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Subject: Betrayal at House on the Hill.... is it worth it? rss

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Curtis Baumann
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Hey everybody! So my question is pretty simple. Is Betrayal at House on the Hill a good game, and is it worth buying? I have read a lot of great things about the gameplay and how enjoyable it can be to play. I'm just asking because I am pretty interested in getting it, I have just read a lot about poor component quality. I'm curious to know if this wrecks the game overall, or if it is still great and worth purchasing? Any helpful advice would be greatly appreciated !! Thanks team!
 
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Daniel Blumentritt
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The one thing about the component quality is the little clips that are supposed to slide back and forth along the cardboard mats to indicate numerical levels of health, sanity, etc, don't fit and fall off easily. Our group solved it by using bobbypins instead.

The rest of the components are just fine.
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Jerry Martin
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I enjoyed BAHOTH when I first got it and I ran into LOTS of problems with quality. In the end almost everything in the game was replaced by wizards. The rules books where misprinted (extra and missing pages) and all the tiles warped (unplayable). They did take care of me and I have played it probably about 10 times now.

This last weekend some friends chose to play it and we ran into what I see is the biggest issue of the game. Everyone wanders around and does stuff, but there really isn't any goal other than collect things and explore. Eventually someone becomes the bad guy and we have to fight it out in a variety of ways. Sadly, I find it too often works out poorly. I think about the 10 or so games I have played only once or twice was a "good" contest at the end. It seems way too often the finale is already decided as soon as it starts.

Couple examples: ::minor spoilers:: IN one adventure we had to fight a beast in the water. The Haunt happens and literally everything that was needed was already done and we killed the bad guy in the first round. Another time the bad guy needed to get a certain good guy into the chapel, but the game said the good guys ALSO needed to get something to the chapel. The good guy that had the item also happened to be who needed to be seduced into the chapel and mission ends without us having any clue that was a consequence, IN FACT were encouraged to make it happen. This last game we played, had a spider trapping an ally and it gave us things we needed to do. After losing badly after a few rounds the other player told us we needed to attack the spider, but in the list of things we needed to do none of them gave us the option of attacking so we didn't even know we could do it.

I know these are anecdotal and in most cases it seemed like " just bad luck" but since it has happened in most of the games I have played I think i am just done with the game.

Others with a similar feel I would rather play.

Arkham Horror
Dead of Winter
Eldritch Horror
Elder Sign
Shadows over Camelot
A touch of Evil
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Gláucio Reis
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You shouldn't have serious component quality problems if you get the most recent printing. However, no, it's not a good game. The previous poster has already demonstrated why. It's one of those "experience" games where you explore the map and stuff happens to your character, but in the end you shouldn't worry much about who wins, because it's very random. It's all about getting yourself immersed in the theme and enjoying the ride. If you really like this kind of experience, it may be worth buying, but for me it got old very fast.
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Matt Brown
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Okemos
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Syvanis wrote:

Others with a similar feel I would rather play.

Arkham Horror
Dead of Winter
Eldritch Horror
Elder Sign
Shadows over Camelot
A touch of Evil


I would add Mansions of Madness. The newest version requires an app, but it is getting stellar reviews. I watched the Tabletop play of BaHotH, and it honestly felt outdated. A random fest for the sake of it because in the end it could rely on the story aspect. Fortune and Glory is another game that is in a similar vein.
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Dave H
United Kingdom
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The first time you play it will start off quite exciting as players uncover new locations, but the exploration phase can end all too suddenly at which point 1 player becomes the betrayer and is given a whole new set of rules to read. For this alone it's not a very good game if you're playing with kids who can play games with supervision but not the rulebook.
There are 50 scenarios that can occur for the betrayal, but all the ones I've played are very unbalanced, and it's almost a foregone conclusion which side will win.
The clips are poor quality and not tight enough stay in place. We jam bits of paper under the other side of the character card to provide more friction. The figures that come with it are pre painted without much detail, but some of ours are quite distorted but still perfectly usuable.
It's difficult to recommend this game. I can forgive the component quality but not the fact that it is 100% luck.
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Karl
Austria
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If you like the game or not is pretty much dependend on what you expect from it. IMHO the game delivers a fun experience. But it's NOT a strategic game or one that rewards you for careful planning of your moves. Such nailbiting finales DO happen, but it might be just as well that you win almost uncontested (I'd say for me most games balanced ok with both sides having a possibility to win). So play this game for the experience, for the entertainment value and IMHO it will deliver. Otherwise there are better games out there.
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Tomáš Sládek
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YES


But seriously, if you look at this thing at think "Hey, I might like this", then you will like it. Components are meh-tier at best. I've had no actual issues need replacing like others in this thread but the game does feel cheap and tokens instead of monster figures feel off in this day and age and type of game - but thanks to that it is really cheap and more variable compared to the alternative that is Mansions of madness. Component quality does not wreck the game at all. Sure, It'd be more immersive to have dracula as a figure, but it's not that big a deal and for all the different monsters in the game you'd then have to pay $150 or more for the game, so imo tokens ok.

