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Subject: Betrayal of Consumers on the Hill rss

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Jack Bennett
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Lets say you buy a DVD player and surround sound system. You bring it all home, you take a half hour to get it all out of the box and then you go to read the instructions on how to get the thing working. The instructions say to connect the wires into the back, but doesn't say which wires, or where to connect them. The manual says one wire runs from the DVD player to the TV, but doesn't say which hole. And what if your TV doesn't have a video input? What if you need to hook your VCR up to the surround sound? There doesn't seem to be anything in the manual about that.

What do you do?

you call tech support.

but what do you do when you buy a game with the same problem. and there is no tech support?

for those of you who havn't played Betrayal at House on the Hill, let me tell you one inportant thing about the game.

in this game you will spend your time figuring out what the hell you're doing, and trying to make it past every hole, loophole, and unexplained occurance/card/rule/item/token/etc in the game.

If i had bought that DVD player (and didn't already know how to set those things up) i'd bring the damn thing back and get a refund. or, i'd get someone on the phone to run me through every question i had. I payed for it, i spent my money on it, so i don't deserve an instruction manual that i need a rosetta stone to figure out.

And so..i've been betrayed. The traitor? the people/persons who wrote such a horrible manual and even more so the people who playtested this game and called it done.

Right Now
Immediatly lose 35 dollars. Set game on highest shelf.

What You Know About The Bad Guys
The traitor gains 35 dollars. The traitor is also not legally required to listen to anything you have to say. They could go out of their way to reprint, and make available for download, new and updated and playtested rules.

You Win When...
...either the traitor or a Geek posts rules that make sense and actually cover the events of the game. Or you sell the game for 35+ dollars.
 
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Chester
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I think you'll find a crowd of people here that agree with you about the quality of the manual, imbalance of various scenarios and evident paucity of play-testing. But I think your comparison to a useless home entertainment system is a bit extreme. Maybe its more like if you can't get picture-in-a-picture to work. You can still USE the system, just not all the features as you'd like to.

In our group, we've played maybe 5 times, 5 different scenarios. I think twice we had no problem at all. The rest of the times, we had mild to moderate problems....but they were EASILY RECTIFIED by on-the-fly rules negotiation and some impromptu house rules. I don't find that solution particularly satisfying, and I absolutely concur that its the responsibility of the game producer to put out a decent product. (Especially at that price and with those marginal components).

But its not fair to paint the picture that the game is unplayable. If you game group is very uptight about who wins and the letter of the rulebook, it will be a nightmare. If you're playing as a more social event and open to some negotiation during play, you can muddle your way through most of the scenarions (as I gather) and will find a good proportion that require no adjustments.

Still, the warning to the buyer stands. This is not a polished product.
 
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Brett Pierotte
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To be fair...
Avalon Hill website does have a FAQ for Betrayal at House on the Hill that answers most rules questions and clarifies/corrects the scenarios.
 
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Jack Bennett
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i do agree with you. my comparison was there merely to explain that in any other situation where you buy a product, you expect it to be explained it have it something that you can understand. and with many other products, if you can't figure it out, you can always call tech support or a Games Workshop store.

i don't think the game is unplayable, i agree that with a good croud it can be a lot of fun. i've played it 3 times, and had a good time every time. that's the most important part of the game: having a good time. the most important part of any game actually.

just like you can still USE the DVD player, but maybe you're not getting sound out of every speaker, and the VCR still uses the TV speakers. you can still watch your movies, and the movies are still good, but it's still a pain, and it still shouldn't be a problem.

we had to come up with house rules and stuff as well, but this is how i view a game: any game that NEEDS house rules to be fun or to be understood, is NOT DONE. this game, is exactly that: not done.

i believe that it's the producers job to create a rulebook that is easy to understand and doesn't leave as many holes and open interpretations as this one.

do Geeks believe that a new rule book and Haunt books should be released for download? even the available FAQ doesn't help that much. do we, as consumers, deserve a .pdf file that makes this game less of a hassle? what do you think?
 
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Jack Bennett
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the FAQ
i printed out, read, and held the FAQ in my hand during my last two games. every question that came up was not answered. many of these i've posted on the game's site, but as of yet havn't had anyone give an opinion on the rules. the FAQ does clear up a lot, that's true, but it's not enough, and it's not everything.
 
