I almost couldn’t believe it when I saw the news that finally, after all these years, the stars are finally right to create an expansion to my favourite ever board game: Betrayal at the House on the Hill. This has me utterly overjoyed for a number of reasons, but mostly because I’ve had so many great and just plain hilarious memories from this game in the past. For those of you who have never played it before, Betrayal at the House on the Hill is a procedural generated board game involving assembling a house from different room tiles (at random). As you go around exploring, you encounter various items, events, secret things and eventually omens.
This initial phase between the players is entirely cooperative and nobody can actually die, no matter how unlucky you get, which is where the omens change things. Omens require you to make a roll every time you get them, which if you roll lower than the current number it changes the game. One player (typically) becomes a traitor, using the house and a variety of ghastly servants to murder all the other players (or do something else horrible). At this point the game divides into a survivor/hero phase and a traitor phase, where people now can die! Like everything else about the game, what haunt starts is random and there are a wide variety of them. Some haunts are substantially imbalanced and the amount the house is explored also makes a big impact.
Despite these core flaws, I’ve always loved this games randomness and it was nearly always fresh to play. Especially because the objectives between the two teams can be considerably different and the way the house gets set up is never the same. Unfortunately, like any game, I’ve played a LOT of betrayal. When I say a lot, I mean I can predict many haunts before they happen and already know what to do in the vast majority of them – which kind of takes away a lot of the fun. Especially if I’m playing with people who don’t, so do I take advantage of knowing what’s happening and tell my team? Or do I preserve that fun discovery aspect for them and act a bit deliberately dumb?
Thankfully, I’m going to get that experience back as this expansion adds a whopping 50 more haunts to the game. It adds new creatures, a new floor, the roof and more overall randomness as a result. This has me genuinely overjoyed and I’m really excited to see what they do with it, especially because the new Haunts have been designed by a long list of people. Almost certainly make this a day 1 purchase whenever I find it!