Unspeakable – Betrayal At The House On The Hill Review

BATHOTH_Head

The Story So Far…

Atop of the hill stands a mysterious house – long abandoned – it must have been there since the war Old folks scare children with conflicting stories of mad scientists, witches, or ancient, nameless evils to keep them away from it. Legends surround the house just as the thick fog that never seems to subside, and eerie noises are heard all the way from the village in the dead of night. Only the truly fearless, or the terminally foolish would dare venture into the cavernous manse, to seek the fabled treasures or solve half-forgotten mysteries… but some have a far more sinister agenda…

FACT BOX

Name: Betrayal On The House On The Hill – 2nd Edition

Players: 3-6

Ages: 12 and up

Playing Time: ~60 minutes

Type: Modular Board / Dice / RPG / Traitor

Theme: Horror / Exploration

The Game:

You start by picking one of 6 characters, each one a classic pulp horror archetype – the curious kid, the innocent-looking little girl, the jock, the professor, the ditsy valley girl, and the gypsy – each character is represented by a pre-painted plastic figure and a double sided card stock character track with markers to keep track of your stats.

Your party walks through the creaking door, which immediately swings shut and locks you in – as you explore the house, moving from room to room by laying a new tile for each new room discovered, you encounter strange events, powerful items and unholy omens – depending on the room you draw and which of the three floors you are on. The three floors of the House – ground floor, an upper floor and a basement are separated placing three individual landing tiles, so that each floor expands through exploration – depending on the available exits in the current room..

The Haunting:

You find yourselves stuck in the haunted mansion, and resolve to solve the mystery of the House on the Hill – so your party splits up into pairs or individuals to cover more ground. As more rooms are explored, more omens are inevitably revealed. In BATHOTH, and omen card rep rents a powerful item that the player acquires, or a strange event like being bitten by something unseen. With each omen card revealed the evil in the house stirs… make a haunt roll!. Using six custom 6 sided dice – with zero, one or two pips – the foolhardy explorers strive to roll a total inferior to the number of omens revealed, – the more omens are out the more likely the haunting – which eventually becomes inevitable…

Copyright Wizards Of The Coast / Avalon Hill

The Betrayal:

One of 50 scenarios come into play when the haunting begins, determined by the room and the omen drawn, leading to one of the explorers turning against the others by awakening an ancient evil.

The Haunts cover a veritable kitchen sink of classic horror scenarios. Vengeful ghosts, Grotesque Abominations, and everything from a Blob monster to Elder God to a bastard cat who chases the miniaturized heroes!

The betrayer leaves the room with a booklet – the traitor’s tome – which explains his role in the scenario – the remaining players read their end of the story from the survivor’s handbook and plan to thwart the traitor’s plan to murder them all!

Content:

The box contains six pre-pained plastic figures, custom dice. character cards and markers, floor tiles in high-quality card stock, three separate decks of cards to represent omens, items and events and roughly 6 million tokens to represent effects, monsters, situations, fixtures and so on… The production values are pretty good, and the box inlay is neat. I would strongly recommend separating the various tokens by type and shape using baggies to avoid frustration.

Copyright – Wizards Of The Coast / Avalon Hill

The Verdict

Any fans of Lovecraft, Hammer Horror and old B-Movies will enjoy this game. Hardcore board gamers have called out a lack of balance from scenario to scenario, but the surprise element is what really sold me. For added fun, you can roleplay your characters in the most over-the-top way to add that so-bad-it’s-good B-Movie feel! Play it right after watching The Cabin in the Woods, and you’ll get chills!

The game comes with an enormous variety of pieces and options, but remains surprisingly easy to play

Hits:

  • Original, Funny and easy to learn
  • Game setup is fast and requires reasonable space
  • The roguelike / random scenarios add a great deal or replayability
  • The haunt rolls and ability tests add nail-biting tension to the game

Misses:

  • The game can be brutally one sided – especially if the haunt happens early in the game.
  • The large selection of scenarios is a mixed bag, some are less fun than others.

Score

4/5 – Great Game!

About the Blogger:
Michele Pace Bonello is a board game, horror movie and comic book fan, form Malta – Europe. If you want your comic or game reviewed – send him an e-mail on mpacebonello@gmail.com.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s