Mysterium

Have you ever had one of those moments when you wander around Amazon, looking for something to buy but you don’t know exactly what?
This is how I first came across Mysterium, a cooperative board game! And let me tell you, what an amazing find! After a little bit of research, one phrase convinced me to buy it instantly: “It’s a mix between Clue and Dixit”. SOLD!

I wrote to my usual game nights’ friends “I HAVE A NEW GAME WE NEED TO PLAY RIGHT NOW!”. Two days later there we were, playing Mysterium and falling immediately in love with it! The atmosphere, the “set” pieces, it even has its own soundtrack to play during the match! It’s a great game to give Dixit some time to breathe!

Mysterium is a board game where you’ll become a Clairvoyant trying to find how the Ghost was killed, by who, with what, and where. You’ll have to do so with the clues that the Ghost will give you, but things are harder than they seem!
It’s a cooperative game, so at the end you’ll win only if the ghost succeeded in helping everybody guess their own trio of cards.

So take your crystal ball, light up some candles, and let’s see how Mysterium works.
A little tip: this review is 10 times cooler if you read it while listening to the Mysterium Score!


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Game Components

For the Psychics

  • 6 Intuition Tokens;
  • 6 Card Sleeves;
  • 36 Clairvoyancy Tokens;
  • 6 Clairvoyancy Level Markers.

For the Ghost

  • 1 Game Screen;
  • 6 ghost Tokens;
  • 84 Vision Cards;
  • 54 Ghost Cards: 18 Characters, 18 Objects, 18 Locations;
  • 6 Culprit Tokens;
  • 3 Crow Markers.

For the Board

  • 1 Clock Board;
  • 4 Progress Board: Character, Location, Object, Epilogue;
  • 1 Clairvoyancy Track;
  • 1 Hourglass (2 minutes long).

How to Play

Mysterium is that kind of board game where it’s easier to play than explain how to play.
I also have to say that the board setup is a little longer than usual because there are a lot of components to put on the table. But I think that it helps to get the game even more atmospheric.
To better show you the setup and the gameplay, I’m gonna divide this section into Card Setup, Phase 1, and Phase 2.

Card Setup

  1. Using the table on the side (that you can find on the rule book of the game) you’ll have to choose a difficulty. Then, based on the number of players (Ghost included), check how many Character/Location/Object Psychic Cards to draw.
  2. Each drawn card has a number on the back. Look through the Character/Location/Object Ghost Cards and select the cards with matching numbers to the Psychic Cards.
  3. The Ghost takes the Ghost Cards and draws as many cards as the number of Psychics in the game. He then assigns each one of them a trio of Character/Location/Object Cards, putting them in the sleeves on the Game Screen.
  4. The Psychic Cards will have to be put on the table, divided into Character, Location, and Object with the given separators in between the sections.
  5. Give each Psychic an Intuition Token, a Card Sleeve, and a number of Clairvoyancy Tokens depending on the number of players.
  6. Put the Level markers on the 0 on the Clairvoyancy Track.
  7. Finally, put the Intuition Tokens on the Character Board. And that’s it, now you are all ready to play!
Mysterium board game setup table

Phase 1

In this phase, the psychics will have to work together in order to make each psychic guess their assigned trio of cards. To do so, the ghost will have to give each psychic one or more Vision Cards from his hand that will have to help them guess the Character/Location/Object they need to find.
Each psychic has a unique trio of cards, so there cannot be two or more psychics with the same Character/Location/Object card.

If a psychic thinks he has found the right card, he has to put his Intuition Token on the card itself.
The other psychics can now choose to use their Clairvoyancy Tokens (it’s not mandatory to use them, but it is advised because it’s a means to score points): If they think the psychic is correct, put the clairvoyancy token on that card with the tick showing, otherwise put it with the X showing.
Important: Once used, the token has to be discarded on the Clock Board. They will be retrieved at the start of the fourth turn.

Once the Ghost has given the Vision Cards to the last psychic, turn the hourglass. The psychic will have two minutes to make their choices.

Spectral Manifestation

The ghost appears and lets the psychics know whether or not they have correctly interpreted their visions.
If the psychic was right, he moves his Intuition Token on the next Progress Board, puts the correct Psychic Card into his Card Sleeve, and discards all his Vision Cards. Plus, everyone who put the tick on the correct card moves his Clairvoyancy Token by one on the Clairvoyancy Track.
If the psychic was wrong, he moves the Intuition Token back to the previous Progress Board because next turn the ghost will give him other Vision cards to help him. Everyone who put the X on the card moves the Clairvoyancy Token by one on the Clairvoyancy Track.

