Designer: Oleksandr Nevskiy
Published: Libellud Games
Playtime: 45 Minutes- 1 Hour
Play Type: Co-op Deduction
Mr. Macdowell has hired mediums to help decipher ghostly visions from a supernatural entity who is inhabiting his home. These mediums will have only seven hours to solve a dated mystery. What happened to the ghost? Who was the murderer? Where did the murder take place? What was the weapon used? The mediums will have to cooperate to come to a decisive conclusion.
During set-up players will pick one player to be the ghost or spirit player. The rest of the players will be a “medium”. Mediums will need to a select a crystal ball in the color of their choosing, and take the matching character sleeve and clairvoyance tokens. During this time the ghost player will need to go through the person, place, and object cards. They will need to select one of each of these cards for each of the players and place them in the corresponding place on their player screen for each player.
During the rounds, there are multiple phases to Mysterium. During the first phase, the ghost will have a hand of seven clue cards. They will hand these cards out to the mediums to try to get them to guess their person/place/thing cards. The ghost is not allowed to communicate with the mediums in any other way. Once all players have their clues, the timer will be flipped and players must select the card they think is associated with the clue they were given. Players will start by selecting their person, and then move to their place, and finally what the murder object was. After all players have committed to their card of choice, then all players will have the opportunity to use their clairvoyance tokens to vote whether they think their fellow mediums answers were correct or not. Players want to be correct on these votes so that the next phase will be easier for them. The ghost player will then tell the players who was correct, and who was not. Clairvoyance points will then be rewarded, and players may collect their tokens back. The ghost will then draw back up to seven clue cards. This process will repeat until seven rounds have been played. If all mediums have correctly guessed their three cards by the end of round seven the next phase will begin. If the mediums have not guessed correctly, the players lose and the game ends.
The second phase will determine if the players win or lose the game. Now, players will take their selected cards from the last phase and lay them out so that all mediums can see. One of these groupings will be the culprit. Based on the clairvoyance track players will have the option to look at one, two or three clue cards. They must then vote which of the groupings was the culprit. This phase is done without discussion. The majority of mediums must be correct to win the game.
The components in Mysterium are high quality. The artwork depicted in both the clue cards, and the person/place/thing cards are detailed and thematic. The game includes a player screen, colored crystal balls, player sleeves, a plastic sand timer, colored clairvoyance tokens, and raven tokens. I think that especially with the player screen and the detailed artwork on the clue cards that Mysterium has good table presence.
- Player Interaction
- Co-operative but independant
- Easy to teach
- Plays with a lot of players
- Alpha player syndrome
- Lots of downtime
- Being the ghost can be very frustrating
- Does not play as well at 2p
Overall I find that Mysterium is a good choice for a person looking for a co-op game with high player interaction. I especially enjoy using Mysterium as a tool to bring new gamers into the hobby. The game lends itself to this, because the premise is similar to the game Clue, which most people are familiar with. Beyond that the co-op aspect of the game allows players to easily assist new players. However, I would not suggest having a new player start as the ghost. The ghost can be an extremely frustrating position, even for experienced gamers. The lack of fitting clues can lead to poor clues, and very unhappy mediums.
Another thing that may be frustrating for some players is the amount of downtime in the game. Players who do not like a lot of downtime in games may dislike Mysterium. There is often some variation in the amount of time medians take to decide upon their card. Ghosts especially have a lot of downtime as they wait for players to finish their discussion. If you are looking for a visual deduction game with less wait time I suggest taking a look at Dixit instead. Some players may also struggle with the cooperative aspect of Mysterium. During the first phase of the game, alpha-gamers can try to overpower other players decisions. This does not come into play during the second phase though where players are not discussing their choices.On a similar note, Mysterium is also best played with three or more players. The aspect of player interaction is important and is not as prevalent at lower player counts. Without the player interaction, Mysterium does not have the same charm and challenge.
Mysterium is one of my favorite co-op games. The visual aspect of the game is something that interests me, and the mechanics are unique and engaging. The game provides a high level of challenge to both the ghost player and the mediums. The abstract deduction is challenging, but the player interaction in this game makes it stand out beyond other abstract deduction games like Dixit and Muse. The ghost can be an extremely challenging position, especially for first time players, but when done well it is very rewarding. It has a high replay value because of the different roles. Each ghost may look at a clue card differently making each round truly unique.