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Unbalanced But Fun – ‘Betrayal at House on the Hill’ is the Ultimate Halloween Board Game

3 Minute Read
Oct 23 2023

Competitive gamers, don’t even bother. Betrayal at House on the Hill will make you rage. But for the rest of us, it’s a uniquely memorable experience.

I’m incredibly non-competitive. I prefer cooperative games or ones with a great narrative. And that’s why Betrayal at House on the Hill is one of my favorites. It’s weird, janky, poorly balanced, and one of the best times you’ll have.

Betrayal at House on the Hill is currently on its 3rd edition, with each update adding new scenarios or gameplay, or component tweaks. But the general concept hasn’t changed. You and your friends enter a spooky mansion to solve a groovy mystery. This is perfect because there’s a Scooby-Doo version currently half off as well.

But if, for some reason, you prefer the slightly more serious version, the official 3rd edition is also on sale right now. Regardless of which version you play, the basics are the same.

Betrayal at House on the Hill Overview

The game is broken down into two separate and distinct phases. In the first phase, the players are all working to get to explore the labyrinthian mansion. This works with a tile-placement mechanic, where players place random room tiles with each new room they enter.


Most rooms have some event, item, or Omen. The Omens are the big deal here. Once a certain number of Omens have been found, the Haunt occurs. This moves the game into the second phase of the game.

One of the players, as determined by the scenario guide, will turn traitor. From that point on, it’s that player against the rest. The traitor player is encouraged to leave the room to read their own scenario guide because both teams now have their own secret victory condition.

This second phase of the game is always completely wild. Standard rules and game balance get thrown out the window in favor of pure madness and fun. This is where Betrayal at House on the Hill loses a lot of people, and I can understand why.

If you’re easily disappointed by mechanics that feel one-sided and unfair, this game isn’t for you. But, if you can laugh at the absurdity of how quickly everything you carefully planned becomes unraveled, you just might love Betrayal at House on the Hill.

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Author: Matt Sall
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