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Betrayal at House on the Hill - advice for first play

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28 Mar 2008 15:05 #4433 by southernman
Similar thread to benny lava's earlier for Arkham - I just picked up BaHotH in a trade locally and know nothing about it except it's pretty good fun with the right crowd but that it can crash 'n' burn badly with the wrong crowd or a dickhead running it (trying to save my good name here).
Any advice on the following would be helpful:
- What to do or look at on a trial play thru by myself.
- When do you read the Haunt booklet i.e. during a trial, before a game, or only in the game.
- Playing tips when it actually goes live
- Anything else at all I should/shouldn't do/know.

It is at the end of a long list before it gets a start but I think I need the practice.

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28 Mar 2008 15:27 - 28 Mar 2008 15:28 #4434 by Schweig!
I don't think you need to take any preparatory steps to play the game, although you really have to print the two corrected booklets. Seriously they messed those up good. And while you're at it, also read the errata, especially you have to remember that the undergound lake belongs into the basement although it is marked as an upstairs card.

When do you read the Haunt booklet i.e. during a trial, before a game, or only in the game.

Play freezes when a haunt is revealed and only then both sides read their respective booklets - heroes and traitor. It would be best if the traitor could leave the room, so that the heroes can plot strategy.
Last edit: 28 Mar 2008 15:28 by Schweig!.

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28 Mar 2008 15:38 #4435 by Michael Barnes
Here's the best advice- don't sweat it. It's a simple, accessible game that really kind of speaks for itself. I wouldn't worry about padding it with a bunch of preparation. Remember that most of the people who play this game and fall in love with it don't have any kind of preparation or expectations going into it.

It's easy enough that you can explain the basic gameplay in a couple of minutes without going into too many details. As things happen, you explain what's going on. Don't read either of the books until the Haunt happens. Seriously, don't even open them.

Where it _can_ go wrong is if either side doesn't understand their instructions or gets them wrong. You can't really avoid that until everyone's played a few times. And then there's a few Haunts that are kind of screwed up but odds are that you won't hit one on your first game.

It's the kind of game where you have to realize that every game isn't going to be awesome. Some games are going to suck. Some games are going to be incredible. But most will fall somewhere in between.

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28 Mar 2008 15:55 #4436 by Schweig!
Michael Barnes wrote:

Where it _can_ go wrong is if either side doesn't understand their instructions or gets them wrong. You can't really avoid that until everyone's played a few times.

Yes, that's right. But you if you really want to make sure even the first game works well, you could moderate it and explain both the traitor and the heroes what to do once the haunt started.

I remember the first time I played it, I was the traitor, and I had to ask a few questions to the owner of the game, who was one of the heroes of course. But that didn't ruin the game at all. What spoiled the game a little was that there were monsters in the haunt and those didn't have stats listed so we had to make some up, because we didn't print the revised booklets yet.

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28 Mar 2008 16:16 #4437 by Rliyen
Southernman wrote:

Similar thread to benny lava's earlier for Arkham - I just picked up BaHotH in a trade locally and know nothing about it except it's pretty good fun with the right crowd but that it can crash 'n' burn badly with the wrong crowd or a dickhead running it (trying to save my good name here).
Any advice on the following would be helpful:
- What to do or look at on a trial play thru by myself.
- When do you read the Haunt booklet i.e. during a trial, before a game, or only in the game.
- Playing tips when it actually goes live
- Anything else at all I should/shouldn't do/know.

It is at the end of a long list before it gets a start but I think I need the practice.


Get the FAQ and the revised haunt booklets, but it's not necessary to read them (The revised booklets, not the FAQ) prior to playing (besides, it'll spoil the fun).

The game's a joke to learn, even though I died twice in both games we were playing. Great fun, regardless.

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29 Mar 2008 18:38 #4454 by southernman
Thanks team - finally got around to reading the (short) rulebook and I understand what everyone is saying now ... hopefully should be a walk. It was one of two trades I did with local guys (met via BGG) which both happened on the same day some how - BaHotH for El Grande and War of the Ring for La Citta ... so I'm a pretty happy guy at the moment !

But I've got so many games queued up for club nights (Fortress America, Samurai Swords, A&A, Blockmania, Space Crusade, Escape from Colditz, Warrior Knights, Kingmaker, Wings of War) to fit in with the Memoir'44 league I started there plus games from the other guys that I'll have to bite the bullet and insert it in the list somewhere ...

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30 Mar 2008 12:35 #4460 by Shellhead
Schweig! wrote:

you have to remember that the undergound lake belongs into the basement although it is marked as an upstairs card.


I disagree. If you examine the tile artwork carefully, you will see indications that the entrance to the tile is located two levels above said lake, with busted floorboards at the edges of the tile representing two levels of smashed out floors.

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30 Mar 2008 15:05 #4463 by Livtraser
Besides... what is wrong with an underground lake on the 1st floor? It IS supposed to be haunted afterall.

Like the rest have said, just download the new haunt books (important), and keep the FAQ nearby. We've managed to play without with no problem. Afterall, whatever balance the game has, it get's pretty fucked up as soon as the haunt is revealed, so it doesn't really matter if you get a a litle rule wrong, as long as you've got the basics right (which is simple stuff).

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30 Mar 2008 17:07 #4465 by Schweig!
Shellhead wrote:

Schweig! wrote:

you have to remember that the undergound lake belongs into the basement although it is marked as an upstairs card.


I disagree. If you examine the tile artwork carefully, you will see indications that the entrance to the tile is located two levels above said lake, with busted floorboards at the edges of the tile representing two levels of smashed out floors.

The errata ruling is that the character who triggers the tile breaks through the floor and falls into the lake. From that point onwards the lake is in the basement.

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