Discover how to get a free murder mystery game - completely legally!
Writing a murder mystery game takes time and effort - so it's not often that you can get one for free.
(At least, not without stealing, which I would hope nobody would do here.)
So here I describe a few genuinely legal ways of getting a free murder mystery game.
Freeform Games have created a version of their popular Wild West themed murder mystery, Way out West, that is completely free.
Their free version is only for ten players and the host, however.
If you need more characters, you will either have to write them yourself (which is quite a bit of work!) or buy the full version.
But if you have ten players and want to try a free murder mystery game, then I recommend Way out West.
To get the free version of Way out West, you do need to sign up to the occasional Freeform Games newsletter.
The time-consuming way to get your a free murder mystery game is to write one yourself.
Apart from your time (and some paper and ink), it will be completely free.
However, I've never liked valuing my time for nothing - to me, my time is the most precious commodity I have.
So let's say that I value my time at £5 per hour (that's a lot lower than I really value it at). And let's say that I want to write a Hollywood themed game for 20 people. If I spend more than about five hours writing, then I would have been better off just buying Hollywood Lies.
If I value my time in the terms that I'd pay a mechanic or plumber, then I have less than an hour to write the game. And trust me, Hollywood Lies took a lot, lot longer to write than 20 hours - and you have the additional security that it's been tried and tested before it was released to the public.
You might have a bit more luck getting a copy to review - or if you can generate some other kind of publicity.
However, I know that if I was a publisher I'd want some evidence that you really were going to write a review, and you might want to refer to where you have written other reviews.
Some companies are looking for external playtesters. The job of a playtester is to try out a game before it's published so that any kinks can be ironed out.
Usually the games are pretty close to publication before going to playtest, and the significant problems should be sorted out.
If you do playtest a game, you will need to provide feedback to the publishers - but there's usually a simple form to do that.
If you write an extra character for one of the Freeform Games murder mystery games, and they like it, they will give you a free game as a reward.
Here's my suggested quick route through the site:
Step 1 - Go to Choosing a Game to choose the game that suits your party best.
Step 2 - Review the Tips for Hosts for helpful advice.
Step 3 - If you want to keep up to date with the latest murder mystery game news, click on my What's New page.
Step 4 - Once you've had your party - tell me how it went! Click here to tell me your murder mystery party story.
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