Board Game Review: Explore The Supernatural & Solve A Murder In Asmodee’s Mysterium

November 25, 2015 by deltagamegirl22

Being a fan of anything related to the supernatural, or mysteries in general for that matter, I have been very enchanted with the idea of Asmodee’s board game, Mysterium, since I first saw the teaser pictures online. The picture on the front of the box was enough to catch my eye and my curiosity! Do you, by chance, remember their marketing campaign leading up to the game?

Box

It was simple. It was genius. Asmodee was running advertising of the front art from the box, in a poster type style. It felt very much like a movie poster, which would have also had my attention and interest- but when we found the game at Gen Con, I couldn’t have been more pleased – that was until I heard they had sold out!

But much like their marketing campaign leading up to the game’s release, Asmodee hit it out of the park with their set up at Gen Con, featuring a section of their display as a room in the mansion, where they had demos of Mysterium playing. It was priceless and just called to people to come play, much like you’d expect an enchanted old mansion to draw you in.

Rulebook

So I knew it felt interesting and I wanted to check it out, but what was it exactly? We’ll set the scene with the letter that starts the rule book for the game…

Duchy of Warwick, Scotland

September 19th, 1922

Professor Alphonse de Belcour, Poitiers, France

Dearest Alphonse,

Since I last wrote, supernatural events have been occurring at the manor on a daily basis. In the course of my investigations, I came across a few old newspaper clippings mentioning the tragic demise of a man servant, nigh on 30 years ago. Although the police quickly concluded that the death was accidental, rumours about the circumstances continued to circulate.

It seems the case was rushed, and I’d bet my last shilling that my ghost has something to do with this story; sadly, he is unable to to manifest in our world for long enough to communicate. By combining our forces, we might just be able to give him the energy he needs to deliver his message. I therefore repeat my invitation: I would be delighted if Alma, Ardhashir, Madam Wang, Jessalyn and your good self could join me without delay to solve this mystery.

I look forward to receiving your reply.

Ever yours,

C. MacDowell

…awesome right?

Game Clock

Is it just me, or does anyone else want to go on a ghost hunt?! Mysterium is an asymmetric card game in which the players assume the roles of two separate tasks, but work towards one, common purpose. One player assumes the role of the ghost, who will try to help guide the psychics to make the correct choices in their investigation. The other players assume the roles of the psychics, whose primary objective is to solve the mystery behind the servant’s death.

Essentially the psychics play to make contact with the ghost to learn the identity of the killer over the course of seven turns. As so much time as passed, the ghost appears to only have vague memories of the circumstances behind his death and must try to convey these thoughts and imagery to the psychics.  To accomplish this feat, the game is played using cards with lovely artwork or people, places, and things.

In this way, the game works similarly to Clue. At the start of the game a number of people, places and objects are chosen randomly, according to the number of players. The ghost pulls the same numbered cards from their pile. The ghost then places one card from each category into the corresponding sleeve on the game screen.

Screen

An interesting layer of complexity to the game, is that each player will continue the game from this point, trying to solve the person, place and item requirement that they have behind the ghost’s screen. The ghost now draws 7 vision cards to try to use to guide the players to make the correct choice.

These cards may have an obvious connection like a specific item or place, or may have some obscure detail related to a card like a colour or feeling associated. Depending on the degree of difficulty of the game (chosen at the start of the game), the ghost gets crow tokens that he/she can spend to redraw their vision hand if they feel the choices are not helpful to guide the players.

Though players can talk to one another and help each other attempt to interpret results, they have to make their own decision on the ghost’s vision.

Game Cards 2

After each player receives a vision from the ghost, the timer is flipped and players have two minutes to cast their guess on what the ghost was trying to tell them. If there are four or more psychics playing, they have clairvoyance tokens that they can cast to agree or disagree with another player’s decision.

A correct choice with these can advance your token on the clairvoyance track, which will ultimately provide you with the chance to see more of the ghost’s final vision at the end of the game. The ghost cannot speak or make any gestures throughout the game that aid the players in their decisions, other than nodding yes or no at the completion of each turn after the timer runs out.

Game Cards 3

When a player correctly identifies their cards, they keep the cards in their character sleeves for the end of the game. If at the end of seven turns, each player has not collected their three cards, the players have collectively failed and the ghost’s killer remains a mystery. If the players all collected their cards, a final shared vision will take place.

Each player’s cards will be laid out as a grouping, numbered by the ghost. The ghost will draws one final hand of vision cards and must choose three cards that point to a single group of cards, indicating a person, place and item and indicates their choice with the culprit token.

Characters

In the end, players make their best guess as to which group contains the killer, and the grouping with the most votes is chosen as the group’s guess at the killer’s identity. The ghost will then reveal the culprit token.

If correct, the players win and the ghost is finally at peace knowing the truth has finally been revealed – if not, it appears it will be another year before an attempt can be made to solve this poor soul’s mystery (or at least until the next time the game is played).

Will you be channelling your inner psychic and having a go at Mysterium?

"Though players can talk to one another and help each other attempt to interpret results, they have to make their own decision on the ghost's vision..."

"In the end, players make their best guess as to which group contains the killer, and the grouping with the most votes is chosen as the group's guess at the killer's identity. The ghost will then reveal the culprit token..."