Review: Avalon Hill – Scooby Doo: Betrayal at Mystery Mansion

Scooby Doo: Betrayal at Mystery Mansion
Scooby Doo: Betrayal at Mystery Mansion is a Mystery Inc. version of Betrayal at House on the Hill published by Avalon Hill.
By Aaron T. Huss

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Betrayal at Mystery Mansion is new version of Betrayal at House on the Hill skinned for the Mystery Inc. crew, simplified a bit, and themed with the type of satirical investigative horror that is Scooby Doo and the gang. Being a fan of the Betrayal at House on the Hill products and always indulging in a little Scooby Doo cartoon every now and then, this is a great blend of the two making the game more approachable for those looking to play games on the tabletop with children.

Betrayal at Mystery Mansion is much like its predecessors in that it is a high-quality boxed production from Avalon Hill with no shortcuts taken on presentation, replayability, quality components, and storage. The game contains the same quality thickness components found on other Avalon Hill games, meaning you’ll have a game that will definitely last for many years to come. It also contains a familiar rulebook with a number of different scenarios that can be played to change-up your gaming experience. This prevents the game from getting mundane, especially when young children are involved. I should note that I played it with three of my daughters ages 5, 8, and 10. They all had a blast and the simplification of the rules made it much more exciting to them and kept them on until the very end.

One of the best design features of Betrayal at Mystery Mansion is the way they truly captured the essence of Mystery Inc. Mysteries investigated by Scooby and the gang are always meant to be a little ominous until things get a little goofy, the villain is captured, and the grand reveal occurs at the end. This game portrays that through villain-oriented mechanics that favor the investigators instead of the villain, much like you would see in the cartoons. It was almost comical at one point as the player-turned-villain spent more time going around and scaring everyone that attacking. And when the good guys came around, it wasn’t so much as attacking the villain as it was trying to stop and capture him. Fun was had by all!

As a gamer with young children, finding a board game I enjoy that the kids will not only enjoy but play to the very end can often prove difficult. Rules seen as complicated to a child, regardless of how well understood by adults, quickly become boring or mundane and the child loses interest. Betrayal at Mystery Mansion creates a perfect meeting point where I get to enjoy a longer tabletop game that isn’t overly child-like and my children don’t lose interest due to complexity in its mechanics. We were playing for probably 1 1/2 hours and yet all three of my daughters hung on until the very end! That in itself speaks wonders for the game’s design and I encourage every gamer parent to pick it up! Even if you’re not a parent and want something lighter to play with friends, it’s a good option to grab!

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