- For ages 7 and up (publisher suggests 12+)
- For 2 to 4 players
- Approximately 30 minutes to complete
- Counting & Math
- Logical & Critical Decision Making
- Pattern/Color Matching
- Cooperative & Team Play
- Hand/Resource Management
- Child – Easy
- Adult – Easy
Theme & Narrative:
- Travel to remote locations around the globe in hopes of learning the truth…
- Gamer Geek rejected!
- Parent Geek approved!
- Child Geek approved!
Many believe there are locations on our planet that are unique. Some are the source of spiritual and supernatural springs that individuals can tap into. Other locations are doorways to different dimensions and to places best left unspoken. These strange places are found in some of the most remote locations of the world and in the backyards of modern-day suburbia. For those who search for the truth and believe that there is more to our reality than what we can simply see, these locations are frequently visited.
Legends and Lies: Mysterious Locations, designed by Diane Sauer and published by Shoot Again Games, is comprised of 2 Phenomenon cards, 6 Expedition cards, 17 Mysterious Location cards, 4 rock pieces (which are actually small pieces of rock), and 8 “Jodie” meeples. All the artwork and the card quality matches the base game. It must be noted that the “Jodie” meeples look like little pigs. If you are familiar with The Amityville Horror, you know why.
Note: We will not be covering how to play the game in this review. If you are not familiar with Legends and Lies or want to learn more about how the game is set up and played, please read the Legends and Lies game review.
Places of Power and Danger
The primary focus of this game expansion is the Mysterious Location cards. The expansion’s Phenomenon and Expedition cards are shuffled in with the rest of the cards. The instructions provided in the game expansion describe the correct ratio of cards if playing with promotional cards and other expansions, such as Legends and Lies: The Skeptic. There’s not much more to say about these cards as they are used in the exact same way as the other cards that share the same name.
The Mysterious Location cards are shuffled and 2 are dealt to each player at the beginning of the game. From these 2 cards, the players select 1 to keep, discarding the other. The selected Mysterious Location card is then placed in front of the player. A game variant, Shifting Sands, instructs the players to pass their Mysterious Location card at the end of every round. If the game variant is not used, the Mysterious Location card the player selected is theirs until the end of the game.
Game play with the Mysterious Location cards is the same as the base game play except where the Mysterious Location cards alter or add to the rules of the game. Whenever there is a conflict in the rules, the Mysterious Location cards always take precedence, making them not only powerful, but also potentially very threatening for opponents.
As there are 17 Mysterious Location cards in total, I will not be discussing each one here. Instead, I’ll highlight my top 3 which do a good job of demonstrating how the Mysterious Location cards are used and how they impact the game.
This Mysterious Location card features the infamous Amityville house. Fans of the movie and the book will remember that “Jodie” is the name of the imaginary friend the little girl starts talking and playing with. It’s later revealed that “Jodie” is a demonic pig-like creature with glowing eyes. This expansion includes “Jodie” meeples that are placed on the “Amityville, NY” Mysterious Location card each time a card is played to the “Tabloids”. The demonic pig-like meeples can later be removed to draw any card from the “Tabloids” instead of drawing a card from the Unknown draw deck. Or, if the player prefers, they can keep the “Jodie” meeples on their Mysterious Location card until the end of the round and receive 1 point for every “Jodie” meeple they remove.
And just because it’s worth watching, here’s the scene from the 1979 movie, The Amityville Horror, where we get to see “Jodie”. It’s a bit of a jump scare, but nothing horrific. If you look very closely at the “Amityville, NY” Mysterious Location card, you can see “Jodie” looking at you from the upstairs window…
Uluru, which is also known as Ayers Rock, is a very large sandstone rock formation in the middle of nowhere Australia. The nearest population is over 200 miles away, making this rock a bit of a trip. Yet people flock to it, believing it’s a source of great spiritual and supernatural power. Personally, I think they are all suffering sunstroke, but that’s a debate for another day. Within the game, the “Uluru” Mysterious Location card gives the player 1 rock piece per player in the game that can be placed on any card in play after discarding a card to the “Tabloids”. This card with a rock on it causes their owner to lose 1 point at the end of the round. After all the rock pieces are removed from the Mysterious Location card, they can be moved to other cards.
