When comparing Betrayal at House on the Hill vs Carcassonne, the Slant community recommends Carcassonne for most people. In the question“What are the best board games?” Carcassonne is ranked 8th while Betrayal at House on the Hill is ranked 10th. The most important reason people chose Carcassonne is:
The rules are pretty basic for Carcassonne, with first time players being able to grasp its concepts quite quickly, making Carcassonne a great gateway game. Every turn the player draws one tile from the pile. They then must place the tile adjacent to a tile that has already been placed in a way that the edges match. There are four types of terrain on the tiles – roads, cities, monasteries, and grassland. After the tile is placed the player can choose to put a player figure, a.k.a. a meeple, on the tile to potentially score points. If a meeple is placed on a road, then the player will score one point for every road tile until the road ends in an intersection or a city. If the meeple is placed on a city, the player will receive two points for every city tile until the city is fully walled off. If the player chooses to place the meeple in a monastery, then they will receive one point per tile until the monastery is fully surrounded by tiles. Lastly, if the meeple is placed on grassland, then it’ll only score points at the very end of the game, giving three points for every city in the field. The player with the most points wins.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Well written storylines lead to very memorable gameplay experiences
Each of the 50 scenarios are unique and have a gripping story that helps pull you into the game. Whether it's demons, monsters, or rituals that need to be completed, each gameplay session will be filled with new stories and new objectives. Thanks to this, each session memorable in its own way as you won't ever be doing the same thing twice.
Pro Exciting tone shift mid-game
In the beginning, players all work together to explore and search the haunted house, but once the betrayers are revealed in the later sections, the game turns you against one another. This complete shift in tone from co-op exploration to frantic survival is often the most exciting part as everyone's goals suddenly change and your friends are trying to kill you.
Pro Near endless replayability
The "Traitor's Tome" rulebook contains a base of 50 "haunt" scenarios to play through, but you can easily create your own or find more online if you'd like to play more unique or varied games. Even when playing the base game, the sheer amount of variety in nightmarish things (monsters, aliens, ghosts, weird portals) the game throws at you is incredible.
Pro Great for getting your friends into gaming
Overall, this is a great game to help get your friends into board games, even if they are bit reluctant. Each game session usually only lasts about 60 minutes, but manages to pack as much fun in as possible. The suspense of exploration combined with the excitement of the big reveal is an addicting mechanic that works well with many groups. Thanks to this short length and incredible way of drawing people in, this makes it a great game to pick up and play with friends on the spur of the moment.
Pro Not a huge time investment
You can play a whole game from start to finish in about an hour.
Pro Builds anticipation and suspense
Perhaps one person, or even multiple people are forced to switch to Betrayers in the middle of the game. You never know who is going to be affected, what the revealed horror will be, or when it will happen. Additionally, the Betrayers and Investigators often have objectives which are kept secret from one another, so you never know what your opponent's win condition is until it happens. All of this keeps everyone guessing what's going to happen next and how things will play out.
Pro Great expansion that adds to gameplay
The Window's Walk expansion not only adds 50 new haunts, but adds new rooms, cards and opens up the roof for exploration. Overall, it's an excellent addition that expands on the base game and gives you plenty of new content to enjoy.
Pro Easy to learn for beginners
The rules are pretty basic for Carcassonne, with first time players being able to grasp its concepts quite quickly, making Carcassonne a great gateway game.
Every turn the player draws one tile from the pile. They then must place the tile adjacent to a tile that has already been placed in a way that the edges match. There are four types of terrain on the tiles – roads, cities, monasteries, and grassland. After the tile is placed the player can choose to put a player figure, a.k.a. a meeple, on the tile to potentially score points.
If a meeple is placed on a road, then the player will score one point for every road tile until the road ends in an intersection or a city. If the meeple is placed on a city, the player will receive two points for every city tile until the city is fully walled off. If the player chooses to place the meeple in a monastery, then they will receive one point per tile until the monastery is fully surrounded by tiles. Lastly, if the meeple is placed on grassland, then it’ll only score points at the very end of the game, giving three points for every city in the field. The player with the most points wins.
Pro Detailed with polish
The board game pieces are highly detailed and colorful, be it lush grassland, a fortified medieval castle, or a monastery in the middle of nowhere. The game is themed after southern France in the medieval ages and the actual fortified city of Carcassonne and the landscape around it. There is definitely some forethought put into the polish of this game that makes much of it intuitive and a pleasure to look at.
On a more practical note, the back of the tile with which the game starts is in a separate color, so it is easier to find when starting the game.
