I recently hosted Death in Venice while also playing a character. Here’s how it worked, and my tips for simultaneously hosting and playing an online murder mystery game.
Death in Venice has been written for online play—so everyone connects using online video chat. In Death in Venice, everyone is assumed to be locked in their cabin aboard the Casanova, a luxury super-yacht. So everyone can talk, but they can’t meet face-to-face.
For Death in Venice I organised the game using Facebook and Discord.
When you purchase Death in Venice you can option to download the “standard” version or a “Host as Player” version. The “host as player” instructions differ as follows:
Only read the instructions, the game background, and the quick reference sheet. Don’t read anything else!
Once I had my players on Facebook, I created a group in Facebook Messenger where I posted all the logistics emails – starting time, links to the Discord server and so on. I also posted regular reminders just in case anyone had forgotten what was going on.
Death on Venice comes with detailed instructions for using Google Hangouts, but you can use almost any online video chat service: Zoom, MS Teams, Google Meet. I used Discord, a service set up for gamers. I used Discord because it allows you to create separate rooms really easy (like breakout rooms in Zoom) and the players can move themselves between the rooms (rather than require the host to do it like Zoom).
A big difference from hosting other Freeform Games murder mysteries is in casting. Because I was playing, I hadn’t read the other characters, so I knew nothing about the plots. (I didn’t even know who the murderer was.)
I used Google Form with these questions:
Once I had all the responses I cast everyone. I cast myself last as I didn’t mind who I played.
Although I didn’t plan it this way, I ended up with one of the optional characters and I would do so again. As an optional character, I deliberately didn’t read my character until the day of the mystery, and that meant that I could step in if we had a last-minute cancellation.
When I sent out the character booklets I stressed to everyone that I couldn’t answer plot or character questions as I hadn’t read anything. (I could answer logistics questions though!)
As part of the run up to Death in Venice, I sent out the character booklet, game background and the following:
And this is how Death in Venice worked out:
The game was a great success, with the players chatting and sending messages afterwards.
These are my tips for simultaneously hosting and playing Death in Venice (and Reunion with Death).
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.
Sep 29, 20 12:56 PM
My experience of simultaneously hosting and playing Death in Venice
Sep 09, 20 02:06 PM
Can I still host A Speakeasy Murder with 12 guests? And just delete three non-essential characters? My response: A Speakeasy Murder is designed for 15-32
Aug 10, 20 04:03 PM
Is Death in Venice appropriate for kids? We have 10 eleven year old girls. My response: Hi, probably not as Death in Venice contains possible dating