Playing the Traitor in Betrayal at House on the Hill

In almost every game of Betrayal at House on the Hill – yes, there are a couple exceptions – there is a traitor. A player and character combo who, for any number of spooky and devious reasons, has decided to turn on their fellows and either kill them all or trap them in the House on the Hill.

Why? Again, the reasons are wide-ranging. The traitor could be, for example, a cannibal. Or a vengeful spirit. Or an alien. Or a monster. Or simply subject to the will of some greater monster. Perhaps even a dreamer who doesn’t know they’re dreaming. The nature of the traitor changes from game to game, but their aim does not – they have to thwart the other characters, the misguided ‘heroes’ who are trying to stop all the bad stuff from happening.

The traitor is chosen during the Haunt process. After the Haunt is successfully chosen – that is, by rolling six dice after revealing an Omen card and getting a number less than the number of Omens revealed – the Haunt Revealer checks the Traitor’s Tome, compares the room and nature of the Omen to the table in the front and hands the tome to the traitor, whole everyone else uses the Survival Guide. But who ends up being the traitor?

That depends. Depends on the room, depends on the Omen chosen, depends on the character stats at the time of the reveal, depends on the characters chosen. Any number of factors goes into the traitor… though once it’s chosen, the traitor becomes the bad guy. And it’s always fun playing the bad guy.

As the traitor, it’s your job to defeat the heroes. Often this is done by killing them, though the traitor often has other objectives as well, usually related to escaping the house – or securing it so no one else can. It’s important, on every turn, to try and follow through on your mission, and not dawdle – the heroes will be doing the same thing, and usually they don’t just have to defeat you to win the game. You know as much about their side of the story as they know about yours, so don’t give them any more information during play than you must.

Fortunately, playing the traitor comes with some perks:

– You can ignore Omen and Event cards

– You can receive the benefits of a room and ignore the ill effects

– You gain control of any monsters associated with the Haunt

– You often receive large trait bonuses that boost your abilities way above normal

Though you’re usually alone, you’re more than capable of handling the heroes.

If you’re planning on becoming the traitor or at least have your mind set on it, your best bet is to explore as many rooms as possible, try to do poorly on your Sanity rolls (they often come into play during traitor choosing) and spread out the house’s layout. You need to make the heroes travel across as much territory as possible in order to get to the important rooms for resolving their side of the Haunt. Sometimes this is possible; sometimes it isn’t. Once you are the traitor, don’t worry so much about revealing new rooms – you have better things to do.

Winning as the traitor is typically a fifty-fifty proposition. Sometimes, depending on the characters chosen, it will be really easy. Sometimes victory will come only with a lot of effort, and may not come at all. Either way, playing the traitor is pretty fun, even if it means selling out your best friends to make a deal with the devil. (Or whatever’s waiting in the darkness.)