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Inside Rulebook Cover
While I agree with you to a certain extent (more effort could have been put into the rulebooks) -- there is a special, all encompasing rule inside the front page of the book "What If There Isn't A Rule For That?"

"Don't let that slow you down. In such cases, come to an agreement as a group for what makes the most sense and go with it. (If that doesn't work, flip a coin to decide.) Then continue your experience."
 
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Jack Bennett
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Quote:
While I agree with you to a certain extent (more effort could have been put into the rulebooks) -- there is a special, all encompasing rule inside the front page of the book "What If There Isn't A Rule For That?"

"Don't let that slow you down. In such cases, come to an agreement as a group for what makes the most sense and go with it. (If that doesn't work, flip a coin to decide.) Then continue your experience."


this, in my eyes, doesn't help their case. in fact it only hurts it. what this means to me is that even during the time of writing, printing, and publication, they knew they had a horrid rule book. being told how to handle the flaws of bad rules doesn't make up for the bad rules.

like i said, for me a perfectly playtested game is one that works, is understood, and is balanced right out of the box. no house rules NEEDED. some house rules make games more fun, of course, but they should never be NEEDED. the designers make the games and figure out the rules. that's not our job, that's what we pay them for.
 
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Anson Li
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I agree
Hey I agree with you Jack. I feel for you. I've had a similar experience with OTHER games that I will not mention.
 
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Brian Schlichting
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Quote:
"What If There Isn't A Rule For That?"

"Don't let that slow you down. In such cases, come to an agreement as a group for what makes the most sense and go with it. (If that doesn't work, flip a coin to decide.) Then continue your experience."


That's just pathetic. Some Hasbro bean counter must have gotten involved and said, "You're not done YET? Well, we have to publish this thing now. I have the "perfect" solution. We'll just put this disclaimer in the rulebook. That should cover our asses."
 
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Robert Wesley
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Quote:
Hey I agree with you Jack. I feel for you. I've had a similar experience with OTHER games that I will not mention.

I agree with you too. It was apparent to ME months ago and with some other games such as Axis & Allies Revised, RISK LotR Expansion, RISK Godstorm, D-Day, and some others, that THIS wasn't an 'oversight' but more like the trend about THEM-'HasBORG' and 'WotC' or any others of their 'ilk'! I already VOTED with my wallet by NOT buying any of them and they can ignore ME all they want, as well as some people. You are allowed and permitted to WASTE however much money you want on these...and I won't. If you want to send them a message, then SEND it back and DEMAND your money on those, otherwise...suck it up! They'll be glad to keep your money and keep making CRAP of which SOME will always buy no matter what, but hey, it's a FREE country and they did NOT hold a GUN to your head. Maybe it's TIME that YOU hold them to better standards, or expect...more of THIS
cry
 
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Chris Keller
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Avalon Hill ... what did you expect?
Avalon Hill has a long history of poor rules & poor
play-testing, so I can not blame it on Hasbro, though
they hold the ultimate responsibility.
 
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Karl
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I completely agree that this game is broken as it comes out of the box. There are just too many ambiguities and stuff that is clearly missing.
HOWEVER i have no idea WHICH erratas you are all using. Our gaming group played the game about 8 times so far and had only one single rule discussion (*) after appling the fixes. I still think this is extremely bad philosopy to require patches for any game especially a board game, but at least they work. So I really don't get all the bad press BotH is getting. For me this game is currently the one I enjoy playing most.

(*) this discussion was about "what is the shortest path". While this question seems trivial it gets worse once you allow paths through previously unexplored parts of the house which might be closer or not or if you start arguing if shortest path is only the shortest 'save' path (what if the shortest path could/would kill you).
 
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Grog, while I disagree that BaHOTH is "crap", I can understand your view. But to call D-Day, Risk 2210, etc. "crap" seems a bit extreme. I find them fine games with high quality components. They may not be the old stodgy Avalon Hill that some folk yearn for, but I think we have to deal with that fact and enjoy the good stuff they're putting out now. I like it!
 
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I still think this is extremely bad philosopy to require patches for any game especially a board game, but at least they work. So I really don't get all the bad press BotH is getting. For me this game is currently the one I enjoy playing most.


So what happens to the person who buys the game, but has no access to the internet?

That person is royally screwed.

