This article explains how to introduce your murder mystery party so that it starts with a bang and not a fizzle!
Sometimes, in the rush and excitement of guests turning up and preparing the food, it's easy just to rush into a murder mystery party without a proper introduction.
However, failing to introduce your characters can create problems for you and your party.
The first problem is that people won't know each other.
For example, if you are hosting an interactive murder mystery game, you might easily have over 20 guests.
If you don't introduce everyone at the start of the party, nobody will know who is playing who.
This can slow the game down as your guests can easily spend the first twenty minutes finding that one person that they need to talk to (because they are mentioned on their character sheet).
The other problem is that there may be relationships that need to be clearly stated to everyone present - if you aren't aware of the relationships you might not be able to solve the murder.
Typically these include family relationships and business partnerships and they are usually written on the summary cast list.
However, not everyone will have a chance to read and inwardly digest the cast list, and certainly I've found it easy to forget something if that's the only place it's mentioned.
The simplest way to overcome this problem is to introduce each character at the start of the party.
Once everyone has arrived and has read their character packs, and just before you start play, you introduce the characters.
One way of introducing players is to get them to introduce themselves.
Ask everyone to stand in a circle and I then start with someone and ask them to briefly introduce themselves - who they are and maybe a little bit about themselves.
This allows extroverts to have their moment, but does have the disadvantage that secrets may slip out.
Be warned, I've found that some people don't know what "briefly" means, and your short five-minute introduction drags on for fifteen minutes or more. So be prepared to cut people short if they start to ramble.
Another way of introducing the characters is for me (as the host) to read through the cast list.
So starting with the first person listed on the cast list, I read out their name and get the player to identify themselves.
I then read out their description on the cast list.
This is more work for me, but does ensure that we keep everything relatively short and also means that the wrong information doesn't slip out.
(When I don't have enough players to fill a game, this method also lets me identify those characters that aren't present.)
In both cases, don't forget to introduce yourself!
You need to explain your role, and what the players might need you for.
Where murder mystery games have a family tree, or a map, or a newspaper or other information that is available to all, you should refer to where you have posted those during the introduction.
(Ideally, print two or three copies out and tack them to the wall.)
(I haven't mentioned anything here about domestic arrangements - refreshments, toilets, fire exits and the like. You should, of course, draw everyone's attention to those during your introduction. I suggest that you do this first so that once you've finished the introductions play can start immediately.)
A good introduction can help your murder mystery party start with a bang rather than a fizzle.
Following the advice here means your players will have a good sense of who everyone is and who they need to talk to at the very start of the party - and that's enough to get your party going!
Reunion with Death - a lockdown murder mystery for 6-9 players played using online video chat. Click here for more details.
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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