We went to the museum today with our four-year-old and nine-year-old children, and we had a great time once we figured some things out for ourselves.
The best thing we tried is a game they have there called Crime au Musee (pronounced: cream oh moo-zay). You have to ask for it when you buy your tickets at the main entrance, and then you collect the game at the information desk, which is near the entrance (the game costs 3 euros on top of the price of your ticket). The game is very cool and gets you walking all over one part of the museum and looking at things closely, but it's entirely in French (and Flemish, which I don't speak at all, so I'll just refer to the French version in this review).
If you don't speak French, you can't understand the rules of the game, and that's really frustrating, but I'll explain them here, and then if you have someone with you who has even just a French dictionary, you'll be able to play the rest of the game yourself. Ideally, there will be a person with a French dictionary or some small ability in French on each team. If you don't have that, one person with a dictionary will be enough, if you all play on the same team (which is what we did).
The premise of the game is that at night, the people in the paintings, sculptures, tapestries, and engravings come to life, and one night, an argument gets out of hand, and one of the people uses something in the museum to kill the guy buried right at the entrance to where you play the game.
There will be two cards that are central to the game, one of which describes the killer and the other of which describes the weapon. You have to look at about 20 things around the museum (you're told the room they're in and given a picture of them), read the descriptions of them in the museum (this is what you need the French dictionary for if you don't speak French, but you're only looking for keywords in the descriptions, so you're not going to be translating long passages), and decide which things most closely match the person and object described in the two cards. When you have made your guess, you turn the description cards over in the game and see if you're right.
There's a game board that shows the different rooms you'll be exploring. Lay this out. There are lots of cards, and you separate these and stack them next to the rooms to whose color and texture pattern the backs of the cards match. There are some cards that have pictures on one side and text on the other; these are the possible murderers and murder weapons. Separate these into one stack of people and one stack of objects. Turn these cards so the text side is up, shuffle them, and draw out one card from each stack. Don't look at the pictures that are now face down! Put these in the middle of the game board and set the rest of the text/image cards aside; you won't do anything else with them. Use your dictionary to read the clues here that describe the person and object. Remember the clues well (or use your mobile tech to take a picture, which is what I did).
There are four tokens for four players or four groups of players. Each player rolls the die and moves her/his token to the appropriate room. When you land on a specific room, you take one of the cards associated with that room and go find the object or person pictured there. Once you've found your target, read the descriptions mounted near the person or object and decide whether you think this is murderer or murder weapon described back on those image/text cards you left on the game board. Odds are that it isn't, so come back to your game board and roll the die again, again searching for the object in the card.
Do this until all the cards are gone. When you are ready for a new card, you don't have to wait for the player who rolled before you. Just roll the die, move your token, take your card, and go explore.
When the cards are all gone, gather the players together and make your best guess about the murderer and weapon (you probably can't figure this out without talking with the other players and sharing information, but maybe there's a way to do it without sharing more information if you're a more competitive person than I am). Then turn the cards over and see if you're right.
I should point out that it takes a while to figure out how the game board matches up to the area you're in. The signage in the museum is not the best, and the layout on the board doesn't intuitively link to the space. But after a few minutes, you'll get it, and then you'll be fine.
Oh, and yes, you leave the game board lying there on the floor in the room where you started. I know it's strange, but that's what you're supposed to do, and the six or seven employees who wandered by our game board never said anything to us about leaving our board up against the wall, so it's OK. The woman who gave us the game and started us playing even made a joke about how we'd have to do that just before she left us to our game.
We played this for between 60 and 90 minutes. Your game will go faster if you have multiple teams.
It was tons of fun, especially when we sat down to make our final choices, and all the family got in on the conversation. I'm not sure why there isn't an English version, considering how English-friendly Brussels is, but with these rules, you'll be set. Enjoy!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.