In the last week I’ve recommended ghost-bothering board game Mysterium [publisher’s website] to two different people asking about which board game they should pick up for a family Christmas present and I think at least two other people have picked up their own copy of the game having played it at my house in the last month. It’s one of my favourites and now it’s heading to mobile and to PC via Steam.Mysterium is an asymmetrical co-operative game where one person plays as the ghost of a murdered manservant and the rest are psychics trying to find out how the manservant was murdered. The communication between ghost and psychics happens via these wonderfully illustrated cards which represent dreams in the game’s fiction. Objects, colours and ideas contained in those dream-cards are intended to guide the psychics towards particular suspects, locations and weapons before time runs out – a button as part of a dream card might hint towards the suspect being a seamstress, for example.
Once all the psychics have identified one line of enquiry – a potential culprit, location and weapon – the ghost remembers the circumstances of his murder. One final dream takes place where the ghost tries to communicate to the group which of the scenarios was the one for his murder and solve the crime once and for all. In terms of play, it’s maybe somewhere between Cluedo and Dixit.
The way I play it, I don’t really see why the ghost is picking out these other culprits and scenarios because the bad memory fiction feels a bit weird so I play it as if all of those murders occurred too, it’s just that only one of them happened to this particular ghost so you/the ghost are just needing to weed out the irrelevant psychic echoes.
ANYWAY. The board game’s publishing company, Libellud, is working with boardgame digital adaptation specialists Asmodee Digital and developers Playsoft to translate the game into a digital format. Looking at some of the screenshots as well as the accompanying press release, they’ve stuck with the current artwork from the physical version and are building an interface around it that means players can play in a similar way to how it works when you’re playing in person. I’d still prefer in-person because that’s a big part of the enjoyment for me, but I like the idea that this might help you share a version of the experience with people who live far away, or if you love playing board games but struggle to get your friends and family interested. Obviously I’ll wait and see how the game turns out but if it works that will be its niche in my own life!
“Mysterium allows players from all over the world to investigate together in multiplayer mode and cooperate through an in-game chat that enables fellow players to point out visual clues on a card. Players can also share their visions with other psychics and approve or reject their choices with Clairvoyance Tokens. In Mysterium, up to 7 players can join together for fun, engaging games.”
There’s also going to be a story mode:
“And for those who wish to enter the manor alone, the Story Mode offers players the possibility to discover who killed the ghost, in which room and with what weapon through a several hours long investigation full of twists and turns.”
It goes on to add: “At launch, players will be able to discover the story of the first original psychic; the stories of the 5 other psychics will be released later as free updates.”
The physical edition’s expansion, Hidden Signs, will be a paid expansion for the digital edition.
Mysterium will be available on Steam in early December for $9.99 and on mobile (iOS and Android) for $6.99 – so just in time for Christmas. I’ve sent an email asking about cross-play and whether that will be supported so I’ll update if I hear back on that front.
UPDATE: I’ve heard back from the PR and the game is cross-platform so Steam players would be able to play with friends who might own it on iOS or Android.