The Game of the Month series highlights one of the many games in our libraries at Ravenwood Castle and The Malted Meeple. We will briefly describe the game, how to play it, and why we like it. This month’s Game of the Month is written by The Malted Meeple’s Head Game Master – and former Ravenwood Innkeeper – Karington Hess.
September’s Game of the Month is a gem we encountered at Gen Con: Mysterium!
For those of you who don’t follow gaming news and trends, Mysterium was the most anticipated game of this year’s convention.
Mysterium is a “who done it?” with some exciting twists. A fully cooperative game, Mysterium offers 2-7 players the chance to solve a murder most foul. The game is set during the roaring twenties when mysticism and séances were relatively common. One player takes on the role of a ghost trying to communicate with the rest of the players, who take on the role of psychics trying to solve a murder mystery. The players are performing a séance to figure out: who, where, and what before time runs out and the ghost fades away – leaving the mystery unsolved.
Players randomly draw suspect, location, and object cards. The number of cards drawn will depend upon the total number of players and the desired difficulty. The ghost takes the matching ghost cards and randomly places one of each type per player behind a screen and discards the rest. The players organize their cards by type and lay them out in the following order: suspects, locations, and then objects.
The ghost will begin by drawing seven vision cards from the vision deck, each of which depicts an interesting abstract painting. The ghost cannot give any verbal clues and must rely solely on these vision cards to communicate with the players. She will give as many vision cards as she wishes to one player before refreshing her hand to seven and giving the next player cards. After each player has been given cards, the ghost flips over the sand timer. Each player must now determine what the vision cards from the ghost mean, a challenging task as the cards can easily be interpreted in a variety of ways. Before the timer runs out, each player must place their token on the suspect they believe the ghost is implicating.
After all players have chosen, the ghost will reveal whether or not their psychic intuition was correct. If the player was correct, they will take the card and advance to the next stage – guessing the location. If the player was incorrect he must try again to figure out his suspect on the next turn. Players must correctly identify their suspect, location, and object in 8 turns or less. If they do not, the ghost will grow too weak to communicate and all the players will lose.
After the players have correctly identified their trio, all of the collected cards are laid out and one final round is played with the ghost desperately trying to identify the true culprit by only playing 3 cards. If the players figure out who the murderer is from the clues all of the players win!
Mysterium is a beautiful game with tons of replay value. It is easy to learn, yet offers challenging choices whether playing as the ghost or one of the psychics. Victory can be challenging, but is always very fulfilling.