How to Play Mysterium: Comprehensive Explanation

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Last updatedLast updated: March 22, 2021
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If you are lucky enough to have received the game Mysterium as a gift or bought it for yourself, you and your friends are in for a ton of fun. This game is a great option to pass the time, especially since it is a cooperative experience where all of the players are working towards a common goal.

Of course, you need to know how to play Mysterium before you get started. Though this game is relatively easy to play once you understand the setup and rules, it can be a bit intimidating at first. There are a lot of moving pieces and different cards that you need to take into account so that you can solve the mystery. But don’t worry! That is precisely where we come in. We will lay out the rules to Mysterium so that you and your friends will be communing with the spirits in no time at all!

What is the game about?

Mysterium is a game of mystery, obviously. It is very similar to the game Clue or Eldritch Horror, though there are some important differences that you will need to have a clear understanding of before you can really get into it and enjoy yourself with your friends.

How to Play Mysterium: Comprehensive ExplanationBackstory

In the world of Mysterium, the backstory starts way back in the 1890s. During this time period, there was a large mansion owned by an industrialist in the Scottish Highlands. Unfortunately, there was a murder at the estate. One of the servants was killed, and the murder was never solved.

Eventually, the home was put on the market and was purchased by a wealthy businessman. This particular businessman was excited to move into his new home but started to notice something was a bit off. This particular man was sensitive to spirits and ghosts. Knowing this, he figured out that there was a restless spirit haunting the house. He decided to bring in some psychic associates to get to the bottom of this mysterious spirit.

Main objective

This is precisely where the game starts. The players can assume one of two roles. They can take the part of the ghost or the part of the psychics. Working together, they need to try to solve the murder from the past so that the ghost can finally be put to rest. This is done through three different phases where each of the psychics needs to figure out a culprit, location, and murder weapon.

From there, the players need to work together to attempt to solve the mystery by finding out who really committed the crime. This is done through the clues that the ghost provides to each of the players. However, the ghost cannot speak, as it is a very weak spirit. The psychics need to solve the mystery within the time limit, or they will lose the game.

Number of players

This is a great game for a large crowd. It can be played with many different combinations of players. In fact, the game is designed to be played by between 2 or 7 players. No matter how many players there are, however, you need to remember that one will fulfill the role of the ghost, while all the others will be psychics. This means there needs to be at least one ghost and one psychic at the lower end, while the maximum number can be one ghost and six psychics to play together cooperatively.

How to Play Mysterium: Comprehensive ExplanationRecommended age

While there is certainly no blood or gore in this game, it is still recommended for ages 10 and up. The material is no more grotesque than mentioning a murder and a murder weapon, so that makes it a good choice for this age of child. Of course, the rules can get a bit complicated, so you need to take a child’s comprehension skills into account before you allow them to play.

Session length

This game has the potential to go for a good long time. This is especially true when you are first learning to play. In the beginning, you should probably set aside about one hour to complete the entire game. This is mainly because the setup and dissemination of cards will take you a bit of time to understand and utilize correctly.

Once you have more experience with the game, it will probably fall in line with the recommended playing time, which is 42 minutes. This will, of course, depend on the number of players that you have. Obviously, if you have a smaller number of players, the game is going to move a bit quicker. On the other hand, with more players, you should expect a longer game.

The setup

As we have mentioned several times, the setup of this game is probably going to take the most getting used to. There are lots of different cards and pieces that each player needs to have and handle, which might take a bit of practice before you have a concrete understanding of what to do and how to do it.

How to Play Mysterium: Comprehensive ExplanationComponents for the psychics

There are a lot of different pieces that the psychics will receive at the beginning of the game. These include:

  • Intuition Tokens – These tokens represent the players during the game. They are moved from phase to phase when the player has figured out the correct answer to the person, place, or weapon used.
  • Character Sleeve – This sleeve represents the psychics for each player. These sleeves are also used to store the clairvoyancy tokens and hide the player’s choice in the final round of the game.
  • Clairvoyancy Level markers – These markers are used on the clairvoyancy scale throughout the game. Each player is represented by the same color as their intuition token. These level markers are moved whenever a player uses their clairvoyancy tokens correctly.
  • Clairvoyancy Tokens – These tokens serve two purposes in the game. During the first three phases, when players are attempting to figure out their person, place, and weapon, these tokens are used to vote as to whether or not they think fellow players have guessed correctly with a check or an x. If they are correct, their marker can move along on the scale. At the end of the game, these markers are used to vote on which set of person, place, and weapons are the real culprits.

