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RBG #11: Mysterium

RBG #11: Mysterium

pic2601683Designer: Oleksandr Nevskiy, Oleg Sidorenko

PublisherAsmodee

Genre: Deduction, Murder/Mystery 

Number of Players: 2 – 7 Players

Release Date: 2015

Difficulty: Medium-Hard

Score: 7.5 / 10

Have you found yourself on Amazon or your local game store looking for a tabletop game that is new but feels familiar? No need to look any further! In this issue of the RBG we are taking a look at a unique murder deduction title that will pit all of the players (excluding one) together in order to figure out who is a cold blooded killer and who is free to walk the earth as they please. Welcome to Mysteriun.

whoBefore we dive too far into Mysterium, we need to fill you in on a few events. Set in the 1920’s, we follow senior astrologist Mr. Macdowell as he discovers there is a phantom taking up residence in his recently purchased home in Scotland. Since Macdowell is unable to contact the spirit using any normal means, he has hired skilled mediums and psychics to reach into the unknown and find the aforementioned anomaly. The players take control of the mediums and must be dealt visions by a single remaining player in order to figure out what exactly happened.

Now conceptually, Mysterium feels like a completely confusing game to dive in for the average individual. While we are definitely not experts when it comes to gaming, my group and I are rather seasoned. However, we were having trouble figuring at the structure and features of Mysterium. Once the table was set though, we picked up what is was putting down. The game is loosely inspired by the classic family board game Clue, while also taking notes from current indie titles like Dixit.

As you could probably interpret by now, completion of Mysterium relies heavily on teamwork.  One player takes control of the phantom and may not speak to the other players regarding clues/hints. This worked out, as during gameplay I talk way too much, so I was nominated as the ghost. The ghost player is tasked with a simple goal in mind, use surrealist visions to move the remaining players to the correct components to win the game. The objective is to help the psychics discover the correct murder weapon, murder scene, and murderer that resulted in your demise. Also, you only have seven rounds/days to solve the case.

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By far the most difficult part of Mysterium is actually trying to have the other players interpret your visions properly! Since as the ghost you are unable to speak, it can either be painful or hilarious to watch your friends completely rack their minds over what you are trying to tell them. For example, one of the possible murder suspects is a nun and I have a rather bland selection of visions. While I could try and push them towards riches, as there are plenty of visions that involve treasure, I could also distribute a vision of an open book because it looks rather biblical. It is all up to the players to figure out what the hell you are exactly saying.

There are two main sections of Mysterium: the reconstruction of events and the reveal of the culprit. As mentioned above, the reconstruction of events involves the mediums trying to find clues to support their case. Once you reach the reveal of the true culprit, each player’s clairvoyance needs to be accounted for. This element is accrued throughout the game, depending on correct guesses and how quick you discover the correct clues. A shared vision occurs and depending on your clairvoyance you may only see one or all parts of the vision. This adds risk and competition to the game, but if you find yourself confused early on it could be your demise.

DSC_9483By far the best part of Mysterium is the art style of the pieces and cards. The majority of the designs are rather thematic as they could convince me I was actually playing something from the 1920’s. While there have been some gripes about the artwork changes between editions, I actually believe that the choices are a definite improvement. Not only are they even more surreal and harder to interpret, but they are creepier and more defined beyond belief.

While the added additions over the years have made Mysterium feel clunkier between its predecessors, there is plenty of replay value. Since the key murder components change each time you set up, you can play drastically different games with the same group of people. Also, while the game does seem complex when you initially dive in, most people (even those non-gaming muggles) can understand and be intrigued by Mysterium’s mystery. Overall, Mysterium will quickly find a place in your game rotation for your next party night.

To wrap things up, Mysterium is a unique experience from beginning to end. A fantastic teamwork experience, this cooperative title is a perfect one for the entire family to enjoy. Whether the thematic elements or the intrigue of playing a mute ghost snags your attention, you definitely will be in for a quick and wild ride. Do you think Mysterium could appeal to the mass market? Does Mysterium have ever-lasting replayability? You will have to play and let us know!

mysteriumboardgamereview-1-e1491764388360

Interested in more tabletop games like Mysterium? Be sure to watch out for the next issue and follow my Bacon Bits for a sneak peak at what the next issue might hold. Be sure to also check out everything else Nerd Bacon has to offer over in Beyond Bacon.

Written by Rhutsczar


Hello everybody! Thanks for reaching the end of whatever my newest/current addiction is above me. I’m pretty sure it’s an RPG, since it’s my favorite genre I try to find the most underrated and niche games possible. Anyway if you like what you read and would like to check out more, follow the links below. Also be sure to check out the RBG over on Beyond Bacon!.

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