I am a huge fan of games like Mysterium and Obscurio. These cooperative games of deduction by use of art provide great collaboration at the table as you try to solve for the clues that are being given to you. There’s something about the perplexed look of players as you give them cards that they don’t understand the meaning you are trying to convey or that got it moments when they realize the message.
Mysterium Park is the latest in what is an ever growing genre of these style games. In this outing, Libellud has tried to streamline the game experience for a faster and smoother game. What I find is a very successful, simplified version of the original Mysterium that fits in a smaller box and price point.
- Players: 2-6
- Playtime (with Setup): We find it between 30 and 90 minutes
- Publisher: Libellud
- Designer: Xavier Collette and M81 Studio
Breaking Down the Components
Gameboard and Cards
The first thing you discover when you open the box is the rules and gameboard. The gameboard unfolds to a simple three by three grid. A basic round tracker is on the left hand side of the board as well. While I don’t know that the game board is a necessity to play this game, it adds a nice area to keep things tidy and clean with the cards.
The cards themselves are very nice quality cards. As you can tell with the picture, there is a bit of a gloss coat on the cards themselves that reflects light. The art on each of the cards is really quite amazing. You will have 20 character cards, 20 location cards, 60 plot cards, and 84 vision cards. The substance and backbone of this game is the cards.
The plot cards themselves have a three by three grid, the same as the game board, and each player’s position is represented on this board. There is also a “witness” that is identified on these cards. These cards will be used only by the ghost player to know which cards on the grid are the cards that they will be giving each player clues about during the game.
The Other Components
Probably the coolest component in the game box are the five character markers. These are the same components that are used in the original Mysterium game. They represent the players choices during each round and are all different colors to match the players. The players will also have a color matching circle that they will be provided as well.
There is, what resembles, a light bulb, that is used to track the game rounds. I wish this was something that would have been better incorporated into the game board, but instead it sits to the left of the game board. This means it often slides a bit around on our gaming surface. Not so much that we loose track of the round, but enough that as people pick up and interact with the board that it just doesn’t line up appropriately.
Final batch of components are the ticket tokens. There are just three of these. They are pretty standard punch board components printed to resemble tickets you might be given at a carnival.
In Mysterium Park, one player takes on the role of the ghost who was murdered while the other players take on the roles of psychics trying to solve the murder. During the game, the ghost will have a hand of seven vision cards.
During the first two phases of the game, the ghost will give each player any number of those cards that they think will lead to them correctly guess who the murderer is. The first phase the ghost is giving visions of suspects that can be eliminated as their murderer. In the second phase the ghost is trying to give clues regarding where they were not murdered.
In these first two phases, there will always be three cards remaining that were not able to be selected by any player. These will be set aside for the final round. Additionally, there will be one card of the nine to be selected by the players that will be the witness. During the reveal each round, if a player selects the witness they will be allowed to select again their pick for the round.
Beware though! The ghost and players only have 6 rounds during the first two phases to make the correct selections. All players must be correct by the 6th round or the game is over and all players lose.
If you are all correct, the ghost will be able to advance you to the next phase. The ghost draws a new plot card to replace the previous one and the next phase begins.
If you manage to make it to the third and final phase there will be three remaining character cards and three remaining location cards. These will be put on the game board with the second row being the character cards and the third row being the suspect cards.
The top row is a number one to three. This corresponds to a number on the plot card. The ghost will only be able to give two cards to the entire group. One card must match the character card for a clue and the second card must be a clue for the location. These cards are given to the players in no given order.
Once the cards are given to the players, they must come to a consensus as to which location and place match. This is as simple as picking the correct column numbered one, two, or three. However, without an idea as to which clue is referring to which card this can be the most challenging round.
Once the consensus is reached, the ghost will reveal if the psychics were right or wrong. If they were wrong, everyone loses as a group. If they were right though, then the players will rejoice with justice served and a win on their hands!
I All Ready Have Mysterium. Should I Pick this Up?
That’s a tough question. I have both games and I have multiple plays of both. Neither game is horrifically complicated with their rules. I find that both games can be picked up and learned, even by novice players with not a ton of difficulty.
I find that Mysterium is the better, more involved, and deeper game though. There’s just more game to it. However, Mysterium doesn’t really work at the lower player counts as well and really wants 4-6 players to really shine.
Mysterium Park contrasts nicely with Mysterium in this way. I have played most of my games as just a two player game. It works brilliantly, and actually might be just a bit more difficult to win as a two player than it is with larger player counts.
On top of that, I have found that you can play this with a physical copy, a couple of web cams, and a camera for pictures of cards via remote play pretty easily. This means if you are short on players to play at home or in your local area, you might be able to organize play on line without having to use the tedium of an application like Tabletop Simulator or Tabletopia.
Personally, I say buy both! They are great games in their own rights. I love them both. While very similar in mechanics, the game play and experience of both fill very different niches for me.