This Mysterium Park review was made after playing the game six times (3 two-player games, 1 three-player game, and 2 four-player games).
What is Mysterium Park?
Mysterium Park is a cooperative, murder mystery, deduction game in which you attempt to figure out who murdered the park’s former director. It is very similar to the original Mysterium, but it has a different theme and streamlined gameplay.
Mysterium Park Gameplay
In a game of Mysterium Park, one player plays as the ghost of the carnival’s former director and their job is to give the psychic investigators clues about who murdered them. You have to narrow down the list of nine suspects and nine potential murder locations to three apiece within six turns. You then get one chance to figure out which of the three murderer-location pairings is the correct one.
The ghost can’t talk, so they need to find Vision cards that can help each investigator determine who their assigned innocent person/location is. The ghost looks at a Plot card (similar to the Key cards in Codenames) to see where each investigator’s target card is and will look for Vision cards that share some characteristics with those cards. For example, if there’s a diamond shape on an investigator’s location card, the ghost might look for that shape in their hand of Vision cards.
Each time the ghost gives an investigator their Vision cards, all of the investigators work together to interpret the ghost’s clues. After all of the investigators have their Vision cards and have made their guesses, the ghost tells everyone if they are correct or not. If any investigators chose incorrectly, you start a new turn. Once everyone has found their characters, you set up the second round and go through the same process with locations. If you get past the second round before the end of the sixth turn, the three remaining character cards are randomly paired with the three remaining location cards and the ghost gives the investigators two Vision cards to try to help them solve the case.
You’ll beat Mysterium Park if the investigators choose the correct murderer and crime scene. You’ll lose if you don’t get past the first two rounds within six turns or you fail to choose the correct murderer and crime scene in the final round.
- As expected, the artwork in Mysterium Park is fantastic. The surreal/dreamy style of the Vision cards makes you want to look at every little detail to make connections. Also, the fact that most of the cards have so many little details means that you can usually find ways to use them as clues for multiple characters and locations. To many people, the original Mysterium has some of the best art out there, and I think Park’s art is just as nice.
- Mysterium Park is very easy to teach and quite a bit easier to get into than Mysterium. There are fewer rules and phases, and there’s less setup and work for the ghost to do in this version of the game.
- Speaking of setup, it takes no time at all to get a game of Mysterium Park started. You pretty much just shuffle the different decks, lay out the nine cards on the board, and the ghost draws their seven Vision cards. You’re up and running in a minute or two.
- Like Mysterium, Park is a very good challenge, especially for the ghost player. Finding connections between the Vision cards and the suspects/locations can sometimes be really tough and you always have to worry about little details being on multiple cards.
- I really like Mysterium Park’s insert. There are spots for all of the components and the board sits on top so everything stays put.
- I wish they had done a bit more with the location illustrations, especially the ones showing the entrances to the different park attractions. It seemed like every time there were a bunch of entrances on the board, the ghost player would just use colors as their clues since that was the easiest way to differentiate them. That took some of the fun out of the game.
- Just like in Mysterium, there is some downtime for the investigators since they have to wait for the ghost to pick their Vision cards each turn. It’s not going to be a big issue for every group, but if you have a ghost who really wants to find the perfect connection, you might be sitting there doing nothing for a while.
- One minor flaw in both Mysterium games is that the ghost’s eyes can give away the cards they’re trying to find clues for. You need to look at every small detail to find those connections, so it’s hard to disguise where you’re looking. We get around that by having the investigators look away while the ghost is looking at the board.
I’m a big fan of Mysterium Park, which didn’t really surprise me since I was already a huge fan of the original Mysterium. The original will continue to be my go-to cooperative party game since I prefer its haunted house theme and I like its location card variety a bit more, but Mysterium Park does have its advantages over the original. It’s easier to set up, it’s easier to teach, and it’s quicker to play, so it might actually hit the table more often, especially at lower player counts.
If you’re a fan of Mysterium and you like the carnival theme, I definitely recommend checking out Mysterium Park. If you thought the original was too long but liked everything else about it, this one will probably work better for you. If you weren’t a fan of Mysterium, I really doubt you’ll like Park since they are so similar.