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Day 11 - Betrayal At Mystery Mansion

Betrayal at House on the Hill was a game that was talked about a lot when I first entered the hobby, the quintessential halloween game, which has since been replaced with better modern classics like Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition. However, it was one that I always fancied trying out and when hasbro brought out the family friendly Scooby Doo edition I decided to grab a copy and see how it plays.

Betrayal at Mystery Mansion has you take on the role of the Mystery Incorporated gang. You begin by choosing the type of haunt you'll face from one of 5 possible types. Each of these can lead to one of 5 possible scenarios for a total of 25 different haunts. As the game begins players are unsure of what they'll face and simply begin exploring the mansion and gathering items. At certain point one player will be captured, essentially turning into the villain, thus beginning the haunt.

Once the Haunt begins each team reads their own rulebook that explains how they win and any special actions they can take. Players must successfully stop and unmask the villain to win. While the villain must complete their nefarious scheme.

Betrayal at Mystery Mansion is unfortunately plagued with poor production values. The tokens are thin and difficult to pick up from the table. The other card components feel cheap and the plastic sliders for the stats are almost unusable and will damage the character cards in very short order. In addition, my particular copy came with the misprinted copy of the Secrets of Survival, making some of the haunts completely unplayable.

By the very nature of the design the game has a weird cadence, the start has you exploring but without a goal, other than to maybe collect items, it's essentially a protracted setup procedure, creating a random map and character layout for when the "real game" begins. Unlike Betrayal at House on the Hill though, you get to choose the character that drops out and takes on the role of the villain. While this is a positive change that allows families to play more easily, it also means you can pick the character with the least to lose, i.e. the fewest items/worst stats. gaming the system in the process.

However, the game has some nice Scooby flavour and it plays quickly with enough variation to keep it coming back to the table for at least a few sessions. Meanwhile the search continues for the perfect Scooby Doo board game!

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