Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate | The Tabletop Letters

Dear Readers,

I hope you’ve had a great week. It was a long week for me, and I’m grateful to have had a productive weekend so far, though it’s been a bumpy week with deep ruts and I suspect I’ll be bottled by it for a while.

This game is a lot like “Betrayal at House on the Hill“, except the characters and scenery are inspired by Dungeons and Dragons and are fitting for that world.

You don’t need knowledge of Dungeons and Dragons to play it though, and some things seemed improved over the other version. Characters each have a unique ability beyond just the stats of Knowledge/Sanity/Speed/Might – in the other game there’s flavor text but the characters have no special abilities.

I chose to play a Paladin because the ability for this character was to not draw an event card, which often have negative side effects. This proved useful! A good strategy for the game is to try to explore as many rooms as possible before the inevitable betrayal happens.

Wash in “Firefly” – from the mind of Joss Whedon

Another feature that may seem small, but felt like an obvious need from the first game is tracking tokens. Certain tiles allow your character to improve their knowledge/sanity/speed/might once per game. These tokens can be placed on the tile to indicate that a player has already used that opportunity. These weren’t in Betrayal at House on the Hill and could easily be a source of confusion and infighting. (Not that we would do such a thing, but … just saying…)

For a beefed up version of Betrayal at House on the Hill, try Betrayal at Baldur’a Gate.

Here’s the breakdown:

Players: 3-6 Players

Play time: 60 minutes

Age: 12+

By: Wizards of the Coast

Here we go- I’ll rank it on Accessibility, Mechanics, and Engagement.

Accessibility ⭐️⭐️⭐️🌑🌑

Like I mentioned- it is based on Dungeons and Dragons, but it seems like people who aren’t familiar with that universe would find it enjoyable still. I certainly am not as well versed as my husband in all things D&D, yet I still enjoyed it. I gave it a slightly less accessible rating because some of the characters would probably be a steeper learning curve if a player hadn’t ever heard terms like paladin or cleric before. While the terms are used, it’s still very straightforward.

The graphics were very detailed and seemed more important than the previous game. This would be one worth wearing EnChroma glasses or reading glasses to play! There is a bit of small text, and even though no one who played was color blind, there were still a few instances where due to plain distance some of the finer points of a card added confusion.

This does seem like it would be difficult for younger children – the forethought involved with being the traitor (an entire book with scenarios and changing game dynamics) might be a bit much for some younger players I’ve known.

Mechanics ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The game is pretty easy to play once everything is setup. I mentioned earlier the tracking tokens, which would add a star in my book, but to balance that out there is a star I would detract as well for this version.

Maybe it seems harsh to subtract a whole star for this, but it was a source of annoyance. In the original game there 3 levels, and the room tiles indicate whether they will work for the basement, main level, or upper level on the back of the tile. Instead of 3 levels there are just 2 levels in this game but not all tiles will work with all doors: the doors have two different types. This seemed like an unnecessary complication.

My strategy in this game was too boost as many stats as I could as quickly as possible and try to open as many rooms as I could. I mentioned part of this before, and my reasoning is – in the other game I’ve not utilized those stat boosts and regretted it. It didn’t make sense to waste turns to get back to where the star boosts ended up being when I’d passed them by.

Also, as far as opening up rooms, with this time when we played, we fought against a water monster that flooded multiple spaces, causing us to possibly drown. When we played the other game with a banshee, it was beneficial to have more space for the monster to streak past.

I don’t think you can have too many rooms open in this game, but I might be wrong.

Engagement ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️🌑

The engagement was improved over the original game, at least for this haunt. The turn play is quick.

Once the haunt began instead of a character sitting idly by, with this haunt the deceased became agents of the monster and were able to assist in flooding. It ended up being left up to me and I rolled too low by one. I doomed us all!

In Conclusion: This game was a lot of fun. The replay value is significant. We really enjoyed it as well as the original Betrayal at House on the Hill.

Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate is available on Amazon.

This is the last of the posts (for now) with the holly table cloth bedecked with crumbs! ‘Till next Yuletide!

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