BaHotH is the WORST 2004 release that I've seen. The only reason that people forgive it is that they've never played a competent horror RPG before. BaHotH is not played as a game; it's played as a cooperative storytelling activity. It's truly a worthless, expensive piece of crap.
 
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Michael Pennisi
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I have enjoyed most of the Betrayal games I have played but I too am outraged at the poor production values present in the form of misprinted tiles & bad rules. These should be corrected at AH's expense if they really valued us as customers. I will join the AH boycott....uhh.. right after I get Robo-Rallyblush
 
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CHAPEL
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Quote:
BaHOTH


Heh, Tom, thats taking a TLA for a stretch don't you say..


But hey, the game isn't about balance, it's about fun. I enjoyed Betrayal quite a bit, and can't wait to try each one of the scenarios to see which one is best. Since they have like 50, that makes for quite a bit of replayability in our group. If you wat fair and balanced, then go play torres or samurai. If you just want a fun romp that gamers and non-gamers will like, Betrayal fits the bill.

As for service, FAQ's, and player aides, please! I'll name you a small handful of game companies that provide that. This is why the Geek is here, to get your questions answered in the collective mind.
 
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Jae
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YAY, I WIN.
I correctly deciphered a stinker before plopping cash on it.
WOOHOO!
Go me!
 
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Ian T
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YAY, I WIN.
I correctly deciphered a stinker before plopping cash on it.
WOOHOO!
Go me!


That was my exact sentiment too! But then I took a look at your profile and saw your tastes are much like mine... the game SEEMS to fit the bill, and sure sounded like a blast... are you SURE you aren't still tempted? devil
 
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Dane Peacock
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The problem I found with the rules, was not in the initial reading. Although certainly not polished, they were adequate.

The problem I have is that all players must be good rules readers. When the traitor shows up, that person must be able to decipher some lousily written rules.

My neice (a straight A college student) became the traitor and misinterpreted a couple of crucial rules. I was frustrated that she just was not getting it. Finally, I read the traitor section just to move the game along. I sure could not blame her for the confusion. That game session was a disaster.

I don't hate the game, nor think that it was the worst game of the year, as I have enjoyed it a number of times, but I do understand the complaints about it.
 
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Eddie the Cranky Gamer
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Ed hit the nail right on the head.

This game has amazing potential. I love playing the game because I love thinking about the potential.

But it does have a lot of problems, much more than are acceptable in a game I paid $50 CDN for.

Some revised rules are in order. Anyone interested? Message me.

Also, go read the journal entry I'm about to make.
 
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Jack Bennett
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thank you all for you comments. it seems that i'm not the only one who thinks this. the game can be fun, and does have amazing potential, but it's just so horrible to have to figure out the rules, misprints, and holes every time.

one reason i was posting this was to find out if people knew of a way we could get new rules from the publishers/producer/designer, whatever. is there a place we could all post or call to request what we, as consumers, deserve for our money.
 
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Leo Zappa
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Can't agree with rap on other Hasbro/AH titles
I own and have played AA Revised, AA D-Day, RISK 2210, and LOTR Risk (Trilogy Edition). I have to say that our group has not found any obvious/significant rules snafus in any of these. A few minor interpretation issues, but nothing major at all. In general, we have had a great deal of fun with these games and while I don't have any experience with Betrayal, I will vouch for the generally high quality of the rule sets for these other games. One may or may not like the games themselves, but that is a matter of taste - the rules are solid.
 
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Robert Wesley
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please please please
Leo, SEND me a set of those 'rose colored' glasses you have on there, and tell US just what COLOR is the sky that YOU see?laugh
 
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Karl
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Don't get me wrong in my defense of the game. NO product should ever need any form of patching. Not even for improving it and very much less just for having it working. This doesn't only apply to boardgames (since when is it 'normal' to have to resgister online for a PC game and have to download a 40+MB patch to get it to work AT ALL?!). Of course for boardgames it is much worse. And I really only know of 2 boardgames that have this problem for me - Betrayal and Warcraft. The latter at least gave us some laugh that way - see how close it is to the PC version? It too needs a balancing patch ROFL... So yes, Betrayal is BAD out of the box and a is prtty much unplayable without internet connection.
However I still think that one you have downloaded the errata the game is a gem. Not a brainy game, but a fun one. Out of the box I'd give it a 2 or 3. With proper rules a 9 or 10.
 
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