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View Full Version : Oh darkest of woes – I hath betrayed my friends and now haunt this sorry house!


Dagobahn Eagle
10-12-2005, 05:52 AM
As an unknown, select few of you might have gathered from the title, yours truly has become addicted to Avalon Hill’s…

’Betrayal at House on the Hill’

…which is a spooky role-playing board game in which you explore a creepy old mansion with your crew of characters, each with different strenghts and weaknesses. It’s far from the complexity of Dungeons&Dragons and other D20 games, and it’s not one of the simplistic games that I don’t really like either – it’s more of an ”advanced pick-up-and-play game”.

The setting is pretty familiar: For reasons unknown, a small group of people (3-6 players) find themselves in the foyer of a large, ancient mansion believed to be haunted. Flashlights in hand, you go from room to room, building the mansion as you explore it (when you leave a room, you draw a door card from the stack and place it where you’re headed). You decide whether to split up or stay together, and whether to stay on the ground floor, climb the decorative stairway to the upper floor, or descend into the dark basement. You fall down coal chutes, talk to your ghost mirror image, get sucked trough a wall that pulses with the same rythm as your heart, and get bruises, useful items, and scares as you explore the place.

As if the horrors and surprises of the house were not enough, at some point during the game, one of you will betray the other, and one of fifty scenarios will start. The game is much more fun if you don’t know what the scenarios are, so I won’t reveal them here (please use [Spoiler] tags if you want to discuss them, and mark the tags with haunt scenario numbers), nor do I feel like I can post an after-action report.

The players need to work together in some way to defeat the Traitor, and the traitor has a certain objective to achieve to beat the players. Only mere chance determines if you’ll play a long or short game before the Haunt shows up – in the first game, we’d barely gotten inside before I turned evil, while in the second game we’ve completed our search of the ground floor (read: There are no ground floor cards leftJ) without encountering anything more evil than a wind-up toy monkey and ”a raving, rothing madman” that my companion seems obliged to take with him. I kind of hope I won’t be the Traitor this time, too, although it’s the coolest thing, going against your buddies like that:).

Anyways, after having played only one and a half game, I found the biggest flaws were not game problems with the game itself, but rather issues with packaging and the manual. As the big F. A. Q. can attest to (see the ’PS’), the manual is pretty thin and not exactly exhaustive about the game’s features. Additionally, the box does not come with any sort of bags or pockets to sort and hold the multitude of markers, cards, dice, and (pre-painted) miniatures with.

Scare-wise, it’s not scary as such – it’s just a bit on the spooky side. So bon’t expect anything Stephen King-gross, even though it’s not entirely devoid of atmosphere eitherJ.

An on-line Flash demonstration of the game (http://www.wizards.com/avalonhill/hoth_demo/hothdemo.asp), along with previews, articles, et cetera can be found at Avalon Hill’s site (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=ah/welcome).

Anyone else play it yet?

-Dagobahn Eagle

PS: It’s highly recommended that you find and download the entire F. A. Q. found on the Avalon Hill site before playing the game. By reducing font size, removing a few excess items like links, and adding a second coloumn to all pages, I managed to shorten it down from fifteen pages to four pages. After only one game, I’ve already consulted it more than once.

PPS: Yes, there are up to several Scooby Doo ”mods” for the game. Check AH’s message boardsJ.

Joetheeskimo
10-12-2005, 08:16 PM
Sounds fun. Never heard of it, though. Is the board kind of set out like Clue...?

EDIT: 2,500TH POST! :cheers:

The Truthful Liar
10-13-2005, 12:49 AM
Sounds fun. Never heard of it, though. Is the board kind of set out like Clue...?

EDIT: 2,500TH POST! :cheers:

:cheers:

Avalon Hill, I can't say I've heard or played of it before. I will, however, take a look seeing as you did present it in such an appealing way. It does sound like fun. :)

RpTheHotrod
10-13-2005, 04:30 AM
I went to Wal-Mart and Toys R' Us, neither had it :(

Tho I did run into a special edition of Axis and Allies....ended up buying that. Never played that game before. :D

Dagobahn Eagle
10-13-2005, 05:52 AM
Sounds fun. Never heard of it, though. Is the board kind of set out like Clue...?

The tiles look pretty good (and have a similarity with Clue, now that you say so:)), but you build the house as you explore it. That is to say, you start with three tiles in play: The foyer, the basement landing, and the staircase to the upper floor. If I was to open a door from the foyer, I draw a face-down room tile card from the stack and use it if it's a Ground Floor card (otherwise, I discard it for later use). If it is a Ground Floor card, I put it down on the other side of the door and have my character enter it.

Check the on-line demo I linked to. It explains it pretty good.

I went to Wal-Mart and Toys R' Us, neither had it
I've yet to find a toy store here in Norway that has it, either. I think your best bet is a Games Workshop store. That's where I found it. It's not really a "kid's game", more of a teen title, really, which is probably why toy stores don't have it. I think you can order it off of the publishers' site, too, or from an on-line store like Amazon, if you're into ordering things off the Web.

PS: The special edition of A&A is awesome:D.

Dagobahn Eagle
10-13-2005, 07:11 AM
What's behind door number one? (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=ah/article/ah20040903a)

That and the other articles should give you a broader idea, too.