Gifting games
October 23, 2014 7:45 AM   Subscribe

Board game lovers! Friends birthday is coming up (super super soon), so please recommend me a board game similar to Betrayal at House on the Hill (which is one of his favorite things ever).

Things we like about the game: (bold is a must)
Good with 3 players
•Its like a mix of RPG and board game-players have stats, you roll dice, attacks, searches, etc.
•Science fictiony-esque, horror, themed
Very, very interactive (not just players going around the board, there's exploration and strategy and items and such.)
It's not repetitive.Each game is different, the board changes, the monster changes, etc.
posted by FirstMateKate to Grab Bag (13 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Pandemic is fun.
posted by RingerChopChop at 7:49 AM on October 23, 2014

The game Zombies!!! has similar tile-laying mechanics, item pickups, etc., and does well with 3 or more players. I enjoy it (and I love Betrayal!), but the biggest drawback I see is that because of its PvP nature you can end up with a lot of backstabbing that results in the game stalling out.

What about Munchkin and its numerous expansions/variants? I'm not quite as fond of it as Betrayal (it has the same problem as Zombies!!! I think), but it's good for a laugh.
posted by backseatpilot at 7:56 AM on October 23, 2014

What about Munchkin and its numerous expansions/variants?

One of the requirements is “It's not repetitive.”
posted by zamboni at 8:07 AM on October 23, 2014

Most of my friends who enjoy Betrayal (myself included) also really like Eldritch Horror (myself included). I've only ever played with 4-5, but it says it works with three. Co-op, travel around the world, collect items, artifacts, allies, debt, madness, broken bones. Boost stats and use them to roll dice to do actions. Fight monsters. There are 4 elder gods, each with different "mysteries" that have to be solved to win, so it's pretty replayable.

WARNING: I don't think I've played a game shorter than, like 4 hours?
posted by Lemurrhea at 8:19 AM on October 23, 2014

Seconding Pandemic, and if you don't mind the player-versus-player aspect, Zombies!!! is a lot of fun.

Speaking of zombies, my family, friends and I enjoy Last Night on Earth, a zombie-themed board game that can be played with any of several combinations of human/zombie players. The human side plays individual characters based on tropes from horror movies (the small town sherriff, the drifer, the nurse, the touchdown king, etc).

The same people make a game based on Indiana Jones-style pulp adventure called Fortune and Glory that I played a demo of at GenCon, and it's a lot of fun, but quite an investment.

It doesn't involve RPG elements, but Forbidden Island is a cooperative game from the same designer as Pandemic that we enjoy as well.

I'll also leave my usual plug for Wil Wheaton's TableTop series; if any of the titles mentioned in this thread interest you, I think Wheaton and his friends showcase all of them so far.
posted by Gelatin at 9:00 AM on October 23, 2014

Shadows over Camelot has the coop-with-betrayal mechanism. FWIW, I was troubled by the misogyny (that you pretty much can't avoid with Arthurian legend); the only women are on setback/bad cards. I may be a bit sensitive - the dudes I played with didn't notice/care.
posted by momus_window at 10:40 AM on October 23, 2014

Arkham Horror is a longer one, but may fit your requirements. I've not played it personally, but Elder Sign is, I've been told, basically a shorter version of Arkham Horror.

These are card games, but I'm a big fan of Gloom, with additional story rules. Also Mad Scientist University and Once Upon a Time.

Flash Point is pretty good too.

Less discussion of strategy here since it's not cooperative, but as a not-competitive person myself I still really enjoy 7 Wonders.
posted by Urban Winter at 1:29 PM on October 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Elder Sign sounds good for you. Co-op, Lovecraft-themed horror, with exploration, items, different characters with special abilities, different antagonists, plenty of strategy and tension. It's a simpler version of Arkham Horror - which you might also like, but be warned that it's very complex and the first game of it I played took about 6 hours.

Pandemic is an excellent game, but it's not that much like Betrayal.
posted by siskin at 2:02 PM on October 23, 2014

Dead of Winter. Lots of scenarios like Betrayal, but not nearly as random as Last Night on Earth. You've got player characters with stats, combat, dice rolls, searches. It's not a co-op game, though you can work together, but everyone has their own win condition, so you may be at odds. There's a possible traitor.

I used to like LNOE, but DoW has pretty much replaced it entirely in our rotation.
posted by xedrik at 9:41 PM on October 23, 2014

Despite the many warnings against Arkham Horror's temporal commitment, we went with that. (We've had a few game nights that have lasted several rounds of betrayal, so...) He loves it!!

I'll be honest, ALL of the other games sound amazing, though. The game store we went to didn't have Eldritch Horror or Elder Sign, unfortunately.

Tomorrow is The Great Unboxening, I'll let you all know how it goes!
posted by FirstMateKate at 6:18 PM on October 24, 2014

Tomorrow is The Great Unboxening, I'll let you all know how it goes!

Good choice. The EOoG Rules Summary and Reference is exceedingly useful- think about having a copy on hand.
posted by zamboni at 6:37 PM on October 24, 2014

another vote for Dead of Winter. Played it for the first time a few days ago, and I'm super impressed with the mechanics and the setup.
posted by ansate at 7:58 AM on October 25, 2014

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