'Betrayal Legacy' Review in Progress: How To Make A Favorite Even Better

Betrayal at House on the Hill is a favorite among my group of board game friends. They love the spooky nature of the game, the light role playing and the traitor mechanic. After demoing Betrayal Legacy, I knew my friends would go nuts for it. What I wasn't expecting was just how into it we would get.

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Betrayal Legacy takes Betrayal at House on the Hill and rejuvenates it with all sorts of crazy new mechanics Avalon Hill

Betrayal Legacy takes the concept of Betrayal at House on the Hill and expands it over the course of 13 (14 if you count the prologue) games. The prologue starts in the appropriately spooky year of 1666. Every time you play after that, the years jump ahead a few decades until the final game when you make it to 2004. Every character you play is related to the ones from previous games (or you can play the same character if they managed to survive).

So far, every game has started similarly to House on the Hill with a group of people exploring a yet-undiscovered haunted house. Like the original, players still reveal new room tiles, have Event cards to resolve, Items to find, make Haunt rolls and everything else you'd expect. Those already familiar with the original will be right at home starting up. It's what happens as the game progresses that truly gets wild.

A new deck of cards called the Legacy deck has been added, and these cards are stacked in a very specific order. Going through the campaign, you'll find yourself using the Legacy deck to help tell stories for each game and dishing out important new cards that are integral to that game's Haunt. Just be sure you don't shuffle this deck, or you're going to have a bad time.

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A look inside the box of Betrayal Legacy Avalon Hill

New mechanics like "Heirlooming" allow players to add personal touches to Betrayal Legacy. Certain items can be turned into family keepsakes, which allows that player to rename the item. For all subsequent plays that item will now be known by its new name, and if that same player picks up the item in a later game, is now has additional benefits like getting to roll an extra die when attacking or getting a stat boost other players wouldn't get. It's one of the many smart ways Betrayal Legacy links itself together to create a cohesive story.

After every game, you must record important stats like if you were the traitor or if you lived or died. These bits of information come back in surprising and unexpected ways, so you'll want to make sure you are accurate with your reporting. Recording events also makes it easier when someone has a question about why a certain item may have its name or why certain Event cards are in the game deck.

The biggest problem when reviewing Betrayal Legacy is that many of the new and interesting game mechanics are so tied to the story talking about them spoils many twists and turns. The nice thing with these new mechanics is they are slowly added in, typically with one new rule or change added after each game is finished. This is a great way to keep the game feeling fresh with each playthrough, limiting fatigue one would expect from playing the same game so many times (regardless of how fun the game is).

Many of the same issues with Betrayal at House on the Hill unfortunately also exist with Betrayal Legacy. New players may have troubles figuring out the rules if they become the traitor, and juggling between multiple rulebooks makes tracking down specific rules a little challenging. Some haunts in Legacy can also have balancing issues similar to the ones found in the original. With the random nature of the game, these things are bound to happen at certain points, but it still sucks when a traitor is revealed and they just steamroll over everyone else because of a lucky item pick-up or even because of how early or late the haunt started.

Perhaps the best part of Betrayal Legacy is how cost-effective it is. While you can only really play through the Legacy campaign once, after finishing the campaign you now have a totally customized and infinitely replayable new copy of Betrayal at House on the Hill. All of the haunts included in the campaign can be played in what is called "Freeplay" mode, and new haunts made just for Freeplay are included as well.

Despite some nagging issues, our minds have been blown again and again by the unique mechanics and crazy twists we've unearthed (sometimes literally). It's crazy to think we're only about halfway through the campaign, and even more new content is still to come. If you're a fan of Betrayal at House on the Hill already, you're going to go absolutely bananas for Betrayal Legacy . If you haven't tried a Legacy-style game before, this is an amazing intro into the budding new genre. Basically, we're having the times of our lives and we can't wait to see what's next.

Betrayal Legacy is now available online or at your friendly local game store. Come back once we finish our campaign to hear our final thoughts on Betrayal Legacy.

So what do you think? Are you excited to start your adventure through the world of Betrayal Legacy? What other legacy games have you played so far? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

'Betrayal Legacy' Review in Progress: How To Make A Favorite Even Better | Gaming