Pro Simple, but allows for lots of thinking if you want
The game is very accessible to beginners, but it allows for quite a bit of strategic play when you get more familiar with the concept. You can either go for long-term strategies with farms, or for quick point-grabs; you can build your own cities in peace or try to mess with your opponent whenever possible. A lot of tactics come in the form of cutthroat play – trapping other players’ meeples, stealing cities, and getting to share points.
Moreover, the last turns of the game can also influence the outcome a lot – players receive some points for unfinished creations as well.
Pro Quick to play
In a regular expansion-less game of Carcassonne it can take 30 – 45 minutes to blast through the approximately 70 tiles.
The gameplay is dynamic, and everyone’s constantly engaged, managing their meeples and calculating which part of the board is worth fighting over. Even the kids stay engaged since the winner is usually not obvious untile the very end.
Because of the simple rules Carcassonne is very easy to get back into even after big breaks and it’s great to teach to other people. This means that the people you play with can change without any problems and you can play the game with anyone – children, your parents, your friends, or your partner.
Pro Near-endless replayability
Carcassonne will pretty much never feel dull, there are so many possibilities and variables in the game not only because of the randomness, but also because of the simplicity and the variation count.
Carcassonne is going to be a different game every time because of the tiles you and your opponents draw and where you choose to place them. There are over 70 tiles in the base set, which amounts to a lot of possible combinations.
Carcassonne has been around for a while, and this has led to the release of many expansions throughout the years. Each of these provides more tiles, rules, and other variables to the game.
Lastly, you can even introduce many variations that’ll change up the game without owning any expansions, for example, instead of drawing one tile and placing it every turn, have the players manage a hand of four tiles.
Con The mechanics aren't the best
The mechanics for things like movement and fighting occasionally break down or don't make sense in certain Haunts.
For movement, there are two cases where the mechanics break down. In most cases, it's very obvious where you're supposed to go and it ends up being a simplistic point A to point B course. This takes all the fun or guesswork out of plotting the optimal path. On the other hand, sometimes reaching your goal is impossible because of layouts which makes fulfilling an objective difficult or downright impossible. In both cases, movement feels unexciting.
When fighting, some abilities are rather complex, so time is taken out of the game to explain the mechanics to everyone. This ruins immersion for everyone and it can feel like there is more explaining than actual action.
Con Some Haunts are very unbalanced
Due to how the house is gradually discovered in the first phase of the game, it is possible for either the Betrayer or the Investigators to not have access to the tiles they need to win the game at the start of the second phase. Sometimes the Betrayers will be at a disadvantage, and sometimes the Investigators. It's an issue that effects both sides about the same.
Con Players may feel disadvantaged at times
There is a huge variety in the horrors revealed, and some work better than others after a large portion of the house has been discovered. Others work best in small, enclosed quarters. For example, a creature suddenly crawling through the walls works best in the small quarters, whereas it wouldn't be so much of a threat in a larger open area. Due to things like this, the scenario can sometimes often feel unfair for one side or the other - either the Betrayer or the Investigators will have a huge disadvantage.
Con Not appropriate for children
Some of the more complicated scenarios can be quite confusing, and the game is relatively slow paced, so it may not be fun for kids. As it's a horror game, some of the themes (monsters, cannibalism, demonic rituals) are not appropriate for young children.
Con Game relies very heavily on the players buying into the theme
This is a game that does best only if the players really buy into the theme of exploring the haunted house. Since cards are read aloud and acted out a bit (creepy voices highly encouraged), events and haunts in particular benefit from this extra bit of immersion. If this seems like a Pro to you, then great, Betrayal is your kind of game, but if not, then it can get stale quickly and its flaws are made even more apparent.
Con Risk of accidental tile moving
If the game is not played on a flat surface or if you accidentally apply more force to the tile when you're placing it adjacent to another, then everything can shift, which can be annoying to fix.
Con Small official scoreboard
The official scoreboard that comes with the base game only stacks up to 50 points, but proper games of Carcassonne go way past that mark – a game without any expansions can easily reach over 100 points. If you add expansions to the equation, then the points can stack up even past 400, but some expansions feature scoring tokens that help resolve this issue.
Con Highly random
As is typical for a game with a drawing mechanic, almost every action in the game is influenced by whatever tile is drawn and where a player has chosen to place it, so it’ll benefit him the most. The randomness is enhanced by the fact that the players only draw one tile at a time, so you must take what you get.
Con May be a little light for hardcore boardgame players
The game itself is not very deep in design or play, which may be a turn off for the more hardcore of boardgame players though can be good for newcomers.