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Go to the Dungeons & Dragons: Lords of Waterdeep page
55 out of 61 gamers thought this was helpful

At the end of my first game of Lords of Waterdeep I knew it was an insta-buy for me. From the components to the gameplay I am very impressed by the quality of LoW.

Lords of Waterdeep is a 2-5 player worker placement board game set in the city of Waterdeep, which is located the world of Dungeons & Dragons, specifically from the Forgotten Realms settings. You take on the role of one of 11 different Lords. Your goal is to send out your agents to recruit adventurers to your tavern and then send those adventurers out to complete quests in return for riches and glory (victory points). The game is played over 8 rounds, the player with the most VP at the end of the eighth round wins!

What’s In the Box?

LoW has some fantastic components. The rulebook is a good starting place. It is 23 pages long, but about half of that is glossary, quick reference, and specific component information. The game is simple to learn and the rules are very clear. Plus the rulebook has plenty of images and illustrations. The board itself is beautifully illustrated to resemble a map of the city. All of the spaces and symbols are clear to understand. You will also find a multitude of different components; gold, cards, building tiles, wooden adventurer, agent pieces, etc. All of the pieces fit neatly into the plastic container within the box, no need for making a mess on your table when playing. The artwork on all of the quest and intrigue cards also looks great. There’s nothing incredibly bright, flashy, or overly spectacular within the art, which is good. The art is some good flavor to the game but it does not distract from the important information on the cards, all of which is laid out neatly with clear symbols. Finally, the building tiles are incredibly sturdy and clear to read and understand. There’s no artwork on the buildings but once again the important information is easy to understand. Also, each building tile has a little notch in the corner where you will place your control marker on once you purchase that building (one of my favorite parts in the design). Enough ogling over the components, let’s move on.

How to play:

Before you begin Lords of Waterdeep each player is given a Lord Card that will be kept secret from everyone else. These Lord Cards will help determine your overall strategy because at the end of the game you will reveal your Lord and receive VP depending on how you played throughout the course of the game.
LoW is played over 8 rounds. In each round the players will go around the table placing one agent at a time on a building in order to collect adventurers, gold, quest cards, or intrigue cards. Once everyone has placed their agents the round ends, everyone collects their agents, and you begin anew! The goal is to score Victory Points (which is counted through the use of a score tracker around the board). You score VP predominantly by accomplishing quest cards that you have. You complete quest cards by turning in adventurer cubes and gold. Rewards from quests may vary, from flat victory points, to getting some adventurer cubes or gold back, or the quest may give you a continuous effect for the remainder of the game.
Players may also buy buildings with their agents. This is an important part of LoW; buildings open up new locations for everyone to place their agents, and the owner of the building get’s a little payment for people using them.
Another important aspect of LoW is Intrigue Cards. These are basically action cards that either give you a couple bonus adventurers, or may hurt your opponents by forcing them to pay a price.
At the end of eight rounds, play ends, and each player reveals their lord cards and the winner will be determined.

When explaining LoW to people I sometimes compare it to Ticket to Ride in terms of gameplay. The way you need to collect specific colored adventurers (train cars) in order to complete quests (routes) is similar between the two games. Because so many more people have played TtR I use this tactic to perk their initial interest. Obviously the themes are quite different between LoW and TtR.


