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Betrayal at House on the Hill’s next expansion sets Santa loose with horrid holiday haunts

Wynter’s Pale welcomes the jolly old murderer to the classic board game’s third edition ruleset

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A woman walks through the wrought iron gate of a creepy old house. The sky is red, and the ground covered in green mist. Image: Hasbro via YouTube
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Classic B-movie horror game Betrayal at House on the Hill is getting a wild, holiday-themed expansion this fall. Wynter’s Tale, unveiled Thursday from the floor of the annual Gen Con tabletop gaming convention, reinvents Santa Claus as a jolly, murderous old elf with five thematic haunts, new miniatures, and more.

A book-shaped box for for the Wynter’s Pale expansion for Betrayal. A demonic elf and animal skulls with candles decorate the cover. Image: Avalon Hill/Hasbro

“We did a lot of research into a lot of the old folklore of the holidays, different cultures and different communities all over the world that kind of infused their own storytelling [into the holiday season],” Chris Nadeau, senior director and product development lead at Avalon Hill, said in an interview with Polygon. “Then we made our own unique little spin on the holidays with the same idea of you’re going to be these playable characters that you can’t normally be in the core game.”

In addition to the characters available in the core set, Wynter’s Tale adds The Elf and his nefarious looking, mischievous helper to the game. The Elf has its own stats and abilities, and its presence on the game board will allow players to trigger one of five thematic haunts.

A new room card, a character card, and some miniatures rendered alongside a narrative card, and item card, and an event card back. Image: Avalon Hill/Hasbro

“They have unique items and events that are very flavorful to the holidays,” Nadeau said, “and it gave us a chance to build a little bit of a kind of story around them [and] to make it feel like a really good experience for players. [...] It’s a real good moment for them to kind of come away with, and it’s something that they’ll remember playing with their family and their friends.”

As part of the creative process, Hasbro collaborated with comic artist Ken Lashley, whose work for Marvel and DC comics includes runs with Spider-Man, Batman, and the X-Men among others. Nadeau said it was a real delight to give the prolific illustrator free reign to take the classic Santa Claus legend in new directions.

“[The comic] gives you a little bit of an intro of like, how did you get to the House? What is the upfront of why there are these weird characters from the holidays in this Betrayal situation?” Nadeau said. “And that really drove some great storytelling in terms of what is the power, the magic that we define as this elf that delivers presents through chimneys on Christmas Eve? How does he come to be? Where does his power come from? And what would happen if that power fell into the wrong hands?”

Betrayal at House on the Hill: Wynter’s Pale will be available for pre-order starting Thursday, both on the Hasbro Pulse website and on Amazon. The game will retail for $21.99, and is set to release in the fall.

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