The Joy of Unboxing: Mysterium

By April 27, 2016Boardgames, Videos

That house is not fit to live in. No one’s been able to live in it. It doesn’t want people.

The EOG invites you to join hands around the table as we summon up a copy of Mysterium by Asmodee.

I love ghost stories. And I often wonder why there aren’t more good ghost-themed boardgames out there. The ones that do exist often take a light-hearted or childlike approach to the subject, which I think is missing an opportunity to make something that draws on a rich vein of lore. Perhaps it’s just too difficult to make a boardgame that actually scares you. Mysterium, with its exaggerated illustration style and fun feel, isn’t the ghost game I’m looking for, but it certainly is an entertaining game with a lot of atmosphere that deserves a place in your collection.

Basically, one player, as the ghost, is trying to communicate to the the other players, as psychics, who murdered him or her, where, and with what weapon. The ghost’s only form of communication is a deck of cards with strange and obscure illustrations on them. It’s pretty much Cluedo meets Dixit, but a lot more enjoyable than either. I think this is conclusively proved by the fact that the first time I got the game to the table our group of four played four games in a row, each player eager to have a go as the ghost – and quickly discovering it wasn’t as easy a task as they thought.

Though gameplay is relatively straightforward (with a few fiddly bits that fans of the original Polish addition tend to discard), the production is lavish. No expense was spared, from the over-the-top 3D game clock to the thick ghost screen with its plastic pockets, down to the functional plastic insert. Though some of these components may seem a tad superfluous (the counters you push against the screen to remind yourself you’ve played ghost cards to the players), some are simple and effective strokes of genius (the crows you hook onto the top of the screen to remind yourself you’ve drawn new cards). As a result, the game is dripping with theme. You can even download a suitably spooky soundtrack from the company website.

Talking about the website, they also supply something which I find fantastically useful and, in a perfect world, every game company would also make available to the public – art files. I could easily download a high resolution graphic of the logo for my summary, as could, I imagine, journalists and bloggers for their articles, along with posters, images, the lot. It’s a highly appreciated gesture to fans to make it easy for them go forth and promote the game. Hear, hear Asmodee!

Anyway, let’s explore the creepy house … well, box … together, shall we?

What do you think?