Hosting Reunion with death online using kumospace

Recently I hosted Reunion with Death for nine players online. I used Kumospace, which creates a virtual space (representing the hotel ballroom in this case) for players to interact with. When players get close enough, they can see and hear each other and have a conversation.

Screenshot of playing a murder mystery game using KumospaceKumospace in action

So, it’s more intuitive than something like Zoom or Discord—if two people want a quiet conversation, they move away to an area of the room.

Anyway, I thought I’d explain what I did.

Reunion with death

Cover to Reunion with Death murder mystery showing a girl underwater

Reunion with Death was originally written to work as an online game—it came out of the pandemic lockdown as a way to play murder mystery games with your friends without being face-to-face.

If you’ve played the other murder mysteries by Freeform Games, you’ll know that they can be involved, with items, money and even rules for fighting. Reunion with Death does away with all of that—so the host has an easy job. (The host can even be a player—although I didn’t do that for Reunion with Death as I knew what was going on.)

kumospace tips

I found Kumospace easy to set up and use. Here are some of the tips.

  • A dry run: If you’ve not used Kumospace before, get someone to join you for an online chat and play around so you can see how it will feel for your guests.
  • Names: Ask everyone to change their name to the character’s name (which must be done at the account level).
  • Rooms: Set up a room for the briefing and debriefing. Rooms mean that everyone in the room can hear each other—so you don’t need to be really close. I didn’t do that (rooms had only just been introduced, and I didn’t have time to work out how to set them up), and as a result, when we had the debrief everyone was piled on top of each other.
  • Timetable: It’s hard to read the room in an online game, so I stuck to the timetable, which worked fine.
  • Out-of-character area: I set up an out-of-character area that we all met in first so everyone could get used to Kumospace. (I used one of the templates—the beach. You can use anything.)

casting reunion with death

As I didn’t know everyone who was going to play Reunion with Death, I created a simple casting form using Google Forms to help me assign characters. The questions I asked were:

  • Who are you interested in playing? (I did this as a tick list, using the cast list descriptions)
  • Are there any characters you really DON’T want to play?

That was enough for me to cast the game. It gave my players some control (one or two didn’t want to play the detective, for example) but was flexible enough for me to cast the game with no problems.

Hosting Reunion with Death

Playing Reunion with Death using Kumospace - close up of people's videosThe debrief

Hosting Reunion with Death was easy—I had little to do other than listen to some of the conversations and post announcements.

I moved around the room to listen in—much as I would with a regular murder mystery party.

I used the global chat window for the game announcements. I copy-and-pasted them into the global chat window and then used the broadcast function to let everyone know that the information was there. (The chat gives a little bleep, but it’s easily missed if you’re busy roleplaying.)

I ended the game by getting everyone to say who they thought the murderer was and then asking the detective to read out the solution. I then opened the floor to questions from the players.

post-game feedback

After a murder mystery game I like to get some feedback and share stories from the players—partly this is to help celebrate the party’s success, but also because, as the host, it’s the only way I get to discover what happened.

So after the game, I asked two questions:

  • What do you imagine your character will be doing in five years’ time?
  • Who would you like to give a star to - and why? (You can give as many as you like.)

(Give stars to other players, to a moment in the game, or to an element of the overall experience. For example, you can award a star for - amazing roleplay, great character moments, another player’s generosity, a mechanic of the game system that really sang etc. A star is a thing you loved about the game.)

I received wonderful responses. These are examples (names redacted to remove spoilers):

Epilogues: in five years …

  • REDACTED is helping to run a group of community youth groups.
  • REDACTED is running a video and getting high in luxury places.
  • REDACTED is still married!
  • REDACTED, through hard work and diligence, is now a detective in the Holborrow police force.

(Some epilogues were too detailed to share here! And I've changed some of the details to protect the guilty.)

And lots of stars, including:

  • REDACTED for all-round slipperiness
  • REDACTED for being a serious police detective questioning all the suspects carefully
  • REDACTED for one of my favourite lines: ‘Let’s be clear, if I was going to kill anyone in that situation it would be REDACTED’

overall

Hosting Reunion with Death online is easy—it was designed for online play, and once you start, it runs itself.

And Kumospace is a great alternative to Zoom or Discord and worth trying out.

Comments

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NEw game

Murder on the Istanbul Express - for 7-11 guests

Don't know where to start?

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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