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Betrayal at House on the Hill Counter Sorting Scheme

Betrayal at House on the Hill Counter Sorting Scheme

This is my suggestion for how to organize the zillions of counters for Avalon Hill‘s game “Betrayal at House on the Hill”.

You can use a plastic subdivided storage case, zip-closure plastic bags, or whatever else suits your fancy. I like the plastic bags, myself. Ideally, you want to use pretty small bags; say, 3 inches by 3 inches or smaller.

Once you‘ve selected a storage system, you‘ll want to label them. The categories I‘ve developed have been working very well; when a scenario says something like “you must defeat the phantom and his bride” or “the zookeeper and her menagerie” (not real examples), I will immediately look for the Phantom in the “Undead” bag, for the zookeeper in the “People” bag, and probably just dump the “Animals” bag on the table for the traitor to pick through as needed.

You can just use a marker to write the categories on the bags, but that can be kind of hard to read. I printed the categories onto return address labels (about 2” by 1/2”), and stuck those on the bags. You could also cut some stiff paper into pieces that just fit inside your bags, and write the categories on those.

I‘ve provided two lists: the short list and the long list. The Long List breaks down some of the categories into smaller groups. I bought some tiny bags, 2x2 and 2x3 inches, so I could really subdivide the counters. I have separate bags for Evil Twins, Demons, and Nightmares, for example. I especially like having Holy Seals, Paint, and Torches separate from Singular Things, since there‘s still a lot of individual Things to dig through to find the one you need. You could also throw the Item Piles counters in with Things, but I think it‘s better to keep those separate because you can leave that bag out for Heroes to use as needed without leaving the counters in a loose pile. If you‘d rather have fewer bags, use the Short List. You can also make your own custom Medium List if you want to, by combining some of the Long List items.

While I‘ve tried to file counters under obvious broad categories, like “People,” “Animals,” “Things,” and so on, I have not mixed different colors or shapes, so when the scenario calls for a Phantom (light green) and a Girl (crimson), you‘ll quickly figure out that the Girl is in the People bag (because it‘s the only bag with crimson counters, but the Phantom isn‘t a People, because he‘s the wrong color. If you‘re using the Short List, then he must be in “Undead.” If you‘re using the Long List, then he‘s probably in the Singular Undead bag, since the other bags with light green counters have more specific labels (and the scenario only asks for one of him!)

Yes, I know, the Undead are unquestionably supernatural. Nevertheless, the designers of BaHotH made all the undead creatures light green, and the NOT-undead supernatural creatures dark blue. So just remember that the “Supernatural Creatures” category is actually “Supernatural Creatures Who Haven‘t Already Died Once.”

On the other hand, although Spores, Blobs, and the Evil Plant are dark green, for some reason Roots and Tips are color-coded as animals, not plants. I have no idea why, but I‘ve called them out for their own bag even on the Short List, since there‘s so many of them and you won‘t use them in the same haunt as any other animals.

When my list uses an “&”, as in “Spores & Blobs,” that means that those are two sided counters, with “Spore” on one side and “Blob” on the other. By the way, I threw the “Evil Plant” in with Spores & Blobs even though there‘s only one Plant and there‘s a bazillion Splobs because they‘re the same color, nothing else is dark green, and they‘re all used in the same Haunt.

I recommend doing something special to mark the first category on the list, “Tokens for Rooms and Cards.” This is the one bag you‘re almost guaranteed to need *before* the Haunt starts. Just swipe the label with a yellow highlighter, or stick a bit of pink construction paper inside, or whatever, then set it on the table when you set up the game.

If you‘ve looked at the picture I‘ve uploaded to BoardGameGeek (which you can also see here), you‘ll see that I also made bags for “Dice” and “Figures.” Keeps the box more organized, and it means I can just grab “Dice,” “Figures,” and “Tokens” and set them on the table with the boxes for “Cards” and “Tiles”, and let other people start setting up while I set the game box somewhere out of the way. I used to have bags for the cards as well, but I like the tuckboxes better.

Short List

Long List