So a ghost is haunting this old mansion and you need to put its spirit to rest. No problem right? Now how do you go about doing that? In Mysterium, one player takes on the role of the ghost that will be providing clues to the investigators in the form of dreams. Each night, the investigators will get a dream card that will give those hints as to the true culprit of the crime. If they can figure out who did the deed, where it was done, and with what weapon, they’ll be able to put the ghost to rest and win the game (and get paid I’m assuming).
The first task? Decide who gets to be the ghost. Pro tip: don’t choose the weird guy that tells all the jokes that nobody understands. The ghost will have access to all of the information in the game—including the final solution. It’s importantto make sure that the ghost is well-acquainted with the rules, since table talk is generally a no-no.
The rest of the players select their psychic characters, who are all the same (mechanically speaking), and get to work.
Better clock in. You’ve got loads of neat pictures to look at before you can call it a day.
During setup, three different tableaus of psychic cards are placed—one for suspects, one for locations, and one for the objects. A number of cards of each type (scaled to the number of players) are displayed in their respective tableaus for all players to see. For example, in a four player game at medium difficulty, six cards of each type will be laid out. The ghost has a matching set of these cards, and secretly assigns one of each type at random to each player.
To avoid spoilers, please do not look at this example unless you are currently a ghost.
Mysterium is played in two different phases. In the first phase, the players have seven rounds to correctly guess their own unique lineup of suspect/location/object—a single perspective of the night of the murder. The ghost’s job is to steer the players to guess correctly using the surreally-illustrated vision cards. Ideally, the art on these cards will help the ghost communicate an unspoken associative clue to the individual player.Once each non-ghost player has received their vision cards from the ghost, they are free to use table talk and make their guesses. After all guesses have been made and finalized using the intuition tokens, players have the length of a sixty second sand timer to spend their clairvoyance tokens, voting either in support or against the other players’ choices. Correct use of clairvoyance tokens here allows players to climb the clairvoyance track, which I’ll come back around to in a moment.
Here, blue has received the two cards at the top as clues. Associating the magic carpet and the top hat with the magician character, blue feels quite safe in his guess that the magician is his suspect. Yellow and purple agree, so they’ve used their clairvoyance tokens accordingly. If blue is right, he’ll take the magician card, and advance to the next tableau.
At the end of the sand timer, the ghost reveals which guesses were correct or incorrect. Players that hit their target collect the psychic card representing their correct guess, tuck it into their character’s sleeve, and advance their intuition token to the next tableau. Players that guessed incorrectly keep the vision cards they were given, but remain at the same tableau and do not advance. All correct clairvoyance tokens are scored on the clairvoyance track, and all of the played tokens—correct and incorrect alike—are discarded. Don’t worry, they refresh at the beginning of the fourth round.
Repeat this process until either all players have guessed their suspect, location, and object, or until the end of theseventh round. If the seventh round ends and any players haven’t completed their trio of psychic cards, the game ends in defeat. However, if all players do manage to finish in time, then play proceeds to the second phase.
The players’ sets of psychic cards are taken from their character sleeves and arranged on the table. Each player’s trio is assigned a number. These are the perspectives on the night of the murder—now, it is up to the players to determine which lineup contains the true culprit.
Think you’ll get it right? Nevermore.
The ghost draws a fresh hand of vision cards, and then secretly designates a lineup of his choice as the true culprit’s. The ghost places a tile face down on the table that corresponds with that chosen lineup, and picks three vision cards from his or her hand that will lead the players, as a group, to the true culprit.
Remember those clairvoyance points? The higher your clairvoyance, the more of those three cards you get to see before you have to cast your final vote. Non-ghost players are welcome to use table talk to try and interpret this final vision before casting their votes. The lineup with the most votes is accused, and the ghost reveals the answer. If the psychics got it right, they win the game! Otherwise, everybody loses, and the poor sad ghost must wander the corporeal realm for an eternity of torment.