This who-done-it game is a first-round pick for our family and friends! If your kids like spooky (but not too spooky) mysteries and thinking outside of the box, then they’ll love Mysterium.
The premise? Solving the murder of a very helpful ghost, a non-speaking role for one player at the table. Admittedly, the idea and the game might be a little ghoulish for some families. Our kids loved coming up with narratives for each of the murder theories, and we had to step in a few times to remind them not to be so macabre. All in good fun! We promise it’s worth it.
11yo: “My favourite part was trying to solve the mystery and make up stories as we played.”
With the beautifully illustrated vision cards, Mysterium is an excellent game for abstract thought, pattern recognition, and search and find skills. Every new vision card had them gasping in excitement, enthralled in the small details, and absorbed by the possibilities. Each vision card is packed with so much stuff that a ghost may focus on one detail, and the players may look at a completely different one! Being the ghost is hilarious and challenging. You think you’re telling the psychics one thing, and then they 100% miss it, but when they DO get it, it’s fantastic. To clarify—the only way that the ghost can communicate with the other players is by giving them vision cards. No talking, pointing, or hinting.
9yo: “I liked picking my guesses based on the vision cards colours and animals.”
The initial setup can definitely be intimidating. There’s a lot in the box. But when you get into gameplay, the turns are simple and the game is great for both new and experienced players. It’s easily playable by kids 8+ with parental support and 12+ independently. But with all the cards, little pieces, and stages of the game, we definitely wouldn’t recommend letting a group of 8-year-olds play alone! Those cards would be out of order forever.
We’ve had nights where we’ve played two or three games of Mysterium in a row with our friends, swapping out who was playing as the ghost and getting an awesome experience every time. As hobby games go, Mysterium is incredibly versatile, supporting families and gamer groups equally and delivering an incredible visual and thematic experience.
If your kids don’t enjoy being rushed, play without the timer.
Want a game that has all the abstract pattern recognition without all the murder? Check out Dixit!