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Subject: House at Betrayal on Hill of the House of the Hill Review rss

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Ben Parker
Australia
Elanora Heights
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A light fun game that is completely broken, a bit spooky and totally fun.

You play your choice of creepy scientist, creepy little girl, jock, the famous Madame Zostra, and others, exploring a haunted mansion. Gameplay is simple, which makes it accessible to non-gamers. Your character moves up to their "speed" number and turns over tiles that match the floor they are on until they uncover a symbol that allows them to draw an Event, an Item or an Omen. The omens are great fun; once enough have been revealed and a haunt roll is failed, the completely bonkers part begins.

I'll spoil nothing about any of the haunts, save to say that they may change the genre of the movie from horror to something else.

THE POSITIVE

The game plays quickly. The tile-flipping exploration is fun. The core gameplay rules are so accessible. The atmosphere is terrific, and if you have a group with a good sense of humour, they will love reading out the cards in a creepy voice. The writing on the cards really shines when read aloud like the narrator of a creepy bedtime story.

THE NEGATIVE

If a new player, or a new gamer is randomly chosen to be the Traitor for the second half, it can be intimidating and you never are sure if they are making rules mistakes, because the rest of you aren't allowed to read the Traitor's tome page.

Its a luck game. Some minor strategy during the haunt perhaps, but there is minimal strategy to be found here. Gamers who like to control their fate at all times, may not enjoy this.

In fact, when one player happens to pick up a bunch of items that give bonuses to their attack and is running around the second half of the game rolling 10 attack dice, while you have picked up only events that did nothing or made you lose sanity, you may feel a bit cheated.

Oh, and in the first edition there's like a million tokens, good luck finding the one you need at any given moment.

FINAL THOUGHTS

For me, the positives, though briefer to explain, far outweigh the negatives. My group happened to really click with this game. The fun of knowing that each time we play there will be a different haunt, up to a certain point. (There are 50, and we've played about 10 times and haven't had the same one twice, just good fortune I suppose). The game shines best after playing a highly strategic game. Stick on some spooky music, and it may just hit the spot for your group too. Just don't expect it not to be completely broken during the haunt, which can run for between 5 minutes and 30 minutes.
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Thomas Shelley
United Kingdom
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Interesting review, we played a full 6 player game last night with 2 new players who picked it up easily but the game was anything but 'quick' (3 hour play time roughly). My experience is that this game can have a really variable play length due to the number of players, at what point the haunt happens, and which haunt number occurs, so make sure you don't have a limited time to play this one. I will agree though that if you get passed some of the clunky rules and just soak in the theme and flavour of this game its great fun with the right group.
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Commander Crud
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I often see complaints that the game is broken. I don't get it. Doesn't seem broken to me at all.
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Clint Smith
United States
Andover
Kansas
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commandercrud wrote:
I often see complaints that the game is broken. I don't get it. Doesn't seem broken to me at all.


Its not broken, it just isn't balanced. A LOT depends on when the haunt happens, typically it is better for the betrayer if it happens before everyone is bristling with items and the house is mostly explored. And the scenarios vary wildly which is really is part of the experience. BaHotH is the essence of a thematic game, it puts theme and story over everything and tries to give you a classic B horror movie vibe.

I absolutely suggest owning it and pulling it out only every once and awhile to keep it feeling fresh. We try to play several games of it every Halloween, toss on some scary music and have a fun ride. Just don't go in expecting a perfectly balanced game because there are so many factors and each Haunt has its own sub rules and goals. I do agree it can be stressful to be the betrayer for new players especially because things like monster movement (minions) work differently from player characters. I don't have a good solution for that except offering to trade characters with them if they are really felling intimidated.
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Nick M
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bygberbrown wrote:
If a new player, or a new gamer is randomly chosen to be the Traitor for the second half, it can be intimidating and you never are sure if they are making rules mistakes, because the rest of you aren't allowed to read the Traitor's tome page.



Oddly enough I was the traitor the very first time I played. I had the same concerns about making a rule mistake, but I was pleasantly surprised. In my opinion the traitors tome was clear enough that I was able to understand and play my role effectively.
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Regards,
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CheebaMonkey wrote:
Oddly enough I was the traitor the very first time I played. I had the same concerns about making a rule mistake, but I was pleasantly surprised. In my opinion the traitors tome was clear enough that I was able to understand and play my role effectively.


I have certainly seen a new player be chosen as the Traitor and have a ball with it, and possibly even win, since many of the scenarios give the Traitor a sizable advantage... but I do expect that it depends greatly on which scenario is drawn. Some Traitor roles will be much less newbie-friendly than others, don't you think?
 
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Sean Huntsman
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Our group tried this game for the first time over the weekend. Unfortunately the person that got selected as the traitor was the person with the least interest in luck based gameplay, and the haunt that got selected dictated all the monster actions in a way that gave him no choice. His lack of enthusiasm was reflected in the way he conducted himself for the remainder of the game, making it an experience that he was just trying to end rather than enjoy. It took the game from being the one that I was most excited to try with the group to one that I'm not sure will ever get played again.
 
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Ben Parker
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stubadubb wrote:
Our group tried this game for the first time over the weekend. Unfortunately the person that got selected as the traitor was the person with the least interest in luck based gameplay, and the haunt that got selected dictated all the monster actions in a way that gave him no choice. His lack of enthusiasm was reflected in the way he conducted himself for the remainder of the game, making it an experience that he was just trying to end rather than enjoy. It took the game from being the one that I was most excited to try with the group to one that I'm not sure will ever get played again.


Just try try again. Our first haunt was terrible, I was the traitor and I died in about two turns. But we tried again and my friends keep requesting to play it. It just fits this fun silly niche for us, and plays in just the right time for my friends.
 
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Jen W.
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bygberbrown wrote:
A light fun game that is completely broken, a bit spooky and totally fun.

THE NEGATIVE

If a new player, or a new gamer is randomly chosen to be the Traitor for the second half, it can be intimidating and you never are sure if they are making rules mistakes, because the rest of you aren't allowed to read the Traitor's tome page.


I absolutely agree. While this has proven to be a great game for introducing non-gamers to the hobby, the unpredictable nature of the game (read: unevenness) can end up leaving a new player overwhelmed and all alone to figure the often poorly-written rules.

My solution to this problem: LIE! devil

Having a player who's already looking overwhelmed or who's just not that into it turn out to be the traitor isn't fair to anyone. Since fun is the ultimate goal, I'll quickly select a different traitor scenario (maybe even a fully cooperative one if I'm with a whole group of new gamers) - and no one's the wiser.




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