A long, long time ago you were wrongly accused of a murder. Now you cannot rest before the real killer has been caught. One tiny detail; you’ve also been executed. So that makes things a bit more difficult. However, not impossible. In Tajemnicze Domostwo, or Mysterium, one person plays the ghost of the accused, giving clues about the murderer by haunting the dreams of the other players, who play investigators of the supernatural. You both are trying to make everything right again and find the real killer.
What do you get for your money?
You get 84 Dream cards, 38 Character cards, 38 Location cards, 40 Item cards, 1 Calendar board, 6 Investigator boards, 12 Investigator markers, 1 Round marker, 6 Investigation Progress tokens and the rules.
How do you play the game?
In Tajemnicze Domostwo, or Mysterium, you are looking for a murderer. The real murderer. A long time ago someone was unjustly accused of a murder. That someone was then executed and now haunts his own manor in search for peace of mind.
As a ghost, that person will haunt your dreams and leave clues about the real killer, the location and the murder weapon.
How does it all work? Well, one player plays the ghost and the other players will be investigators. There are four decks of cards. A character, location, murder weapon and a dream card deck. You find that there’s a duplicate of every location, character and weapon card. The ghost randomly assigns one of each to every player. So, every player has its own set of the who, the where and the what. The ghost then places the duplicates of those cards, plus some more cards, depending on the difficulty level of the game, face-up on the table, like the picture above.
The game takes seven rounds to play and during every round the ghost will visit all investigators in their dreams and she gives every player one or more clues in the shape of dream cards. She starts with giving cards that give the investigators some clues about the murderer.
Who is the murderer? Who can it be? Is it the Egyptologist, the Nun, or is it the Race car driver?
Players then place their tokens on the person who they think is the murderer. Remember, every investigator has their own suspect, their personal murderer. They can, however, place their token on the same character on the table.
When a player guessed correctly, he, in the next round, will receive clues about the location and, later, about the weapon. If he’s wrong, he will get more cards that describe the culprit.
The weapon cards only show the weapon itself, but the person and location cards show many details. So, there are many things to focus on.
The dream cards do too. They are like Dixit cards and if you don’t know what Dixit is, then look a the pictures below, then you know what I mean.
Tajemnicze Domostwo is a cooperative game, so the ghost really wants the investigators to succeed. Only then she will find peace. However the ghost cannot talk at all during the game. She must communicate through her dream cards. The investigators can talk and may help each other during the game.
When every player has guessed their personal murderer, location and weapon correctly, the ghost chooses one of the different sets. This is the real murderer. Then she must give the players three last clues by placing three dream cards on the table that give hints about the final set of three cards.
When the players guess the one, real murderer and corresponding location and weapon before the end of the seventh round, they win the game and the ghost can rest in peace.
Tajemnicze Domostwo is a mix of Dixit with Clue. Clue is a game that’s probably known to everyone. ‘It’s Professor Plum with the candlestick in the Kitchen.’ Dixit, however, maybe not, so what this statement means is that you pretty much solve a murder with your imagination.
The ghost has something in his mind, he sees something in one or more dream cards and he thinks that it represents the person, location or weapon on the table.
What does the ghost mean with those cards, what do these have in common with each other? Is it the colour? The mouse in the corner or does he want me to look at the sword? Those are the things you should be thinking about. The investigators and the ghost need to get at the same level.
That can be pretty difficult to do, because sometimes there just are no dream cards that have anything useful on them to give hints about a specific location card. The ghost then must pick the card that is the least misleading. A difficult choice. Because of a card the ghost gives she might also look at the previous cards differently. Therefore, one misleading card can lure the investigator of the right path.
This aspect of the game, the carefully placing of insightful dreams and the fact that every person thinks in a different way, is very interesting.
There are so many details on all the cards, dream and murder cards, that you can go about it in many, many ways. That makes even discussing the reasoning behind the ghost’s choices afterwards very interesting.
This game, with the dream cards and the different person, location and weapon cards, has a lot of flavour. You can really lose yourself in those pictures.
However I think I can fairly say that this game is not very thematic. I mean, do I really feel like I’m a ghost, do really feel like I’m investigating a murder? Not entirely. So theme, no. Flavour, yes.
Tajemnicze Domostwo heavily relies on its illustrations. The mechanisms are interesting, true, but they are nothing without the right illustrations. And, wow, right they are. Every card looks stunning.. They are really, really beautiful. Every card is incredibly detailed and, like I said above, you can lose yourself in those wonderful pictures.
Quality of the components
The components of the Portal version are just very decent. There’s not much to complain about. The Ukrainian version has slightly better, or at least more beautiful, components. Or component I must say, because it’s only the shiny crystal balls that stands out.
This is just a very fun game. As a ghost it’s sometimes hard not to chuckle or interfere when a player totally misunderstands a clue. So then it’s even more fun to explain it all to the investigators when the game has ended.
The game does need discussion, needs cooperative players. ‘What do you see in my picture? What does it stand for?’ That discussion makes you much more engaged with the game. If you are someone who likes to solve the mystery all by yourself and in silence, then this might not be a game for you.
As an investigator you try to look into the mind (however translucent it might be) of the ghost. How does he think? What does he want me to see? The ghost does the same, but then the other way around. This interaction is just very fun to experience and to witness.
Tajemnicze Domostwo is an easy game. It’s not especially an easy puzzle to solve, but it is easy to explain and to play. The concepts are very straightforward and immediately when you get your first card(s) you know what to do, you know what is expected of you. This means that even your grandma or your little brother can play it. But remember, everybody thinks differently and certainly kids, so prepare yourself for a whole other type of game every time you play with different age groups and different personalities.