7 Games like Betrayal at House on the Hill
Betrayal at House on the Hill is one of the most beloved games of this gaming renaissance. With players playing the parts of B-Movie protagonists, exploring a haunted house, what isn’t there to love? As you explore the mansion you flip over tiles and find Omens. Enough Omens and the haunt begins.
Betrayal at House on the Hill is what we call a one-against-many semi-cooperative game. Midway through the game, when that haunt takes place, the game flips on its head. Suddenly, what was a cooperative experience, exploring the mansion in all of its glory, one player typically takes the role of the traitor. It then becomes a battle of the wits – one player on the side of evil, and the rest on the side of good.
Of course, it doesn’t always play out that way, and some play throughs of Betrayal at House on the Hill can be somewhat disappointing – however, that is the general concept.
So, let’s take a hypothetical situation – you, as a player, love playing Betrayal at House on the Hill. You want to play other games like it – well, what do you play? Well fear not, dear hypothetical reader, today we’re going to look at a few games like Betrayal at House on the Hill to start you on your journey.
When looking at games like Betrayal at House on the Hill we are going to look at a few different elements. Firstly, we’re going to look at games that share that exploration mechanic – games where you have to discover the world around you. We’re also going to look at games with that traitor mechanic, and then finally, we’re going to look at some of the best horror themed games out there.
Here’s our list of games like Betrayal at House on the Hill.
Games like Betrayal at House on the Hill
Honourable Mention: Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate
Okay, so before we start there is one game on this list that needs an honourable mention – and that is Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate.
A spin off of the core game, Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate is a game that is set in the D&D universe, but that also follows the core concept of Betrayal at House on the Hill.
Now, if you asked me to choose between Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate and Betrayal at House on the Hill then the competition wouldn’t be very close. Where Baldur’s Gate polishes some of the more flawed mechanics in Betrayal at House on the Hill, the theme just doesn’t translate as well as it does with the base game. Exploring the Elfsong Tavern doesn’t have the same sense of adventure or dread that exploring the house does in classic Betrayal.
That being said, it is still a good game. It is still enjoyable, so if you don’t like the horror theme of the original game, it is a good alternative. Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate also has slightly more complex characters based on the 12 D&D classes. This gives them special abilities, so if that is your bag then go for it.
Since it is a spin off though, I wasn’t counting it as a part of the list, so let’s move on.
Dead of Winter
When thinking about Betrayal at House on the Hill, and games like Betrayal, there is one game that truly comes to mind. That game is Dead of Winter.
Now, Dead of Winter is a more adult version of Betrayal. Dead of Winter is simply excellent for being a more complex, but also deeper, horror survival game.
In Dead of Winter (and the sequel, Dead of Winter: The Long Night) you play the part of survivors looking after an encampment of people after the zombie apocalypse has hit. Each turn you need to go out into the wider world and scavenge for supplies, not only to complete missions but also to keep everyone alive. There is an exploration aspect, as well as a large number of characters (we actually looked at Dead of Winter: The Long Night characters a couple of months ago – there are lots of them), each with their own stats and special abilities.
What is more, Dead of Winter has a traitor mechanic, as each player is given a secret objective. One player is given the objective to secretly sabotage the plans of everyone else, and this can be brutal. The real bummer though, is that you, as the players, have no idea which one of you the traitor is. Only they know, and that can make for some superb gameplay.
All-in-all, Dead of Winter is a must if you like horror survival games, and if you like the traitor mechanic.
Arkham Horror: The Card Game
Oh yeah, it was inevitable that Arkham Horror: The Card Game would make this list as it is, in my humble opinion, one of the best horror themed games out there today. It is simply spectacular.
Okay, so you need to take this with a pinch of salt, but I adore Arkham Horror: The Card Game. It oozes mystery, story, and that horror aspect that you get in games like Betrayal at House on the Hill. Based on the works of HP Lovecraft, an author who also inspired some of the haunts in Betrayal at House on the Hill, Arkham Horror is worth checking out. I’ve mentioned it a fair bit recently, so I won’t go into too much in this article – but if you want to hear me talk about how wonderful it is for over 3000 words then you can read the review I wrote here.
Arkham Horror is a rare treat in board games. It takes themes present in Betrayal and adds a strong narrative around it, to create something truly unique and wonderful.
Out of all the games mentioned on this list so far, 7 Wonders is probably the one that is going to take the most explanation. Why recommend it? I hear you ask.
