Betrayal At House On The Hill (Rules and Instructions)

Looking to have a horror-filled night with friends, but tired of watching scary movies and telling ghost stories? Whether it’s Halloween, Friday the 13th, or any time you and your friends need a scare, Betrayal at House on the Hill is a fun game to play.

Betrayal at House on the Hill, by Avalon Hill, is an adventurous, horror-driven board game that allows you and other players to traverse through a haunted house. 

Upon exploring each room, you learn that one of your fellow explorers is a traitor and will turn against those of you who remain!

While investigating the house, players will find items, weapons, and even pick up companions to join their party! However, no one knows who the traitor will be until the inevitable Haunt has been revealed! 

Easy to learn and thrilling to play, this game takes approximately 25 minutes to learn and 60 minutes to play

If you are looking to have a fun and spooky night with friends and family, continue reading below to find out how to play Betrayal At House on the Hill.

What is Betrayal at House on the Hill?

Betrayal At House On The Hill Board Game Info Image

Betrayal at House on the Hill is an expansive board game with miniature figures set in a mysterious haunted house. Each player takes on the role of an explorer determined to investigate every unique room and floor in the house to find what lurks in the shadows.

Winner of the Origins Awards “Gamers’ Choice Award” in 2004 and Nominee for the Japan Boardgame Prize “Best Advanced Game” in 2005, Betrayal at House on the Hill continues to be a fan favorite to this day!

Number of players: 3-6 Players

Ages: 12+ years

Difficulty: Medium 

Length of play: 60 Minutes

Category: Adventure, Exploration, Horror, Mystery, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Similar to: Mansions of Madness, Mysterium, Clue, Ouija

Main Objective: Whether hero or traitor, whoever survives and completes their Haunt goal first, wins! 

Why We Love It: It provides nearly endless replayability without playing the same story twice (unless you choose to). The traitor in the game is chosen at random, which creates fair game play every time.

Playing Betrayal at House on the Hill – What You’ll Need

Everything you need to play Betrayal at House on the Hill is provided in the box.

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The original box contains:

  • 1 Rulebook
  • 2 Haunt Books (Traitor’s Tome and Secrets of Survival)
  • 44 Room Tiles
  • 1 Entrance Hall/Foyer/Grand Staircase Tile
  • 6 Plastic Explorer Figures
  • 6 Two-Sided Character Cards
  • 30 Plastic Clips for Character Cards
  • 8 Dice 
  • 1 Turn/Damage track
  • 13 Omen Cards
  • 22 Item Cards
  • 45 Event Cards
  • 149 Tokens, including:
  • 12 Large circular monster tokens
  • 91 Small circular monster tokens (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and magenta)
  • 14 Square event and room tokens
  • 14 Pentagonal item tokens
  • 18 Triangular Trait Roll Tokens

Setting up the Game

  1. Each player chooses one of the six explorer/character cards. The character cards are double sided, so each player needs to choose which version of that character they will be using. The character’s name and their physical and mental traits vary per side.
  2. Attach four of the plastic clips on each side of the character card that displays a trait. The clip’s point should be aimed at the greenstarting number for that selected character. (Physical Traits: Speed and Might / Mental Traits: Sanity and Knowledge)
  3. Separate and shuffle the Omen, Event, and Item cards into their own individual piles. Place them face down on the table within reach of all players. 
  4. Place all of the dice on the table within reach. They will be used frequently by all players.
  5. Look for the large rectangular floor tile labeled “Entrance Hall/Foyer/Grand Staircase” and two regular square floor tiles labeled “Basement Landing” and “Upper Landing”.

Place the large tile in the middle of the play area with the landing tiles distanced further apart on the table.

  1. Lastly, everyone places their character’s plastic miniature in the Entrance Hall. The player who controls the character with the nearest upcoming birthday (listed on their character card) will take the first turn! 
Betrayal at House on the Hill character cards

Suggested Area of Play

This game can be played on your standard kitchen or card table. You will reveal a lot of floor tiles throughout gameplay which will cause the game to continuously grow in size.

Also, each player will need a small amount of personal space in front of them to display their character card and other cards that will be used during gameplay.

Betrayal at House on the Hill Rules

During your turn, you may perform either or all of the following actions (if applicable):

  1. Move your character. Refer to your character’s current Speed on their card. You can move that many spaces until you explore a room that prompts you to draw a card.
  2. Discover a new room. To do this, simply walk through a doorway that doesn’t have an existing tile on the other side, then draw a floor tile. Place the tile, room side up, on the other side of the doorway.

You must place the tile in the most logical way possible, making sure that all doorways connect to other doorways the room may touch. Also, be sure to pull the appropriate floor tile for whichever floor you are currently located on.

As you continue to explore, you’ll notice that some rooms have special rules. Most of these rules are self explanatory, but you can refer to the rulebook for further details if needed.

