"Best party ever" - tips and advice for hosting your own great murder mystery
Welcome to Great Murder Mystery Games!
In this website you'll find all the tips and tricks that I use to host a great murder mystery game - including links to some of my favorites.
What is a murder mystery game?
Briefly, these are themed parties. Each of the guests (and the host too) takes on a role for the evening - and one of the guests has committed the murder. During the course of the party, everyone tries to find out who the murderer is. (The murderer, meanwhile, tries to avoid detection!)
The games often include other plots, and everyone becomes involved in an evening of scheming, plotting and blackmailing each other.
I should point out that these games are slightly different to the "how to host..." boxed games that you can buy in the stores. Those parties are played in rounds, usually over a meal, and while I have enjoyed them, I've had much more fun (both in hosting and playing) with the interactive murder parties that I describe here.
I like these interactive games for several reasons:
- They usually cater for more guests (up to 200 in one case!). There's usually more flexibility as well - so it's not so critical to have exactly the right number of guests.
- As well as solve the murder, each guest has other goals and problems to solve. Typically you might have to find the murderer and pay off your gambling debts or find a specific object or deal with your affair... To achieve all these goals you will have to negotiate and wheel and deal with the other guests.
- You are given all your information at the start of the game - so that if you are the murderer then you know how and why you committed murder – and you will have to deflect suspicion away from yourself.
- Unlike the dinner party mysteries, interactive games are not usually played around a table (although there is often food served, it is usually a buffet or finger food). Instead, everyone mingles and talks to one another. It’s up to you to decide who to trust and who to blackmail in order to solve the mystery and achieve your goals.
- The mysteries are completely interactive and while there is a set solution to the murder, how you achieve your other goals is entirely up to you.
Choosing a murder mystery game
It's not always easy working out which party you want to try, so I've tried to make it as easy as possible. In essence, you want to start with the number of guests you will be having at your party and then decide on a theme.
Good clean fun - Worried about the content of some of the games? While none of them contain explicit sex or violence, some are more suitable than others if you have very conservative guests.
Kids - “But what about children?” I hear you ask. Well, there are several ways to include kids in your games, including some games that are just for kids.
Warning - please don't expect these parties to run themselves. They don't. What you will receive when you buy a game is the location of a downloadable pdf file, or files. The files contain all the instructions to run the party - including character backgrounds, invitations, the solution, clues and so on.
It will take you a couple of hours to prepare the game (print it out, prepare each guests' information, and so on) and I often do that in front of a favourite movie. You also have to prepare your venue, invite guests, arrange refreshments and everything else that a party needs!
Exclusive to the Internet
These games are only available on the Internet - direct from the publishers. You won't find them in the shops.
By the way, although I discuss the various murder mystery games on this site, please be aware that if you buy a game you are buying it from the publishers. Please remember to read their terms of trade.
Murder mystery game hints and tips
I've lost count of the number of different games I've hosted or played, and over that time I've picked up a few hints and tips - both for playing a murder mystery party, and hosting one.
Tips for hosts include:
- Adding extra characters - what to do when you have more guests than the party normally caters for
- Casting - options for casting your party so that everyone has a good time
- Creating a memorable atmosphere - simple tips for creating an appropriately mysterious atmosphere
- and many more...
Tips for guests include:
- Solving the murder - the simple three-step process to identifying the murderer
- Taking photographs - tips for taking good photographs
- How to play - suggestions for playing that will ensure you have a good time
- and more - you can even email some of these tips to your guests
So who am I and what makes me suited to writing this website?
Well, I've been writing, playing and hosting interactive games since about 1990. They aren't all murder parties - some of them have been more experimental, and quite a few of them have been downright awful. But over the years the quality of the parties has improved, and I've learned an awful lot about running and hosting these kinds of parties.
And I want to share some of my learning - I don't want you to make the same mistakes that I have!
I've even written three of the games that I sell through this site:
Death on the Gambia - Spies and adventure in Darkest Africa in 1939. For 8 to 11 guests, plus one host.
Hollywood Lies - a modern-day murder mystery set in Tinseltown. For 16-32 guests, plus one host. (Includes a kid-friendly version.)
Halloween Lies - a horror-movie themed version of Hollywood Lies. For 16-32 guests, plus one host. (Includes a kid-friendly version.)
(I've also learned quite a lot about writing these games - but that's for another time perhaps. If you are interested in learning more, please do contact me.)
If you want to learn a bit more about me, click here.
Disclosure: I get commission from sales of the murder mystery games on this site. If you’ve found this site useful and want to help support it, please buy through my affiliate links.