After the Ghost has manifested, move the hour hand forward one hour on the clock.
At the end of the 7th hour, if one or more psychics haven’t identified their trio of cards yet, the game ends and all players lose.
Otherwise, if all psychics have identified their Character/Location/Object combination, Phase 2 begins.

Phase 2

Each psychic should now have a unique trio of cards: 1 Character, 1 Location, and 1 Object.
Take each trio out of the sleeve and put it on the table. Then assign each of them a number using the Ghost Token.
The psychics retrieve all of their Clairvoyancy Tokens.

Now, the ghost chooses one group of cards and picks three Vision Cards from his hand. These cards form a shared vision and must all point to the same group.
One card must point to the character in the chosen group, another to the location, and the final one to the object.
The ghost then shuffles these three cards and puts them face down on the table, putting the Culprit Token with the number of the winning group face down on the Epilogue Progress Board.

Now, depending on how many points they earned on the Clairvoyancy Track, each psychic will have to vote in secret which group they think is the suspected culprit. To do so, just put the matching Clairvoyancy Token in the card sleeve. Those with low points will have to guess with just one card face up, the intermediate ones will see two cards, and those with high points will see all three cards face up.
Important: The psychics don’t know which card points to the Character/Location/Object.

When all psychics have voted, it’s time to reveal the votes. The group with the most votes will be chosen as the final guess: If it matches the number on the Culprit Token the game will be won, otherwise all players will lose.

Expansions

There are two expansions to the main game, and each one of them adds new cards.

This was the first expansion. It added:

  • 42 Vision Cards;
  • 12 Character cards (6 Ghost cards, 6 Psychic cards);
  • 12 Location cards (6 Ghost cards, 6 Psychic cards);
  • 12 Object cards (6 Ghost cards, 6 Psychic cards);

The first reproduction of this expansion also included 6 Promotional cards (3 Ghost cards, 3 Psychic cards);


MYSTERIUM EXPANSION: HIDDEN SIGNS
2 – 7 players | 42 mins | Age 10+


This second expansion added:

  • 42 Vision cards;
  • 12 Character cards (6 Ghost cards, 6 Psychic cards);
  • 12 Location cards (6 Ghost cards, 6 Psychic cards);
  • 12 Object cards (6 Ghost cards, 6 Psychic cards);
  • 36 Story cards (18 Ghost cards, 18 Psychic cards);

The story cards are to be used as an alternative to the Object cards.


Mysterium expansion secrets & lies amazon image link

MYSTERIUM EXPANSION: SECRETS & LIES
2 – 7 players | 42 mins | Age 10+


Conclusion

So, what to say after all of this?
Mysterium is a cooperative board game that I definitely recommend buying. It’s great for a fun game night, and the replay value is very good.

A neat thing is that Dixit cards can also be used to play Mysterium (and vice versa). We usually use the Dixit Harmonies cards because they blend really well with the theme of Mysterium.

It’s also a great game to play with children! I’ve played it with my friend’s cousins (8 and 12 years old) and they loved it! Also, the simple gameplay and the fantastic atmosphere it creates, make Mysterium a great board game to play with beginners.

I’d say that the only cons, if we want to call it like that, is that the Ghost is better played by someone who’s familiar with the game: it’s a fun role, but not as easy as it seems. If you want to make it even more challenging, we usually put the rule that the ghost cannot talk at all, and to communicate he has to make sounds on the table or move a candle in a certain way. It sounds goofy, but it sets a really cool creepy atmosphere.

Finally, you should buy this game just for the artwork alone. I think the artists really did a great job blending the design and the style to make this game the most atmospheric possible. You could almost consider it as a role-playing game. And trust me, play it with the official soundtrack and with lit candles: the atmosphere will be fantastic!


Mysterium board game: base game

MYSTERIUM
2 – 7 Players | 42 Minutes | 10+


Mysterium Park

Recently they released a sort of spinoff game: Mysterium Park. It moved the location of the game from the Mansion to a Theme Park, which I think is REALLY COOL!
It is a quicker version of Mysterium, so it works really good as a filler game, with an average game length of 28 minutes.
If you want to play it with just two players, Mysterium Park is probably better, because the setup is much faster, and the game is a little shorter.


MYSTERIUM PARK
2 – 6 Players | 28 Minutes | 10+