How to Play Mysterium Board Game: Rules and Gameplay Guide

Mysterium is a board game that involves solving a murder mystery. The game has a plan for every scenario and is, therefore, very flexible with the number of players and difficulty level. The elaborate nature may have you wondering if you’ll master how to play Mysterium, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll become familiar with the gameplay and be good to go. 

So, let’s quickly jump to the details and game guide, shall we?

What Is Mysterium?

Mysterium Board Game Info image

Mysterium is a cooperative, theme-based deduction board game that is set in an old town in Scotland. There’s a ghost trapped in the Mysterium Manor from a murder that was never solved in 1890. Players assume the roles of one ghost and several psychics who combine their guessing and interpretation skills to solve clues and find the murderer.

Number Of Players: 2-7.

Ages: 10 and above.

Difficulty: Easy/ Medium/ Hard (Difficulty level can be chosen by the players).

Length Of Play: 40 – 45 mins.

Similar to: Betrayal at House on the Hill | Villainous

Main Objective: Guess the clue from the vision cards and find the right combination of person, place, and weapon that is responsible for the murder. 

Why We Love It: It is visually complex, interpretatively challenging, and truly an edge of the seat thriller. There’s never a dull moment with Mysterium.

Mysterium Set-Up: What You Need To Play The Game

The set-up might seem tricky at first, but is actually the key to understanding how to play Mysterium. You will need the complete game kit to get started. 

This official game kit by Asmodee will never let you down with its stunning graphic art and meticulous designs to give the game a touch of spookiness. 

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Selecting The Difficulty Level

Before you can start the set-up, you will have to determine the level of difficulty and the total number of players. Here’s how the set-up will vary according to the level of difficulty:

Players/Level234567# of permitted discards
by the ghost
Easy4556671 per turn
Medium5667883 per game
Hard6778991 per game

As highlighted, if we choose the medium level of difficulty with 5 total players, for instance, we will place 7 cards for each category on the table.

Game Set-Up

As soon as the difficulty is chosen, the ghost is selected among the players. This player will now move to another end of the table and erect the ghost screen in a way that the other players cannot see the contents of the screen. Hereon, this player will be addressed as the ghost and the rest of the players as psychics.

Matching The Cards

There are two types of decks (copper and blue colored) that denote the same three categories: person, location, and weapon. From the ghost deck, the ghost has to randomly choose 7 cards from each category. There are numbers on the back of the card, which will then be matched with those on the psychic cards in their deck.

Mysterium Cards Image

Setting Up The Ghost Screen

The ghost will now set the ghost screen up by assigning any 4 groups (1 for each psychic) combining the three categories. The screen has 6 columns of sleeves arranged in 3 rows for each category. 

In a 5 player game, there are 4 psychics. So out of the 7 cards that the ghost has selected, the ghost has to pick 4 from each category to form 4 combinations. These combinations are then arranged in different columns in the sequence of person – place – weapon from top to bottom. This way, each player will have one combination assigned to them.

The ghost doesn’t have to reveal this assignment. There are culprit tokens that match the color of the column and the color of the psychic’s crystal ball.

Mysterium Ghost Panel Image

Setting Up The Psychic’s Arena

Meanwhile, behind the ghost’s screen, the psychics set up their game arena. Each player should first choose a color and then collect the respective intuition token, sleeve, and clairvoyance tokens. 

Then, follow the following steps to set-up the arena:

  1. Place the 4 progress mantles – person, location, weapon, and the finale – in the same order starting from the psychics towards the ghost screen.
  2. Place the respective psychic cards above the mantles, with the weapon cards being in between the weapon and finale mantle.
  3. Between the finale mantle and the ghost screen, place the clairvoyance tracker with the side corresponding to the number of players face-up. Place the clairvoyance markers corresponding to each player’s color at the starting point of the maker curve.
  4. Place the clock alongside the tracker and set the finger to 1. Keep the sand timer close.
  5. Finally, place all the intuition tokens (crystal balls) of the psychics on the person mantle. 

Now your psychic arena is ready. You can now start the game as you wait for the ghost to give you clues.

How To Play Mysterium: Game Rules and Instructions

Once the setup is ready, Mysteriums gameplay is relatively easier. The game begins with the ghost picking up the deck of vision cards. These are abstract cards that may have hardly any similarities to the people, places, and weapons that we have on the table. 

That is where the crux of the game lies — the psychics having to understand the ghost’s interpretation of the vision cards. Throughout the game, the ghost is not supposed to talk or express itself in any form at all. The only mode of communication allowed can be in the form of a clap or a knock on the table — one time for no, two times for a yes

The game is divided in two stages:

  1. Psychics trying to guess their own assigned person, place, and weapon while collecting clairvoyance points.
  2. Using the clairvoyance points to vote and decide the true combination. 

Stage 1 is played in phases and only one category is tackled at a time.

Stage 1 Begins: Handing Out The Clues

The ghost picks a hand of 7 cards from the vision deck. Out of these, the ghost has to find out which vision cards have some element (color, symbol, or anything else) that even remotely resembles the assigned psychic cards.

