Legend has it that there’s an old mysterious mansion at the edge of the city, where priceless treasure is stashed; not just any treasure, but the fabled treasure of the infamous Captain Echo, and it’s waiting to be found by any young adventurer or apprentice medium who is brave enough to spend the night at the supposedly haunted mansions. Mysterium Kids Captain Echo’s Treasure.
On The Surface
Mysterium Kids: Captain Echo’s Treasure is a specially designed, co-operative game for children as young as six, where Mysterium and Mysterium Park’s unique feature of a silent ‘ghost’ player using vision cards had been ingeniously re-imagined for younger children who are less likely to understand the original abstract thinking element… and if your child is anything like mine, is less likely to be able to keep quiet when playing as the ghost. Instead, Mysterium Kids: Captain Echo’s Treasure gives the ghost player a small drum for them to communicate and give the other plays clues by way of sound effects.
A Little Backstory
In keeping with a more child friendly theme, Mysterium Kids: Captain Echo’s Treasure doesn’t feature a ghost trying to aid the mediums in solving their murder, and instead the ghost player takes on the role of Captain Echo, who has generously decided to help the young treasure seekers find where he stashed his pirate booty whilst alive.
Released in October 2022 by Libellud, rather cleverly in time for Halloween give the thematic elements, Mysterium Kids: Captain Echo’s Treasure was designed by Antonin Boccara & Yves Hirchfeld, and features art work by Olivier Danchin.
The box contains a synthetic skinned drum (inexplicably referred to as a tambourine in the instructions), a game board whimsically depicting the mansion players are exploring, a round marker board designed to look like the mansion’s roof, a moon token used for tracking the rounds of the game, five ghost tokens that are intended to be passed around the players to indicate who’s turn it is to play as Captain Echo, seventy eight noise cards and ten treasure tiles, along with easy to follow instructions for set up and game play.
One simple but appreciated feature, is that the box insert perfectly contains the game pieces without items either rattling around, or the need to buy or make an additional insert.
Out Of The Box
The game is for two to six players, with an average game taking just twenty minutes to play; perfect if you have a child with a limited attention span.
As you would expect from a game aimed at children six years and up, Mysterium Kids: Captain Echo’s Treasure is a much simpler game than the original Mysterium and even the more streamlined Mysterium Park. However, it somehow hasn’t lost the charm or quirkiness of it’s predecessors, and is also a rare instance of a game that’s designed specifically for children to actually be enjoyable for the adults who will undoubtedly be roped into playing… or who eagerly volunteer, as long as it means your kids aren’t glued to a screen, like I do!
The Hunt Is On
During game play, players co-operate to find the pirate captain’s long lost treasure before the moon (otherwise known as a turn tracker) has travelled across the sky until the night (and game) is over. Each round sees the ghost player use the drum to give sound clues that should match the noise cards that are in play… granted, this only works if you’re playing with someone who doesn’t delight in utterly confusing their parents, but hopefully you’re playing with a child who’s in a more generous mood than mine. If the treasure seekers guess correctly, they get to reveal a piece of pirate loot, which builds towards a co-operative score that’s tallied at the end of the game.
As mentioned above, the ghost token is supposed to be rotated through the players, so each person gets a turn at channeling their inner ghostly pirate captain; which is a great mechanic when you have multiple children playing, as in my experience, it helps reduce the types of arguments anyone who has cared for more than one child at a time will be all too familiar with. In contrast, and completely unofficially, you can play Mysterium Kids: Captain Echo’s Treasure in the same vein as Mysterium and Mysterium Park, having only one designated ghost player per game… which is beneficial if you have more the twenty minutes to fill and children who enjoy playing multiple sessions of the same game back to back!