Cancel the open house and dig out the flashlights because the spookiest home in board games is planning a new edition sometime in the vague future. Betrayal at House on the Hill announced a third edition to the popular cooperative (until it isn’t) board game in a YouTube video, though not much else is known at this point.
The video was posted to the Hasbro Pulse YouTube channel, which primarily serves to host product reveals and fan-focused streams for several Hasbro properties. Among them is Avalon Hill, the longtime publisher of the Betrayal series since its initial release in 2004. The majority of the 28-second clip shows a door opening at the end of a cobweb-infested hallway, smoke billowing out of it and an eerie green light flashing in the room beyond. Plenty of Halloween-appropriate sound effects and flashes accompany this scene until it transitions to the reveal and ends on a menacing message to “Watch your back.”
If it seems weird to talk about the clip in such detail, it's only because there’s not much else to it. Neither Avalon Hill nor Hasbro has provided any additional information, but Dicebreaker has reached out for more information. A copyright symbol in the bottom indicates the video was created sometime in 2021, though why the companies waited until now could be due to production and shipping delays, changes in Hasbro’s schedule following the recent death of its CEO or any other number of everyday changes.
The second edition of Betrayal at House on the Hill released in October of 2010, addressing a number of necessary balance issues, rules errata and general clarity. The publishers also replaced several scenarios, known as haunts, with newly written material that can still be found in printing today. The first edition is no longer in print, though boxes can still be found for sale online.
Betrayal at House on the Hill sets itself up as an ostensible cooperative board game, where players choose one amongst a cast of horror movie trope characters - the jock, the village librarian, the precocious child, etc. - and explore the eponymous mansion room by room. As doors are opened, new tiles are randomly placed onto the board and expand the house’s environs, often revealing secret passageways, hazards and useful items.
Play continues in this exploratory stage until enough omens have been revealed, which signals the beginning of the Haunt. Depending on which items, rooms and characters have been revealed, one scenario from the game’s book will change the second half of the game. Often, one of the players becomes the antagonist, gaining new abilities and NPC allies in their new quest to hunt down and kill their old friends. Whether cursed with lycanthropy, possessed by a murderous ghost or some other grisly fate, this betrayer throws the tense mood of the board game into a thrilling race for escape.
Several variations on the core Betrayal experience have been created since the second edition’s printing, including the Dungeons & Dragons-themed Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate and Betrayal Legacy’s 13-chapter campaign that adopted mechanics from other popular legacy boards games, such as permanent changes to rooms and items and decisions that can echo throughout several sessions. Classic cartoon fans likely got a kick out of the more mild spooks of Betrayal at Mystery Manor, which swapped the stock characters for the cast of Scooby-Doo.
Betrayal was originally designed by Bruce Glassco, Rob Daviau, Bill McQuillan, Mike Selinker, and Teeuwynn Woodruffand. Daviau would return to the series with Betrayal Legacy soon after developing the arguably first legacy board game in 2011’s Risk Legacy. Avalon Hill once created strategy games and wargames before being purchased by Hasbro in 1998 and having all of its staff laid off. Since then, it has largely been responsible for existing brands such as Axis & Allies.
The timing is ripe for a third edition of what has remained a solid horror board game, and one often used as a gateway deeper into the hobby. Keep checking Dicebreaker for more information as it becomes available.