Tag Archives: mysterium

Game of the Week Blog Reflection 3: Mysterium

In this class I played Mysterium for the first time. The hardest part of the game was trying to figure out the clues. There were times throughout the game where multiple people thought their clues were pointing to the same room or object. We knew someone had to be wrong, but it was hard to justify why someone could be more right than another. Another thing that was hard at first was getting used to being able to help people. I am used to games where you don’t want to show people your cards. It was hard for me at first to remember I could collaborate with the other players. 

In terms of leadership skills, I tried to make sure everyone was able to be heard. I think including everyone at the table is important, so I tried to make sure everyone felt included and had a chance to share their thoughts. 

I think my extended family would like to play this game because we like to play games together. I also think it would be good for them because my little cousins would be able to play and understand the rules, but also since it is a cooperative game they could get help when they got frustrated. 

I really liked this game and plan to buy it! It was fun to play a game where the best strategy was to work together. It was a new type of game that I haven’t really played before, and I really enjoyed it. 

Overall, the game session was fun, but we lost. We had two players not get through before the 7th hour ended. This I think was partially because their items were very similar so there was confusion amongst the players as to which it could be. Yet, it was still a lot of fun and well worth the play. 

Game of the Week Blog Reflection (For Class on 2/10/2022): Mysterium

    Recently, our class got together to play Mysterium, a cooperative social-deduction game where the players take on one of two different roles, with one player as the “Ghost” and the one to six other players as the Psychic Investigators. At its core, Mysterium is a game all about communication, as the Ghost attempts to inform the Investigators who the suspects of their murder are and which suspect killed them, without being able to speak. Instead, the Ghost must use the intricate artwork on the dream cards they draw to try and hint to the Investigators which specific suspect, location and weapon that they are trying to find. It is this particular aspect that, as the Ghost, I found the most difficult. There were many times where I felt as if the dreams I had drawn simply did not fit with any of the items I was trying to help the Investigators find, but I still needed to give them something. At other times though, I thought that I had found the perfect card to give to an Investigator, something that would point them directly to the object I wanted them to guess, but they would then notice all of the details in the picture that I had ignored. In both of these situations, the Investigators were ultimately led away from the suspect, location or weapon that I was trying to indicate.

    The session as a whole was very much like this example, as while we did have some successes as a group, there were still many players by the end of the game who were unable to complete their set. I still personally attribute this loss to my general lack of experience with the game and my poor use of the dreams I was given, as there were many dreams that I handed out that simply led the Investigators more astray, or that failed to communicate what I intended. Of course, not all dreams led to failures, as some of the Investigators were able to complete their set within the given number of rounds. There was even one particular round where I found a dream that was perfect for a particular location, allowing that Investigator to guess their location with only one dream. However, for every large success, my session featured a similarly large failure, as one suspect took a very large number of dreams for their Investigator to find them. 

    However, while our session may have ended in a loss, I still feel that we could draw some interesting parallels between Mysterium and leadership as a result of it. While communication was easily the most difficult part of this game, I also feel that it is the part that this game shares the most in common with leadership, as having good communication with your team is very important for successful leaders. If a leader is unable to communicate exactly what their vision is with their teammates, there could be a large amount of confusion in what exactly the leader is asking their team to do, or what their goal even is. Similarly, if the Ghost in Mysterium is unable to use their dreams to effectively communicate with the Investigators, the Investigators will have no idea what the Ghost is actually trying to indicate to them, and will be forced to simply go off of their best guess of what the Ghost intended rather than the actual answer.

    Overall, despite our session ending in failure, I did enjoy my time with Mysterium. Being forced to turn strange, abstract artwork into a clue with a very specific meaning is a very interesting and fun concept, and I imagine with practice I might be able to better communicate with my Investigators just what my dreams are supposed to indicate. I would also be interested in playing the game again, but as an Investigator instead, so I can see how I do at the game when I’m trying to interpret the dreams handed to me rather than handing out the dreams myself. Not only that, but the experience of playing Mysterium has also helped me to understand just how important it is to have strong communication as a leader.

The Murder Mystery at Mysterium Manor

I love cooperative games. Even within the genre “cooperative”, there is so much variety in games. There may be players working in a team against other players as in Codenames or all of the players working together against the game itself as in Pandemic. However, as is the case for this Game of the Week, there is no enemy or clear adversary. In Mysterium, the challenge lies in communication — or lack thereof. One player acts as the Ghost, trying to get a team of Psychics to correctly deduce combinations of suspects, locations, and weapons to solve their murder. The challenge? The Ghost can make no sounds, give no facial expressions nor gestures, and must only communicate to the Psychics using a limited supply of cards beautifully illustrated with abstract images. It is up to the Psychics to figure out what messages the Ghost is trying to convey with these cards to solve the crime.

During class, I played the role of the Ghost, and I can say with confidence that having such limited communication with your teammates makes it really difficult to win Mysterium. That is also illustrated by the fact that there was a 0% win rate in class among the 3 groups. The Psychics are dependent on the Ghost giving them clues about the sets of suspects-locations-weapons, but the art on those clue cards are so colorful and detailed! Having to match the 7 clues in my hand to the 5 cards that the 5 Psychics had to guess while also paying attention to the other 6 cards I had the steer the Psychics away from… Creating a connection between the clues and the cards was hard enough. Knowing the Psychics had to figure out what my thought processes were for each clue made me squirm in my seat and hide behind my screen for fear of giving away too much information with my reactions. I think the hardest part of the game for me was biting my tongue while listening to the Psychics discuss what their answers should be. I wanted desperately to praise the players who understood my line of thinking, warn the players who got attached to the wrong details, and hint to one side of the table to look at the clues I’d given out to the other side.

When thinking about this game in terms of leadership, my mind keeps coming back to all of the things I couldn’t do as the Ghost. I couldn’t encourage my players for doing a good job. I couldn’t explain my thinking with misinterpreted clues. I remember watching in horror as one of my players guessed literally every other suspect than the one I wanted him to pick because I couldn’t say, “Let’s forget that last clue I gave you because I definitely gave you the wrong idea with it.” Playing a game with no communication really goes to show how important communication is for succeeding. Being able to clear up confusion verbally would have made the game trivial, yes, but applying this game to the real world, open discussion and being able to clear up previous mistakes is so very, very important.

I think Mysterium is a fantastic game. I recommend, however, to play it with family or a group of close friends first. Anybody who loves a game of Charades, loves beautiful art and aesthetics, and doesn’t mind waiting patiently for the Ghost to set-up or disperse clues would love this game. I suggest to play with a group of people you know very well first as an “easy mode” introduction to the game. You’ll know the thought processes of family and friends, and can get a handle on the rules of the game. Then, give it a try with strangers or acquaintances for an added challenge.