Being set in the Dungeons and Dragons universe many people may first be cautious of LoW. There is certainly a fantasy theme within the game, but it’s relatively mild. There be no dragons or trolls here, and there isn’t any actual combat in LoW. Does that mean there is no strong theme in LoW? Not necessarily. Yes, the theme may not be oozing out of the box compared to other D&D games. I feel that this is strongly due to some of the abstractions within the game. All of the adventurers are represented by colored cubes, and if it’s not explicitly stated what each are (Purple=Wizard, White=Cleric, Orange=Fighter, Black=Rogue) it is hard to grasp that these are people you’re collecting and not just some colored resources.
So, for casual gamers who are just looking for an easy game to pick-up then LoW can work. The theme is not in your face, but it’s still not absent.
When you start to look at the quest cards and imagine sending out your agents to different buildings there is some good thematic work. Each quest is categorized into 1 of 5 different types of quests. This not only has an affect on the gameplay but it also influences the theme. You begin to realize that “Skullduggery” quests require quite a lot of rogues in your tavern to complete them, and the title of the quest/artwork always fits the theme of stealing or spying.
For example the quest “Raid on Undermountain” requires you to gather a large band of different adventurers, each with their unique skillset that will aid your little group in their journey into the dangerous Undermountain. You may not know what Undermountain is when you’re playing, but the idea of a large scale raid is easy to picture and you begin to understand why you need so many adventurers. And the rewards are great at the end of the quest, with 20 VP and some looted gold. Each card also has flavor text on it to further immerse the player.
Even the buildings match the theme. You can imagine sending your agents to the “House of Heroes” to recruit some noble fighters and clerics for your cause. If you dive into the rulebook once again you will find flavor text for each building, each of the agent factions, and each of the Lords you will be playing. You begin to get a feel for character motivations and history.
So on the surface there may not be a lot of theme going on within LoW, which is okay. It allows players who aren’t a fan of the fantasy genre to enjoy the game. However if you want a little more immersion then there are plenty of opportunities for that within LoW.

Final Impressions:

So should you play Lords of Waterdeep? Absolutely YES! It appeals to a large range of players. There is strategy involved in term of when and where to place your agents or what quests to focus on first. There are plenty of opportunities to mess with your opponents plans as well. All active quests are visible so you can see what your opponent needs and you can either jump on it first, or you can play some fun Intrigue cards to mess with their plans.
Lords of Waterdeep is easy to learn and people will quickly understand the overall strategies and goals. It is a great worker placement game but it has the potential to be much more through the use of it’s established theme and minor story telling. I was lucky to have read some Forgotten Realms novels before I played, and while many of the specific names were foreign to me I was still able to appreciate many of the ideas and activities that occur within Waterdeep.
Overall I’m a big fan of Lords of Waterdeep.

Go to the Star Realms page

Star Realms

102 out of 111 gamers thought this was helpful

Deckbuilding was the game mechanic that really transformed my perspective of board games. After my first few games of Dominion I realized how there were so many more different ways that board games are played. I fell in love with deckbuilders, but I was looking for something a little different from Dominion. Enter Star Realms. I first tried the app of Star Realms (per suggestion of @Jay Atkinson) and I immediately fell in love with it.

How to Play:
Star Realms is a two player deckbuilding game with a space theme. Deckbuilding is played by drafting new cards into your deck and building a new deck with all of your additions. Deckbuilders involve a lot of drawing through your deck and building up from a little deck of weak cards into a larger deck full of powerful cards. You will draw cards, play them, discard them, and once your draw deck has run out you will shuffle your discard pile to create your new deck.

In Star Realms, all of the cards you play are either spaceships or bases. You start a game of Star Realms with 10 cards in your deck, 8 “trade” ships (money) and 2 “combat” ships. In the middle will be a trade row with a designated spot for improved trade ships and 5 spots for ships, drawn from the trade deck, that are up for purchase. Each player starts with 50 “authority” (health) and the goal of the game is to attack your opponent directly, with combat, in order to reduce their authority to 0.

Star Realms play is pretty simple, almost every turn you will play all the cards in your hand, add up your trade and combat, and then buy and attack. Because you are able to play all of your cards each turn the biggest decision you need to make is which cards you should buy from the trade row each turn.

The Unique Attributes of Star Realms:
Let’s start getting into the meat of the game. In Star Realms there are four unique factions:

-Star Empire (Yellow): these ships have a focus on card manipulation. Whether it’s allowing you to draw more cards, or forcing your opponent to discard cards from their hand. They have a little more focus on combat.

