Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Betrayal at House on the Hill 1st Edition vs. 2nd Edition

I really enjoy Betrayal at House on the Hill. I owned the 1st Edition game and decided to sell it off (for a good profit) when the 2nd Edition was announced. I was able to buy the new edition and a couple other games for the money I made off the sale. So, how do the two editions stack up?

Eye Candy

1st Edition - I thought the original box design was alright, but it didn't really evoke the necessary mood to really get people interested in purchasing the game. This cover may partially explain why it took a while for the game to find its audience in the board game community.

2nd Edition - This cover is much more to my liking than the first edition. The spooky feeling is evocative of an isolated home in the swamp, somewhat like the home in the movie The Reaping. The cover really gives the impression of a creepy, lonely mansion where people could easily go crazy or be confronted by the unknown. It gives off the perfect kind of mysterious atmosphere that the game has to offer.

2nd Edition!


1st Edition - The big complaint about the pieces from the 1st Edition was the circular tokens. These tokens simply had words like "bat" printed on them with no graphics/colors to distinguish them. This uniformity combined with a hefty amount of tokens made it very difficult to find the tokens you needed. On the other hand, the room tiles seemed to be made of sturdier cardboard. The same is true for the character cards. The rest of the pieces, dice and minis, are essentially the same.

2nd Edition - The small tokens are great. They come in two sizes and the large sets of similar tokens have their own, colored design. On the other hand, the room tiles seem thinner and less sturdy overall than the 1st Edition Some of the tiles are warped and I have concerns about long term durability. Plus, the underground lake is in the basement in 2nd Edition. I liked it better on the upper floors.

1st Edition since I can always make due with boring tokens, but the room tiles are a necessity. Take the tiles from 1st Edition and the tokens from 2nd Edition for the best pieces.

The Haunts

1st Edition - These Haunts were considered so unbalanced that the game manufacturer put out a pdf with a fairly large rewrite that helped balance the game better. I don't really play this game for the balance, but rather the experience. Even with this in mind, needing such a large rewrite was a pain, but the rewrite did help make the game more fun. Includes 8 Haunts replaced in 2nd Edition.

2nd Edition - The Haunts seem pretty balanced and better explained so far, but I haven't had a chance to play it nearly as much as we played 1st Edition. I like having 8 new haunts different from the original since it does add something new to the game. No need to reprint whole new books.

2nd Edition!

Final score

2nd Edition wins 2 to 1. Either edition is completely worth the price of admission, but 2nd costs a lot less right now. This game is a great Halloween or any Friday the 13th game. I only rate it a 6 or 7 out of ten, but it is very thematic and can easily be played with non-gamers.


  1. I have a few friends that love this game. I was a little put off because the first time I played, we got a haunt that was difficult to understand. I was wondering if things would improve with the once rumored, now confirmed second printing, and this was a pretty helpful comparison. Thanks!

  2. I know this is an old blog post, but I was searching for 1st vs. 2nd edition and found this post. We dusted off our 1st edition game last night and played it for the first time in several years. It was fun, but we also had the thick pages of rules rewrites/explanations to sift through. I was wondering if the changes were enough to warrant buying the 2nd edition (the extra errata/explanations are annoying, but not that bad). Sounds like overall it is worth it to buy the game again. Thanks for posting. :)

  3. The company that made this game has since fixed the issue with the thinner room tiles. I know this because the one I bought a month ago is in excellent condition.

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