Devils Tower is truly a unique location, although it isn’t very mysterious. Situated in the rolling hills of northeast Wyoming, this towering rock structure immediately demands the attention of anyone who’s looking at. The location is sacred to the many Native Americans and it’s easy to understand why. It’s awe-inspiring. I’ve been there several times myself and I’m always lost in wonder at the beauty of the surrounding area and the majesty of the tower. Within the game, the “Devils’ Tower” Mysterious Location card provides the player with the ability to drawn 2 cards from the Unknown draw deck and select the one they want. That gives the player a pretty good advantage, but still requires the player to take a chance by drawing random cards.
On a sidenote, this Mysterious Location card is both correctly and incorrectly named. The location and park the card is representing is not spelled with an apostrophe. According to the U.S. National Park Service, “When the proclamation establishing Devils Tower was published, the apostrophe was unintentionally dropped from “Devil’s”—and this clerical error was never officially corrected.”
Additional Places Around the World
There are 14 other Mysterious Location cards included in the game expansion that are not discussed here. In interest of properly representing the game, I’m listing the names of the other locations. Each Mysterious Location card has its own unique effect that alters the rules of the game.
- Dark Side of the Moon
- Easter Island
- The Face of Mars
- Point Pleasant, WV
- Lost City of Atlantis
- Tunguska Blast Site
- Boggy Creek
- Roswell, NM
- El Dorado
- Bermuda Triangle
- The Amazon Jungle
- Edison’s Lab
To learn more about Legends and Lies: Mysterious Locations, visit the game expansion web page.
In my opinion, game expansions should “expand” the game play by adding a new layer of complexity, decision making, and tactics. Legends and Lies: Mysterious Locations adds tactical choices, but not complexity. Which, as it turns out, is not a bad thing. This makes the game expansion very easy to use and add to games, but I do not recommend adding this game expansion right away. The Mysterious Locations are something of an unnecessary addition to the game play that do not change it significantly enough to shake its foundation, but their use with new players will be an unnecessary distraction. As such, I recommend this expansion only after the base game has been learned, played, and enjoyed.
Which brings us to the game expansion and its perceived value by our groups. For the Child and Parent Geeks, the Mysterious Location cards were a big hit. They gave each player a unique action that could be used or completely ignore. The use of the Mysterious Location cards didn’t seem to guarantee victory anymore than it guaranteed defeat. Each Mysterious Location card was nothing more than a tool that the owning player could use. Its overall effectiveness was based on when it was used and how. According to one Child Geek, “I really like these special abilities! They make the game a lot more interesting.” A Parent Geek said, “The card game is really good as it is. Using the Mysterious Location cards just adds to the fun.”
The Gamer Geeks, however, did not care for the Mysterious Location cards. According to one Gamer Geek, “This expansion is completely unnecessary. It doesn’t add anything to the game other than noise.” Another Gamer Geek said, “I like that the expansion is adding something unique to the game play, but I don’t think they add any real value to the game.” While the base game continued to entertain some of our Gamer Geeks, all of the gaming elitists agreed that this specific expansion brought nothing to the table that interested them.
No matter how a player felt about the Mysterious Location cards, they were always the subject of conversation. A number of times the games were stopped while players looked up their Mysterious Locations to learn more about it. There were frequent debates about the legends and lore that surrounded them, but the “Cyberspace” Mysterious Location was always seen as a joke. Which it might have been, but who among us can deny that there are very strange things on the interweb. Many of which are best left unseen.
This is not a bad game expansion, but it isn’t breaking new ground or taking the game to new heights. It was welcomed by those who were already enjoying the game, but was found to be of little interest to those players who were expecting the game expansion to add more depth. New tactical choices are available making the Mysterious Location cards a fun addition to the game, but none of the choices provided give a player a significant advantage. If you are a fan of the base game, do site down and take a trip to Legends and Lies: Mysterious Locations.
This game was given to Father Geek as a review copy. Father Geek was not paid, bribed, wined, dined, or threatened in vain hopes of influencing this review. Such is the statuesque and legendary integrity of Father Geek.