Review: Mystery Mansion – a Storytelling Card Game

It’s summer now, hot outside and it may be that people are getting bored of screen time.  Or we may be looking for things to do with friends or family.  I’ve found a fascinating new card “game” that might help with summer lethargy.

The Mystery Mansion, a Magic Myriorama, illustrated by Lucille Clerc, and brought out by Laurence King Publishing, is a unique, fun way to spend an afternoon or evening.  It encourages communication, imagination, and my case, much hilarity.

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A myriorama was a Victorian invention, a set of illustrated cards which could be arranged and rearranged to form different pictures.  It means a myriad of pictures that would produce a panorama.

Mystery Mansion has 20 cards that can be rearranged into, in the words of the publisher, “more than 2.4 quintillion storyscaping possibilities.”  I don’t know if I’ll be able to discover if that’s an accurate number, but there are a lot of different ways of interpreting the cards.
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The drawings are just lovely, reminscent of Edward Gorey, but softer and with a great sense of detail.  Lucille Clerc is is a French graphic designer who moved to London following completion of her degree in Paris to study for an MA in Communication Design at Central Saint Martins. Since then she has been working in the creative industries for a diverse range of international clients.

The cards line up perfectly, there’s nothing off register, so great care was taken with the printing and presentation.  It looks like a well-preserved old book, but opens into a fascinating stack of story potential.

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Here’s a video of how the game is played.


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/266272040″>Magical Myrioramas: How to play The Mystery Mansion</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/laurencekingpublishing”>Laurence King Publishing</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Playing a traditional country house mystery game is a fine option, but don’t let it limit you.  For instance, because a lot of my friends read Sci-Fi and contemporary literature and poetry, we started with a very different premise with this card.

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The story starter said it was a vehicle shape-shifting aliens had created after they crash-landed into an English wood in the 1920s.  And then they took on the forms of these lovely creatures:

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And things got stranger and funnier as each of four participants added their own spin on cards.

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This is a good game for both adults and children and any mix of the two.  I found out about it through the excellent blog Pop Goes the Page, written by Dana Sheridan.   She’s  the Education & Outreach Coordinator of the Cotsen Children’s Library at Princeton University.  Through the library and her own creative, book loving mind, she comes up with great activities to interest children in reading, exploring and learning.  Here’s a link to her take on The Mystery Mansion:

Pop Goes the Page: The Never Ending Story

If you like the idea of spending time with storytelling games, check out Magical Myriorama first publication The Hollow Woods, also published by Laurence King.

Mystery Mansion will definitely help you stay cool and engaged during the hot motnhs of summer.

Thanks for reading my blog!

 

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2 thoughts on “Review: Mystery Mansion – a Storytelling Card Game

  1. Absolutely. I played with a 10 year old in the mix, but kids are such natural storytellers, I think any age over 7 would be a fun partner. We played 2 cards each in rounds. But it really has no rules, so each time you play you can invent a new game.

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