I saw this game online and thought, “hmm” a while back. I ended up passing on it. We own so many games that we try to be careful about what we add to our collection. We don’t want something that will just gather dust. A guy told me he owned 150 board games and that they spanned bookcases and closets. That would overwhelm my poor brain. Also … I am trying to rethink my possessions a la Marie Kondo: I don’t want to keep things that don’t give me joy.
This game kept coming up, though, like a cursed object wanting to be found.
I saw it at Barnes and Nobles, but resisted the temptation. I think the justification I used was, “I dunno… having a traitor sounds too competitive and convoluted”. I’m particular about cut throat games.
Thrice I was asked if I owned the game, so it must have been a sign.
I went to a game night at the UU. I think I brought Dix It and Royalty. I was asked about “Betrayal at House on the Hill”, but I didn’t have it. It sounded more interesting than my cursory judgement.
We played games with some friends and they asked if we owned it. Still didn’t have it. They made it sound pretty good. I think they had played it with someone else. It wasn’t high on the list. I settled on a different game at the next opportunity.
Then, I met a young lady and she regaled me about this game and it’s replay value: each game is different since the board tiles will be played at random different and the monster will be different based off The Haunt triggered by the Omen cards. I was much more intrigued.
My husband surprised me with it a few weeks ago, and we played it with friends. It was even better than I expected!
Here we go- I’ll rank it on Accessibility, Mechanics, and Engagement.
The premise of this game is pretty simple: you’re a bunch of people exploring a haunted house. The characters have a little bit of flavor text, but that’s pretty straight forward too.
The cards feature horror tropes that will be familiar to those who don’t read or watch the genre – if you’ve seen commercials for horror movies, you’re probably good. From enchanted rings to ouija boards to vampires, it’s what you might expect. There is an ouroboros, but that’s probably the least accessible element of the game.
The colors aren’t incredible in this game, or extremely important to game play. They’re pretty muted. This is one that you probably won’t need to break out the EnChroma glasses to play.
The font is a crisp serifed one that seems inspired by an old typewriter, but it’s not monospaced. This might be a little tricky if fonts are ever a problem for you.
It says 12+ on the box for ages, and that seems perfect. Someone I know instituted a rule that for “Mysterium” no one under 13 could be the ghost by themselves, and … I could see the traitor being a bad role for a younger child.
The mechanics were much simpler than I expected – a character’s speed (as listed on their stats card) indicates how many spaces they may go. More often than not, the full number of spaces weren’t used in our turns.
Omen cards have the requirement that the player who draws them does a “haunt roll”. If the haunt roll is insufficient, then the haunt begins. This is when the traitor emerges. Sometimes the traitor is known and other times, it’s not known.
When we played somehow I ended up being the traitor. I operated my character and the monster once The Haunt began: the Banshee. At that point in the game, I had to go into another room and read my instructions, while the survivors read their instructions.
For most of the game, it’s very engaging. The turns are short and straightforward.
Once The Haunt begins, however, things change: if your character dies, then you have absolutely nothing to do for the rest of the game. It seems like the rest of the game should go pretty quickly, however, if most of the monsters are as overpowered as the Banshee.
When a character dies, the remaining survivors are free to loot the body and acquire their items.
If it hadn’t been for an ally – the “dog”, which is able to move 6 tiles at a time, then the Banshee would have won.
Alas, they exorcised the Banshee and Heather, my character, shall forever be separated from her love. Oh, the cruelty!
In Conclusion: This was a really fun game. It kept close to the time and didn’t drag on like some other games. I really enjoyed playing it and look forward to seeing what different monsters abilities are!
This game is readily available at many fine retailers including Amazon. #NotSponsored. (Okay, none of my posts are sponsored to be honest.)
Happy Gaming! Play on!
P. S. I wish the pictures were clearer. I was in a hurry and snapped the shots and they weren’t as good as I thought they were. I’ll try harder next time!