You’ve been taken to the lands of the fae, will you be able to find a portal and escape in this narrative and exploration game by Greenbrier Games? Pros Solo game play Theme Not a campaign Story elements Price for Retail Established Company Cons Shipping …
You’ve been out adventuring for a long time and you’ve finally made it back to Baldur’s Gate and you’re going to explore the town to see what relaxing things you can find to do there. But every turn you make, something is nagging at you, something seems off about the city, and then, without warning, one of your own party members turns on you.
Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate is a semi-cooperative to fully cooperative board game. In the first part of the game, players are going around the city of Baldur’s Gate, flipping over tiles, finding shops, dark alleys, and more. During this time, they are collecting items when they are told to, but also finding omens of what might be happening in the town. Eventually an omen will trigger what is known as the haunt. Players then compare to the omen to the room it was found in to find out who the betrayer might be, if there is one. This then tells the players how they are actually going to win the game, whether they are the betrayer or the good adventurers.
Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate is a re-implementation of Betrayal at House on the Hill, a horror based game where you are exploring a creepy old house and eventually, based off of room and omen again, a haunt happens. Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate fixes, a little bit, how you determine if the haunt happens so that it can’t happen quite as quickly. There were times in the original that the haunt would happen very quickly. Otherwise, most of the game feels the same with just a fantasy, D&D, skin put on it. I personally don’t like this skin as well. I have no connection tot he Baldur’s Gate video games however, and the people I’ve played with who do, like those nods in the game, something that I can’t appreciate. With that said, I still think that the campy horror style of Betrayal at House on the Hill is more enjoyable, though Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate has a better rule set.
What I do like about this game over Betrayal at House on the Hill is t he fact that each character has a special power to go along with special stats. A barbarian in this game or jock in the other, might have more speed and strength, but in this game the barbarian also has a special power. I feel like all the powers seem thematic to the game and give each character a unique feel. I feel like I generally end up playing a magic user and there are things that make them feel more like a magic user in what they can do. I also don’t feel like any of these abilities are unbalanced in the game.
The components in this game are solid for the most part, there is a ton of cardboard that you have to punch out. The minis in the game are good, however, there are a few parts of them that are too thin and the plastic doesn’t hold up, so it isn’t brittle and it doesn’t snap, it is just that things like the wizards staff sag. I also wish that this game, like the other, came with a better storage solution or at least a lot of little baggies. There are so many tokens that without little baggies, it can take a long time to dig through them and find everything.
But, let’s talk more about the core mechanics, I compared it to Betrayal at House on the Hill, but I haven’t delved into what the game is really like. Like I said above, the game is split into two halves. In the first half you are exploring and in the second half the haunt happens. The exploring part might be the best part of the game because you really don’t know what you’re going to find next. You might be collecting omens because that is what on the different rooms and buildings you are flipping, or you might be loaded down with items and ready to take on the betrayer. While I think that it makes more sense for this random flipping in Betrayal at House on the Hill, it works well as a mechanic, so I understand why they kept it the same way in the Baldur’s Gate version of the game. It just doesn’t feel quite as thematic in this game.
The haunt, however, I like better. I think that they got better at how they’ve written out the betrayer and good players parts of the haunt so you can more clearly understand what you need to do. Now, I don’t think that it’s perfect, but it’s better than it was in the original game. I also really like how there are 10 haunts that do not have a betrayer. You all end up working together and take this game where you were stressing about who the betrayer was going to be and when the haunt was going to happen as you explored, to now working together to stop whatever is happening in the town. And, I keep saying the haunt, because that’s what it’s called in the games, however, I don’t feel like haunt is accurate for Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate because, some of them have a horror theme, but really it’s more like a boss encounter in a game of D&D than a haunt. It works for the game, if everything was horror, that wouldn’t make sense for the theme and tone of the game. I’ve played a handful of scenarios, and I think that about half the time the betrayer or game has won, and half the time the good adventurers have.
I really do enjoy this game. I like the mechanic set and I like the D&D theme on the game. I do think that it’s not as good as Betrayal at House on the Hill, simply because the mechanics lend themselves to more of a horror style of game theme. But if people don’t like horror games, or if you think that the haunts are too confusing in Betrayal at House on the Hill, Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate is a really good option and gives you a lot of fun game play.
Overall Grade: B+
Gamer Grade: B+
Casual Grade: B+
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