-Trade Federation (Blue): this faction is the only faction with the ability to regain authority (health). They also have a good mix of combat and trade.

-Machine Cult (Red): everyone’s favorite faction, these folks give you many chances to scrap (permanently destroy) your weaker cards from you deck, allowing you to make your deck smaller so you draw your better cards more frequently. Definitely a faction every player should try to pick up a few cards.

-Blob (Green): these goons are all about COMBAT. With already some high combat they get more combat with increased numbers. Also have some card drawing abilities.

These factions are important because if you play cards from the same faction you will get a bonus depending on the card. Usually it’s beneficial to focus on one or two factions when you are buying cards to maximize the use of these ally abilities.

Bases are another important part to Star Realms. When you play a base it will be in play until it is destroyed. Each base also has a faction and these continuous abilities really add up. Your opponent can attack these bases if they have a combat equal to or higher than the bases health.
There are two different types of bases, normal bases, and outposts. Outposts act as a wall for you and your other bases. Your opponent can not attack you or your other bases until he/she first destroys that outpost. This extra line of defense could be the difference between a win and lose!

Scrapping cards is the final important concept in Star Realms. Scrapping allows you to permanently destroy a card, so instead of sending the card to your discard pile you will send it to the scrap pile, never to be seen again. Scrapping is important for either getting rid of early, weak cards (see the Machine Cult above) or some ships have special scrap abilities. These are bonus abilities that could give you a little boost for that turn, but you have to pay by scraping that ship. Let’s say you almost have enough combat to destroy an outpost, you might be able to scrap one of your cards to increase your combat that turn giving you enough to destroy it. Scrapping is often times situational and you don’t want to scrap all of your cards too early in the game!

A Look at Multiplayer:
Star Realms is a fantastic two-player game. It’s compact, and not very expensive for such a quality game. However, I usually play games with a group of friends compared to just a significant other. Luckily Star Realms has rules for playing 3-6 player games, you just need multiple copies of the game. I immediately bought a second copy of Star Realms, and it’s been a ton of fun!
There are multiple different ways to play multiplayer games. You can play free-for-all, running the risk of people teaming up on others. Or you can play Hunter, where you can only attack the player to your left directly, and you can attack the persons bases to your left OR right (allowing you to defend yourself a little bit from your attacker). There’s also rules for team play with a shared authority or a 1 vs. many type of game. I haven’t been able to experiment with all of these different game modes.
Do not fear the multiplayer in this game. It plays exactly the same as the two-player game, just a little bit slower (obviously because there’s more players) If you have a group to play with, invest in more than one copy of Star Realms, or have multiple people in the group buy their own copy and then combine them on game nights!

Impressions of Star Realms:
Star Realms is a fabulously executed game. Each faction is unique and balanced with their own strengths and weaknesses. The art on each card is also unique and it gives you a good feel for what each faction represents. Whether it’s the nobility of the massive Trade Federation ships, or the aggressive swarm of Blob ships. The mechanics within each faction are solid as well.
The game is very straight forward and the rules are simple to understand. I also love that you are directly attacking each other instead of individually building up victory points. Each defense you put into play directly effects your opponents attacks.
If you love deckbuilders, Star Realms would be a great addition to your library. If you want to try deckbuilders, Star Realms is a great place to start. If you are looking for a cheap, compact game great for traveling, Star Realms is the game for you. If you’re looking for a fantastic game overall with some good strategy and brilliant gameplay, look no further than Star Realms.

Go to the Smash Up page

Smash Up

24 out of 26 gamers thought this was helpful

Smash Up is called Smash Up for two reasons. Reason number 1, you take two unique decks of cards and smash them together to create a new one. Reason number 2, the goal of the game is to smash up bases with your minions in order to score the most points! It was the first game I bought without actually trying it first. The thought of seeing Wizard-Dinosaurs battle Ninja-Zombies to see who could create the most destruction really appealed to my inner child. Luckily I wouldn’t regret my decision to buy it on a whim, because Smash Up has turned out to be a fantastic game!

