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

MadScientistUniversityMad Scientist University
Atlas Games, 2005

Mad Scientist University is a light, simple, storytelling party game. Each player is a student at Mad Scientist University. In turn, each player will get to be the TA. The TA will give each player an Unstable Element Card (Aluminum Cans, Penguin, Lawn Gnomes, etc). Then the TA will give the group an Insane Assignment (Take over the world!). Each player must create a story on how they will use their Unstable Element to achieve the assignment. The TA will choose the best story to win the assignment. After three rounds of play, (Each person will TA once per round) the student with the most won assignment wins the game.

We have had a lot of fun with this game. The Unstable Elements cards have just the right amount of wacky wierdness to make the storytelling easy and fun. The Assignments are general enough to be able to give players a good amount of latitude in their storytelling.  We were playing with the base game and the spring break expansion, and much fun and hilarity ensued. There are several more expansions of the game available, which will give the game more replay value.

If you like storytelling games, then you will very likely enjoy Mad Scientist University. Recommended.