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Subject: House on the Hill - or - Arkham Horror? rss

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Huckleberry Carignan
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Which is better - "Betrayal at House on the Hill" of "Arkham Horror"? Or can they be compared?

And I don't know the mechanics of either? Which is easier to understand?
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David Etherton
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House on the Hill is a heck of a lot easier to pick up, and finishes much more quickly.

Both games can have balance issues depending on luck of the draw.

House on the Hill is out of print and more difficult to obtain than Arkham Horror. The latter has many many expansions and will likely continue to be supported for some time.

-Dave
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Yes, Betrayal is easier and shorter, but Arkham Horror is more thematic, and more interesting (to me, at least). Neither one is a perfect game for me, and both can be fun with the right folks, but you can pick from a light(ish) game that doesn't get very interesting until the second half of the game (Betrayal), or a deeper(ish) game that can run for up to 5 hours that finds itself in a sort of dead zone about halfway through until near the endgame (Arkham).
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The Tak
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As someone who has only played Betrayal and just read about Arkham:

Betrayal:

Pros: Easy rules
high random factor
heavily themed, very 'b-movie' feel to the haunts (some people call that a minus, but I'll go with a plus here)

Cons: Can run overly long/too short with bad rolling.
It's possible that someone can get into a practically un-winnable position (either heroes or traitor).
Average at best component quality.
OOP and the price is steadily trickling upwards.


Arkham:

Pros: Extra-heavy on the theme.
FFG production standards
Solo-playable
Rules appear daunting, but to a seasoned gamer shouldn't be too much to grasp

Cons (short here, since I haven't played it and don't want to pre-judge):
So heavy on the theme that it might be over-kill for someone who doesn't know or care for Cthulhu stuff.
Rules appear daunting. This could be a turn off to the less 'hard core' type.

things to consider:
I've heard that the base game alone can be 'predictable' if you play it and study it enough, but as I haven't played I can't vouch for that. By that same token, I've heard the expansions fix those problems.

Either way, I think you'll have a great game. So pick whichever one feels right for you and your group.

Happy gaming! :)
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Wes
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Arkham Horror is high on my list of favorite games, and Betrayal falls way short of what I hoped it would be. Betrayal has so darn much randomness to it, that I feel players have very little choice in how the game unfolds. Arkham can be a very long experience and the learning curve is STEEP! If you are like most people, you will end up getting more than a half dozen rules dead wrong in your first play, but IMO, it's very worthwhile. The Lovecraft canon is rich and FFG does a tremendous job with flavorful card text and creepy artwork to make each play of AH a real treat. Once you get a team of players with a firm grasp of the rules, the experience is thrilling. I've given Betrayal several plays and it just doesn't do it for me. If you can get both at retail prices, buy Betrayal and ebay it. With the profits you can afford AH and several expansions. The most recent one, Kingsport Horror adds some of the most interesting twists yet, but most are for experienced players.

These are all biased opinions, but that's what you were looking for, right?
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Elijah
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For what it's worth, Betrayal lists 3 being the minimum players required. Arkham can be played solo.

I was trying to decide if I should pickup Arkham because the reviews I've read said the rules can be crazy to wrap your head around. I downloaded the PDF rulebook and read through that. Let me state that while you can get a good idea for a feel of a game based on reading the rulebook, until you have actually setup the game and start playing through it with rulebok in hand, it's not a fair assement of the amount of rulebook reference you'll need to be doing. My personal belief is that NO rulebook should prevent you from playing a game.

On a side note, what I've found is, after getting into games where the rulebooks have more to them, going back to a game that is on the lighter side feels sorta shallow or empty.

I bought it and last night had a chance to set it up and start playing.

I spent 2 hours setting up and running through the gameplay and rules. By the time I had to head to bed, I had the turns down pretty well, referring to the back cover of the rulebook as a guide. I printed out the flowchart (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/file/info/23314) that I will keep handy for tonight when I pick back up where I left off but don't let rules keep you from a game you think you may want to play. I will say this game has TONS of theme!

So far I'm having a blast and the solo aspect sold me on the game. I looked at Betrayal but at the end of the day, Arkham won out.
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TheSquatch wrote:
Arkham can be a very long experience and the learning curve is STEEP!


I agree with your first point (my first game, with 6 players, lasted close to 5 hours), but I have to disagree with the second. Granted, I had 5 experienced players teaching me the game, but it wasn't the sort of game where I lost track of the rules, or struggled with how to put a good plan together. The turns seemed straightforward, and even though the player to my left was in control of the Mythos cards, which he said were the hardest part of the game, they seemed pretty reasonable and easy to understand. Given the sheer amount of rules, I can see that an entire game with newbies could be daunting, but I don't equate that to a steep learning curve.

Maybe it's just a matter of semantics.
 
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Ted Kostek
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There's some good comments here.

Betrayal has a variable board that you create as you explore the house, so there's an element of exploration. Arkham has a fixed map, although there are randomized events.