It's less of a game and more of a dicefest theme park ride, though, so make sure you understand that and are in it for the beer and pretzels b-movie horror story and not strategical gameplay. With 50 random scenarios, some are bound to be unbalanced by default, others may become so by how you build out the house or which items you find etc. That's not what this is about. Enter the house and participate in unfolding the story...

 
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Dave Dodson
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The component quality isn't great but it does the job.

The biggest problem with this game is the random imbalances, as has been said. Whenever I've played it I've enjoyed it up until just before the end. It inevitably finishes by leaving everyone with a sour taste in their mouths, win or lose, because the final victory is a mixture of missing rules, confusion and luck.

If your group isn't competitive it's very thematic and good fun. But if anyone cares about winning or losing I'd steer clear.

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WD Yoga
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In my opinion, Betrayal is a narrative game, like Tales of Arabian Nights. You play to listen and experience the story. It might be silly, seemingly chaotic or random etc, but that's the fun of these games!

For a more, how to say, structured horror game, maybe Mansion of Madness, Eldritch Horror etc are more fitting.
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Cage P
Sweden
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Re: Betrayal at House on the Hill.... is it worth
Personally i would call it slow and a bit boring. like previous posts said it feels a bit unbalanced and not much strategy.
ive played it with different people each that time that hadnt played it before with one exeption, so everytime someone became the betrayer there
was alot of confusion and slowdown as the players had to read and understand the rules for the new scenario. I didnt like mansions of madness either, to complicated for the simple gameplay, despite being a huge Lovecraft fan so maybe this type of game is not my thing...
That said maybe if you plan to play it with the same group of people
over time it will be good when it runs smoothly, something I have not experienced. I would not recommend it as a casual game u play with new boardgamers.
I unfortunately bought it before i played it because a friend recommended it very warmly and regret buying it now that i have.
 
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lucia radici
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Hi CurtCurt, in my group we played Betrayal at least 10 times and we had a lot of fun. We have the first edition so the one full of bugs, we had to reprint the manuals and stuff but still.. we love it! Everything is so immersive, you really feel everything as if it's happening to you.
The exploration is fine, after few games you can't wait to roll the omen dice in order to discover who's the traitor. It may destroy long-lasting friendships devildevil
Stories are fun, and cope well with a beer or two on the table.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
I'll always remember when we were shrunk into mice-size and cats wanted to kill us all and we had to flight for our lives in an airplane toy!


it really depends on what type of games your group loves!

 
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Edward B.
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At about $40, this game has delivered one of the highest ratios of dollar to fun that I have ever come across. I don't own it only because it is owned by others in both of the groups I play regularly with. I'd say I've played it about 12-14 times. I've played one of the scenarios three times and enjoyed each one.

If you are looking for a game that is low luck and rewards strategies and analysis, then, no, you won't like this game.

However, if you enjoy telling a good story, variety, a (in my opinion) good theme, and just plain fun, then you will like this game.

I often hear the complaint that nothing happens in the first half of the game - "You just wander around and get stuff and stuff happens." And I do not understand this at all. What happens in any B rated horror movie when a group of people come to the haunted place? They... wander around... and find stuff... and do stuff... until the big bad is revealed. For me, it first perfectly.

My groups always get into character a bit, too, so that makes it more fun.

Now, for the components. I have heard of the tile warping issue, although I haven't seen this myself. The clips used to track attributes are, however, utter crap. If the cardboard was thicker for the character profiles, I have a feeling they would work better. But as they are, useless. The minis are quite good, though.
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Ayana Luna
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Betrayal is a very fun horror game. my gaming group loves it more than i do . i like the game and it has what seems like endless replayability, which i love. the components though... well they arent amazing. but they arent garbage either!the only super annoying thing is the clips for your character stats. they fall off and move around! gaaahhh so annoying. but overall i think its worth it
 
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T. Ips
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Depends alot on you and your group. To me there are extremely few meaningful choices, it's mostly just randomness and some of the scenarios are unbalanced or have issues.... HOWEVER, the people I see enjoying this are the ones that are really into just enjoying the experience of the game. Those who are really good at immersing themselves into it. So if that is you it could very well be a good choice
 
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CurtCurt wrote:
Hey everybody! So my question is pretty simple. Is Betrayal at House on the Hill a good game, and is it worth buying?

That's a highly subjective question. It depends on what you like in gaming.

For quality, the little card sliders can be a problem for some people. No one's ever complained in our group. They seem to be just fine. But if you feel you need better ones, there are some grippy ones that you can order that are mentioned in the forums. The issues people had with tile warping, things missing, etc. seems to have happened to specific print runs a few years back. My copy was 100% fine.

For play value, my gaming group loves it! We haven't gone through all the scenarios yet (and even if we did, there's an expansion coming out in a month) so it's still mysterious what scenario we will end up with. We also don't mind the random nature of room and card draws. It's pretty thematic in my opinion. The characters are in a haunted, unknown house. Who knows what they will find or where they end up.

