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Third Edition of Betrayal at House on the Hill

Third Edition of Betrayal at House on the Hill

You received a surprising invitation to the hilltop mansion, which had been unoccupied for decades or millennia. You hesitated before throwing the letter and trash mail out. Who else might show up would be intriguing. Remember the Betrayal at House on the Hill: 3rd Edition by Dave Chalker, Banana Chan, Noah Cohen, Bruce Glassco, Brian Neff, Will Sobel, and Jabari Weathers from Avalon Hill?

The 2004 third edition of this game is what we’re talking about. I haven’t played the previous versions, so I can’t comment. However, the rulebook has a page explaining the distinctions. If you’ve played an older version, you could go ahead after reading about the changes.

Mysterious Manor

The game begins with everyone touring the old home. Suddenly, something else seems to be happening. Rooms on the ground floor stick out in one direction, while rooms on the first story seem to hover in the air.

Draw from a shuffled deck of square room tiles. As long as one doorway joins two tiles, you can connect them any way you, please. The first floor might be a zig-zag that doesn’t overlap with the floor below, while the ground floor could be a gorgeous L. The basement can also become a strange dungeon that leaves the house’s footprint.

This effect suits a mysterious manner but makes navigating the building and its rooms easier. There is no need to bother about floor-to-floor room alignment. At least one doorway must match when you draw a tile and attach it to your current tile. You must also avoid dead ends. End of story. Betrayal at House on the Hill avoids unneeded difficulties with the tile positioning technique.

No Betrayal at House on the Hill

Betrayal at House on the Hill

The game starts entirely cooperatively, which is wonderful. Kind of, you all work together. One of you will probably be cursed, making it a one-versus-many game. You may even find yourselves opposed against each other and have to leave the house first.

However, you are a happy little team till then. Cannot hurt each other. You just want to explore new chambers and find valuable objects while avoiding dangers and omens. If you choose, you can give goods to other players at the table. Remember that the person you give the item to may be the cursed player. Something to contemplate.

Alarming Signs of One-Versus-Many

Betrayal at House on the Hill

Omens trigger one-versus-many. They are often powerful items that defend you, but they also contain black magic. When an omen is found, several dice are rolled and the game changes if they total up. One of you will likely be haunted.

These dice are unusual. They are six-sided but only go to two pips, with some sides showing zero. Rolling high numbers, which is generally desired, is difficult. For instance, a six requires three dice. Screws with your head. You think you can get through a problem, but the dice throw you off and you lose your sanity.

Horror Without Scares

This is a wonderful time to discuss Betrayal at House on the Hill’s setting. This odd home is the setting for a horror game in which one player gets cursed and becomes a ghostly version of themself who can summon ghouls and other creatures. There are no jump scares or bloody scenes.

The cards and scenario books never depict anything from your favorite Stephen King book. Though I hate horror, it’s moderate and fine for me. Playing this game will prevent nightmares.

Telling Stories Without Narrators: Betrayal’s Role-Playing Essence

Betrayal at House on the Hill

However, reading the cards’ text and describing the haunt, which begins when the game switches from cooperative to one-versus-many, really sparks your imagination. Betrayal at House on the Hill is an excellent character-building game. Many similarities exist to a role-playing game.

At the start of the game, players choose a character and receive a dashboard describing them. Your dashboard tracks health, sanity, and other losses during the game. In the game, you draw items and omen cards with short descriptions, similar to a tabletop RPG. Everything happens without a narrative. Game management is optional. It’s a great way to experience an RPG in board form.

It Never Bores

Betrayal at House on the Hill has 50 haunts. Your games will be unique. The shuffled room tile deck is large. Game after game, the identical rooms will appear in new locations. Also, significant rooms in one game may be meaningless in another. Due to dice rolls, the traitor changes every round.

Different scenarios feel different. Sometimes the traitor seems hopeless against the other players, but other times it’s the opposite. Either way, going to the haunt and figuring out how to win is fun. I suppose the actual game begins when dice luck turns against you and you stop cooperating. The tension rises as the game gets exciting. After every game, we discussed what went wrong and what we should have done. Every Betrayal at House on the Hill session will stick with you.

I have a few complaints. Some tiles feature little language that is crucial. Easy to miss, it can hurt your first game. Watch out for it. Also, haunt descriptions don’t always explain how to win. One section says one thing, but another requires more. Before playing, read everything on the scenario page to avoid missing vital information.

Betrayal is Fun

Betrayal at House on the Hill is fun. New gamers learn quickly. You can explain everything as it comes up without teaching much at the start. It takes around an hour to play, which is long. It’s fast enough to play two games at once.

I recommend running up that hill to the home if you like storytelling games and some light scary. Who knows, you might betray your buddies this time. Whatever happens, it will be entertaining.

The game was a chaos. Bruce Glassco (whose other major credit is Fantasy Realms) did a good job designing this game; it’s simple, approachable, procedurally sound, and fun. But the wide range of “Haunts” in the traitor and explorer books, a volatile game state, unpredictable player actions, vagaries, inconsistencies, and screw-ups like the legendary Underground Lake on the 2nd floor of the house often caused some games to soil the rug more often than necessary.

The Legacy of Unforgettable Gameplay

Though it has its flaws, the game’s moments of genius have driven it for 17 years. These amazing experiences fuel the game’s expansions, updates, and even daring versions like Scooby Doo and D&D. Even now, the game stands out in a saturated business. Few designers would dare switch from a cooperative exploratory tile layer to a high-stakes one-versus-all elimination scenario, let alone 50. However, this daring innovation keeps players hooked, keeping the game relevant and appealing.


Betrayal has become popular rapidly. You never know what will happen till you activate a haunt you’ve played. You may revisit one of the 50 haunts, but your house, character, trait levels, and other factors will change.