The cards look great. Each one has fun artwork and it is very easy to tell which cards belong to the Alien faction and which cards are Robots. They’re all colorful and nicely illustrated. In the box you’ll find 8 different factions each with their own play style.

Aliens: Aliens are a some what aggressive faction that excel at sending cards from the bases to their owners hand. They love messing with player’s plans and they set people back. They also have some unique cards that allow them to transform a base into a new one, or score some free Victory Points.

Dinosaurs: Dinosaurs are all about that POWER! I mean, they’re huge dinosaurs with laser cannons on their backs. They have the highest powered minion in the game, and have tons of cards that increase their minions power values. Play your cards right and you can break a base unexpectedly in one turn. They also have a few cards to help protect those minions, so it’s not all bite with them.

Ninjas: It’s a little more difficult to master the way of the Ninja, but that does not make them weak! Ninjas have a lot of single-target abilities that completely wreck your opponents minions. Ninjas are also extra sneaky and have multiple abilities that they can play out of turn, giving your opponent a surprise. They’re a great utility faction.

Pirates: Always sailing from port to port, pirates do a lot of moving about from base to base. They can quickly score a base just by strategically moving their minions at the right time. Pirates also have some great fire power and are great at destroying a large mass of weak minions in a single turn! A great counter to Zombies or Robots.

Robots: Speaking of Robots, they’re next. Robots are unique in that they’re all about minions, and they have a lot of them! With 18 minions in a deck of 20 (compared to other decks 10 minions) they excel in numbers. The more robots out there, the more powerful they can become. Robots are also great at playing multiple minions all in one turn, the only setback is that almost all of them are very weak.

Tricksters: Fairies, imps, leprechauns, if you don’t already find them annoying you soon will! Tricksters are a very defensive faction. If you take action against them expect to pay some sort of ramification. Tricksters are great at locking down a base to claim as their own.

Wizards: If you love drawing through your deck in deckbuilding games, Wizards are the faction for you! They have many cards that allow you to either draw another card, play an extra action, or even play a second minion. They require a lot of planning ahead, strategy, and luck of the draw. Their turns take quite a bit of time with all of their planning and they may not be the best for beginners.

Zombies: Last but certainly never to be forgotten, we have our Zombie friends. Can you guess what they do? No they don’t infect other players cards (that would be kind of cool) but they do come back from the dead. Zombies love when cards are in their discard pile, because they’ll just get them back again soon! They have quite a lot of weaker cards and excel at swarming over a base with numbers.

In addition to the factions are base cards, each with a different point value and many of them have unique abilities either when you play a minion on them or when they are finally scored. We’ll discuss bases a bit more soon!

How To Play:
Smash Up is quite easy to learn. First, each player picks one faction, then the last player who picked chooses a second faction and it goes back around the table in reverse order. You can also determine factions randomly, or do some sort of trading, there’s some freedom in how you go about choosing your decks. After you layout bases according to the number of player you begin play! During each turn the player get’s to play one minion and/or one action in any order. Actions are either one time uses or are played on a minion/base as an ongoing affect. Your goal is to play minions, each of which have a power value, on the bases in the middle, each of the bases has a breakpoint. Before the end of each players turn you check each base to see if the combined value of all minions on the base has reached the bases breakpoint. This is important because bases that weren’t ready to be scored last turn may be ready this turn! Once a base has reached it’s breakpoint you’re ready to score it. Each player counts up their respective power values on the base and determines who comes in first, second, third. Then distribute victory points according to the bases VP numbers.
After a base scores switch it out for a new one and the current player draws two cards.
The first player to reach 15 VP wins the game!
That’s about it, as you can see it’s pretty easy to play with only 1 minion and 1 action being played per turn. The biggest decision you need to make is when to play each card from your hand.

