happy birthday rj

Happy Birthday RJ is a 1980s birthday themed murder mystery party for 12-16 guests (plus one host) published by Freeform Games.

(Note that if you click on the link below and then buy Happy Birthday RJ I will earn a small amount of commission.)

the story

Set in the world of the oil soap operas (along the lines of the Dallas and Dynasty television shows), Happy Birthday RJ concerns RJ Harrington's 30th birthday and coming-of-age party.

It's a world of glamour - of big money, big hair and big shoulder pads.

And with the dysfunctional Harrington family and their scheming friends and neighbors, it's a birthday party that anyone is unlikely to forget.

Luckily for everyone, the local deputy sheriff is also attending the party (he's a close friend of Bobby Harrington, RJ's brother).

That's just as well, as Happy Birthday RJ includes a horse theft, a murder before the game and a murder during the game!

And that doesn't include anything that the players might want to get up to!

how happy birthday rj works

Happy Birthday RJ is an interactive murder mystery game, which means that all the players have full character details including a comprehensive backstory, goals that they should try to achieve, and information about other characters.

Happy Birthday RJ also provides players with items (representing money, shares in the family business and other clues) and abilities (that let them detect secrets and find out information about other people).

Interactive games are my favourite types of murder mystery game - I think they're much more entertaining than the other styles.

the cast

The full cast of Happy Birthday RJ includes:

  • RJ Harrington: the birthday boy himself
  • Dixie Green: RJ's long-time girlfriend
  • Jack Harrington: RJ's father and oil tycoon
  • Crystal Harrington: Jack's wife
  • Bobby Harrington: RJ's half-brother
  • Lucille Harrington: RJ's half-sister
  • Ali Fields: a lawyer
  • Billy Joe Butler: the neighbour
  • Sue Helen Butler: Billy Joe's wife
  • Sam Bond: a family friend
  • Rick Harper: an old school friend
  • Deedee Taylor: Dixie's best friend
  • Dolly Douglas: close friend of Lucille
  • Drew Morrison: the town doctor
  • Randy Coltrane: the deputy sheriff

Plus the person organising the evening.

Like other interactive murder mystery games, the final outcome of Happy Birthday RJ is up to the players themselves.

They each have their own character with their own desires and objectives - and it's up to them to interact with the other guests and try to achieve their goals (not everyone will succeed, of course!).

the details

Instead of a formal dinner party, Happy Birthday RJ is better suited to a buffet meal or finger food.

Everyone needs to be able to talk quietly with each other - to plot and scheme and achieve their goals.

Happy Birthday RJ needs a dedicated host, someone to organize the game.

I really enjoy being the host - you know what's going on and can watch your friends scheme and plot and be devious to one another.

how to get Happy birthday rj

Happy Birthday RJ is available from Freeform Games and costs $29.99 USD.

Click here to buy Happy Birthday RJ from Freeform Games.

Buy Happy Birthday RJ

or download the free intro file

Download the Happy Birthday RJ intro file

For more information about Happy Birthday RJ, click here to download the free introductory pdf file which includes more details - including background, a full cast list, costume guide and invitations.

Disclosure: I am a partner at Freeform Games - feel free to ask me lots of questions! (I will also earn commission if you buy Happy Birthday RJ.)

Does Happy Birthday RJ have a money-back guarantee?


Freeform Games offer a cast-iron guarantee on all their murder mystery games. If you're not completely satisfied with Happy Birthday RJ then let them know within 30 days and they will refund you.

What age is Happy Birthday RJ suitable for?

Freeform Games recommends Happy Birthday RJ is suitable for those aged 18+ as it contains references to infidelity and homosexuality.

How long does Happy Birthday RJ take to play?

I would allow 3-4 hours to play Happy Birthday RJ. While the game itself takes 2.5-3 hours to play, I recommend allowing time to introduce the game and wind down after.

Where's my download?

Shortly after buying Happy Birthday RJ you should receive an email from Freeform Games explaining how to download the game files.

If you haven't received this, please first check your spam filter - sometimes the emails end up there.

If that fails, please get in touch directly with Freeform Games - with the details of which game you bought, when you bought it, and which email address you used. Or contact me (with that same information) and I'll get in touch for you.

How many guests will I need?

You need at least 11 guests and no more than 15.

If you have fewer than 11 guests you will have to drop a character (which may affect the plot), or play a character yourself (not ideal, but I talk about it here), or even ask a guest to play two characters at once.

If you have more than 15 guests you will need to create your own, or use one of the free extra characters provided by Freeform Games when you download Happy Birthday RJ.

Can I host Happy Birthday RJ and also play a character?

The host has an important role in Happy Birthday RJ. The organize and coordinate the party. They also act as an impartial "referee" - so it's important that they have read the game and understand what is going on.

So I recommend not playing a character and hosting the game. 

But if you still want to host a game and play a character (or you have to because a player cannot attend), I have advice on doing that here.


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

Latest Game


Vanished in Vegas - for 15-20 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.

Recent Articles

  1. Are expansion packs available?

    Apr 14, 23 05:35 AM

    Do you offer expansion packs for extra guests? Specifically for Snow Business. Thanks! My response: While a few games have expansion packs, sadly Snow

    Read More

  2. Write your own murder mystery party in ten simple steps

    Mar 29, 23 09:42 AM

    Writing Freeform Larps - the cover
    Write your own murder mystery party in ten steps with my book

    Read More

  3. Vanished in Vegas - a murder mystery game for 15 to 20 guests

    Mar 21, 23 09:57 AM

    Cover to Vanished in Vegas
    Vanished in Vegas - a murder mystery game for 15 to 20 guests set in a modern-day Las Vegas casino

    Read More