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Betrayal at House on the Hill» Forums » Variants

Subject: Any thoughts on having more purpose before the haunt? rss

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Aneillio Lorenzini
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My group has a somewhat "meh" feeling about this game. I think that this feeling is related to the first half of the game. This part often seems un-compelling, exploring the house without any real purpose.

Has anyone toyed around with giving the characters something to do that is more compelling than just wandering randomly around the house? Perhaps some sort of specific tasks or objectives?

some ideas off the top of my head:
-a bonus if you explore, or discover, a certain number of rooms
-or the first ones to find a type of room (outdoors, damaged, 2nd floor...)
-splitting into teams at first, perhaps sabotaging each other
-unique hidden goals related to the other characters ("steal something from character X"


I'm just throwing ideas out here. Any thoughts? Anything tried already? Any mechanics/ideas from other games that might fit in here?
 
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Byron Campbell
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There are already bonuses for discovering certain kinds of rooms--the chapel, etc. Not to mention all the treasure you get. And the rooms that you discover are still going to be random, so I don't think giving an arbitrary reward to somebody who lucks into discovering a specific room is going to help you enjoy the game more.

Have you considered playing with a specific haunt in mind from the start? It doesn't necessarily give the game more purpose, but it does let people start strategizing from the start about room placement, etc. Decide how many turns you want the pre-haunt period to last, then seed the haunt-specific room at an appropriate depth in the deck. Set the appropriate omen aside, and just hand it to the appropriate player when the room is discovered, starting the haunt. You could even select the traitor from the start--since attacking isn't allowed before the haunt begins, there's not much the other players could do to directly harm them, but the good guys could be organizing together while the traitor attempts to speed up the haunt start (e.g. if a basement tile is required, the traitor would want to explore the basement as soon as possible).

Another idea to increase player agency would be to, instead of drawing a random room tile, play with 2 face-up tiles next to the room stack. You can choose to either take one of the face-up tiles or draw from the stack; if you take a face-up tile, you replenish it before the next person explores a room. This gives players the ability to better shape the house and their character. They could have secret goals, like "put these 2 rooms next to each other" or "increase your speed to its maximum level."

Good luck!
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Asger Johansen
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My piece of advice is: try to think of the first part as a story build-up. This is the part where you set the scene and get in character. Make an effort to actually roleplay your character as you move about the house. Try to do what seems appropriate for your character and feel free to make up your own as long as you use the stat lines from the orginal rules.

If you play it that way, the first part of the game will - in my experience - create the foundation for a very exciting and compelling endgame - because there is something at stake.

Try it and let me know if you still feel the same way about the game.

All the best

Asger

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David Gorski

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Lublang wrote:
My piece of advice is: try to think of the first part as a story build-up ....

Yes. Light roleplaying or even simple "action figure playing" makes the difference. "Missy Dubois wants cookies now!" Ox is afraid of ghosts so he never goes it alone. Jenny is very protective of the kids. Etc.

Also the first half of the game is very crucial to building the house. Is the house square with rooms connected on all four sides? Or does it have very long hallways? Are there any room beyond "barriers" like the Junkroom? Do you go into the Basement with the Collapsed Room or Mystic Elevator? Do the players even know which floors the different rooms appear? For an easy example the Attic.
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Fran Scythe
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Hi,
would it be possible to use any information from the Haunt to give it to the characters during the initial phase? Like, to make it more rpg, in the form of books, letters, a film, a npc maybe?...
Just to make it more interesting and also start building up some atmosphere.
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Robin Reeve
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Fran Scythe wrote:
Hi,
would it be possible to use any information from the Haunt to give it to the characters during the initial phase? Like, to make it more rpg, in the form of books, letters, a film, a npc maybe?...
Just to make it more interesting and also start building up some atmosphere.
The problem is that the specific haunt is triggered randomly among 50 possible ones (after the haunt dr and in function of the room and the last omen you picked up), so you cannot give precise information beforehand.
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Jeremy Knutson
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Robin wrote:
Fran Scythe wrote:
Hi,
would it be possible to use any information from the Haunt to give it to the characters during the initial phase? Like, to make it more rpg, in the form of books, letters, a film, a npc maybe?...
Just to make it more interesting and also start building up some atmosphere.
The problem is that the specific haunt is triggered randomly among 50 possible ones (after the haunt dr and in function of the room and the last omen you picked up), so you cannot give precise information beforehand.


It would not be too hard choose the haunt instead of randomly choosing one. I doubt that this would do too much to give more direction to the start of the game, however.
 
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Robin Reeve
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ChronoRogue wrote:
Robin wrote:
Fran Scythe wrote:
Hi,
would it be possible to use any information from the Haunt to give it to the characters during the initial phase? Like, to make it more rpg, in the form of books, letters, a film, a npc maybe?...
Just to make it more interesting and also start building up some atmosphere.
The problem is that the specific haunt is triggered randomly among 50 possible ones (after the haunt dr and in function of the room and the last omen you picked up), so you cannot give precise information beforehand.