Impressions of Smash Up:
Overall Smash Up is a fantastic game. The gameplay is simple and fun. I love the idea of destroying bases and you always need to consider the other players power values on a base when you play. Many cards directly affect another player when played so you are constantly adjusting your plans in accordance with your opponents. At times Smash Up may play a little slow, especially with players who are unfamiliar with their cards. Also, sometimes the wording get’s a little confusing when you’re determining which abilities affect actions that are played on minions or which ones that are played on bases. There also may be moments when a certain faction feels overpowered, but this is always a result of the card draws. When you really analyze each individual faction you find that each one can be countered by another and they all have strengths and weaknesses.
I love the freedom of play because you are able to make a choice about which bases you want to work towards and at what moments you should start thinking about directly countering your opponents moves. There also is some freedom in terms of rules. I view this as a strength of the game. Do you pick factions blindly? Do you increase the VP goal to 20 for a marathon game? If you’re playing a two player game do you try a combination of 3 different factions? There’s all sorts of different adjustments you can make to the game depending on the group you’re playing with.
The game has great replayability, with all sorts of different faction combinations and some awesome expansions. I come from a family of five so I immediately went out and bought the Awesome Level 9000 expansion and I’m excited to play a five or six player next time we all get together! The expansions add all sorts of new strategies and counters.

All in all I think Smash Up is a great game that everyone should try. It appeals to all sorts of different gamer types, and other than some minor problems it is a great addition to any gaming library!

Go to the Loopin' Louie page

Loopin' Louie

17 out of 20 gamers thought this was helpful

Loopin’ Louie is a great game for all ages. It’s a game I grew up playing when I was much younger, and even today I like to bring it out for some great memories. The game stars Louie, a crazed pilot who takes great joy in terrorizing the local chickens. Your job is to save those chickens!

LL is so simple. You man a plastic catapult that you will use to defend your chickens (small coins). Meanwhile Louie hovers above and swoops down to try to knock your chickens off their stand. He is attached to a motorized, rotating arm and you must use your little catapult to send Louie high into the sky away from your barn, and hopefully onto an opponents chickens. Whoever is the last to have chickens standing after Louie’s assault is the declared the winner!

LL is a great, casual game for families, or an easy filler game. On the surface it may seem boring, but there’s actually a little more going on once you play it. You quickly realize that the game requires a good amount of timing, reflexes, and control of power behind your catapult swings. Do you give Louie a little tap just to survive? Or do you wail on him sending him over your chickens and diving onto your opponents? Depending on how you hit him you’ll soon see Louie flipping and flying through the air, and sometimes it’s hard to tell where he’ll land! He also has a little bounce to his landing due to the looseness of his mechanical arm. Sometimes you may think your chicken is doomed but instead he gracefully bounces over your barn. I often find my friends wanting to play round after round to try to figure out the best strategy.

I’ve loved Loopin’ Louie over the years. The art is light-hearted and the gameplay is fast paced. It keeps me coming back time and time again. Unfortunately it’s hard to find these days, that’s why I’m happy that we already have our copy in our family.

Go to the Scotland Yard page

Scotland Yard

126 out of 136 gamers thought this was helpful

Scotland Yard is a 1 vs many, hide and seek board game. This is a family favorite for me, I grew up playing Scotland Yard. And I like it so much that I bought my own copy when I went off to college.
In this game one individual will take on the role of Mr. X, a mysterious fugitive on the run after committing some horrendous crime, I’m sure. The other players act as detectives on the hunt to bring Mr. X to justice. Everyone is about to embark on an epic chase through London.

