Friday, January 31, 2014

Variant of Betrayal: Secrets of the Ancient Temple

Jason Miller
Rachel Polet
Abe Olson
Ed Smit
Tom Speelman

Secrets of the Ancient Temple

Secrets of the Ancient Temple is a variation of Betrayal at House on the Hill, a game that is based on tile placement and random die rolls that determine which scenario will play out, and ultimately what the conditions to win are. Betrayal is a lot of fun to play with a large group, because the scenarios are very diverse and it's easy to have everyone work together, adding a nice coop element to the game. For Secrets, we came up with a few more unique scenarios that play off of a more competitive element. We have one dedicated to the idea that Medusa has appeared and is controlling all of the women characters, and the men have to fight their way out in order to survive. We have another one where Hades is trying to plunge the Temple into darkness, and torches must be lit to fight back. It was a lot of fun to come up with these scenarios, but also a lot of work because you want them to be fun but also balanced. You never want to hear players groan when a scenario starts because they feel like they have no chance.

Another aspect we incorporated into Secrets is we eliminated the upper and lower floors, leaving only the ground floor, but kept the number of rooms somewhat comparable. This makes the temple feel a lot larger and adds more strategy to playing. We also added trap rooms that trigger when you walk into them, such as a Dart room and a floor drop room. One of the most interesting things we added though was round events. At the end of every round, a card is flipped and an event occurs. For some rooms, we added some healing effects, whereas for others we made the traps activate. Some of my favorites are the Tongues of Flame effect, which shoots fire out of the door ways and makes it so that anyone in the Room of Eternal Flame or adjacent to it takes damage. Another one is the Ball Trap, which is similar to the classic trap in Indiana Jones with the rolling ball. If a player is in any of the rooms leading to it, they're hit and end at the end of the hallway. This really added a new level of strategy that we all enjoyed.

Secrets is a fresh take on Betrayal in a new setting, and it showed us how much fun coming up with your own scenarios can be. It really makes the game a lot more enjoyable, and it adds a layer of personal connection with it too!

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