Outside the Box: Literalville – An Unboxing
November 16, 2010 | Follow comments
It is so nice to have friends on the other side. Really, it is. After about a month of longing, cajoling, and wishing I have, with help, managed to procure a copy of Betrayal at House on the Hill. I’ve not had time to write up a full review of the game. Heck, I’ve not had time to PLAY the game. So, while I call this a review, it really isn’t. This is only an unboxing/first impressions/photo essay. Since this is mostly an unboxing there will be photos; a nice large number of the things. However, I am no photographer. Calling me a photographer is about like calling Buckley a poet. I apologize for my crappy pictures, but I think you’ll get an idea of all you will see when you crack open your own copy of Betrayal. Also, please remember that this is only about first impressions, not a full-on deep review of the game and it’s mechanics. Anything I have to say is merely about production value or the quality of the bits. So, take a look! It’s in a…box. A gaming double rainbow? …yeah that doesn’t work at all…
Right! Commence the Unboxing!
Ok, so…that’s a nice creepy looking box. What does this tell us about game? Herm, looks like a horror game. I mean, look there’s a werewolf there at the side. It’s the 2nd edition, which I already knew. It calls itself a strategy game, to which I reply “What isn’t.” What else. Looks like you can play with 3-6 player and takes about an hour. Looks fun. I guess it also comes with some minis, that’s cool too. Let’s crack this baby open.
Ah yes, slabs of chits wrapped in plastic. I love me some chits. One can almost say the more chits a game has the better it is. Though I guess that’s not always true. I mean, look at LCR. Actually, don’t. What else does this tell us? Looks like there are a lot of “S”es. I later found that these are monster chits. So that translates to a lot of possible monsters, and I’m all for that. The only thing that bugged me about all these chits is that they were hard to punch out. I’ve opened and poked out my fair share of chits in my day, and these were some of the hardest to punch out without ripping the picture off. I managed to do so with only one causality, but I do wish that they were cut a bit better. Oh well…on to the next layer.
Here I’ve flipped over the chit packet to reveal the next layer. Looks like we not only have chits, but tiles as well. And what is this? No board? So if we have tiles but no board that can only mean one thing: a procedurally generated map. I like that. We also have some “Event” cards. As it turns out there are also some Item and Omen cards in that stack back there as-well. We seem to have the instructions and some other booklets. Let’s take a closer look at those map tiles.
We have a nice number of different rooms here. All of them have some doors, some have a spiffy little symbol on them, and a number also seem to have some special rules. This all looks quite promising. Those symbols actually correspond to the symbols on the cards. The Swirl matches the Event cards and the Raven matches the Omen cards. Some rooms, I found later, have an ox skull that matches the Item cards. We also have nice art and themeing on these. Crypts, hallways, and ballrooms. This all looks good. Ok. What’s next.
Not much to say here. You can see the rules and the other booklets a bit better. Also those cards back there. You’ll also notice something lacking here. Notice it yet? That’s right, no zip-top baggies. Blast. Storage will be an issue. All those chits? And no bags? Lame. Looks like I’ll be busting out a number of sandwich bags. Onward and downward.
Not much here either. Just the next booklet. “Secrets of Survival,” sounds mysterious. I know a bit about this game. This book has information for the heroes once the Haunt starts. See at some point one of the players will turn on the others. It becomes a team of heroes against a rogue traitor player, hence the named Betrayal at House on the Hill. This booklet is for the heroes and tells them what they need to know to overcome the traitor. It also seems to be a bit like Tales of the Arabian Nights. It doesn’t want you read the booklet before you have to lest you spoil its fun surprises. OK, Next.
Here’s the next book, the “Traitor’s Tome.” This is the opposite of the “Secrets of Survival.” As the name implies it informs the traitor of what he or she must do to spite the heroes. It also contains information on all 50 of the Haunts, and like the Secrets it’s best not to read it until you have to. Here I’ll voice one of my complaints with the production value of the game. Both the Secrets and the Tome are only printed on standard gloss instruction booklet paper. This is fine for instructions, but for books that will be referred to multiple times every game I worry about how they’ll hold up. That’s one nice thing about Tales. The “Book of Tales” has a low stock cardboard front and back. It’s also spiral bound and printed on high quality paper. It is built to last. These booklets in Betrayal just don’t seem that way. I might do what any true Board Game Geek would do and get them laminated and spiral bound at the local Kinko’s. So what’s next?
That’s about it. There are some plastic bags, but sadly they are not for storage. At least the box has a nice inlay to help with storing all these goodies. Let’s get a look at those bags of goodness.
Look at all this stuff. Looks like here are our minis. True to form there are six of them. Pre-painted…that’s nice I guess. Not necessarily bad, but that just depends on how much you like to customize your stuff. Also, what’s up with those bastardized d6s? They only go up to two. Looks like two blank sides, two 1 sides, and two 2 sides. Custom dice. That’s cool. Would be nice if they had like little skulls instead of just the plain dots. Now what is that in that last bag? Looks like little clippies. I turns out that is exactly what they are. They are little coffin-shaped clips that go on the character cards. They track stat changes, but more on that for the full review.
This isn’t the best picture, but then again these aren’t the best minis. They’re cast out of some rubberized plastic. Real…bendy. They aren’t painted the best, but that’s mostly just par for the course. They all look like they have a bottle tan though. I do like how beefy that guy on the right looks. I hope his name is Biff or Sir Beef Cakes.
Here’s all the stuff that comes with Betrayal at House on the Hill. I’ve opened up the chit packet here and we’ve got some more stuff. You can see the character hexes there on the right. The clips we saw in the bags earlier go on those. You can also see more of those house room tiles. There are a good number of them. Looks like we’re in for a lot of exploration. Three rule booklets, one for rules and two filled with 50 scenarios and haunts. Let’s get a close up.
Here we can see a bunch of those rooms. Also, on the right you can see a better close up of a character hex. You can see the other side of those “S” monster chits you saw was back at the start. They have cute little monsters on them. How droll! I will say that these are multipurpose monster chits. I here that the original had specific chits for all of the different monsters. It made locating the correct one a bit of a challenge. It is nice to see that they’ve changed that.
That’s about it. That’s all that was in my box. So, we’re done here. You’ve seen all there is to see. All that is left to do is grab my friends and give it ago. I am assured that it is one of the best board games around and I hope that is correct. It will be hard to beat Tales but it seems like this game has some of the same ideas Tales has. Betrayal looks like it focuses on giving players a great story to tell their friends about later, and there is nothing wrong with that. I hope to get a full review up later this month, but knowing my penchant for being a dirty lair I wouldn’t hold your breath.