Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Thursday 23 June 2016

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Tajemnicze Domostwo (Mysterium)

GameTajemnicze Domostwo (Mysterium)

PublisherPortal Games

Designer: Oleksander Neviskiy & Oleg Sidorenko


Tajemnicze Domostwo (or Mysterium, as it will be known for the rest of this review) is one of our most played board games. This is particularly surprising given that we didn’t own the game until two weeks ago. This game has been so popular amongst members of a couple of our gaming groups that we’ve played it more than every game we actually own. We moved house this week and just in case none of our new gaming friends play it, we’ve purchased our own second hand copy. So it’s probably obvious that this review will be positive, but read on to find out if it’s a glowing review from me or if its Amy who wanted this in our collection.

Mysterium is a co-operative game for 2-7 players. One player plays as the ghost and all other players play as investigators. The ghost was the victim of a murder and his role is to try and tell you through the medium of dreams, who murdered him, where they were and what weapon they used (rather like in Cluedo!). For some reason, the ghost is leading each investigator to a different suspect, location and weapon and the final round of the game is where each investigator pools together the potential suspects and decides who the real culprit was.

Playing as the ghost is a completely unique and solitary experience for one player. Your goal is to choose appropriate artwork from your hand of six to lead each investigator, first to the weapon, then the location then the person. You can give as many cards as you like, but you must give at least one to each investigator. You can give them for any reason, because of specific colours, shapes, thematic links, rhyming words, but you are not allowed to say a word, so the players need to read your mind to figure out your logic – something that can be very frustrating for the ghost when the investigators start to discuss possible theories and make links you never thought of!

Some of the artwork the ghost has to choose from in order to give clues to the investigators.
You have just 7 days (or rounds) to figure out the puzzle, which equates to two guesses per object and a final round to come up with one culprit. All the investigators must have their set of 3 correct to even proceed to the final round and have a chance of winning. More often than not for us, this final round ever happens! The more times you have to guess and the more cards you receive every round from the ghost, the more blurred the message seems to get and getting the right answer sometimes seems harder and harder!

The game setup for 4 players.
The concept and theme for this game are fantastic! My enjoyment of the game can however rely heavily on the group. It’s difficult to put my finger on what makes a good group or a bad group, but it’s a combination of a ghost that tries to give interesting but not entirely obscure links to your answers and beyond that it’s either fun  if the group knows each other really well and can predict the ghost’s thought process or sometimes the exact opposite is fun too where everyone is incredulous at the logic the ghost has used when he finally talks you through it at the end of the game!

Sometimes 7 players is just too many and it takes too long for the ghost to decide on appropriate cards every round. Although the aim is for investigators to talk amongst themselves and debate the ghost’s intent there’s only so long you can do this for whilst the ghost is picking.

The artwork in the game is really interesting. It’s not the bright artwork of Dixit but it has similar qualities and at least appears as though it’s been very well thought out to deliberately create links between different cards. The main component issue in the original game is for the ghost keeping track of the cards corresponding to each investigator, but I understand this has been overcome with a screen in the Asmodee release of the game.

My overall verdict?

·         I’ve had some great games of Mysterium, but also some that fell flat.

·         I love co-operative games, but am usually more of a fan of the logical puzzle type, rather than ones where you just talk through decisions that you could actually make without other people.

·         Mysterium is undoubtedly unique in our collection.

So for the Yellow Meeple, Mysterium gets a 7/10.

1 comment:

  1. It is a unique game. It's also ostensibly a great party game. I have come to the conclusion after several games, however, that it's too dependent on a good ghost and that the pace is a bit too slow.