Game of the Week: Mysterium

Last week I got the chance to play the game Mysterium in Tabletop Games and Leadership. Several times since coming to college I heard of this game and how I should play it because of my obsession with Betrayal at the House on the Hill and Clue. As much as Clue holds a dear place in my heart from my childhood, this game blew it out of the water. Mysterium contains intrigue, cooperation, and creative thinking.

Mysterium is a game with a team of detectives and a ghost who are all working together to solve the ghost’s murder. The ghost may not speak and will give the detectives dreams to hint towards the person, place and weapon. The detectives discuss their dreams with the other detectives and they try to uncover what it means. Once everyone finds their own stories, the ghost will give a final hint to the players on what is the true story of their demise.

I have not played Mysterium before this class and it was easy to pick up and figure out. However, there is some difficulty in deciding what each dream means. There are usually several unique aspects to each card and it is hard to distinguish which aspect the ghost was aiming for. The advantage a returning team of players have is memories associated with certain cards. Friends who play this game can develop a very specific meaning to a card which any one of them could understand immediately when given this card. As difficult as it is to be a new player to the game, the randomness of the cards and the fact you are working together compensates for this.

The Tabletop games and Leadership course gives you a new perspective on games every week because you start to decide what about the game could tie back to leadership. There are many things in this game that could teach leadership, but one of these is the ghost’s position. The ghost of the game has no say in what the dream they gave meant. They chose based on their own ideas and associations with the card. However, they are able to listen to and view the thought process of the detectives. The ghost must reach an understanding of where everyone’s ideas are at and what they focus on. Through this observation, they can change the entire game’s direction toward everyone’s success. This relates a lot back to leadership because you cannot lead without your followers. Leaders must understand their followers’ needs in order to successfully lead and keep their followers from wandering. I did not play the role of the ghost, but I would love the opportunity to lead the detectives in their mystery.

I love the game Mysterium, but I know of someone else who would also love to play this. My sister-in-law Claire. Claire and my brother, Shane, are major board game nerds and would always invite their friends over to play during college. Claire is intelligent and precise, but her personality is very easy going. She is cooperative because she would always trade with me during our games of Catan and listen to my ideas on how to overthrow my brother from his board game throne. Shane is very competitive and will do whatever it takes to win. I know from growing up with him I would try to avoid being on a team against him. I’m sure Claire would love a game where it is fun and cooperative to avoid my brother’s boasting or sulking at the game’s end.

Overall, this was a fantastic game for week 4 of this course. I can’t wait for week 5!