View Full Version : Have you tried one of those "Murder Mystery" party games??

Writing Jedi
07-07-2008, 12:45 AM
We are thinking of hosting one on Halloween (yes we are planning early, LOL). Have you hosted one or been to one? How was it? Was it one that you were able to sort of "make up" yourself or did you buy a package? Is there one you would recommend?

Thanks muchly. :hi:

07-07-2008, 01:46 AM
We did one many years ago, when they were first coming out. I thought it was pretty much a waste of time. Sorry.

07-07-2008, 02:05 AM
While working for a local teen center, we did one of the boxed versions. They did like it though it took a lot for them to get into it. I think if you did it whole hog with costumes/food/planting clues, etc. it could be a lot of fun.

Hmmm, why not try writing your own? ;)

07-07-2008, 02:34 AM
We've done a few of them and all have been very successful and a heck of a lot of work. The first one we did was the boxed game that was set on a yacht (I can't remember the title). It helped us for the first one but after that we made up the storyline and characters for the other murder mystery evenings.

Some important things make it a success.

1. The right guests. Make sure the people you invite are really into playing a role all night and can ad lib.
2. Make sure everyone knows they must stay in character the entire evening, even the ones not playing the 'characters' involved in the murder mystery scenes.
3. Send the invitations at least one month in advance and give each guest a really good bio of the character they are going to play. (We made up more information that was not included in the boxed game.) Tell them to have fun with the role and make up even more characteristics/quirks for the part they are playing.
4. Invite friends who are willing to play the roles of maids, butlers, chef, etc. These people have as much fun as the 'characters' and add real atmosphere to the setting. Moreover, they handle cooking, serving, etc., so that you can stay in character the entire time.
5. Strip your house (or at least the rooms that will be used during the evening) and decorate it to match the setting.
6. Contact a local costume store and see if you can get a discount on rentals for your guests. Realistic costumes, wigs, etc., really add to the atmosphere.
7. Plan a simple dinner that includes many dishes that only require a reheat or that the average cook can complete.

Guests who ad lib really add to the fun. For instance, the person who played the chef at one of our parties decided he would act drunk and serve courses out of order. He started with a salad (it was the second course) followed by dessert. We ended up having a fight at the table and I 'fired' him on the spot. It was hilarious. I did ‘hire’ him back after him gave a long soliloquy about his dear departed dead wife and nine children who, apparently, were all sleeping in my attic. We don’t have an attic, which caused an entire different conversation about giving everyone a tour of our ‘new’ attic.

Another friend was playing the role of a famous opera diva. She practiced lip-synching to a recording and brought it with her. During dinner, she decided she 'needed' to sing and gave an 'impromptu' performance at the table. I chose her as the opera singer because she can't carry a tune, which made it even more fun watching her gyrations and over the top acting. While she was singing, one of the maids stole her huge diamond ring (not part of the script) and we spent 45 minutes dealing with that scenario. Great fun.

Eventually, you have to get back on script but the ad lib bits truly are the most fun.

I’d recommend this kind of party but it does take a great deal of planning and hard work.

07-07-2008, 04:16 AM
We did one for my parents anniversary. My sister arranged it and it was far too much fun. Or maybe we had far too much wine. With three video cameras to capture the whole thing, we managed to make the worst movie EVER - so everyone got a copy to prevent any of us from blackmailing the others.

I would have to agree that the people who take roles have to be into it and able to ad-lib. And costumes do help.

07-07-2008, 05:12 AM
We did one in a company Christmas party. I thought those who had roles did an impressive job, but I really sucked at figuring it out. I had no ability to ask any of the right questions, and got all of it wrong. I had no idea how to ask about motivations and whatnot, so I guess I'll never be writing mysteries.


07-07-2008, 05:22 AM
We've done a few of them and all have been very successful and a heck of a lot of work.

Ditto this!

I helped with a Mother Goose murder mystery that we wrote ourselves. It was a blast, though definitely a lot of work.

It took several sessions hashing out possible scenarios, and then only the MC knew which scenario we were actually using, and planted clues accordingly. (The other planners wanted to be able to figure things out too.) We passed out materials for all the characters a few weeks in advance -- a character summary sheet (personality, appearance, personal history), some other personal info (pages from a planner, a map of a garden plot, a sheet of music, a diary page, etc.), and a 'local newspaper' with several clues and red herrings scattered through it. Then we handed out other clues -- pieces of information that character had to reveal during the evening -- when they arrived.

Things we learned:
*Make sure the MC especially can carry/steer the conversation and ad lib as needed.
* Make sure there's some redundancy for key clues. (Several people arrived at a wrong answer because one player had to leave to tend to her baby, so she rushed the clue on her way out & most people didn't hear it.)
*Plenty of time to prepare! Unless you like scrabbling to finalize clues the morning of. ;)
*Bug the room! There were so many funny moments none of us could remember afterwards.

Things that worked:
*People really got a kick out of the personal materials, and came up with their own rabbit trails based on that.
*Creative guests -- one pair (who expected to be guilty, since their characters were gangsters) came prepared with water pistols, and proceeded to shoot their way out even though nobody was accusing them. (These two also came up with a whole dialog on whether the king was a leopard.)
*Jokes scattered throughout. Our entire meal was nursery-rhyme themed; there were other jokes in the character profiles. Most of them weren't clues, but contributed to the fun anyhow.