Obscurio Vs Mysterium Board Games: Which One To Buy?

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Step into the mysterious world of deduction and illusion as we compare two of the most popular board games of the genre: Obscurio and Mysterium. Both games offer a unique experience that challenges players’ ability to communicate and decipher clues. These two games have captured the attention of gamers around the world with their unique gameplay, stunning visuals, and challenging puzzles.

While both games share similarities, there are key differences that set them apart. Join us as we delve into the history, gameplay, ease of accessibility, and popularity of these two captivating games. By the end of this comparison, you’ll have a better understanding of which game is the perfect fit for your next game night.

Overview of the key differences between the two games

Many gamers wonder about the differences between many games like Appletters and Bananagrams and whether online games are any better than board games. However, when it comes to Mysterium and Obscurio, the biggest difference between the two games is their game mechanics and themes. Mysterium is set in a spooky mansion and has a ghostly theme, while Obscurio takes place in a wizarding school and has a fantasy theme.

In Mysterium, players work together to solve a murder mystery by interpreting visual clues provided by a ghost player. In contrast, Obscurio includes a traitor mechanic, with one player working against the rest of the team to prevent them from escaping the magical library by interpreting abstract illustrations.

Overall, both games involve cooperative play and using visual clues to solve a mystery, but they have distinct themes and gameplay mechanics that set them apart.

A brief history of the two games

Mysterium, designed by Oleksandr Nevskiy and Oleg Sidorenko and published by Libellud in 2015, quickly gained popularity for its innovative gameplay and stunning artwork. It has been translated into multiple languages and has received numerous expansions, including new cards and game mechanics.

In 2019, Libellud released Obscurio, also designed by Nevskiy and Sidorenko, with Xavier Collette as a co-designer. Obscurio is considered a spiritual successor to Mysterium, with some differences in gameplay mechanics. The game was well-received for its unique traitor mechanic and captivating gameplay elements. Like Mysterium, Obscurio has also received expansions, including new grimoire pages and game modes.

Both games are relatively new to the board game scene and have gained popularity for their distinctive gameplay and visually appealing components. Mysterium has won multiple awards, including the 2016 Golden Geek Award for Best Artwork and Presentation, while Obscurio has carved its own path in the community with its innovative traitor mechanic.

Gameplay differentiated

Providing the social benefits of a board game, Obscurio and Mysterium are both board games that involve cooperative play and deduction. However, there are some differences between the two games. Obscurio and Mysterium have different gameplay elements that set them apart from one another. 

Theme and Setting:

In Obscurio, players work together to solve a mystery and escape from a magical library. The grimoire player provides clues to the other players in the form of abstract symbols and images, which the players must interpret and use to progress through the game. One of the unique aspects of Obscurio is the addition of a traitor mechanic, where one player may secretly be working against the others.

In contrast, Mysterium is a cooperative deduction game where players take on the roles of mediums trying to solve the murder of a ghost. One player takes on the role of the ghost, communicating with the mediums through illustrated cards that provide clues to the murder. Mysterium has a simpler gameplay loop than Obscurio, with players using deduction and intuition to solve the murder rather than interpreting abstract symbols.

Both games are themed around communication between players and visual clues, but they have different settings. Mysterium is set in a haunted mansion, while Obscurio takes place in a mystical library.

Complexity and Playability:

Mysterium is generally considered to be slightly more complex than Obscurio, with more rules to learn and a longer set-up time. However, both games are highly playable and offer a unique and engaging experience.


Both games offer a good amount of replayability, with new challenges and variations each time you play. Mysterium has more expansions available, which can add to the replay value, but Obscurio also offers a lot of variety in terms of its different magic cards and the different scenarios players can encounter.

Time Duration:

Mysterium typically takes longer to play than Obscurio, with an average game time of around 45 minutes to an hour, while Obscurio usually takes around 30-45 minutes. However, both games can be adjusted to shorter or longer game times depending on player preference.


Both games are visually stunning, with beautiful and intricate artwork. Mysterium’s artwork is more focused on the haunted mansion theme, while Obscurio’s art has a more mystical and magical feel.

Number of Players:

Mysterium can be played with 2-7 players, while Obscurio can accommodate 2-8 players. Both games work well with larger groups, but Obscurio can be slightly more flexible in terms of accommodating a larger number of players.

Ease and accessibility differentiated

Both Obscurio and Mysterium are relatively easy to learn and play and can be enjoyed by a wide range of players. However, Obscurio may be considered more complex due to its abstract symbol interpretation and the more challenging role of the grimoire player.

On the other hand, Mysterium is generally considered to be more accessible, with simpler game mechanics and illustrated cards that are easier to interpret. The complexity of Obscurio may make it less accessible to some players, particularly those who are new to board games or who prefer games with simpler rules and mechanics

In terms of accessibility, both games are widely available for purchase online and in brick-and-mortar board game stores. Additionally, both games offer digital versions that can be played online or through mobile apps, making them easily accessible for players who prefer to play games digitally.

The popularity of two among players

Obscurio and Mysterium are both popular cooperative board games, that provide users with many advantages of a board game. While Mysterium may be slightly more popular and have a longer history, Obscurio is gaining popularity with its innovative traitor mechanic and unique gameplay elements. Mysterium has more expansions available, and some players prefer it for its greater replayability, although it may require more setup and upkeep than Obscurio.

Mysterium is slightly more popular than Obscurio, with more expansions available. Mysterium has received critical acclaim and won several awards, including the As d’Or – Jeu de l’annĂ©e (Golden Ace – Game of the Year) in France in 2016. It has also been featured in several board game recommendation lists.

While Mysterium may be more well-known and have a longer history, Obscurio is also gaining popularity and has its own unique strengths that make it worth considering for those looking for a cooperative deduction game.

Is one better than the other?

It’s difficult to say whether Obscurio or Mysterium is better than the other, as both games have their own unique strengths and challenges. The choice ultimately comes down to personal preference and the preferences of the group of players you are playing with.

If you enjoy abstract imagery and a traitor mechanic, then Obscurio might be the game for you. On the other hand, if you prefer a more straightforward cooperative experience with a haunting atmosphere and beautiful artwork, then Mysterium could be the better choice.

Some players may find Obscurio more interesting due to its traitor mechanic and unique gameplay elements, while others may prefer Mysterium for its replayability despite its longer setup time.

Both games are highly regarded in the board gaming community and offer a fun and engaging gameplay experience. It may be helpful to read reviews or watch gameplay videos to determine which game would be a better fit for you and your group. Ultimately, it’s subjective and there isn’t a clear winner between the two


Not only are Mysterium and Obscurio a blast to play, but they also offer a host of benefits that can enhance your problem-solving skills, analytical thinking, and deductive reasoning abilities. From improving your intuition and observation skills to promoting social interaction and collaboration, these games provide both intellectual and social benefits. So, whether you’re in it for the fun or the brain-boosting benefits, these games are a great way to spend time with your friends and family!

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