How to Play:
In Scotland Yard each player uses tickets to move from stop to stop on the gameboard. This tickets are either taxis (white) buses (blue) or underground (red). Detectives are given a set number of each ticket while Mr. X has nigh infinite number of tickets. Almost every space has a taxi stop on it, however these are all short stops, useful for moving among side streets and when you’re getting closer to catching Mr. X. Buses are the middle man, they aren’t as numerous as taxis but they travel a longer distance, and some of them have unique routes. Undergrounds have the fewest stops, but they travel the longest distance. Good for catching up with Mr. X if he is far away. OR they help Mr. X get out of Dodge if the detectives are on his tale. Each stop is numbered and some stops have multiple different modes of transportation connected to them.
Now catching Mr. X isn’t as easy as it sounds. While the detectives may out number Mr. X, he is quite good at blending in the London crowd. All of Mr. Xs moves are invisible from the detectives, he records them in a travel log and the detectives are able to see which tickets he uses. The only time he reveals himself to the detectives is during certain turns as designated on his travel log. The detectives will have to work together to coordinate their movements to box Mr. X in and hopefully catch him.
So it’s clear how the detectives win, catch Mr. X by moving onto the same space as him/ him moving onto the same space as a detective, but how does Mr. X win? Well, he can win two ways. Option one, if all the detectives can no longer move (for example if they are stuck on a taxi only stop but are out of taxi tickets) Option two is if Mr. X reaches the end of his travel log (he probably flies a helicopter out of the city)
Mr. X also has a couple tricks up his sleeve. He has the option to play a “black ticket” which can be used for any means of transportation (taxi, bus, or underground) This means the detectives may not know which stop he went to if they were close to catching him. Mr. X may also use these black tickets to ride the ferry down river, something the detectives can not do. Mr. X’s final trick is a X2 move, this allows him to move twice in one turn. That cheat!

I’m not really a stickler on the components of a game, but I think Scotland Yard’s is great. The design is pretty simple, the tickets are little cardboard pieces with the designated ticket name in big, colored letters. I also love the detective pieces, they each have a colored top and a transparent base so you can see the route number! I think this is a fantastic design choice that I wish more board games would use (earlier versions of Scotland Yard didn’t have the transparent base) At first glance the board may seem daunting with all of the stops, and poor eyes may get confused with all of the routes and numbers. However once you start playing the game and once the detectives get closer to catching Mr. X the game really focuses in on specific areas. The only problem with the pieces is, there’s a lot of tickets, and the box doesn’t hold them the best. I would definitely recommend investing in some little bags to keep them all seperated!

Impressions of Scotland Yard:
I love Scotland Yard. Like I said at the beginning, I was raised playing it so it is near and dear to my heart. But, why should YOU play it?
Scotland Yard is very easy to learn. The goals are clear, the rules are easy to follow, you don’t have a ton of different choices to make each turn. It is a pretty simple game, perhaps even a good gateway game for some looking for something new. There certainly aren’t many games like it!
I feel the game plays best with a full house (6 players) I have played a game with only four (3 detectives, and 1 Mr. X) and it was very challenging for the detectives. So it probably doesn’t scale the best, but because everyone is working together it is very easy for a group of 4 or 5 to have individuals play multiple detectives as long as they keep proper track of their tickets.
It is also a fair game. Mr. X has some good tools to stop him from feeling overwhelmed by the detectives. The others, well they have numbers on their side. It is a decent introduction to cooperative games, a lot of communication is required on the detectives side. It’s such an easy game to learn that there doesn’t need to be an “experienced” player giving orders on the detective side, everyone can have a say on the teams coordination, but most importantly their own detectives movements.
Mr. X is a different case. Being the “veteran” Scotland Yard player I often find myself in the role of Mr. X. At this point I don’t get stressed out by it, but earlier I would get a little stressed. It can be kind of scary everyone ganging up on you! Just keep your cool and act confident!
Now I don’t normally like a 1 vs. many game (i’m not a fan of one person getting singled out) but Scotland Yard takes the cake for me. I definitely feel like this is a great game that everyone should add to their collection. It’s something different!
It’s a pretty casual game that is loaded with conversation. There’s some downtime either for the players or Mr. X depending on who is taking their time on their turns, but it’s almost up there with some party games. There’s not a huge amount of strategy, but there’s not so little that people get bored. It’s also fun to do a little roleplaying as the game progresses. Start weaving a story. In one game we found the blue cop always far away from Mr. X whenever he was revealed so we gave him a very clueless personality. Over time each detective took on a different personality depending on their playstyle, like some Hollywood comedy. Also if you’re a fan of London the setting is right up your alley.

