Betrayal at House on the Hill, besides having maybe the most awkward title of any board game ever, is really, really great fun. The box describes it as a strategy game, and while I love strategy games, this is not why I love Betrayal.
First things first: the box is a lie. Betrayal is not remotely a strategy game. Its gameplay is too simple for that. In Betrayal, the players are exploring a spooky mansion (I’m sure there’s a really good reason why), working as a team to uncover its secrets, while surviving its creaky dangers and uncanny encounters. Each player has four stats, which are tested against the tiles they uncover -make a speed test to dodge the collapsing floor, stamina test to avoid the old man dressed as a ghost to scare the kids out of the abandoned fairground, etc. As the tiles are uncovered, the mansion grows on the table, and encounters and items boost the player’s stats and abilities. Everyone is working together, allowing for sharing of items. And that’s pretty much it. These basic systems are what govern the game play, making for a very straightforward move, uncover and roll system. The game looks great, and the tiles and encounters are fun, varied and thematic, but ultimately all worked out in the same way.