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The other day whilst playing betrayal at house on the hill, I died early on and didn't get back on the board as a monster in any way.

What can I do to contribute without 'over doing it'?

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I don't entirely understand your bounty motivation here - I'm pretty sure when Paul said "kibitz" he just meant speculate, offer advice, maybe heckle a bit, whatever suits you and your friends. (I don't think he meant "offer unwelcome advice".) If you don't like to do that, then you really can't contribute. –  Jefromi Jun 13 '13 at 4:08
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Also, this is somewhat related to the issue of players falling far behind. This isn't as bad, though; you can discuss the game cooperatively, or get up and leave, rather than being stuck going through the motions. –  Jefromi Jun 13 '13 at 4:14
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4 Answers 4

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Some ideas that have worked out alright in games of Betrayal I've played:

  • Let the knocked out player control one of the monsters (if there are more than one and player knowledge wouldn't make much difference).

  • Move the knocked out player onto the control team of another player's character.

  • Start the game with some number of additional characters (controlled by other players in turn). Players can take these characters over in the event they die early. This also works for guests who RSVPed with a "maybe".

  • Explicitly have all of the characters controlled collectively by all of the adventurers, with some rule to decide who will be the betrayer based on which character is the betrayer. This changes the game quite a bit, but it's still pretty fun.

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Before the Haunt happens, you can't die; you just go down to the minimum level on the stat(s) affected.

If you died after the Haunt began, may I suggest spectating, or a game of Solitaire? Or, depending on how strict your group is, you can still kibitz.

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Following the haunt, the game tends to become semi-cooperative, with one antagonist. In those cases, while you're not controlling a character, you could certainly offer advice and contribute to group-thinking.

I certainly think that answer, in line with previous ones, is most appropriate, but if you're desperate to house-rule an alternative, how about this "ghost" variant:

Your character remains on the board and has all their stats returned to their starting values, but cannot interact with anyone or anything (they're a ghost) and loses all their items/omens. On your turn, you can move according to your speed as normal, and then nominate a character/creature in your room and an attribute. Reduce that attribute by one on your character coaster and declare that the target character has a +1 bonus or -1 penalty in that stat until your next turn. This represents you messing with monsters by floating candlesticks at them, or the heroes fighting on in your memory, or whatever. If it's that kind of group, you could elaborate by describing in an appropriately thematic way exactly how you're causing the change. You could target a team-mate who really needs to succeed at that Sanity check, or pick the Strength of a monster you're all wailing on. Once a stat of yours hits bottom, you can no longer use it.

I doubt this variant would be over-powering. It doesn't even counter-balance the loss of a full-fledged character if you ask me. Disclaimer: I haven't tried it, but you could give it a go and report back.

In scenarios where it's every man for himself (i.e. it becomes fully competitive with no one traitor), any further interaction you have with the game would just be king-making, so you should probably concede that you've been eliminated and resort to heckling etc.

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You can do whatever you and your friends like.

It's a cooperative game, so you can continue to discuss plans and suggests moves with the remaining players just like you could when you were alive. The line between discussion, suggestion, and actually playing is pretty fuzzy.

How far you can and should go with it depends entirely on your preferences and those of your gaming group, but essentially every group I've ever played with would be okay with a player continuing to participate exactly as they did before. If no one wants your input - they're all silently making their own moves, no discussion - then you're not playing the game in a fun way to begin with.

The suggestions in Dan's and Johno's answers are mostly just specific degrees of suggestion/actually playing. But I honestly don't think it's worth getting bogged down in a specific, regimented way of playing-while-not-playing, and I definitely don't think it's beneficial to modify the game to give you a token role. Cooperative games are the ideal situation - just be yourself, converse like you always do, and let the game keep going.

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