So we got our copy of Mysterium on the table for the first time on Saturday night. (Halloween...what better night to try it out, right?)
For the first game, I was the ghost and we had four clairvoyants, including my 6-year old granddaughter, daughter and son-in-law, and my wife. We played at the medium difficulty level (partly for my granddaughter, and partly because we were just learning the game).
After the first round, three of the four clairvoyants (including the 6-year old) had correctly identified their suspect. My son-in-law's suspect, the merchant woman, had elements in common with one of the non-suspects, the seamstress, and he guessed wrong. On round two, my granddaughter correctly guessed her location, as did her mother, and my son-in-law guessed his character.
By the end of round three, two of the clairvoyants (my daughter and granddaughter) had identified all three of their clues, but because I couldn't provide better clues, my wife was still vacillating between two possible locations, and my son-in-law had only just arrived at the location stage. It took both of them until the end of round five to progress to the weapons phase. Fortunately, in round six they both identified their weapon.
Now it was time for Phase II, revealing the culprit. I had two pretty good cards, one for the suspect, and one for the weapon, but no great choices for the location. Three of the clairvoyants were only going to see two cards, with my daughter being the only one able to see all three.
Both my wife and son-in-law looked at the location card (the bad clue) as one of their two choices, so I was concerned about whether they would guess correctly. However, I needn't have worried. All four recognized the other clues and the culprit was identified unanimously, setting the ghost (me) free!
Following this, the four adults played two more games, one with my daughter as the ghost, and one with my son-in-law providing the clues. Both of these were played at the hard difficulty level.
The first game took us all seven rounds, but we did identify the culprit unanimously. The second game took only six, and again we won by unanimous election. Without going into each round, I will point out two interesting twists that occurred in those two games.
In the first, one of the non-suspect rooms had a polar bear rug, while the nursery had a teddy bear. My daughter, as the ghost, missed the rug, and played a card provided an image similar to a polar bear. That really threw us off for a couple of rounds.
In the second, my son-in-law gave me all 7 of the cards in his hand. We (the clairvoyants) discussed the possibility that he was just dumping the cards, and I should wait a round for a more "meaningful" vision. But, we noticed that all 7 cards had birds in the images, and two of the locations -- the outdoor patio and the pool -- had birds in the pictures. So, I spent two turns guessing those locations before reverting back to our original thought that the initial 7 cards were meaningless. In the end, it turned out we were right!
We won all three games, but the last two were pretty tight. We can see there may be a number of ways to scale the difficulty (e.g. add more cards to the suspect, location, and weapons pools; give the clairvoyants less rounds, etc.). However, one concern we have is the finite number of vision cards.
If playing with the same group, there's the possibility that some vision cards will take on specific meanings, which would short circuit the game. Fortunately, this game was produced by the same folks that do Dixit, and the Dixit cards are the same size as the vision cards. Owning two Dixit sets, we believe we could certainly shuffle some of these into the vision deck to mix it up a little. The Dixit imagery isn't quite as ethereal as the Mysterium vision cards, but they are certainly abstract enough that they might still send the clairvoyants down a rabbit hole or two.
We definitely enjoyed these initial games, and see this one getting a lot of action at our house.
Sounds like you had a good time. We also got a chance to play it 3 times on Halloween, and we loved it as well. We would have kept playing if it wasn't so late in the evening.