The main thing that people remark on in my group is that some of the scenarios are really hard (if not impossible) to beat. Again, that's not really a deterrent for us because we mostly like it for the experience.

It's not a game that gets on the table all the time for us. It tends to come out every couple months which is more frequently than I can say for some of our other games.

(edited for clarity)
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John Wilder
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So I think most people here are saying it is not a good game. I agree that is it not a well designed game. The mechanisms aren't that great.

But I really enjoyed the game.
If you are a fan of Tales of the Arabian Nights then I think this is a fun game that is pretty immersive (if you don't have people who are always trying to break the immersion) and I enjoy playing it around Halloween. I compare it to Tales of the Arabian Nights not because the games play in a similar way, but they are both about immersion and story. If you care about winning and losing then it may frustrate you.

If you like Talisman, then I also think this might be a game for you. I say that because in Talisman you often don't have a lot of control, but the game is about "let's see what happens!" This game I feel has a little more control than Talisman, but if you want a game where you can explore and see what happens then this is fun.

I really like Eldritch Horror, but I think this is a simpler game that you can get into more quickly, so if you aren't with a group of hardcore Ameritrash gamers Betrayal might be better than Eldritch or Arkham.

I think that A Touch of Evil has similar themes, and might have a little better design (but still some roll and move in both) but if you want an opportunity to end up having someone on the opposite team then I like this better. I don't think A Touch of Evil is as good if you aren't playing it co-op.



If you like to have a lot of control and be able to plan and strategize a lot, this might be a little frustrating for you. If you want to see a fun story unfold, but are okay with some surprises and some difficulty executing your play optimally, then this game is for you.
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PJ Cunningham
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It's probably my family's favorite game. We like to ham it up, roleplaying style. If something's unclear, we agree on a ruling and move on. When the haunt begins, we're too busy getting into the story to worry about whether it's balanced. Who cares? Life's not fair. Play the hand you're dealt!
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Greg Porter
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I'm going to side with the people who like it. Quality-wise, the only issue I have is that it got stored someplace humid and the tiles warped. Play-wise, it has been fun every time for our group, even on the times where it was a lopsided win one way or the other.

The sheer number of combinations possible for "what happens" means that you will end up with a few being a rout. But while it is virtually inevitable to have the occasional dud, the sheer number of possibilities means that it is rarely the same game twice.

In the end, whether it is going to be enjoyable or not is going to be based on the people you play it with. Ask them to read this thread and get their opinions on whether it is something they want to try.
 
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Tomáš Sládek
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Moon_Flower wrote:
How do you handle it when there are questions about the haunt that will give away what the trader is trying to do? Or have you played all the haunts, that it doesn't even matter and you are just there for the experience? I think a lot of the game depends on reading comprehension and it can be frustrating for a lot of people.


A lot of the time the haunt happens I tend to switch with the would-be traitor simply because they're uncomfortable with reading so many instructions in a foreign language. I don't think I was ever uncertain on what to do. And in the times I didn't have to do this, I don't remember any question that would spoil the scenario. I have however played only about 10 of the scenarios, so maybe I was just lucky to hit those where the rules are clearly written. If I happened across something I wouldn't be sure about and couldn't ask, I'd just go with whatever seemed to make most sense. It's not like this game has a delicate balance which I could break :-D
 
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Georg Wolgast
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My fiancé loves this game, I'm not a fan. She values theme very highly and thinks all the small kinks are forgiven because of this, however I'm not as easily willing to let go of small annoyances.

I'm not bothered by the components, yes the little clips suck, but there's a great app that will handle your character stats for you if you're not bothered by apps for whatever reason.

My big problem is that the game takes too long for a fun, thematic and random romp and often stalls when trying to find the right token from a pool of far too many.

As seen in this thread, it is a very polarizing game and your opinion on it will vary greatly based on personal taste, so make your purchasing decision based on your own opinions, not mine or any others'.
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Daniel Krauklis
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People have already given more nuanced answers, but if you like light, comfortable exploration/adventure games you can learn and play fast - get it. Component quality is perhaps slightly below average by today's standards, but it's rather the playing experience you should worry about, imho. It's not bad, there are just better, similar games out there.
 
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Daniel B
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excellent game!! short, fun and sweet, just what you need between bigger games.
 
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Chris Graves
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My take:

It is fun and I find it is almost a gateway game. Everyone I have taught this to has loved it, and many are non-gamers who couldn't wait to play again. Very thematic and with 50 ending scenarios, the re-playability factor is very high. Keep in mind an expansion is hitting next month that adds 50 more scenarios, more cards, and another floor of the house.

Components: The plastic for the minis is a lower quality, softer plastic and I had one person that was at about a 45 degree angle to the base, but I was able to fix it. Also, the little plastic bits that keep track on the score cards...I literally just bit them, not even very hard, and they are very usable now and don't fall off. Takes a couple minutes, tops.

I would highly recommend this for light gaming purposes!
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