Betrayal is often compared to B horror movies, but please be aware it's quite dark. IMO, it's darker thank Arkham. In Betrayal, you might have a description of a hanged man in front of you, while in Arkham, you have extra-dimensional mojo.

There's a 2 player Betrayal variant which is pretty reasonable.

In Betrayal, the first part of the game is co-op and everyone is on the same side. At some point, one person goes over to the dark side, and it becomes 1 against everyone. In the base game, Arkham is pure co-op; I've heard expansions change this(?).

Betrayal is faster. My three games have all run around 1.5 hrs, and each time it included rules explanation.

If you end up with Betrayal, get the file here that explains how to organize the bits. This is 100% required; hunting for one specific counter is royal pain and severely bogs down the game.
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John W
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huckleberryfinn wrote:
Which is better - "Betrayal at House on the Hill" of "Arkham Horror"? Or can they be compared?

And I don't know the mechanics of either? Which is easier to understand?

Well, you could make an informed decision of your own, if you read the reviews, or even tried out Betrayal's gameplay (along with previews) at the AH gamesite:
http://www.wizards.com/avalonhill/hoth_demo/hothdemo.asp
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Huckleberry Carignan
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Thank you all for you comments and advice. I read the reviews of the games, but it's always nice to get the opinion when a one-on-one comparison is made.

For myself, I will start the search for House on the Hill search. I'm sad to hear it is out of print. I guess I'll turn to e-bay.

Thanks again!
BGG rocks!
 
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Jason Lindahl
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I have played House on the Hill, Arkham Horror, and Last night on Earth. I would say if you are not ready for Arkham Horror you should consider Last Night on Earth over House on the Hill.

It's cheaper, the scenarios are much more balanced and play tested, and it's being supported with new scenarios.

With House on the Hill be ready for a lot of rule ambiguities where you will have to just come to a group consensus on how to proceed (unless you play with a DM). The number of scenarios is much higher (40 vs. 6 for LNOE), but sometimes the haunt can be reveled too early or the house configuration can just end up wrong for the scenario to be fun. House on the hill has a lag when then haunt is revealed and you have to hunt for all the different pieces you need to set up your scenario, also the betrayer is random, so if that player isn't comfortable reading and understanding his/her half of the end game rules you're in a tough spot to finish the game without revealing that person's goals (this was almost always a problem for my family).


Honestly I like them all.

Arkham Horror is my favorite. It takes some practice to get all the rules right, but if you have one person who understands them you're good to go.

Last Night on Earth is fun, I've played it twice and probably won't buy it because I like AH better, but I would gladly play it anytime. (If you like zombie movies it's a no brainer. Ha ha! er, sorry)

I traded away my House on the Hill mostly because in my group it was too hard for the betrayer to figure out the rules on his/her own.

Lastly, AH is co-op, the other two are usually one person against everyone else. You need to consider if that dynamic would be fun for your group. All three of these games require the players to really roll play for them to be fun. If your group is not into the theme they won't work.
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Verkisto wrote:
Yes, Betrayal is easier and shorter, but Arkham Horror is more thematic, and more interesting (to me, at least). Neither one is a perfect game for me, and both can be fun with the right folks, but you can pick from a light(ish) game that doesn't get very interesting until the second half of the game (Betrayal), or a deeper(ish) game that can run for up to 5 hours that finds itself in a sort of dead zone about halfway through until near the endgame (Arkham).


I agree with all of this.

Betrayal is easy to set up, provided you have all the different types of chits organized in baggies. This helps for the game's second half; otherwise, you add 20+ minutes just for that. It is fun. Simple, mindless fun, but fun nonetheless. I have never had a bad game of it.

Arkham is intense. It does take 30-45 minutes to set up. You need to devote a lot of time to finish it. Is it a good game? I'm not sure, but it is thematically correct and enjoyable if you are a Lovecraft fan (which I am). AH is also very expensive, so try to play it first before you decide to invest in the game.

Hope this helps.
 
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Mike Miller
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Many of my favorite boardgames have a horror theme, so I wanted to love both House on the Hill and Arkham Horror. And I bought them both around the same time. Since then, our group has shown a definite preference for Arkham, as we've played close to 100 games of Arkham and maybe 25 games of Betrayal.

Betrayal is easy to set up, and I really enjoy the first half of the game, the co-op exploration of the house. However, once the traitor is revealed, it is pretty random as to whether the second half of the game will be fun. Sometimes it will be close game, but usually the scenario ends up being to unbalanced in favor of one side of the other. And while setup is easy, searching for specific chits is a pain even though I've got them sorted out alphabetically into a half dozen ziplock bags. The chits themselves are the only disappointing component, they are relatively boring and needed more color and artwork. Overall, there were some serious editing and playtesting issues, mostly fixed by printing the improved version of the scenario booklets.

Arkham has become a chore to set up and put away, but I consider it my absolute favorite board game now. With all the supplements in play, it offers a rich, immersive co-op (or solitaire) game with vast replay value. The quality of the components is impressive, and the new twists introduced by each expansion are carefully tested and balanced with respect to the overall game.
 
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