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Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate is filled with in-jokes for die hard D&D fans

Betrayal at House on the Hill is moving to the Forgotten Realms

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Avalon Hill

Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate, the spiritual successor to the classic Avalon Hill horror game Betrayal at House on the Hill, will arrive just in time for Halloween. Wizards of the Coast was kind enough to provide Polygon with an early look at the game, and we’re excited to get it on the table.

True to the format of the original, Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate begins as a cooperative game. Three to six adventurers will take their time exploring the city of Baldur’s Gate by connecting locations from a random set of tiles. Then, around halfway through the game, one member of the party will become the traitor and the turn — called a haunt — will be revealed. From there on out, it’s a competitive game with one super-powered player trying to destroy the others.

Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate comes with 50 different haunts, each of them with its own ruleset and victory conditions for both sides. That’s a lot of content for one $50 board game. Here’s a sneak preview of some of the cards in the box.

A top-down view of a trading post. A ladder hangs from the ceiling with various pots, pans and other tools stacked up on the floor for sale.
As players move around Baldur’s Gate, they’ll reveal different locations at random. Color coded doors let you know which other types of rooms are able to connect to it. The Trading Post is a dead end, with only a single door in or out. For your trouble, you’ll be able to swap out one item of your choice for something from the draw pile.
Avalon Hill/Wizards of the Coast
An item card with a green backing. It reads: “Iron Flask of Tuerny: This iron flask shudders and quakes, as if something wants out. Instead of attacking normally, you may use this omen on your turn to open the flash, unleashing the balor trapped within. T
The Iron Flask of Tuerny is a new item, and a dangerous one at that. It effectively turns one adventurer into a bomb, capable of flinging themselves at their enemies with a demon strapped to their chest. The flask is a fairly well-known artifact in D&D lore, and was once used to entrap an aspect of the demon lord Graz'zt.
Avalon Hill/Wizards of the Coast
An event card with a yellow backing. It reads: “Vampiric Mist: Fog drifts towards you. A rat runs into it and you hear a loud squeak. As the fog wafts forward, you see the husk of the rodent. You must attempt a Knowledge roll: 4+ It’s vampiric mist; get a
Event cards spring up around Baldur’s Gate, but they’re a mixed bag. Roll to save against the Vampiric Mist and you could end up with a bonus to your speed.
Avalon Hill/Wizards of the Coast
An item card with a red backing. It reads: “Ten Foot Pole: The perfect tool when you want to touch something from a safe distance. If an event card would cause damage to any adventurer within 1 tile of you (including yourself), you may discard this item t
Any adventurer worth their salt knows that they leave town with three things: At least three days’ rations, 50 feet of hempen rope and... a ten foot pole. This item is perfect for triggering traps at a safe distance.
Avalon Hill/Wizards of the Coast

This isn’t the first time that Avalon Hill has iterated on the classic Betrayal formula. Last year they released Widow’s Walk, an expansion to the original Betrayal at House on the Hill with 50 new haunts, along with a new floor of the house to explore. The haunts were crafted by a laundry list of guest designers, including Adventure Time creator Pendleton Ward; Cards Against Humanity’s Max Temkin and Eli Halpern; Depression Quest designer and Crash Override Network co-founder Zoë Quinn; tabletop veterans Rob Daviau, Chris Dupuis, and Keith Baker; and Feminist Frequency’s Anita Sarkeesian.

From what we’ve seen, Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate is a must-play for fans of Dungeons & Dragons. More so than any previous tabletop spin-off of the famous role-playing franchise, the game is absolutely dripping with in-jokes and famous ephemera. We’ll have a full review next month.

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