Nothing is more frustrating than finding out that a game’s rules and setup are written in such a way that they’re confusing and overly complex. Mysterium is one of these cases as I’ve read it three times and I find myself re-reading the same passage over and over.

As Wil Wheaton explained very well, Mysterium is a cooperative “Who-Dunnit” game that is a combination of Dixit and Clue. In Mysterium, it is a special time of year, the Samhain, when the boundary between this world and the Otherworld could more easily be crossed/communicated with. You are a psychic that has come across a ghost that was murdered and it is your job to find out who was the culprit. The problem is, the Ghost (unbelievably) has amnesia and cannot talk, and gives the psychics clues through visions of murders they’ve witnessed of others and themselves.

This is my Quick Setup Version of Mysterium:

Quick board setup:
(Bottom to top placement)
Suspect (person/culprit) starting area
Suspect cards
Location starting area
Location cards
Weapon starting area
Weapon cards
Finale Area (with Clairvoyance Track and appropriate Tracking Tokens)

It should look like this (more spaced out though):

There are an equal # of Location/Suspect/Weapon cards, which depend on the # of players AND the difficulty.

                    # of Players
2              3              4              5              6              7
Easy                  4              5              5              6             6              7

Medium           5              6              6              7              8             8

Hard                 6              7              7              8              9             9

For Example: In a 3 player EASY game, there will be 5 Location/Suspect/Weapon cards each.

Depending on the difficulty of the game, the Ghost gets X amount of Crow markers:
Easy: 1 per turn
Medium: 3 per game
Hard: 1 per game

Crow markers allows the Ghost player to discard any number of their Vision cards and draw new ones.

The Ghost picks a Location/Suspect/Weapon at random for each player (the Ghost uses Vision Cards to help the Investigators pick the right ones):myst5.jpg

Each Psychic picks a sleeve which dictates the color of:
– an Intuition token (colored crystal ball)
– Clairvoyance tracking token (square token to the left)
– Clairvoyance tokens (numbered 1 to 6)
– Ghost token (the small Psychic picture with arrows)
The Intuition token goes in the Suspect starting area.
Clairvoyance tracking tokens start at zero on the Clairvoyance track.
Depending on the Number of Players, the players get X amount of Clairvoyance tokens:
2-3 Players: 0
4-5 Players: 4 (numbered 1-4)
6-7 Players: 6 (numbered 1-6)

The Ghost uses the Ghost token to track which cards they want to be associated with what Psychic.

Side notes/rules:
The Ghost must always have 7 Vision cards in their hand
The Hour hand starts at 1.

During each round:
The Ghost gives each player atleast 1 Vision card to help them determine which Person/Location/Weapon that they’re supposed to pick. The Ghost draws up to their hand of 7 and gives atleast 1 Vision card to the next player.
The timer is turned on and the players all flip over their cards and have that amount of time to place their Intuition token (crystal ball) on what they think is right.

//Players may choose the same Suspect/Location/Weapon//
//Players may discuss openly what they think the visions mean to each other//

If they have Clairvoyance tokens, they can place them on other player’s guesses (whether they think they’re right or wrong) as soon as the player picks. If they choose right, they take back their token. Wrong guesses stay on the card. At the beginning of the 4th round, players receive back all their Clairvoyance tokens.

When time is up OR everyone has chosen, the Ghost reveals whether they were right (move their crystal ball marker to the next starting area) or wrong (move them back to their original starting area). For any right guesses, the player removes the appropriate (Suspect/Location/Weapon) card to the side.

Each right Clairvoyance tokens move their Clairvoyance tracking token in the Finale Area up by 1.

//When a player reaches the Finale area, they move their Clairvoyance tracking token up one for each round remaining//

Increment the Hour hand by 1.

The Last Phase occurs when: only if all the psychics have successfully identified their suspect, location and weapon combination before the clock strikes 8.

The (very basics of) Last Phase:
– Players arrange their cards (Suspect/Location/Weapon) in numbered piles.
– The ghost player picks 3 Vision cards from their hand to represent a group of their choice. Each Card must represent only one card from that group.
– Players with low Clairvoyance scores will only see 1 of the cards before casting their secret vote. Players with a medium level (5+) will see two cards before voting. Players with a high level (7+) will see all three cards.
– the player with the highest Clairvoyance score reveals the Clairvoyance token and puts it on the appropriate numbered pile, the pile with the most votes is the group’s choice
– ties are broken by the player furthest along the Clairvoyance track, and further by age

If the group chooses the true suspect: Everyone wins!

If the group chooses the wrong suspect: Everyone loses! (“the players must wait until next year for Samhain”)

And THAT is a ‘quick setup’ and rules of Mysterium. Once it is setup, the game flows quite nicely, but it is the initial setup that can be maddening. Check out their official site and more information on Board Game Geek‘s website.