It would not be too hard choose the haunt instead of randomly choosing one. I doubt that this would do too much to give more direction to the start of the game, however.
At least some haunts are directly linked to the players having picked up a gigiven omen item, which plays a significant role during the haunt itself.
One couod introduce a home rule which gives the appropriate item of the predesigned haunt at some time to the players.
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Jeremy Knutson
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Robin wrote:
At least some haunts are directly linked to the players having picked up a gigiven omen item, which plays a significant role during the haunt itself.
One couod introduce a home rule which gives the appropriate item of the predesigned haunt at some time to the players.


Board Game Geek user, Antistone, came up with one way to choose a haunt in advance, in his 20 custom haunts file:

Quote:
Option #3: Select a Specific Haunt in Advance
You can choose a specific Haunt you’d like to play before you start your game (this may be desirable if you want to play all the Haunts in the fewest possible games, or if some Haunt is particularly interesting to you). Consult the Custom Haunt Minimum Requirements table to find what omen(s) or room(s) are appropriate for your chosen Haunt (a blank requirement means any omen/room is acceptable). If your selected Haunt has no requirements, simply play as usual, but disregard normal tables when the Haunt begins and simply play your selected Haunt. If the Haunt you selected does require a particular omen or room, use whichever of the following rules applies:

Haunt Requiring a Specific Omen
Before the game begins, look through the omen stack and find the required Omen. Set this card aside and shuffle the remaining omens.
As you play, when you discover a room containing an omen, make a Haunt roll before drawing an omen card (but count the card you’re about to draw as being “discovered” for purposes of calculating the number you need to roll). If the Haunt begins, draw the omen you set aside at the start of the game, apply its effects as if you drew it just before the Haunt began, and then start your selected Haunt. If the Haunt does not begin, draw from the omen stack and continue with the game.

Haunt Requiring a Any One of a Specific Set of Omens
Before the game begins, find all the omens which are appropriate for starting the selected Haunt. Shuffle them and choose one at random; set it aside, face down. Shuffle the rest of the omens back into the main stack (without looking at them) and proceed as described above.

Haunt Requiring a Specific Room
Do not make any Haunt rolls as you play; instead, assume that the Haunt begins whenever the required room is discovered (immediately after the omen is drawn). Note that this rule is much more likely to result in a very early or very late Haunt than the normal rules for starting the Haunt, particularly when the room appears only on one floor, so use this rule with caution.

Haunt Requiring a Any One of a Specific Set of Rooms
Do not make any Haunt rolls in rooms other than the ones appropriate for starting the Haunt.
The Haunt can start on one of the first three omens you find only if it is the last room appropriate for starting the Haunt. Example: if the Haunt requires room A, B, or C, you only start on the third omen if rooms A, B, and C are the first three omen rooms you find.
The Haunt begins on the fourth, fifth, or sixth omen if you discover at least half of the rooms suitable for starting the Haunt. Example: if the Haunt requires room A, B, or C, if one of those three rooms is already in play, and you discover another of them as omen number 4, 5, or 6, that second room starts the Haunt.
After you have discovered 6 omens, and the Haunt has not begun, start the Haunt in the next appropriate room you find.

Haunt Permitting Any Room Except a Small Set
Play as normal, except do not make Haunt rolls in unsuitable rooms, and if the Haunt has not started by the time the last suitable room is discovered, it starts there.

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Robin Reeve
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Nice home rules!
Thank you for the input.
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Melissa Medusa
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My group makes up a backstory when we play. Why are we at this house? Who are we? And as we explore we stay in character. I've got some pretty funny friends, so we always suit the B-movie mood pretty well. Maybe try introducing a character element? It can also make the traitor reveal more dramatic!
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Paul Liolio
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My friends are as dry as jerky, and about as entertaining. I try to encourage that by getting into character, but these guys want to just roll dice and end the game, the moment it starts.


When I get my scooby doo miniatures, I'm thinking of giving character specific bonuses. Scooby and Shaggy get a stat increase if they enter the kitchen, Fred gets a bonus for finding the Junk Room (traps), Velma, the library, Daphne, the Master Bedroom or something.
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Aneillio Lorenzini
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Polioliolio wrote:

When I get my scooby doo miniatures, I'm thinking of giving character specific bonuses. Scooby and Shaggy get a stat increase if they enter the kitchen, Fred gets a bonus for finding the Junk Room (traps), Velma, the library, Daphne, the Master Bedroom or something.


This I like!
 
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Geoff Berman
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A little off topic but I'm working on 35 Scooby doo haunts based on the episodes
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Aneillio Lorenzini
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Awesome! Please let us know any updates along the way.

Any chance one of the batman/robin episodes is one of them?
 
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Geoff Berman
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Actually if you "lose" the haunt then you roll randomly on the chart of guest stars for an ending that has the guest star save you from the bad guy

One of the guest stars you can roll is Batman and Robin.

Gives incentive to win the haunt because who wants to be saved at the last minute by Phyllis Diller LOL
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