Obscurio board game review

Escape the mysterious library. An awesome asymmetric family game.

Obscurio board game 2019 cover
Release date
2019 Sep
Gender
Family, Party, Bluffing
Players
2-8
Playtime
45 min.
Difficulty
Easy
Age
10+
Publisher
Libellud
Our Score
8.4
Your rating5 Votes
5.1
8.4
Intese & fun

An abandoned library. Why did you have to drag us here guys? Seriously, do you not know horror movies? Don’t go into that building, do not go into that room, and so on. This is exactly like that, except, this is an asymmetric and cooperative board game. Yes! I have been waiting for a game like this for a long, long, long, long long time. All in one: Dixit + Mysterium + Saboteur + Betrayal at House on the Hill equal to “Magical Friday in the Silent Library went wrong”.

Obscurio board game. Together with your magician friends, you went to an old library, because of desires of power, – to learn all those ancient tips & tricks & spells. You also wanted to look kind of cool.

It did not take long for you to understand that it is better to leave, as this place is full of darkness, as it has clear intent to harm you, your mind, and even your soul. But you cannot leave that easily, the library is ALIVE, it won’t let you out, it wants to take you, it wants you to become the part of it.

Obscurio board game (2019)
Image credit: Libellud

You soon understand that the library is the creation of someone very powerful that has knowledge in dark arts, the dark wizard, and its dark, death-bringing magic. Well, at least that was stated in the Grimoire, which had a very specific disclaimer at its introductory page: “ATTENTION: DO NOT GO INTO OLD, ABANDONED LIBRARIES THAT HAVE TONS OF BOOKS WITH NO SMASHED WINDOWS”.

There is also a strange feeling that your magician friends start acting weird, soon to realize that they might be under some kind of spell, and actually working against you.

Game overview

Study the Grimoire and try to escape the dark dwelling, hellish library. A game with secret roles, 1 Grimoire, who does not speak, 1 Traitor, who is under the dark spell, and the Magicians. Grimoire tries to guide Magicians towards the exit, providing illusion cards, with no words, and the Traitor tries to misguide and confuse the Magicians, without disclosing his intent, to fail their escape. Magicians need to correctly guess the exit door.

The game is played in numerous rounds. For each round, the Grimoire player draws a card from the deck, which symbolizes the exit door from the library. This is the card the Magicians must guess to exit the library. Then, Grimoire player also draws 2 pictures and places them onto cardholder. Using 1 or 2 butterfly markets the player points to particular details of these pictures.

Obscurio (2019) – desk with 2 cards to indicate clues for the Wizards.
Image credit: Libellud

The Grimoire player then secretly allows a traitor to choose up to 2 cards to place as alternatives for guessing the exit card. He checks out the exit card, the clues cards, and decides if he wants to select any of the displayed 8 cards. Once this step is done, the Grimoire player draws additional cards to complete a set of 6 pictures.

Obscurio-board-game-2019-illusion-card-examples
Obscurio board game (2019) illusion card examples.
Image credit: Libellud

Once the first picture is placed for the magicians to guess, the Grimoire player turns over the hourglass to count the time. If it runs out, it is flipped and counted again, but shifted to another traps indicator. The fewer times it is flipped, the fewer traps will be drawn at the beginning of the next round. Magicians will have to make a correct guess in 6 different rounds. For each round, new pictures are assigned.

Obscurio (2019) – trap tokens.
Image credit: Libellud

But if it were that easy. You need to manage the pool of Cohesion tokens. Every wrong magician’s (including traitors) guess removes 1 Cohesion token. When magicians run out of these tokens, the game is lost. To win the game, you need to guess the correct door (picture) 6 times (rounds). If 3 players guess a correct picture, this is still counted as 1 round of correct guessing.

When the game reaches a specific amount of Cohesion tokens, the accusation phase happens, meaning that each magician participates in a 1-minute discussion, during which every player must point to the player of their choice they think is the traitor. If the accused person is a magician, 2 Cohesion tokens are lost and another minute of accusation phase begins, until the Traitor is revealed, or until there are no Cohesion tokens left. If 2 players collect an equal amount of accusations, both of them are considered as the accused ones.

