Preview: Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate puts a D&D spin on a popular board game

Last Updated July 14th, 2021

Betrayal at House on the Hill is a board game originally published by Avalon Hill in 2004, and features players cooperatively exploring a gradually unfolding haunted house, overcoming obstacles and spooky scares, until eventually someone touches the wrong skull or picks up the wrong knife and then BAM! One of your trusted allies turns out to be a vampire, a murderer, or some kind of demented dimensional monster who wants to trap you in the house forever.

The base game contains 50 different “Haunts” which each lead to distinctly different end games, and a recent expansion (which we have previously covered here on yourstandard.us) added 50 more. All this means that when you sit down to play a game of Betrayal at House on the Hill you’re never quite sure what you’re in for, what your final goal will be, or which (if any) of your allies will betray you.

But maybe you’ve already gone through all 100 Haunts, and the magic is starting to wear a little thin. Or maybe you’re not a huge fan of scary stories, and prefer something a bit more fantasy-oriented. Fortunately for you, these days Avalon Hill is a part of Wizards of the Coast, the company that makes Dungeons and Dragons, and that’s how we get Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate, a standalone, D&D-flavored take on the Betrayal formula, coming on October 6 of this year. 

Exclusive preview cards 

Thanks to the folks over at Wizards and Avalon Hill, we’ve been given three cards and a room tile to preview exclusively right here on yourstandard.us.

First let’s look at an Omen, an Event, and an Item card. 

Figurine of Wondrous Power – Based on a classic magic item from tabletop D&D, the Figurine can protect you from one single damaging attack. Because it’s an Omen, picking up this item could trigger the end-game Haunt. The story and flavor behind Haunts is very often related to the item that triggered it, since you will cross-reference the Omen card with the room where you picked it up to figure out which of the game’s 50 Haunts will go off. Could the Figurine be cursed to control the mind of whoever touches it? Or maybe the unfortunate adventurer just turns into some horrible fly monster? We will have to wait until the game releases in a few more weeks to find out. 

A Flumph Appears – Flumphs are monsters from various editions of D&D that, despite their strange appearance, are usually good and helpful in nature. In the Betrayal games, however, good and helpful things are rare, and require luck to acquire. On this card it seems like the Flumph is trying to communicate the location of a helpful item, but characters who aren’t knowledgeable enough to figure it out will face some unpleasant consequences. 

But, hey, if you grab a bunch of spiders instead of some treasure, don’t blame the Flumph. It was just trying to be nice. 

Ring of the Ram – Another classic magic item gets the Betrayal treatment here, and basically does exactly what you would expect it to based on how it functions in the RPG. Damage is always nice, but the ability to force an enemy to move to a different tile can be even more powerful in certain situations, whether it be to clear a monster out of the way of an ally or to push one of your former allies into a damaging room if you are the Traitor. 

And speaking of damaging rooms, let’s end with a look at one of the new tiles that will make up the board in Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate

Many people who know of Baldur’s Gate (the fictional fantasy city that is the setting for this new game) are familiar with it through its digital form in the Baldur’s Gate series of PC RPGs. Bhaal, the god of murder, has a large role in that series, so it makes sense to see him referenced here. 

If your character ends up in the Shrine to Bhaal, the horrors within will damage you mentally. You’ll also need to draw an Omen card, potentially triggering the end-game Haunt. What are the odds that at least one of the game’s 50 Haunts sees one of the players revealed as a murderous Bhaalspawn? Probably very good, especially given the presence of a Shrine to Bhaal in the game. 

That’s all the new content we have to show you today. You can visit the game’s official website for more information, and keep an eye out for it when it releases in early October. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *