Betrayal at House on the Hill was already a well-loved board game, but its upcoming Legacy version from designer Rob Daviau has somehow made it even better. It takes the original’s randomized haunted house mechanics and centers them around the story of a single house that shifts (and gets considerably more spooky) over nearly 400 years of history.
Daviau was kind enough to sit down with us and play Betrayal Legacy’s first two scenarios ahead of its release next month. You can watch that playthrough in the video at the top of the page, though be wary that there will be spoilers for the prologue and first chapter of its 13 chapter campaign.
If you want a look inside the box without any spoilers, check out the unboxing I did with Daviau in the video above. We went through all of the components inside Betrayal Legacy without revealing anything past what you’d see by setting up the prologue, so it’s safe to watch unless you want to go in literally without reading the rules.
A campaign will likely only unlock about one-third to one-half of the content available, making every group’s experience unique.
Like with any Legacy game, there’s a whole lot in this box that you aren’t going to open for a very long time – including some stuff you might not see at all. Daviau told us that any given campaign will likely only unlock about one-third to one-half of the content available, making every group’s experience of it unique.
Thankfully, once you’ve completed a campaign, Betrayal Legacy has a free play mode that essentially just turns it into a regular copy of the game. All of the custom stickers you put down and permanent changes you made will still be there, but anybody who didn’t participate in the campaign will still be able to jump in later without feeling left out.
The main twist that occurs during Betrayal is still called the Haunt. When the Haunt occurs it reveals a betrayer and pits players against each other with a special set of rules. Similar to the original, Betrayal Legacy comes with a book of 50 different Haunts, only 14 of which you’ll see during the campaign, so there’s still loads to keep things fresh after the fact.
That variety and unpredictability is one of the coolest parts of Betrayal, and the Legacy structure adds an extra layer that perfectly meshes with the concept. You still have variety, but now the implications of any given Haunt affect the house as a whole, as well as future Haunts to come. Instead of playing a horror movie, it feels like you’re playing a whole horror franchise.
Each player takes control of a family with different descendants visiting the house over the years, and inevitably getting spooked for their troubles. Different items can be “heirloomed” to give extra benefits to your specific family, and many of your choices (or deaths) can shape situations generations later.
I am excited to keep digging into Betrayal Legacy as I’ve only just scratched the surface, but it’s already one of the coolest Legacy board games I’ve played. The flavor here is top notch, and the mechanics at its core have been proven to be great years ago. It’s the perfect haunted house board game, and one full of secrets I can’t wait to find.
Tom Marks is IGN’s PC Editor and pie maker. You can follow him on Twitter.