choosing a murder mystery party game

This page takes you through choosing a murder mystery party game, starting with the number of players...

Playing Hollywood Lies, a murder mystery party gamePlaying Hollywood Lies

How to choose?

It can sometimes be difficult to choose a suitable murder mystery party game for your guests (particularly when there are over 30 murder mystery party games featured on this site).

Here, then, is a simple guide through the process.

First, you need to answer a simple question:

How many guests?

Why start with the number of guests at your party?

Because it's the most important constraint when choosing a murder mystery game.

You can't play a game for 20-24 if you have only 16 coming to your party.

Most murder mystery party games will accommodate different numbers of players. But there is always a minimum number.

Important Tip: Try to fill a party

I always try to fill a party.

As an example, imagine that you have 15 people coming to your party, and you're torn between one murder mystery game for 10-17 people and one for 14-40.

In this situation, I would generally choose the smaller game.

That is because, in my experience, the games generally work slightly better the closer they are to their maximum player size.

(I must stress that the games work brilliantly with the minimum number of players. So if you like a particular game's theme and only have the minimum number of players, then you should still go for that. But the games often work better with more players.)

If you don't know how many people are likely to turn up, you should estimate and choose a game that caters for a wide range of people.

How do you know which characters to use?

Curse of the Pharaoh murder mysteryA tender moment in Curse of the Pharaoh

All murder mystery party games have full instructions for which characters to use and which are optional.

So if you have only ten players and choose a game that can cope with up to 12, then the instructions will tell you which ten characters to use.

As for the absent characters, they either haven't appeared, or have been struck ill, or otherwise aren't around.

As I said above, I recommend that you try and fill your party, but the games are designed to be played with the minimum number of players.

Murder parties that the host can play

Many of the murder mystery parties on this site need a host to take an impartial role and coordinate events. They don't play a character in the usual sense and already know the identity of the murderer.

However, if you would like to host a party and still solve the murder, all is not lost!

This page describes the host role in more detail also has a list of games designed for the host to play:

Where to go next?

Click on the link that suits the size of your party.

theme parties

If you have a specific theme in mind, check my themed parties page (these games are also included in the pages above):

Online Parties

In 2020 coronavirus lockdown forced many murder mystery parties to be played online, using video chat. This page explains how:

kid's parties

KiKids can play murder mysteries too!

If you are mixing kids with adults, you can use one of the games above - quite a few games already have parts for kids in them.

(However, for some, you might want to vet the roles beforehand just in case they aren't suitable for your kids!)

There are also some murder mystery party games designed for kids.

good clean fun

While none of the murder mystery party games are explicitly violent or contain swearing, quite a few have references to drugs. In addition, they include a wide range of frankly dubious characters who might be blackmailing each other or having affairs.

(Of course, I can't guarantee that someone won't find something offensive - these games include murder, after all. You know your guests and must use your judgement.)

Plus, the games inevitably have a murder - sometimes more than one!

Murder mystery games are ideal for most open-minded people with a sense of humor.

Luckily, some games are more suitable for those groups, don't have references to drugs, and have fewer shady characters.

naughty but fun

And as there are "good clean fun" games, there are a number you wouldn't want to invite Aunt Marge or the local church group to.

These games contain mature themes and characters - including references to infidelity, alcoholism, narcotics and more.

They aren't suitable for the easily offended!

Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

New game

Cover for A Purrfect Murder

A Purrfect Murder - a cat-themed murder mystery for 9-12 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.

Got a question? Click here to go to the FAQ.

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