What else can I say about Scotland Yard. I could probably keep going but I’ll stop. I feel like this is a relatively unknown game, but it truly is a hidden gem. On the surface it seems pretty bland, but underneath there’s a lot more going on. I know it keeps me coming back time and time again!

Go to the Forbidden Island page

Forbidden Island

66 out of 75 gamers thought this was helpful

Do you love Pandemic? But you feel like it might be a little to “meaty” for your group of friends? Then try Forbidden Island!

Forbidden Island is a cooperative game where the goal is to grab the four treasures and get out of Dodge before the island sinks completely! The game is made-up of different (nicely illustrated) island tiles with a normal side and a blue “flooded” side) Each turn you get four actions, move, “shore up” (turning a tile over from it’s “flooded” state back to it’s normal state) give a treasure card, and capture one of the treasures by turning in four matching cards of the same tile. After each persons turn you draw more flood cards which flood more tiles. Each player also has unique abilities that will help you on your expedition.

The game is pretty exciting as you battle the forces of nature to buy yourself enough time to grab the treasure. As the game goes on the island sinks faster and faster, hopefully you don’t get stranded on a floating island! The game is very simple to learn so it is great for families, and the cooperative aspect is always fun for a casual game night.

The game pieces and tiles are all very sleek and look great, but things get a little confusing because many of the tiles have a “sister” tile that has a similar look and name. Also, the theme of exploring an island for treasure really appeals to me, but the game is a little simple and it’s not the easiest to immerse yourself in the island. Not a whole lot of exploring goes on, mostly running around fighting off the flood. It really is very similar to Pandemic, just a little less going happening, and you’re not fighting deadly diseases.

Overall my friends and I enjoy playing it, however it needs a little more strategy to keep me going. Perhaps I should try Forbidden Desert!

Go to the Betrayal at House on the Hill page
30 out of 33 gamers thought this was helpful

Betrayal has elements of co-op, exploration, and 1 vs many all wrapped up in a horror themed package. Game starts with characters exploring a house and discovering rooms where they will find items (useful through the entire game) experience events (often times more harm than good!) and find omens (mixed bag of good and bad.) Eventually once enough omens are found, the haunt starts, usually with a traitor being selected among the players. Once the haunt starts the players will have end-game objectives and spend the rest of the game achieving those. However you don’t know the traitors objectives. This is a cool aspect but depending on the haunt can sometimes run into confusion and disagreements on rules. That’s about it.

My friends and I bought Betrayal and have played quite a few rounds. I believe we were playing one of the older editions, so maybe some things have been corrected in newer editions. We have found that setting the mood and doing a little roleplaying helps the game a lot. While it may be a “horror” theme you can’t help but laugh at some of the situations you end up.

There are 50 different haunts which give great replay value. Many are very creative (one has a bird pick-up the house and everyone fights for parachutes) but they’re not all equal. Some of them are relatively straight forward in their objectives, others are very confusing. Some we even found to be kind of broken where either the traitor is overpowered or the survivors.

Before the haunt you spend your time getting power-ups…. or taking tons of damage. Your characters are relatively weak so it’s not uncommon for a few people to be low on health and others stats once the haunt starts. It’s also not uncommon for the traitor to be almost dead, resulting in a disappointing haunt.

Overall, I think this would be a great game for everyone to try if you like a roleplaying, horror themed game. There’s a lot of freedom and good replay value, however not all the scenarios are equal. Sometimes, depending on the situation, they contradict with the rules. However, despite some confusion I enjoyed the games we played. Especially our most recent in which I found myself as a Vampire Lord. After slaughtering many the sun was about to rise. I found myself in an elevator with the last survivor, just as he was escaping through the open doors I pounced on him, killing him and winning the game. Quite thematic!

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