#10 – Mysterium


At a Glance: Mysterium is not merely a board game but an experience. It is a social venture into abstract communication in an eerie atmosphere.

Mysterium is a cooperative deduction game for 2-7 players where one person will play the ghost and everyone else plays the investigative mediums. The investigators are trying to solve the old case of the ghost’s murder. Who killed him? How did they kill him? And where did they kill him? Sounds like Clue, eh? Well, that’s pretty much where the similarities end. The catch is that the ghost cannot speak. The ghost may only communicate with the investigators through abstract visions and dreams to try to get them to ascertain who the suspects are. These visions are represented by large cards with abstract artwork, much like bizarre dreams. The game is set up with a lineup for suspect characters, locations, and murder weapons. Each investigator has a set of three answers (1 of each type) that is unique to them. Each round, which is represented by hours on the clock, the ghost gives at least one vision to every player that corresponds to their associated card. You must guess in order, starting with characters, then locations, then weapons, so it is possible and even likely that players will be at different stages at the same time. If everyone gets all three correct in time, then you move to the final round where everyone puts their sets in the middle of the table and only one set will be the correct interpretation. The ghost lays out exactly 3 cards that correspond to one of the sets and if the players vote correctly, everyone wins! The ghost’s spirit may now rest in peace. There is a Clairvoyance voting mechanic for a more advanced game. We do not generally play with it, but it allows other players to interact more and be more involved for every card played. Those who vote well gain on the clairvoyancy track. If you do well, then you may see all three vision cards before voting in the final round.

What an experience this game is. I love being the ghost, stretching my creativity and making the best with the vision cards I have. Sometimes, the answer seems so obvious you are silently yelling at the investigators in your head. Other times, you are stuck with poor card choices, and the investigators surprisingly follow your bizarre wavelengths of thought, and get it correct anyway, which is a sweet feeling. Once you are allowed to break your silence, it is fun to talk through the reasoning behind the clues. As the investigators, it is fun to discuss the possible interpretations of the abstract visions, and there are some really tough decisions to make. When the group prevails, it is a great rah-rah feeling. The difficulty setting is also very customizable too, which is awesome, as the hardest difficulty will challenge even the best communicative partners. I feel like the game works best with at least 4 players.

Mysterium has the best artwork of any game I have played. There are a lot of vision cards and each image is well done and multi-dimensional in that it is not just a simple picture of one basic object, but rather a conglomeration of things that are not always related in an obvious way. The game also comes with great translucent plastic crystal ball figures and a big unnecessary cardboard clock dial to keep track of time, which adds nice flair. Light some candles, put some eerie music on, turn on your telepathic skills, and enjoy this truly remarkable experience of a game.

Check it out: https://amzn.to/2RcvVjj

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