By Scott Schweinfurth
Name of Game: Betrayal Legacy
Type of Game: Legacy
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 hands
Betrayal Legacy is a semi-cooperative campaign board game that tells an overarching story of the House on the Hill incorporating the actions and choices of the players.
Over the course of the campaign, the game is permanently altered until players are left with a fully customizable, re-playable board game version of the critically-acclaimed Betrayal at House on the Hill.
Betrayal Legacy is a stand-alone experience designed in partnership by Avalon Hill and award-winning “legacy” designer, Rob Daviau.
I remember playing the first edition of “Betrayal at the House on the Hill”. I loved it. It was great at recreating some of my favorite horror movies/motifs and the fact that it could be completely different every time you played was amazing to me. I bought a copy of the second edition when it came out and played it whenever I could. When I heard that an expansion was being released nearly 14 years later, I was elated. Sure, the end of each game could be different, but that could only happen 50 times. Introducing new haunts and items sounded great. And when a new version was released in 2017 (Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate) I was thrilled to see the improvements they made.
Then, last year, they announced a legacy version. A version where the decisions the players made had a lasting impact on the game. A version where the stories that were told at the beginning would play a part at the end. I am a big fan of legacy games and could not wait to get my hands on this one.
In Betrayal at the House on the Hill, players start off working together to explore and experience a creepy house they have found. As they explore, they have various spooky encounters and discover different items, some of which have evil properties. At some point, one of these items will trigger “the haunt”, at which point the betrayal occurs. One of the players will be named the traitor and actively work to accomplish their goals while attempting to stop the other players from achieving theirs.
In Betrayal Legacy, you play a family and their encounters within a house over centuries, and each game and haunt played in the campaign have a lasting effect. Did the traitor summon an imp and the heroes failed to stop it? Well, that imp stays around and may have an impact on future games. Did the heroes burn a room of the house down to stop the traitor? Well, that room will never appear in the house again. Now each haunt at the house has an overarching story behind it.
When we sat down to play the prelude, I was excited. Then the prelude had such an awesome moment in it that when it was done I couldn’t wait to see what other twists and turns the game had in store. The answer was: not many. Unfortunately, Betrayal Legacy shares the major issue of its predecessors: some of the haunts just aren’t that good. Whether they are extremely lopsided for one side or the other (I’m looking at you, Haunt 12!) or just confusingly written to the point that no one knew if and when they had won, there were a handful of games that when we were done I was disappointed or even just plain frustrated. Of course, the opposite was also true. There were games that were so much fun that I was practically demanding to immediately play again. This was especially true of the haunts that tied directly into the main story. They were amazing and I found those to be the best games we played.
In addition, Betrayal Legacy introduces a fun prop into the gameplay that had fun (and eventually very interesting) effect on the game. I had a ton of fun with anything tied to this prop including, and maybe even because of, all the silly rituals that were supposed to go along with it. As a result, I kept it even when we were instructed to throw it out.
In the end, I enjoyed the 14 games we played overall, even if some of the individual games were disappointing, and now I have a unique version of Betrayal at the House on the Hill that is the end result of our experiences.