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 BoardGameGeek.com)