Preparing to play a murder mystery game

This page contains tips for those preparing to play a murder mystery game, including costuming, dealing with advance information, and what to do if you can't make the party.

Guests enjoying Murder at SeaGood costuming helps - can you spot the First Class passengers?

Costumes and props

Before you arrive at an interactive murder mystery party you should receive enough details to provide yourself with some kind of costume. Usually you will know who you are playing, and many games provide costume tips. Costuming is usually optional, but it always helps everyone get into the right mood for the evening.

Normally you won’t need to bring along any props. Items in interactive murder mystery games are usually represented using slips of card or paper.

Props can be useful however, and your host may ask that you bring something along.

If you want to bring a prop, then check with your host first. It might be a bit awkward if you bring a prop that, by coincidence, is also a key item in the murder plot!

Don't use props for weapons!

You should never (and I can’t stress this highly enough) use props for weapons.

It’s just too dangerous – anyone passing may not realise that you’re only playing a game and may call the police.

And the police don’t use props – they have real weapons. It’s not worth the risk.

But other than that, props are fine.

Background and rules

When you arrive you will be given your detailed character background, the rules and anything else you need – such as items and money.

Your character background will explain who you are and why you are present. It will also detail any secrets that you need to keep hidden and will provide you with some objectives – such as solve the murder, make lots of money or get revenge on someone. (Your character may have several different objectives - you should try to achieve them all, although often that won't be possible.)

If the murder mystery game has rules, they should be pretty simple. If there’s something you don’t understand (or something that you want to do that doesn’t appear to be covered by the rules) go and talk to your host.

Don't share secrets in advance!

For some games you will receive your character's detailed background and goals in advance. If this is the case, you will have an opportunity to review your character in more detail, and provide more appropriate props.

However, if you do have your information early, please don't discuss it with anyone else before the game starts. If you do so, you’re likely to give away certain secrets and spoil the game – mainly for yourself

Don't turn up late

Please be prompt.

I find it very frustrating if I run late and don't giving myself enough time to settle in and read my detailed goals and background. So I try to be on time,

Give yourself plenty of time and you’ll have a much more enjoyable evening.

And if you can't make it?

If you have to cancel an interactive murder mystery game, please try to give your host as much warning as you can.

The plots for an interactive game often revolve around key characters, and if you have been cast as one of those characters then cancelling at the very last minute can cause problems if the host doesn't have anyone else to step into the role.

Comments

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

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.

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