Betrayal At House On The Hill: A Haunted House Game With A Twist

Horror-fans will be delighted by Betrayal at House on the Hill, a board game that takes the traditional haunted house story and adds a traitorous twist.  Allies explore the various rooms of a spooky haunted house, collecting items and hoping to avoid triggering the inevitable haunting phase.  Whether you’re a fan of ghosts, cannibals, or the undead, you’ll have a scary good time with Betrayal.

Exploration Phase

Players will choose one of six characters that each have four attributes that determine how close they are to death.  Might, Speed, Knowledge, and Sanity and the four attributes that will rise and fall in value throughout the game.  Betrayal begins with each player choosing a character and setting their attribute meters to their preset levels for their character.  Then, turn by turn, the players will move through the three floors of the haunted house as they begin to explore this spooky place.

Players will build the house by drawing room tiles that expand the layout of the home.  They can also trigger certain events that will either cause damage or provide benefits by drawing Event cards.  Omen cards are similar to Event cards in that you have to roll the dice to win an item, but these cards come with a greater cost—if you roll too low, you trigger the “Haunt” phase and allow horrific creatures to descend.

Haunting Phase

The haunting phase of the game is where the real fun lies, as you can trigger a different Haunt based on which Omen you pick.  You may find yourselves battling vicious cannibals, mythical dragons, or even undead zombies or vampires depending on what the fates decide.  Each Haunt comes with its own unique victory goal for the players, and it also triggers the inevitable betrayal of the traitor.

Attacking The Traitor

Once the Haunt has been triggered, one player is designated the traitor who betrays the rest of the characters.  The traitor leaves the room as all of the players read through their specific rules and Haunt goals from their own individual books.  The betrayed players can use this time to come up with a specific plan to deal with the traitor, and the traitor may even plot to bring others over to their side to aid in their nefarious schemes.

Once gameplay resumes, players can now attack the traitor or the demonic creatures under his command.  Players will die when their character meters drop to their lowest levels, and the game ends when the traitor or the players achieve their victory goal.  Because Betrayal comes with 50 different Haunt options, this game offers endless possibilities for some good horrific fun.

Expansions Of Betrayal

Betrayal at House on the Hill already comes with a ton of cool options and dynamic elements that help keep it fresh time after time.  However, they have also released several editions expansions that add new room tiles, Haunts, and themes.  Widow’s Walk is the first expansion released in 2016 that adds 50 new haunts and allows you to explore the roof in addition to the other three floors of the house.

Later editions of Betrayal include Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate, which puts a Dungeons & Dragons spin on the game.  They’ve even announced plans to release Betrayal at Mystery Mansion, a Scooby-Doo themed version that adds the Mystery Machine gang to the mix.

Watch Your Back With Betrayal

Betrayal is playable by 3-6 players, so it’s a perfect game for families or groups of most sizes.  It’s also suitable for ages 12 and up, so you don’t have to worry about the spookier elements of the game being too off-putting to younger players.  Playing time lasts around an hour, which is a decent amount of time to delve into the world of Betrayal without getting bored of the premise.

Betrayal at House on the Hill is one of the most interesting thematic board games to come out in the last few decades.  Its captivating creatures and wicked premise can stimulate the imagination and keep things fresh and exciting.  Dive into the supernatural but be careful who you trust with this adventurous board game.

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Here is How to Play Betrayal on the House on the Hill

Break Out the Pen And Race Against the Clock With Telestrations

Nothing livens up a party like Telestrations, a drawing-based game that will have you scratching your head and asking, “Is that supposed to be a cat or a pony?”  While charades has been a time-honored classic for parties, Telestrations gives it a run for its money by adding a unique premise and a more complex method of gameplay.  Telestrations’ simplistic set up and gigantic supply of secret words to draw from will keep you playing this game for years to come.

Sketching The Secret Word

The game begins with each player being given his or her own drawing book, marker, and a card with a list of secret words.  A player then rolls a die to determine which of the six secret words each person has to sketch, and players have 90 seconds to draw that sketch to the best of their ability.  You’ll have plenty of opportunity to sketch, however, as the books get passed back and forth from one player to the next during each of the three rounds.  

Getting Creative

While you may think that the best artist in the group is going to have the upper hand, this isn’t always the case with Telestrations.  One of the most fun elements of the game is the way it allows for endless creativity, forcing players to come up with creative and unique ways of depicting their secret word.  You may not be a Picasso, but that doesn’t prohibit you from coming up with some pretty funky drawings.  You may also end up winning points simply by appealing to sense of humor of the player making the guess, so know your audience!

Guessing Game

Telestrations puts a fun and unique twist on this guessing game that makes it much more interesting than charades.  Instead of each person having to guess what one player has drawn, each player will pass his or her book to the left for the next player to guess.  Once each player has finished writing down their guess, players pass the book again to the next person, who will then draw the word that the previous player guessed.  This back and forth of guessing and drawing continues until each player ends up with their original book.

