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AnnieColleen
02-15-2007, 09:12 AM
Has anyone planned/been part of one of a murder mystery dinner?

I'm helping to plan/write one & will likely be MCing it (if that's the right term) also. Characters and possible plots are pretty well worked out, subject to availability of guests. What I'm not clear on is the practical details -- how do clues come out, do the guests guess individually, vote, etc. to solve it, how does the actual solution come out...?

I've got a few months to figure it out (early May is the current plan), but I'm a bit nervous about coordinating 15 or so people so that the game works out smoothly and makes sense at the end!

JulieB
02-15-2007, 08:48 PM
I helped put together something similar for a mystery convention several years ago. People guessed individually. I had several questions for them to answer. It wasn't just "whodunnit" but "whydunnit" and "howdunnit." I figured that would help with tiebreakers.

The problem I had was that the mystery played out over two days and it was hard to keep interest. Too many other things going on at the convention. If I had it to do over again I'd present the mystery in a much shorter time frame.

The key is to get your cast of characters to mingle with the dinner guests and drop clues. You need to write extensive back stories for your characters and they need to know what clues and red herrings should be dropped and when. Encourage the dinner guests to ask questions.

It's a lot of fun to do. Good luck!

AnnieColleen
02-15-2007, 08:59 PM
People guessed individually. I had several questions for them to answer. It wasn't just "whodunnit" but "whydunnit" and "howdunnit." I figured that would help with tiebreakers.

Oh, good idea! I'll have to see how that will work out with our setup.


The key is to get your cast of characters to mingle with the dinner guests and drop clues. You need to write extensive back stories for your characters and they need to know what clues and red herrings should be dropped and when. Encourage the dinner guests to ask questions.

Hmm...how about when the dinner guests are the characters? This is just family and friends, nothing 'official'. (And it'll be just over the course of an evening, so hopefully there won't be a time concern.)

Thanks!

Tish Davidson
02-15-2007, 09:56 PM
It's been a long time since I did one of these, but I believe that each guest was given a character packet describing who they were and how they should act. They were also given two or three vital clues or red herrings (no one knows which) they are supposed to work into their conversation/actions and sometimes they were given a time frame in which the clue/false clue is to be presented - e.g. "You have to call Dr. Smith "daddy" and they say "oops, I mean Dr. Smith" sometime after Lady Jane mentions that rumors are going around that Dr. Smith has had an affair with one of his patients."

PeeDee
02-16-2007, 12:22 AM
If I'm reading y'all right, this is like Clue or a good mystery novel, but the scene is full of real people? Right?

That sounds pretty cool, actually.

AnnieColleen
02-16-2007, 12:47 AM
If I'm reading y'all right, this is like Clue or a good mystery novel, but the scene is full of real people? Right?

That sounds pretty cool, actually.

That's about it. :)

Planning it's a lot of fun (coming up with characters/motives/events, plus I still have to put together info packets so each guest knows who they're supposed to be. And figure out whodunnit -- that's not decided yet).

It's actually running the dinner that I'm not so sure of!

PeeDee
02-16-2007, 12:54 AM
I've never been to one of these (obviously) or even heard of it before now. Is everyone acting out a certain character? I mean, would you have someone who's gruffly acting like -- for example -- Colonel Mustard?

ETA: Do you actually serve dinner too? I mean, are you interrupted halfway through your Swedish Meatballs when the killer is discovered...?

(what a fun idea this is)

TheIT
02-16-2007, 12:59 AM
I've seen games which set up mystery dinners complete with plotlines. I think they're called "How to Host a Mystery" or something like that. A couple of years ago a friend gave me a Star Trek: The Next Generation themed mystery game, but we've never played it.

AnnieColleen
02-16-2007, 01:20 AM
I've never been to one of these (obviously) or even heard of it before now. Is everyone acting out a certain character? I mean, would you have someone who's gruffly acting like -- for example -- Colonel Mustard?

ETA: Do you actually serve dinner too? I mean, are you interrupted halfway through your Swedish Meatballs when the killer is discovered...?

(what a fun idea this is)

Everyone gets a certain character to play. So, e.g., somebody may be Miss Muffet* (convinced that the world's out to get her, as proven by that spider attack), or Jack "The Owl" Hill & his girlfriend Jill "The Pussycat" Wells (small-time gangsters), etc. They're given certain information about themselves, and what they did/saw/etc., ahead of time & are supposed to drop those details in conversation.

We are serving dinner. Exactly how the game will mesh with the dinner is one of the details I'm not sure of.



*murder a la Fforde, yes.

AnnieColleen
02-16-2007, 01:21 AM
I've seen games which set up mystery dinners complete with plotlines. I think they're called "How to Host a Mystery" or something like that. A couple of years ago a friend gave me a Star Trek: The Next Generation themed mystery game, but we've never played it.

Cool! I'll have to see what's out there.

