the streamlined gameplay. I’d much rather have my players saying “wow that went fast” than “oh my god when will this be over?” The new cards that give the group a randomly selected reason to be at the house not only add a nice thematic detail to the game but make determining what haunt roll you just triggered much easier than the large two-page table they had previously.

I liked the app and I’m glad that’s a tool that players can use, but I personally don’t care for app usage in board games (I like the point of getting away from a screen for a bit) but what I did not like is that some details were not clearly defined in the physical rulebook but were present on the app. That concerns me that you do need the app rather this it just be an optional encouraged addition to gameplay.

This version runs smoother with fewer issues than its predecessors, but some mechanics still can be a bit clunky. For example, during our scenario everyone ended up bottlenecked in the same hallway and one player ended up not having many options of moving or attacking. His turns were mostly spent rolling to pick something up and it didn’t seem like the odds of what he needed to succeed that role were very well balanced.

Final Verdict

Overall impression: I thoroughly enjoyed Betrayal at House on the Hill, and the prior weekend’s game I had played with some other friends. Is it perfect? No. Is it a fun thematic horror game that you and your friends can sit down and enjoy and possibly even laugh about? Absolutely! The story telling is really the gem of this game and even when games haven’t gone so smoothly, I’ve still always had a good time. I think the mechanical changes are definitely going to minimize those less than perfect game sessions, and the creative writing in every aspect of the game is amazing! I mean Djinn AND aliens in the same story?!

Hope you’ll give it a try! You can buy the new edition of Betrayal at House on the Hill now on Amazon.

About Krystal Miller

I live in a house full of horror fans, so after years and years of exposure to all types of different horror movies I’ve come to really enjoy them! My favorite types of films are psychological horror, creature features, and anything based on true crime stories. I’ve also been a convention runner in the Arizona gaming scene since 2016 and love horror themed games!

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