Components for the ghost

The person who plays the ghost in this game should probably be the one with the most experienced in the world of Mysterium. This player plays an integral part in the setup and execution of the game since they will determine whether each player has figured out the correct person, place, and weapon for their clues. The ghost receives the following pieces and cards:

  • Game Screen – This screen is meant to help the person taking the part of the ghost stay organized and keep things secret from the other players. The game screen allows the ghost to place the people, places, and weapons for each player in an organized fashion and keep their clue cards hidden as well.
  • Character Cards – These cards represent the person that each psychic is meant to discover as the possible murderer at the end of the game. They go in the corresponding slot at the top of the game screen.
  • Location Cards – These cards represent the location that each psychic is meant to select as the possible location at the end of the game. They go in the middle slot on the game screen.
  • Object Cards –These cards represent the weapon that each psychic is meant to select as the possible murder weapon at the end of the game. They go in the lowest slot on the game screen.
  • Ghost Tokens – These tokens are meant to help the ghost keep track of who has and who has not received a clue during each round of the game.
  • Culprit Tokens – Only one of these tokens will be used during the last round of the game to reveal the correct collection of clues to point to the person, location, and weapon for the unsolved murder.
  • Crow Markers – These markers are used to show the difficulty level for the game being played. They can also be exchanged by the ghost for a new hand of vision cards if the clues are not very helpful.
  • Vision Cards – These cards are given to the psychics during each round to try and guide them towards the correct selection. The ghost always needs to have 7 in their hand at any given time.

Select the difficulty level

You can select from three different difficulty settings for this game, which include:

  • Easy – In this setting, the number of character/location/object cards is one or two more than the number of players. The ghost is allowed to discard their vision cards once per turn.
  • Medium – In this setting, the number of character/location/object cards is two or three more than the number of players. The ghost is allowed three discards of their vision cards for the entire game.
  • Hard – On this setting, the number of character/location/object cards is 2, 3, or 4, more than the number of players. The ghost is allowed to discard their vision cards once for the whole game.

Gameplay

How to Play Mysterium: Comprehensive ExplanationNow that you know the pieces for both the ghost and the psychics, it is time to get down to how you actually play the game.

Phase 1 – Reconstruction of events

This phase is only allowed to last seven different turns. During each turn, the psychics are trying to figure out the person, location, or weapon that corresponds with their character. For each round, the ghost needs to provide the psychics with clues to try and guide them towards the correct answer. These clues are given in the form of vision cards. Once the ghost has given some cards away, they need to draw more until they have seven in their hands.

Once the clues have been given to all of the psychics, they need to discuss which card the ghost was guiding them towards. They then place their intuition token (playing piece) on the card they think is the right answer. The other players can use their check or x clairvoyancy tokens to vote whether they think the other players are right or wrong. They cannot vote for themselves. Once every psychic has a clue, the ghost will turn over a timer. The psychics only have this amount of time to try and guess the correct answer.

If the players were correct, they move on to the next phase. If they were incorrect, they remain in place and need to keep working on the same phase in the next round. If they voted correctly with their clairvoyancy tokens, they might move their piece on the clairvoyancy board. These steps repeat until all of the players have correctly guessed the person, location, and weapon.

Phase 2 – Revealing the culprit

This step is completed only if all of the players arrive at the final stage before the 8th round. It is split into three different steps:

  • Step 1 – Each of the psychics needs to lay out their person, location, and object cards in a tower. The ghost labels each of these stacks with a numbered ghost token.
  • Step 2 – The ghost selects three different vision cards from their hand. These cards are meant to provide a clue for the person, location, and weapon for the real culprit of the murder. The ghost also places the secret culprit token with the correct number on the progress board.
  • Step 3 – During this final step, the psychics secretly vote for the number that they think is the real culprit. Players will be allowed to vote based on their position on the clairvoyancy level track. Players from 0-4 have to vote after one card is revealed. Players from 5-6 will vote after two cards, and players from 7-13 vote after all three cards are revealed.

End of the game

Once everyone has voted, the ghost will reveal the real culprit. If a majority of psychics guessed correctly, then they win, and the restless spirit is set free. If, however, a majority did not make the right guesses, all of the players lose.

How to play Mysterium with 2 or 3 players

If you are going to play with 2 or three players, then you need to make some adjustments. During setup, the clairvoyancy track and tokens will not be used, each player needs to use two psychics, and the three cards at the end need to be placed face up rather than face down.

Other changes for this number of players include the following:

During Step 1

  • 2 Players – Create two additional groups of cards using psychic cards discarded from the game to bring the total to four. Place the numbered 1 to 4 tokens under the four different groups.
  • 3 Players – Place the numbered 1 to 4 tokens under the four different groups.

During Step 3

  • 2 Players – The player who plays two psychics can only vote once for the suspected culprit.
  • 3 players – Psychics need to vote openly rather than in secret. The players need to agree on the culprit group, and both vote for it.

Final thoughts

As you can see, Mysterium is a fun and interesting game that is full of intrigue and mystery. Hopefully, you now have a good understanding of the game and know how to play Mysterium inside and out. Of course, don’t be afraid to take it slow when you first get started.

After all, there are lots of different parts, cards, pieces, and procedures that you need to follow to solve the mystery. When you are first getting started, it is probably a good idea to begin on the easy level and take it slowly. Then, as you gain more experience, you can challenge yourself and your friends to a delightful mystery and help that restless spirit to finally find some peace.

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