File Me Under: Who you gonna call?
What It’s All About: Mysterium is a murder-deduction game by Oleksandr Nevskiy and Oleg Sidorenko. It made a big splash at BGGcon 2014 and can best be described as a blend of Dixit and Clue(do). One player is the spirit haunting the mansion and the rest of the players are psychic investigators who are trying to unravel the story of the ghostly tragedy. Arrayed on the table will be a number of characters, locations and items (typically 1/per player +3 of each type). Each turn the Ghost attempts to guide each psychic by laying impressionistic/surreal dream cards out. The psychic interprets their dream message and uses the clues in them to select and eliminate one of the persons, places or items. Once the psychics have whittled the possible field of culprits, settings and motives down they get to make a final accusation guided by a shared vision from the spectre.
Mysterium is exactly the type of innovative boardgame that is difficulty to translate to non-analog space. Sitting across the table from a handful of friends as they try and decipher the meaning to your selection is maddening and thrilling. You get a bizarre insight into your fellow players based on how they choose to read the cards. It’s basically what Rorschah must have been going for. Mysterium is a tremendously fun game and there is supposedly a Libellud (Thanks Eric!) made English edition coming in 2015.
Gripes: So, obviously there is a translation issue here. The rules, while sensible require a bit of deciphering and the different source languages of the game (Ukrainian, Polish or Italian) haven’t helped a consensus be reached. Additionally the components in each version is slightly different, with some including the promo cards and, weirdly, the polish edition just straight having an extra item card. Furthermore, they each have different end game setups as well as slightly different difficulty scales for large player groups. It is, broadly, understood that the Ukrainian version provides a better play experience with less randomness.
Tweaks: There are numerous ways to adjust the difficulty of Mysterium, in addition to increasing the amount of cards per player you can also calibrate the ability of the ghost to cycle through dream cards. There is also a Spirit Board that can be used to allow the ghost to give subtle hints to the psychics.
Cost: ~$57 via IAGames,ua. Can I just say, this is a crazy good deal. Mysterium could easily sell for $50 – $60 in the USA and people wouldn’t bat an eye. The component quality is quite high and you get a lot of game for your money.
Time Commitment: ~1 hour
Best For: Ghosts you can stay quiet, people who enjoy watching their friends flounder about.
Making can be daunting; especially if you go it alone. The fear of personal and creative failure can be crippling and prevent you from even trying, worse though is the fear that the industry you wish to engage is stacked against you. New makers may lie awake with nightmares of smoke-filled rooms of best friends forever or worse, an impenetrable apparatus of forms, hoops, websites and touch tone menus.
Realistically though, neither scenario is true*. Yes, cigar and whiskey backroom deals happen, but they aren’t the norm. And yes, there is a system of checkboxes and forms-in-triplicate to master, but the dirty secret is that the former is there to ease the latter. The majority of the time you will get things done seamlessly. I don’t mean that most of your projects will slip effortlessly into being, but that when you break down a project into it’s steps, most – probably close to all – of them are a snap. You’re good at them, that’s why you’re making that thing**, for the rest of those steps there are going to be hiccups, you are going to need help. Read more…
It’s Monday, I’ve been listening to Nelly & J. Lo “I’m Real (Murder Remix)” on repeat, there are minutes. Read more…
We recently received our production proof of Pack the Pack from our printing partner AdMagic. What better time to share a bit about the production process than at this crucial step.
When you produce a game, after you’ve designed it, playtested it, developed it, found a manufacturer and paid for the printing is the proofing process. You printer/manufacturer will, generally, create a single proof of production copy of the game. The downside to this step is that it lengthens the turnaround time for the whole run and possibly, especially relevant for small press creators, can cost you a nice chunk of change. But the upsides are innumerable. The ability to actually hold and critique your product before it gets to the hot press is essential and any project that you are not assembling in your garage should put up the cash and time to ensure a proper proof is received.
Proofing a production samples isn’t just about catching errors though. It is also a useful pause to examine what you have made and calibrate your expectations for the final product. Below you can see some of the material issues we had with our production proof. Though we are highlighting the concerns we have, the product actually looks amazing and came out head and shoulders above our expectations. But, if you have the opportunity to fix you should take it.
There were three main concerns with the production proof. Our rules booklet was not bound into a booklet. The play mats were printed as 20 singlesided sheets instead of 10 doublesided. And finally, there were some miscuts on the tiles resulting in improper gem alignment.
The first two issues are easily a case of poor communication. We sent along files that we were completely familiar with, but failed to specify what EXACTLY we were expecting to receive. This is not uncommon, when you create something whole cloth you may not realize it but a huge amount of contextual information exists only in your head. Just as in rules writing you should approach your printing instructions as if you were programming; step by step detail. If you’re worried about appearing pedantic, stop. As someone who spent a decade deciphering the instructions of clients I can assure you the more questions you answer up front the more we (production folks) love you. And the more we love you, the more likely we are to fix itsy-bitsy things before you ever notice them.
It’s Monday, for some stupid reason I reinstalled World of Warcraft, there are minutes. Read more…
Whelp, we’ve just emailed out our pitch & how-to video for the fine Welcome to Night Vale folks to weigh. Consider our fingers officially crossed that in the near future we will be working hard to bring an awesome Night Vale game to tabletops around the world! Below you can watch our pitch & how to after the jump and, once more, see Glenn nervously flubberty-druthers his way through some videos.
Enjoy! Read more…