Review details

The review will be covered in the following structure:

  1. Fun
  2. Replay value
  3. Art & parts
  4. Game price

Feel free to read the review details, or just scroll down to the review summary.

Fun

This is a very intriguing game. In terms of overall fun, I would consider it superior to Dixing & Mysterium. The potential reason for this is because I personally really enjoy asymmetric, secret role games. But not only that.

I guarantee you that the game is super exciting: you try to guess the correct picture card, while being under time pressure, given the fact that any player around you wants you to make an incorrect guess, or vice versus – how do you pretend to be a good guy & make those Cohesion tokens disappear.

The traitor phase is incredibly fun. Once players get a little bit more experience, and the traitor does not make any crucial mistakes, this is such an entertaining phase of the game.

The main potential issue I notice is a potential downtime. The game is noticeably longer, more like Mysterium than Dixint. And here we have 2 unique roles, that both make cards’ selections. So I suspect that sometimes, there is just more downtime particularly due to two unique roles.

Obscurio board game (2019) game box bottom.
Image credit: Libellud

Another minor con that I spot is more about the initial plays, once players have less experience. It is really important for the Grimoire not to unintentionally reveal the real Traitor (as well as for the Traitor himself). Both roles need to act cautiously, not to make sound, or unintentionally telling details which may act as clues to find out the Traitor. If this would happen, the game session is less fun, in some cases even ruined.

Overall, the game makes you think & act fast, also to feel kind of paranoid & doubt yourself and others. The theme feels fulfilled because you actually feel trapped, unsure, and in a hurry. Libellud has actually made another great board game.

Replay value

Honestly, play it as many times as you want. There are 84 illusion cards, 14 different trap tokens, and an asymmetric, social game that progresses differently literally every game.

The number of cards & tokens is good enough for you to have a high number of scenario combinations. I assume that after numerous replays, players will learn some details on how to effectively connect some cards, but there are just enough cards to make it a minimal issue.

So far there are no expansions out in the market, but I would expect that new card editions would be out there to make the game even more replayable.

Finally, there are additional modes for 2-3 player games. I am of course glad that there are such game-play variations, but they are turned into cooperative experience. I am by no means saying that the modes are worse, but they turn the game just into a different experience. I think that it is actually is a positive factor for the replay value, but also a negative factor for somebody who wants to experience that asymmetric, competitive gameplay.

Obscurio board game (2019) – cover picture.
Image credit: Libellud

Art & parts

What would you expect from the game published by Libbellud? Great art & aesthetics. And they do not disappoint. The art is similar to Dixit & Mysterium. Which is fantastic. The quality of boards, cards, and tokens are definitely great as well.

The desk tile is magnetic, and those Butterfly tokens actually press the cards placed onto them, allowing it to be moved very smoothly.

I also do not think that colorblindness is a big issue for this game. Probably in some cases, card details may be harder to interpret due to colors. But again, there is even a trap that forces everyone to look at those cards eliminating colors, by putting red plastic sheets onto cards.

Obscurio board game colorblindness rating: B (Playable)

Price

When I think of the amount of the components included in the game, I would probably want the game cost to be a little lower. However, the parts are stunning. The art is great. And overall, this is an amazing family board game. So much worth the price. You can check out the price down below at the summary of the review.

Obscurio board game review
Just Great
A very intriguing game, that works well for the family as well as party game nights. You desperately want to replay that, and you just can’t get enough of this. Beautiful Dixit, Mysterium-like art, that will immerse you into the intense mystery of suspicion.
Fun
8.5
Replay Value
8.2
Art & Parts
9
Price
7.8
Your rating5 Votes
5.1
Positives
Super intense & interesting game
Clue telling mechanic is very good
Fascinating combination of time pressure, socio-political interactions
Negatives
Be careful who you plat it with. Might get too aggressive, or somebody can take over the control & decision making.
8.4
Intese & fun

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