Well, there is a simple reason for suggesting 7Wonders and that is for the weight of the game.
“Say what?” I hear you ask.
Well bear with me, dear reader (I reply), and I will explain.
Betrayal at House on the Hill is, at its heart, a relatively light game. It is far more story driven than it is strategy driven, and that creates a really interesting dynamic within the game. That being said, it is accessible, and that is one of the biggest strengths that Betrayal at House on the Hill has.
Now, when looking at games like Betrayal at House on the Hill, it is easy to just stick to mechanical or thematically similar games – but what about accessibility? It is for accessibility that I would recommend 7 Wonders to anyone who enjoys Betrayal at House on the Hill.
7 Wonders is, in many ways, nothing like Betrayal at House on the Hill. For a start, it is more strategy focused than it is driven by a narrative. It is a card drafting game, not a game in which you control a character, and you are not trying to escape a house, but rather build a civilisation. That being said, 7 Wonders is a very well-crafted game. It is a game that is beloved by thousands of gamers across the globe, and it is well worth checking out. Everyone I know who enjoys Betrayal at House on the Hill enjoys 7 Wonders, and I actually know more players who enjoy 7 Wonders over Betrayal at House on the Hill. Just trust me, take a look and see what you think.
Fallout: The Board Game
It has exploration.
I’m not going to talk about this one too much, as I seem to mention it on every list at the moment, but if you want a solo exploration game Fallout: The Board Game is a good way to go. It is not a perfect game, and if you don’t like the video game series, don’t play the board game – but for those who do enjoy the video game and enjoy Betrayal at House on the Hill then Fallout: The Board Game is a fairly heavy game that feels quite similar to Betrayal at House on the Hill.
Just be warned – I’ve never played it with any higher player count than just me (I’ve played it solo), but I wouldn’t want to. It takes a good couple of hours to play solo, and I can only imagine it taking a whole day to play with four players.
Gloomhaven and Descent: Journeys in the Dark
Two other games that seem to make a lot of lists I write, both Gloomhaven and Descent: Journeys in the Dark are worth checking out if you enjoy board games like Betrayal at House on the Hill. Why? Well, dear reader, let me explain.
At its very core, Betrayal at House on the Hill is kind of similar to a tabletop RPG. There is a role playing element as you choose your character and work your way through the house on the haunted hill. You have stats and you collect items. You need to figure out the best way to best your opponent given the resources and stats you have under your control.
Gloomhaven and Descent: Journeys in the Dark are two games that take that RPG elements to the extreme. They are dungeon crawling RPGs, in board game form, and champion the field. Gloomhaven currently being ranked the #1 board game of all time and Descent, at time of writing, being ranked at #98.
Descent: Journeys in the Dark also has that one-versus-many aspect. It is also the lighter of the two games, both mechanically and physically. Gloomhaven weighs an absolute tonne. Don’t import it – the postage will bankrupt you.
Now, both of those games will set you back a pretty penny – neither is cheap, and they also offer experiences that are best the first time you play them. This is because both are campaign based. That being said, they are both enjoyable games. They both have their strengths. Both are worth some serious contemplation – especially if you are a fan of Betrayal at House on the Hill.
Some of the funniest moments we have ever had around a gaming table have been playing Gloom.
Gloom is a storytelling game that you can find in most friendly local gaming stores (FLGSs) and it is well worth picking up, especially if your gaming group prefers more comedic games.
The concept to Gloom is simple. You are a gothic family, with each member having their own personality. On your turn, you can generally do one of three things. You can play a negative card on yourself to make your family more miserable. You can play a positive card on someone else, to make them happier. Or, given the right cards, you can kill someone off. The winner is the player whose family is most miserable by the end of the game.
What really makes Gloom though is the collective story you tell as players. Each card has a funny title, and you can create a whole mythos behind your characters and their relationships to one another. You craft these tales that are not only darkly comic but incredibly memorable.
All in all, Gloom is a superb game worth taking note of. The structure allows for some really interesting moments, wherein a group can weave their own tale and have a fantastic evening telling stories.
So, there we have it – seven different games – all very different to one another but all worth playing. Each shares something similar with Betrayal, whether the theme, the narrative, or the difficulty.
Now, over to you. What games do you recommend to people who enjoy games like Betrayal at House on the Hill? Let me know in the comments below.