Since the players begin with the person phase, the ghost tries to find a resemblance between the 4 assigned persons and at least 4 vision cards. The ghost hands these vision cards as clues, out face-down to the respective psychic. 

The Seance Phase

Once the ghost gives each player 1 or more clues, you can now flip the sand timer. The seance phase begins. The psychics have 2 minutes to interpret the clue in the vision card and make a guess about which psychic is assigned which person out of the 7 cards on the table.

Note that this is a cooperative game, which means psychics can openly discuss their hypothesis, guesses, and make unanimous decisions for each player. You can also reach the conclusion that two players have the same person. 

In any case, before the two minutes end, each psychic has to make two decisions:

1. Advance The Crystal Ball: Lift your crystal ball from the person mantle and place it on a person’s card to confirm your guess.

2. Use The Clairvoyance Tokens (optional): Place one or more tokens near a fellow psychic’s crystal ball to indicate whether you think the psychic is right (O side up) or wrong (X side up). This is like placing a bet on fellow players’ decisions. Each time your guess is right, you receive a clairvoyance point which is marked on the tracker above.

Getting The Ghost’s Approval

Once the seance phase ends with the timer running out, the ghost will confirm whether each player has made the right guess or not using knocks or claps. 

The players who have chosen the right person card will move up to the place mantle indicating that they have cleared phase 1. The players who did not, will go back to the person mantle. The ghost can hand out more vision cards to them for further assistance. 

Stage 1 Ends: Moving Up The Mantle To The Final Showdown 

Once every psychic has taken a position, the finger on the clock is moved one hour ahead to 2. The ghost will now pick another hand of 7 from which 4 will be chosen and handed out to the psychics that best resemble the places assigned to them.

The same process repeats as the players go through another seance phase for places and then through the weapons phase. The goal is to make the right guesses and reach the final mantle as soon as possible. The clock can be moved only from 1 to 7 which means players only have 7 chances to get their guesses right and reach the finale.

If one player reaches the finale earlier than the others, the number of hours left on the clock will be equal to the number of clairvoyance points added to the player’s score. The player can help the other psychics to make their guesses and finish soon. 

With all the players reaching the finale mantle, the first stage of the game is complete. 

Stage 2 Begins: Tracking The Clairvoyance Points

Using the corresponding clairvoyance markers, the psychics mark their points. The clairvoyance tracker has certain divisions that determine the number of clues that each psychic will be given. The divisions are as follows:

0-4 points: 1 clue

5-6 points: 2 clues

7-10 points: 3 clues.

10 points is the best case scenario which can be achieved by getting all 6 guesses right (in a 6-7 player game) and completing the 3 phases with 4 hours of the clock remaining.

Handing Out The Final Clues and Voting

The board is cleared and only the assigned 4 combinations are placed on the table. Each player will arrange their combination of cards in the person – place – weapon sequence with the number token above them. 

The ghost will simultaneously decide which combination was responsible for the murder and place the determined number token on the tracker with the question mark side face-up.

Finally, the ghost will hand out three vision cards as the final clues. The clues will be placed face-down at the center. The players with 0-4 clairvoyance points will flip the first clue card. Through discussions, a decision will be made and they will cast their votes. 

Once they are done, the players with 5-6 points will flip the second clue. After they have cast their votes, the final card will be flipped. 

Mysterium Cards 2 Image

Winning and Losing The Game

As discussed before, Mysterium is a game that involves all the players either winning together or losing together. Besides failing at the final showdown and voting phase, there is one condition by which the players can lose the game in stage 1; the timer running out.

This evidently means stage 1 is a race against time and has to be completed within 7 rounds (7 hours of the clock) by every player through all the mantles.

Suppose all the players reach the final voting phase, the number token that the ghost placed on the clairvoyance tracker will decide the fate of the players. 

After all the votes are cast, the players overturn the token. If it matches with the unanimous/ majority vote, all the players win the game. If it doesn’t, the players have failed to help the ghost get justice for its murder.

Frequently Asked Questions About Mysterium

How Many Clairvoyance Tokens Does Each Player Get in Mysterium?

The clairvoyance token allotted for each player is decided according to the number of psychics playing:

2-3 players: 0 tokens

4-5 players: 4 tokens numbered 1-4

6-7 players: 6 tokens numbered 1-6

Can We Use One Clairvoyance Token More Than Once in Mysterium?

No. One token can be used only once throughout the game and therefore, should be used only when players are sure about their guess.

What Are The Crow Tokens For in Mysterium?

Crow Tokens are simply markers of how many times the ghost discards a hand of 7 cards in a game. Once a hand is discarded, the ghost uses the marker to signify that on the screen. Only three discards are allowed typically.

Other Similar Games to Mysterium 

If you loved Mysterium, you should certainly try out its advanced versions with different themes like the Mysterium Park or Mysterium: The Hidden Signs.

If you want to try out something similar but with a different concept, 5 Minute Dungeon offers to set you on an exciting adventure as you beat the monsters and escape the dungeons. King of Tokyo rules would definitely be another good pick as it is filled with adventure and fantasy.

To enjoy more similar games, check out our game guide for Forbidden Desert rules.

The bottom line is, no matter what you choose, we will always be there to guide you through the game and offer more ideas to explore.

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