Awarding Points

The person who wins the game isn’t always the person who was able to draw the best.  At the end of each round, each player is given three points to award.  The first point goes to whichever player drew their favorite sketch.  Whether it’s the funniest sketch, the best-drawn sketch, or even the worst-drawn sketch, each player gets to choose their favorite according to their own rules.

The second point goes to whichever player made their favorite guess.  This can just as easily go to your savvy sister who guessed correctly as it can to your clueless aunt who was way off base.  The last point is awarded to each player if and only if the final guess corresponds to his or her secret word.  The final winner is whoever managed to win the most points throughout the three rounds.  With the potential for endless creativity and comedy, you’ll be sure to enjoy Telestrations regardless of who wins.

Sketch Against The Clock With Telestrations

Telestrations is suitable for ages 12 and up, although you can definitely accommodate younger kids by using simpler secret words to guess from.  Telestrations can be played by 4-8 players, which is great for parties or large families.  Because game time only lasts around 30 minutes, it isn’t too big of a commitment.  The flexibility of how many rounds you play allows you to stretch or shrink Telestrations to whatever length you prefer, making it a versatile game that can fit any kind of party.

The biggest thing that makes Telestrations stand out is the fact that it gives you erasable sketchbooks and markers to draw from and unique secret words to choose from.  This makes the experience neater than charades while also retaining the guessing game aspect that makes charades such a widespread favorite.  Give it your best guess, bring out your inner artist, and have a roaring good time with Telestrations!

Codenames: A New Take On Spy Vs. Spy

Did you grow up watching Mission Impossible and wishing you could experience the thrill of being a spy?  If so, Codenames will give you the chance to put on your spy cap and take on the role of secret agent.  Sifting through the clues and choosing wisely is your imperative if you wish to identify all of your agents and avoid the deadly assassin.  This 2015 board game is fun for all players, because whether you win or you lose, everyone can enjoy deciphering the clues.

Spymaster

The goal of Codenames is to figure out which codenames in a certain set correspond with the hint you’re given.  Players will split into two teams of red vs. blue, and each team will select one member to be its spymaster.  The spymaster is an incredibly fun role, as you get to dole out hints to the members of your team in order to help them figure out the clues.

The hints that you give as spymaster consist of one word and one number.  These hints will be related to the cards belonging to your agents, but be careful—if your team selects the wrong card, you may end up helping the other team.  The fun part of the game is that you are allowed to choose whatever you want the hint word to be, which allows a skilled spymaster to come up with creative and guessable hints.

Field Operatives

The other roles can be just as fun, however, as anyone not designated the spymaster is automatically a field operative.  Field operatives get the fun task of having to guess which card belongs to their agent based on their spymaster’s hint.  Alongside your teams’ agent cards are agent cards for the opposing team, as well as innocent bystander cards.  If you slip up and end up selecting an innocent bystander, your turn is up!

The Assassin

While guessing the wrong card may end up helping the other team or involving innocent bystanders, there’s one card that means lights out.  The assassin hides among the crowd, looking to everyone like just your average guy.  But if you make a mistake and end up selecting the assassin card, it’s game over for your team!  The stakes are always high while the assassin is afoot.

Winning The Game

The winner of the game is whichever team is the first to correctly select all of the agent cards belonging to their team.  With 25 agent cards and two teams, gameplay is relatively fast at around 15 minutes.  Codenames is a simple enough party game that can easily fit in between rounds of conversation.  It also fits 2-8 players, so it’s something that a big group can play with no problem.

Codenames is suitable for ages 14 and up, so it’s probably a better fit for parties than it is for families with young children.  However, even bystanders can enjoy the fun of watching the adults and teenagers deciphering clues.

Codenames Spinoffs

Codenames has released several later editions that you can either play by themselves or integrate with the original game.  With Codenames: Disney Family Edition, you’ll guess Disney characters instead of secret agents.  This version is suitable for ages 8 and up, so it is perfect if you want to play Codenames with younger kids.  If you’re looking for something more adult, however, Codenames: Deep Undercover includes loads of adult references and double entendres not suitable for the kids.

They’ve also released Codenames: Marvel for anyone who loves the fantastical characters of the extended Marvel universe.  And if you’re a fan of the long-lasting cartoon The Simpsons, there’s even a version of Codenames that features characters and references from your favorite series.

Choose Wisely With Codenames

Codenames depends heavily on the skill of the players, but it is definitely an enjoyable card game that you can play from time to time without losing its luster.  If charades is growing stale and you’re looking for something with a little more structure, Codenames will give you the same level of puzzle solving with an added layer of excitement.  Bust out your gadgets and tap into your inner James Bond with Codenames!

How to Play Codenames

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