Tish Davidson
02-16-2007, 03:19 AM
Look at these links. They are to commercial game set up to do exactly what you want to do.

http://www.dinnerandamurder.com/

http://www.murdermysterygames.com/cgi-bin/mystery_games/mystery_games.cgi?country=US

and here is a description of how to do a murder dinner with links to resources
http://entertaining.about.com/cs/dinnerparties/a/murdermystery.htm

I've given and gone to these events and they can be fun if everyone gets into the spirit of their character.

PeeDee
02-16-2007, 03:31 AM
Oh my god, how fun. I would have eccentric problematic characters like "Wealthy Hotel-Hopper who is blissfully unaware that a crime has been committed and thinks that the references to "the body" and "the weapon" are part of a talk about hot hotel guest's bedroom romps."


...

Er...Which probably means my murder mystery game would be like an extended "party quirks" game from Whose Line Is It Anyway... :)

brianm
02-16-2007, 03:54 AM
I've had two of them. The most important thing is that the people you invite must really understand that they must stay in character the entire evening.

My first one was nearly a disaster when a husband and wife showed up in regular party clothes (the party era was the 1920's) and refused to get into character. Fortunately, I have two male actor friends who "just happened" to have costumes to fit them at their home. They took them home and dressed them up. Apparently, they also made them drink buckets of alcohol. When they came back, they were very much in character. They slurred through the evening beautifully and it was a wonderful time.

So many people wanted to come to the second one that we ended up having some guests be characters and some guests be the audience. A not very quiet audience, mind you! However, it was even more fun than the first one.

It takes a lot of preparation, but it is well worth the effort.

MattW
02-16-2007, 08:00 AM
You do need to make it abundantly clear that no actual murder is necessary to enjoy the game.

Getting "wrapped up in my character" was not something the judge wanted to hear...

veinglory
02-16-2007, 08:04 AM
I used to be in a regular 'murder' dinner. First we bought boxed muirders and then we started writing our own because the boxed ones suck they had bad plotholes!

Basically we would have 'reveals'--new info dropped on all of the characters in rounds--then at the end people could go out of characters to talk and each state who they thought did it--then the murderer would confess :)

maestrowork
02-16-2007, 08:27 AM
A friend of mine does a lot of dinner theater (they're almost 100% murder mysteries). Unfortunately (and shame on me), I've never gone to any of her performances. :o

WildScribe
02-16-2007, 08:49 AM
Sounds like a lot of fun! Good luck getting it together!

PeeDee
02-16-2007, 09:32 AM
You do need to make it abundantly clear that no actual murder is necessary to enjoy the game.

Getting "wrapped up in my character" was not something the judge wanted to hear...

Oh.


...Nevermind.

TheIT
02-16-2007, 09:47 AM
Oh.


...Nevermind.

Volunteering to be the guest of honor, PeeDee?

:D

PeeDee
02-16-2007, 10:14 AM
What, the killer?

Sure. C'mere. ;)

...

Actually, we could do something like this here on AW, and it would be a terrible amount of fun. Especially if everyone were given absolutely lunatic character traits. :D

TheIT
02-16-2007, 10:44 AM
BYOC (Bring Your Own Character)?

maestrowork
02-16-2007, 05:49 PM
BYOB (bring your own bodies)

Shadow_Ferret
02-16-2007, 06:23 PM
I was invited to one of these murder mystery dinners once at a local restaurant theater. I turned it down. I just want to eat. I don't want to be involved in being one of the characters or trying to solve some mystery. Sounds like too much work.

Soccer Mom
02-16-2007, 06:55 PM
I have written a couple of murder mystery dinner games. It is great fun to do. You plan your murder and assigne everyone a character packet and they get a task and a nugget of info that they must drop at each round. At the end of each round, they have to write a guess for who, how, and why for the murder. At the end of the night when the killer is revealed, you check the clues and see who guessed what when. It's a lot of work, but if you have a nutty bunch of friends who get really into it.....::sighs::....good times.

Anonymisty
02-16-2007, 07:24 PM
We wrote and ran a couple of these for friends, back in the bad old days before we were parents. I played the murderer the first time - I was a fortune teller, and the damning clue was an empty bottle of "cyanide" (actually, an empty bottle of almond extract), that was in my prop purse. After about an hour or so, it was clear the detectives were stumped, so I started leaving my prop purse behind when I left rooms, in the hope that someone would ransack it and find the bottle.

No one did. One player even returned the thing to me, unopened. After the game ended, we asked why no one had looked in the purse. They all looked at one female player and started laughing. She had caught someone starting to open the bag, and pitched a fit about how a man should NEVER touch a woman's purse, even if it's a prop. So no one else tried to mess with the bag.

So hide your physical clues anywhere but a purse. *grin*

Soccer Mom
02-16-2007, 08:51 PM
Oh yeah. A woman's purse is sacred. You need to drop it and "accidentally" spill the bottle out, stuff it back in and look around furtively. ;)

icerose
02-16-2007, 10:01 PM
I would love to do one of these some day but I don't think I know enough eccentric people close enough who would be willing participants.