The House on the Hill still sits abandoned, with windows like eyes that stare blankly out over the world. So much time has passed that no one can remember who used to live there, or what happened to them. However, groups of explorers have arrived at the house. They have different reasons for coming. You now have the opportunity to be one of those explorers. One of your fellow explorers may betray you in a life or death struggle. Are you ready to face the horrors that await you at the House on the Hill?
What Is Betrayal at House on the Hill, 3rd Edition?
Betrayal at House on the Hill, 3rd Edition is a thrilling tabletop game for 3-6 players, ages 12 and up, and takes about 60-90 minutes to play. It starts out as a cooperative game as players work together to explore the house. However, once the haunt begins, one player is revealed as the traitor as the game shifts to one vs. all with the heroes and the traitor each having their own victory conditions. The game is currently available for preorder directly from Avalon Hill through the Hasbro Pulse website for $55.99 for a copy of the game. It is scheduled to ship around August 1, 2022. Betrayal at House on the Hill, 3rd Edition was designed by Noah Cohen and Brian Neff and published by Avalon Hill, with graphic design by Neil Burdick and Amanda Masiello.
The original Betrayal at House on the Hill was first published in 2004 by Avalon Hill. The second edition was released in 2010. Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate, a Dungeon & Dragons themed version, was published in 2017. In 2020, Avalon Hill produced a Scooby Doo themed version of the game for younger players called Betrayal at Mystery Mansion, which I reviewed two years ago. Betrayal at House on the Hill, 3rd Edition has 50 completely new haunts as well as several important changes such as the inclusion of the scenario cards that help determine the haunts rather than the haunt book. There are also several changes to the original rules that help make the game run smoother.
Betrayal at House on the Hill, 3rd Edition Components
Here is what you get in the box:
- 1 Traitor’s Tome haunt book
- 1 Secrets of Survival haunt book
- 6 double-sided character boards
- 6 finely detailed character figures
- 6 character figure bases
- 30 clips
- 8 dice
- 74 game cards
- 5 Scenario cards
- 1 Monster reference card
- 1 Traitor reference card
- 6 Player reference cards
- 3 starting tiles
- 42 single room tiles
- 1 number track and pointer
- 114 cardboard tokens
- 1 rulebook
There are two different haunt books: one for the traitor and the other for the heroes. Don’t open these books until instructed to do so by the game once the haunt has begun. The haunt books instruct each side about their victory conditions and special rules. There are a total of 50 different haunts.
Each player receives a player board for the character they will be playing. The boards each have two sides with different characters and attributes, so players can pick which one they would like to use at the start of the game. The game also comes with six detailed figures with colored bases that match the character boards. These figures are used to show the players’ locations as they explore the house and engage with the haunt.
There are three starting room tiles and 42 other room tiles. The back side shows the region where the tile may be placed (basement, ground floor, or upper floor). The front side has an illustration of the room, the name of the room, and an icon showing which type of game card is drawn the first time some enters that room. Some also include text about features of the room.
There are three different types of game cards: events, items, and omens. Events are spooky things that happen throughout the house. They can have positive or negative consequences. Items are useful objects you may find as you explore the house. They can provide special abilities to help you survive. Omens are eerie harbingers of evil. They are similar to items but omens have the potential to start the haunt.
These five cards provide the theme and reason the players are exploring the house on the hill. They also determine which haunts you will play. Each player gets a player reference card with reminders of what you can do on your turn and other rules regarding the haunt. There is one copy each of the traitor and monster reference cards. They contain step-by-step instructions on what the traitor and monsters are able to do on their turns.
There are lots of tokens included in the game. Most are used in specific haunts where they have special rules that apply to them. The special dice are used for a variety of functions. Each has two blank sides, two sides with one dot, and two sides with two dots. The number track and pointer are used during haunts.
How to Play Betrayal at House on the Hill, 3rd Edition
The goal of the game is to complete your victory conditions as described in the haunt books. The traitor is competing against the heroes.
Set aside the two haunt books since you will not need them at the start of the game. Each player selects a character board and matching figure. The clips on the character boards should be set to the green numbers for each of the four traits since this is their starting values. Place the dice within easy reach of everybody and then sort the game cards into three decks: omens, items, and events. The monster and traitor reference cards can be set to the side and each player is given their own player reference card. Use the three starting tiles to begin building the house. They are marked with an ‘L’ symbol and should be placed in the center of the player area, about 8 inches apart so you can easily add to each. Shuffle the remaining room tiles together and put them on the table in a face-down stack. Place all of the figures for the explorers on the entrance hall tile where they enter the house. Players then decide as a group which scenario card they would like to play. Return the remaining scenario cards to the box. The number track and pointer can be set aside for now. Finally, each player checks the birthday of their character listed on their boards. The player with the character with the next birthday will take the first turn with play continuing in a clockwise direction. You are now ready to play.
The game is divided into two parts: Before the Haunt and After the Haunt Begins.
