Review copy courtesy of Wizards of the Coast.
Board game for 3-5 players.
Thematic gameplay that leads to fun situations. There are some very entertaining cards and there's quite a bit of fun to be had watching people fail at the events depicted. It very much helps to be able to get into the situation and enjoy the story that results. It's a Betrayal game after all.
Many new themed haunts, though not as many as some other versions of the game.
The Scooby Doo theme is given some attention, if you're into that part of it. This is mostly obviously seen in the haunts, and even the instruction manual got a change for this version. I think it's not a bad job at all. I'm not sure if it's as big a change as the D&D one though.
Could Go Either Way:
It's a Betrayal game. While there are changes, it is still very much the same system and if you didn't like the original it probably isn't enough for you to like this one. This goes for any variant. It’s best to think of it as a reskin.
While many of the cards do have art (much more than the Adventure System games), there are still many cards that are just descriptions.
The layout of the street level can get quite confused due to the combination of street and building tiles over the course of play. It makes for some interesting gameplay due to variety but often doesn't lead to the most sensible results.
It’s heavily dependant on luck. Go in expecting an hour or an hour and a half of luck centred high jinx. If you prefer more strategy and less luck, this might not be your thing.
The chips/markers used to mark your stats stills aren't very good. They will cause damage to your character cards. You can kind of get away with not fully pushing them on, but that will obviously make it far easier to knock them off. This was a problem in the earlier version I reviewed. I’m a bit disappointed it wasn’t fixed in some way.
Wish the rules were provided online in PDF form or some other alternative in case of damage to the included ones.*
* Denotes nitpicking.
|The box of Betrayal at Mystery Mansion.|
A new Scooby Doo movie is on the loose. What’s a fitting board game to tie in? Well, you could do much worse than Betrayal at House on the Hill. There’s the whole betrayer concept that doesn’t really fit, but that can be fixed with some writing. What do we get after all that? Well, this. So with that let’s go and jump right in. After all, execution matters.
It's Betrayal ... Again
I’ve already done a review of a version of Betrayal at House on the Hill. That one was D&D flavoured though. This is very similar in approach. The haunts and scenarios change a bit, and the characters are now characters from Scooby Doo, but otherwise the game is unchanged. This means if you have one of the other versions of the game, you’re unlikely to need another unless you think it’d appeal to a younger family member more. As a result, I’ll be repeating myself for completeness sake. That way you don’t have to read the other review if you don’t want to.
One thing I did notice is that the cards had more art and the box itself was made in a way to make it easier to store the pieces inside. I think both of these are good changes, but obviously by themselves they aren’t enough if you already own a different version of the game.
|Pieces for Betrayal at Mystery Mansion.|
The Game Itself
The basis of the game should be familiar to anyone you read my review of the Baldur’s Gate version. If you’re reading this in order to get a feeling for what the game is like, you may want to look at that too. You explore a location by laying down tiles. So as you explore, the map is created. As you do, you draw cards which result in you picking up items, omens, running into bad situations, that sort of thing. Eventually, things change. One player is chosen to be the “traitor”, though given that it’s Scooby Doo it’s flavoured as them being captured/put out of commission by the villain of the week. The players then do their best to accomplish their conflicting goals.
Just like the other variants, luck is a major factor. Rolling dice, and drawing cards remain big parts of the game. This means sometimes someone will lose due to a series of bad rolls. As I said before “In my opinion it is one of those games where you need to lose yourself in the game and enjoy the story that is coming about over the course of play. Sometimes that story will be the heroes making an easy time of the villain. Sometimes it will basically be a slasher movie as the betrayer knocks out the other players one by one. It's just the nature of the game.”
There are 5 characters to choose from, each one being a main character from the show. This makes sense given it is Scooby Doo, but it is a decrease from the 12 in Betrayal at Baldur's Gate. Each character still has their own stats and their own abilty. This is still welcome, as it mixes things up on repeated playthroughs, which is a necessary part of the game. It really is meant to be played multiple times, and each time being different than the last.
A big consideration with so many flavours of the same game being out will be the tone you’re looking for. The original is a common favourite in my circles on Halloween. It sets the scene well, and really radiates that tone. This is somewhat close in that way compared to Betrayal at Baldur's Gate, which is more like an adventure, but not quite as horror movie-esque. Really, this would be a great one to play with kids, especially if they’re fans of the show.
The Game Pieces
The game pieces are in line with the quality of the previous game I reviewed, Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate. However, one place where this release is notably worse is in the player tokens. These here have a stand and cardboard cutout similar to some of the Pathfinder boxes. In the previous one I looked at, they had proper painted miniatures. I would have liked to see the characters modelled and painted.
As you should be used to with these types of board games, there are pages of tokens you need to push out before use. These include the tiles that will later make up the map you’re exploring. The material is card stock commonly found in these sorts of games. Just think Settlers of Catan or the D&D Adventure System (like Castle Ravenloft Board Game).
|The box storage design.|
The Art and Build Quality
The quality of the tiles is in line with the other versions of the game that I’ve seen. The art on things such as the cards is simple, but very fitting for what the card shows. This is important since they are on the smaller side compared to the Adventure System, so they need to look good, get the idea of the room across, but not be too busy. And on those points I believe it hits. Plenty of board games just have plain description on coloured cards, so I’m happy to see that this version has art on the cards. The one I previously reviewed was pure description.
The tokens are also what you’d expect. Art on simple backgrounds to ensure it stands out. This extends to other parts, such as the character cutouts. However, it still looks like the clips can damage these cutouts like they could in Betrayal At Baldur’s Gate, which is rather disappointing. Keep this in mind when using them. You could only partially push them on, or just leave them on the ground and lay it on top. You could also get lucky and have clips that don’t do that.
Where it dropped the ball in comparison to other versions of the game is the player miniatures. Well, there aren’t any. Instead it’s cardboard cutouts with a plastic platform. If they could’ve gotten some decent sculpts, I think it would’ve really added to the game. They wouldn’t be as reusable for D&D, but seeing sculpts on the board really does add something.
Reusable For D&D
Not really. There’s no miniatures, the tiles aren’t good for D&D maps. I guess you could use some of the cards, but the Adventure System board games are much better for that, as well as tiles for maps and they have miniatures too. Really, this is a board game you buy for the board game itself.
The suggested US price is $50. This seems to be the same as the suggest price for the original Betrayal game, though depending on when you search you may be able to find it for cheaper.
What I felt was Missing
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I hope they put the rules online. These often get damages or lost, so having a printable backup without scanning my own book would be greatly appreciated.And if they have since I posted? Link me. I'd love to have a link to it right here.
As well, there's fewer haunts in this one than the D&D version, and now there's also one less player due to all the players being part of the Scooby gang.
So it’s the same good old game that’s we’re accustomed to. There’s still a betrayer mechanic, at which point things switch from being about exploring the location to accomplishing a goal. The art is well done and consistently present throughout, even on the cards. We did lose out on miniatures like the D&D flavoured version though. All in all, it really depends on the flavour you want. Want the classic horror movie style theme? Not here. Want the D&D style adventure? Not here. Want the more relaxed Scooby Doo style, which will probably go over much better with the younger among us? Here we are.