Asmodee, 2015

Mysterium is a new cooperative mystery themed board game where one player is the “ghost” and the other players are “mediums” attempting to solve a murder by channeling the spirits. This game is simply described as “Clue” meets “Dixit” (see previous review).

At the beginning of the game, a certain number of suspect, room and weapon cards are placed on the table (depending on the number of players). The ghost player sits behind a screen, which shows the assigned suspect, room and weapon for each player. (determined randomly). Each player must try to first determine their suspect from clues given in the form of Dixit-type art cards (see sample below). The “ghost” is not allowed to give clues other than cards. The card may be trying to indicate a color, or an element on the card that is similar to the one on the players target card. The players may discuss, then each player places their crystal ball on the suspect they believe is theirs. If they are correct, then they may move on to do the same thing with their room. If they are incorrect, then the ghost gives them another clue and they try again.

But the players only have 7 rounds to determine their set of clues.  When the suspects rooms and weapons have been determined, then those sets are laid out on the table, and the ghost gives the number of clue cards as has been determined by their time, and the players attempt to guess the final killer. The faster they figure it out their suspect, the more clues they get.

Though this game seems simple, the cards are somewhat abstract, at the intended meaning is often elusive. And the Ghost may not get the best cards available to give the most direct clues.

As with Dixit, the artwork in this game is amazing. It is a lot of fun to discuss and speculate on the clues  you have been given, and amazingly frustrating as the ghost when the players don’t get your hints. The ambiance and theming of the game work very well, and the time countdown gives a sense of urgency and tension.

This is a great game, with lots of replayability, though a group that plays it regularly may start to come up with conventions for which cards mean what things. I have heard players say that they have added their Dixit cards to the mix for giving clues, which would also give the game more variety and possibly difficulty. Highly recommended.







(Card picture from

Asmodee, 2008

Dixit is a storytelling card game and won the Spiel de Jahres in 2010. The game is made up of 84 abstract art cards. Expansions are available that also have 85 cards, so there is a lot of variety available.

Each player has a hand of 6 cards. Gameplay starts with the storyteller choosing a card from their hand, placing it face down in front of themselves and giving a short word or phrase that describes the card. This phrase should be somewhat cryptic. Each other player chooses a card from their hand that they feel best matches the storyteller’s phrase and plays it face down. Then all cards are collected, shuffled and placed out faceup. Each player then votes for the card that they feel best matches the description. If no one or everyone selects the storyteller’s card, then the storyteller gets no points, and each other person gets two points. Otherwise the storyteller, and everyone who voted for them gets three points, and each other player who received a vote gets one point per vote on their card. The object is to get to 30 points (various different editions of the game have different point tallying mechanics). You cannot vote for your own card. The story teller doesn’t vote, but uses their vote to indicate their card, so will always “vote” last.

The storyteller must carefully craft their wording to that it isn’t too obvious (or everyone will vote for theirs and they get no points) or to obtuse (in which case no one votes for them).

For example, the picture on the cover could be described by the storyteller as “Adventures in reading” “Imagination” or “And they rode off into the sunset”. Using the word book or waves in the description might pinpoint this card too much. Sunset might also do the same thing, but since it isn’t the focus of the card, could be abstract enough to get by. Using “Imagination” might not be specific enough, but gives the overall “feel” of the word, so would probably get a vote or two. Much of the voting and storytelling will depend on who you are playing with and is a good “get to know you” game.

With a little of “Apples to Apples” and a lot of artistry, this game is fun for all ages. A good imagination is very helpful, and I probably wouldn’t recommend this game to incredibly literal thinkers. Playing with kids is good, but they will probably tend to be very specific about their cards. This game can be great for teaching abstract thought and storytelling.

Very much recommended for creative minded folks.