Before the Haunt
Starting with the first player, the players take turns. During a turn, a player may move around the house, trade items and omens with an explorer on their tile, or use an item or omen to take a special action. When moving, a player checks the speed trait on their character board. This lets you know how many tiles the player may move during a turn. When a player is on a tile with an unexplored doorway, they may choose to move through the doorway to explore a new room. First see what region your character is in (basement, ground floor, upper floor). If the top tile does not match your region, don’t flip it over. Instead, bury it by placing it face down at the bottom of the tile stack. If the top tile on the tile stack matches your region, turn it over and place it adjacent to the tile you are on so that a doorway on the new tile is touching the doorway you explored on the current tile. Then place your figure on the new tile. Resolve any text on the new tile, then if the tile has a symbol for an event, item, or omen, draw a matching card, read the text, and resolve it. When you reveal a new tile, your movement and turn ends, even if you have speed remaining.
When you draw an event card, read the text and resolve it. Then bury the card to the bottom of the event pile. When you draw an item card, read the text aloud and then place it in front of you, showing you possess that item. After drawing an omen card, read the text aloud and then place it in front of you. Since you drew an omen, you now need to make a haunt roll. Count the number of omens held by all players and then roll that many dice. If the total of all the dice equals 5 or greater, the haunt begins and the player who made the roll is the haunt revealer. If you draw the last omen, the haunt automatically begins.
After the Haunt Begins
Once the haunt begins, the haunt revealer looks the the scenario card chosen at the start and locates the omen that was just drawn. This determines the number of the haunt you will play for that game, the haunt type, and who will be the traitor. There are four different types of haunts in Betrayal at House on the Hill, 3rd Edition. Some haunts have no traitor, some have one traitor or a hidden traitor, and finally there can be a free-for-all where it’s every player for themselves. For most haunts, the traitor will take the Traitor’s Tome haunt book and the other players, known as the heroes, now take the Secrets of Survival haunt book. Turn to the page with the haunt number and the heroes read the introduction from their book and perform all of the setup steps in order. Next the traitor reads the introduction for the haunt from their book and performs the setup steps. Now the traitor and heroes move into separate rooms so they can read the rest of the text in their books without the other side hearing them. The heroes can also use this time to make plans.
All players continue to take turns as before and can perform the same actions. They can move, reveal new tiles, and draw cards as shown on the tiles. However, now they can also attack. To do this, the attacker and the defender both roll a number of dice equal to their current might value. Whoever has a higher total deals physical damage to the other equal to the difference between the two rolls. In case of a tie, neither character receives damage. Some items and omens can be used as weapons. These let you attack, or defend, with the type of attack and value as shown on these cards. There may be other actions and special rules spelled out in the haunt books as well.
If any of the four traits of a character are at or below the skull level on the character board, that character dies. Tip over the figure and leave it in the tile where they died. Other players can take items or omens from the body as an action, just as if they were trading. So keep the character’s cards near their character board.
The game ends when one side has completed their objectives for the haunt. When that occurs, someone from the winning side reads the ‘If You Win’ section from their haunt book to bring the game to a close.
Why You Should Play Betrayal at House on the Hill, 3rd Edition
I have been a fan of this series of games for a while. Therefore, when I learned that Avalon Hill was releasing Betrayal at House on the Hill, 3rd Edition later this year, I could not wait to get my hands on a copy. If you have played previous editions, this one will seem very familiar. The changes to the rules all improve the game. Some, such as the scenario cards, were featured in Betrayal at Mystery Mansion and give the players a purpose for exploring the old house. Other new rules, such as your turn ending as soon as you discover a new room tile, keep the game moving. In addition, both the heroes and traitors reading their introductory text and setups from their haunt books aloud at the start of the haunt helps set the stage for the haunt. Plus, even if you have played previous versions of the game, 3rd Edition comes with 50 completely new haunts!
One of the reasons I really enjoy playing Betrayal at House on the Hill, 3rd Edition is that each game is completely different. The players make the game board as they explore and piece together rooms to form the house. There are some great details drawn on each room tile that really add to the theme. Plus with lots of events and items, you won’t see them all in a single game. Then there are the 50 different haunts so you can have a unique experience each time. I like to make note of which haunts we have already completed and if we trigger it again, pick another haunt we have not done. Just make sure that the haunt revealer has the omen card called for by the new haunt. Another feature of this game I find appealing is how the game changes midway through. At first you are working cooperatively to explore the house. Yet, there is a bit of tension as well since you know a haunt is coming. In fact, with each omen card drawn, the tension increases. You don’t want to be too helpful to your fellow explorers since one of them may turn out being the traitor. There is also the pressure to find as many items as you can since they can help you whether you end up being a hero or a traitor.
Betrayal at House on the Hill, 3rd Edition is a lot of fun to play with groups of five or six as well as fewer players. With some games, having more players can take away the engagement factor. However, this game seems to keep everyone’s attention throughout the session. This is due to the tension I mentioned earlier as well as the teamwork required for the heroes to win once the haunt as been revealed. Of, course, the traitor is always focused and looking to spring a surprise on the heroes since they don’t get the entire story until the traitor takes those special actions. I thoroughly enjoy playing Betrayal at House on the Hill, 3rd Edition and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys games that combine cooperation as well as competition along with good stories that change each time you play. Whether playing as a family or a game group, you will be sure to get hours and hours of entertainment, along with a bit of terror.
For more information or to preorder, visit the Betrayal at House on the Hill, 3rd Edition page on the Hasbro Pulse website. The game is scheduled to release in August of 2022.
To subscribe to GeekDad’s tabletop gaming coverage, please copy this link and add it to your RSS reader.
Disclosure: GeekDad received a copy of this game for review purposes.