Lots of games have someone giving clues to their teammates, but none do it quite like Muse.  This game, from Quick Simple Fun Games and supporting almost any number of players, creates a unique challenge for someone to act as Muse for their fellow players.

Players divide themselves into teams; a team can have as few as two players, but I'd recommend at least three players on a team, to facilitate discussion.  A team wins by collecting five Masterpiece cards.  Each turn, a team selects one player to be the Muse.  The team to the Muse's left looks at six Masterpiece cards (with slightly surreal art, reminiscent of Dixit) and two Inspiration cards (which each have an instruction, like "Name a nonfictional body part" or "make a facial expression").  The team then picks one combination of Masterpiece and Inspiration card to give to the Muse, and the Muse gives a clue based on the Inspiration card that will lead the team to that Masterpiece card.
But it's not over yet.  After the Muse gives the clue, the other team shuffles the selected Masterpiece card with the other five Masterpiece cards, and all six are laid out for the Muse's team.  Using only the Muse's clue, the Muse's team has to try and pick the Muse's Masterpiece card.  If they pick the Muse's card, their team keeps it and it counts towards their score.  If they pick the wrong one, the team to the Muse's left gets to keep the Masterpiece card instead.  Then the next team in clockwise order selects a Muse, and the game continues.
Muse works extremely well.  The rules are extremely simple, which is key for a party game.  Players want to find the most incongruous mix of Masterpiece and Inspiration card, to make things hard for the opposing Muse.  Not being able to see the other Masterpiece cards also makes things challenging, as the Muse doesn't know how many cards their clue can apply to.  And there's quite a variety of possible clues with the Inspiration cards, which makes it very impressive when one team guesses a seemingly impossible Masterpiece card -- or seeing afterwards how the clue applied to a missed Masterpiece card.  Muse is simple to learn, challenging to play, and fun with its combinations.

Overall grade: B+
Reviewed by James Lynch

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