  1. Use an Omen, Event, or Item card. If a room tile shows an Omen, Event, or Item card symbol. Stop your movement and draw the specified card. Each card will explain in detail how and when it can be used.
  2. Attempt a die roll. You can do this as many times as needed, but you cannot attempt the same die roll twice on a turn.
  3. Make an attack towards a traitor, hero, or monster. (Attacking will only be utilized after the Haunt is revealed.)

How to Play Betrayal at House on the Hill – Video

Before the Haunt

Throughout the game, you and your fellow explorers will investigate rooms that will prompt you to pick up an Omen, Event, or Item card. These cards will provide you objects, weapons and may also test your physical and/or mental traits.

You should aim to have all of your traits as high as possible before the traitor is revealed in order to be strong enough to fight the traitor and their minions.

When an Omen card is picked up, you resolve that card’s effects and place it face up in front of you for all to see. You will complete that card’s instructions and then make a Haunt roll (which is also prompted on each Omen card).

A Haunt roll is what determines if the Haunt will be revealed. Revealing the Haunt will determine who the traitor is and alter gameplay…

A Haunt roll is performed by rolling 6 dice. A Haunt can only be revealed if the roll result is equal to or greater than the number of Omen cards revealed by all players.

Revealing the Haunt

Once you roll high enough to reveal a Haunt, look into the Traitor’s Tome book for the Haunt Chart, located on the first two pages. Take note of the current room name the Haunt revealer is located in and which Omen card was picked up.

Match up the room name and Omen card on the Haunt chart, and it will provide you a Haunt number. 

Underneath the Haunt chart, look up the Haunt number to determine who the traitor will be. It will not always be the player that revealed the Haunt! Once the traitor is determined, provide them the Traitor’s Tome book and have them read the Haunt number scenario indicated. 

Provide the remaining characters (Heroes) the Secrets of Survival booklet and have them read the same Haunt number scenario in their book. The players are provided a storyline and instructions to overcome the traitor and/or monsters.

The Traitor and Heroes will both have their own separate winning goals that will need to be met in order to beat the game!

NOTE: The Traitors and Heroes should not share ANY information to each other about their instructions unless absolutely necessary!

After the Haunt

Once the players have an understanding of their new instructions with the revealed Haunt, they can continue gameplay. Everyone still utilizes the same game rules as before, except the following:

  1. When you enter a room with an Omen symbol, you may still pick up an Omen card, but you will no longer need to make a Haunt roll.
  2. If your secret instructions tell you to do something that conflicts with a rule used in regular gameplay, follow the secret instructions provided instead. 
  3. You are now allowed to attack other players and monsters! To attack, you must perform a Might roll against another player/monster. The other player/monster will roll their Might to defend. However, some Haunt scenarios may change what type of roll is used.

If the defending player rolls lower than the attacker, they must take physical damage equal to the difference of the two rolls. If they roll equal to or higher than the attacker, they are safe from any damage.

If you take too much damage, your character will die! All of your character’s belongings will be dropped in the room where you were killed, allowing other characters to pick up and utilize them for the rest of the game. 

There will be additional rules provided by the Haunt, including how to control monsters, but this all varies depending on which Haunt is being played. 

How to Win

To win Betrayal at House on the Hill, you need to be the first player/s to defeat the opposing party by accomplishing your winning goal provided in the current Haunt scenario.

Betrayal at House on the Hill overview

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Betrayal at House on the Hill scary?

The game has an eerie feel to it but should not frighten anyone over the recommended playing age of 12. 

Is Betrayal at House on the Hill OK for kids?

If they are above the age of 12, then yes! There is no foul language, but does involve some gruesome details such as blood and gore. 

If you want a less frightening experience with your kids with similar gameplay, you can look into Scooby Doo in Betrayal at Mystery Mansion instead! 

Is Betrayal at House on the Hill replayable?

Very much so! The base game includes 50 separate Haunt scenarios to play with, and only one Haunt scenario is used per game session.

You could replay some of the Haunt scenarios if desired, but keep in mind that some players may already know the secrets if they played that one previously.

Can you play Betrayal at House on the Hill with 2 players?

Unfortunately, no. This game is only meant to be played with 3-6 players. 

Betrayal at House on the Hill Expansions

Due to the popularity of Betrayal at House on the Hill, an expansion has been made for the base game: Betrayal at House on The Hill: Widow’s Walk Expansion

This expansion provides all new room tiles, cards, tokens, and 50 new Haunt scenarios. The entire expansion can be combined with the base game!

Two very similar editions of Betrayal at House on the Hill are Scooby Doo in Betrayal at Mystery Mansion and Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate. Both versions are played almost identically to the original but provide different themes to fit your mood.

Betrayal Legacy is a role-playing narrative board game. This edition lets you and your friends start a 13 episode campaign, but certain decisions you make could permanently alter future gameplay!

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