Large murder mystery games
Running a murder mystery party for a large number of people is very different from one for a dozen or so people. If nothing else, there's a bigger chance of Murphy's Rule ("If something can go wrong, it will.") striking.
So in order to minimise trouble and maximise enjoyment, here are my tips for running a large game:
Prepare in advance: Everything is going to take longer, so make sure you start well in advance. Don't wait until the last minute before choosing your game - give yourself at least a month. Ideally, give yourself even longer.
Buffet Meal: The larger murder mystery games are all "interactive" in style, rather than the dinner-party games. So that means a buffet meal, or finger food so that your guests can wander around the room with a drink and a plate in their hand. Make sure you have lots of places for people to leave their plates and glasses as they play.
Plenty of Help: Don't try to do everything yourself. If possible, recruit some help. You might want someone to help with running the murder mystery, but you might also want someone else in charge of food or drinks. Don't try to do it all yourself.
Drinks: Make sure you have a good supply of soft drinks. Your guests will be talking throughout the game, and are bound to become very thirsty.
Lots of Prizes: Rather than hand out one prize, have several. See here for more ideas.
Don't worry about the murder: Some of the games allow you to play in the game - but if you're organising a large party, you're likely to be too busy to spend much time trying to solve the mystery.
Play safe: Don't forget to play safe! Props are great - but don't ever use props for weapons.
You can't please all of the people all of the time: Which is to say that you should expect one or two problems and maybe even a complaint. There's not that much you can do about this - it doesn't seem to matter how well organised an event is, someone finds something to complain about. So be prepared to handle problems.
Of course, even if you follow these points I can't guarantee that your murder mystery party will be a hit, but you have a better chance of success if you do.
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Article by Steve Hatherley. Find out more about hosting interactive murder mystery games for your friends and family at http://www.great-murder-mystery-games.com.