“An expansion!” I hear you cry. Yes, indeed, Betrayal at House on the Hill has an expansion! It is called, somewhat appropriately, Betrayal at House on the Hill: Widow’s Walk. I’ll get to why in soon enough, but first, as I mentioned: This is an expansion. If you haven’t read it yet, here’s my Betrayal review. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Read it? Got it? Good.
Because here’s the TL;DR for this review: my opinion is unchanged. All of it. If you like Betrayal, you will like Widow’s Walk. If you didn’t like the original you won’t like the expansion.
Everything that I said about Betrayal is applicable to its expansion. Everything. Did you like the horror, science fiction, pulp, and pop references in the base game? Well, here’s some more! Enjoyed the moments that you built through encounters? My first game, my explorer was just walking down a corridor when his hand tried to kill him! Nothing for it, except to replace it with something just lying around, like a CHAINSAW!
Appreciated the haunts and the astounding amount of variability that fifty of them provide? HAVE FIFTY MORE! Hoped that those new haunts would have better wording or clearer layout? Some of them are even more obtuse!
So yeah, Widow’s Walk is just Betrayal, but more. “How much more?” you may ask. Well, let’s take a look.
Now, I mentioned that the name Widow’s Walk is rather appropriate. A widow’s walk is a fenced in balcony on the roof of a house. Besides adding a room that is literally named widow’s walk, the expansion adds an entire floor! The Roof! It also adds a slew of new room tiles to help make the house even bigger. With four floors though, maneuvering between them can be quite the hassle, which is why some of those new tile have the dumbwaiter symbol on them. Each tile that has this symbol will let an explorer move to landing on the floor above or below the one they are on.
These two things together are the biggest addition to the base game, both in terms of theme and gameplay. The house feels so much bigger with the addition of the fourth floor and the dumbwaiters provide that feeling of connectivity. Yes, there was a secret passage, some secret stairs, and a revolving wall, but those never truly made me feel like you could quickly move through the house by a series of secret tunnels. Mechanically, that interconnectivity means it’s less of chore to switch floors if you need to quickly get somewhere else. More importantly, with the house so interconnected, it is much harder to not come into conflict with the traitor. Doing so would require careful planning and more than a dash of luck.
Another addition to the game is a new thing called explorer tokens. Each character gets six of them and their primary purpose is to let you track when your character has visited one of the six once-a-game stat improvement rooms. Also, yes six; the expansion adds two more, one for mental and one for physical. In order to use one of those rooms now, you will need to leave one of your explorer tokens in the room. Tracking who has used which room is much easier, but here’s the interesting bit: some of the omens and haunts also make use of these tokens. So now you need to ask yourself, do I wait for a possible advantage or just take the stat boost?
Now, to the meat of the game: the haunts. How do they compare to the original fifty? Are they just rehashes of what came before? The haunts in Widow’s Walk are interesting and clever! They provide some interesting twists to the haunt formula. Two notable examples are haunts where the traitor is still on the side of the heroes and haunts where there are multiple traitors at the beginning! Oh, and another thing: I lied to you earlier. There aren’t fifty haunts. There are fifty-one! To get to the last haunt, the game introduces a campaign-like system. To even play this haunt, every explorer currently playing must have played four specific haunts from the book. If even one explorer hasn’t, you have to draw another omen card and play that haunt!
Widow’s Walk introduces some very creative win conditions and mechanics in the new haunts; but, much like the original game, you will need to decipher many of the haunts rules and layouts. The haunts are quite clever but often too clever for what they are trying to do. In fact, here’s the FAQ to help you on your way: Widow’s Walk FAQ.
Overall, Widow’s Walk adds a solid amount of new ideas and useful mechanics to Betrayal. It continues to build on what the original game introduced and feels like I’m still playing the same game. So again, if you liked Betrayal, you will like Widow’s Walk.
Now, where’s my boomstick?