How many roles have "real" parts?

by Tara
(Westchester, NY)

I'm interested in purchasing one of your murder mystery games for about 11 people. I've played many of these before from boxes, and usually, if it's for 8-10 people, there are 8 "real" parts (that have booklets etc) and the other 2 are sort of host-type roles, where you are characters, but you don't really have a specific part. Are yours like that? I'm not sure how else it would work if you have, say 8-13 people...if they are all real parts, then are some people doubling up if you have fewer than 13? And if you have the max number, do all the parts include a booklet with the kinds of things to say, etc? Or are some just a character with no booklet? Thank you!

My response:

Hi - good question. None of these games are like the boxed games you find in stores - they are much more interactive and freewheeling. There are also more plots than just the murder - and the "optional" characters cross a number of plots, including the murder.

Additionally, the different publishers do things slightly differently. Here's an overview:

All the guests in a Freeform Games party have full characters - but they require a dedicated host who doesn't have a character. (They host the game instead.) I've tried to make that clear by on the game pages putting "10-11 guests plus one host".

Everyone in a Dinner and a Murder Mystery Games or Murder Mystery Games Ltd party has a character, including the host. However, the host has a more minor role than the others, simply because they have to host the party as well.

Mysteries-on-the-Net take a different approach - their games have a small number of suspects (with detailed characters) and everyone else is a detective.

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Apr 07, 2011
The host's role
by: Steve (GMMG)

In a Freeform Games party, what the host has to do is prepare everything (which involves printing the game out, reading through everything and then putting it into envelopes for all the characters.

On the day itself, the host oversees the game and is there to field questions that the players may ask. It's a different role from playing, but I find it very satisfying.

Yes, I'm a partner at Freeform Games - although I haven't written them all (we have a few writers we use).

If you haven't got very long, I'd actually recommend another company's game - [The Final Curtain] from [Murder Mystery Games Ltd]. It's a little simpler than our games (in my opinion not quite as good, but you'd expect me to say that) but it's probably easier to fit into 2 hours.

And once you've enjoyed that, you can try one of our games!

Click here to learn more about The Final Curtain.

I hope that helps!

Apr 07, 2011
Sample for host
by: Anonymous

One more quick question--is there any place on your site (or could you demonstrate here) where I can see a sample of what the host might have to do? I would love to see how complicated it is or isn't, so I know if we could do a freeform mystery, or if we should try one with less stuff to do for the host. Thank you again!

Apr 07, 2011
follow up
by: Anonymous

Thank you so much for your comment, and for this great website! I love the ideas and style that it sounds like your mysteries have. Unfortunately, for the party I'm having next week, we only have about 2 hours (or a little more) to do the mystery. Do you recommend any one in particular (for 11 people, including host), that isn't too complicated (esp for the host)? And you wrote the Freeform ones, right? Thank you so much!

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