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Murder Mystery Game Faqs

Vintage Murder murder mystery game suspects
Zany characters murder mystery game

Number of players / participants

Mafia Murder Board

Due to the interactive nature of the mysteries, they are best suited for groups of 20 to about 125 guests. Because the idea is to move the action all around the room to draw active participation and discussion, rather than just performing on a stage with a scripted mystery, things like clues and motives are missed with large groups – there’s just no way that many people can see and hear everything they need to to effectively solve the mystery and have fun.

For the team building version of the games, we recommend up to 12 teams of detectives (a minimum 4 to a maximum of 10 per team) plus your team of 6 to 8 suspects (your cast), depending on the script you choose.

Length of mystery

Pirate Mardi Gras mystery game - hurting pirateIt will be about 1½ to 2 hours long.

For the team building version of the game, please allow approximately 2 to 2½ hours or more. You need a bit more time for the team mystery games because, in addition to solving the mystery, each team will have a project to complete during the course of the mystery (for multi-tasking and problem solving). We also highly recommend adding time for a team assessment discussion at the conclusion of the mystery. We include our nifty team assessment form with all team building versions of the game.

If you’re looking for just a one hour mystery, we can’t recommend ours. Here’s why:

  • You need time to establish who’s who among the primary suspects and you need to give them time to set up their motives for murder.
  • You need time to set up / drop clues and you need time for the audience (detectives) to questions the suspects, follow leads and find clues.
  • You need time to have the killer confess.

It’s very difficult to fit this into one hour and leave your group satisfied and happy. The mystery will be over before they even have time to settle in to how it works and, if you select a team building version, you definitely will NOT have time to do any of the added teamwork elements we’ve built into it. See the sample timeline below.

Sample Timeline

  • Next of Kin Murder Mystery Game - the SuspectsUpon arrival, the guests (your detectives) receive a program that will be a guideline for the mystery (included with our game kit).
  • The primary suspects start to mingle in character and begin setting up the mystery with clues, arguments, gossip, that sort of thing.
  • The guests witness the (1st) murder about 30 to 40 minutes into the mystery.
  • Working around your meal plans*, if any, the mystery continues to unfold with more dramatic action and more clues that will lead to the mystery’s next murder or attempted murder.
    • For the team building version, your teams will work on their team project – which is designed to challenge their multi-tasking abilities among other things –  as they find time during the mystery.
    • We suggest that as the main course is being cleared, the teams present their short team project.
  • As you reach the conclusion, the suspects will line up so the guests can ask them any final questions they may have before they fill out their detective evidence record/solution sheet (which they receive with their programs).
    • For the team building version, each team of detectives will hand in only one solution sheet.
    • For the team building version, before the killer is revealed and after all the solution sheets are collected, each team presents their solution via their team speaker.
  • The solution is dramatically revealed around the time dessert is served.
  • Awards are presented and the mystery concludes.
    • For the team building version, we recommend you include a debriefing and team assessment discussion here (team assessment form included with purchase of our team mystery games.),

* Is a dinner necessary?

Nope, not necessary. You should serve beverages and perhaps some finger foods but serving a meal isn’t required at all.

You can also choose to have your lunch or dinner then do the mystery after, although people’s energy levels dip after they eat, so do keep that in mind.

Dinner options:

  • For groups of 50 or more, we generally recommend a sit-down dinner vs. a buffet because it flows more smoothly.
  • To perform our mystery during a buffet, you’ll have to hold any action until everyone moves through the buffet line(s) but your characters can still mingle with everyone.

Pre-event prep time

  • Anything and everything that can be downloaded is included with this game.
  • You can prep the mystery in an hour or two. You’ll need to print programs and other such documents, shop for small items (like a fake knife or other possible murder weapon) and organize the props (clues, etc.) and supplies but it’s all very simple to do.


In the mystery games where the suspects will know whodunit:

  • We recommend that you give your primary suspects about 2 weeks to get familiar with the mystery and to prepare their character. It takes at least one read through to get everyone (the suspects) straight.
  • We also recommend that you all watch our little murder mystery movie to get a “visual”. (By the way, that’s your game designer, Susan Haley, lifting her skirts as Savannah Sugarbaker).
  • Set a time to get together, perhaps add some food and drink to the “rehearsal”, and just TALK through the script. Don’t have everyone read it word for word – it won’t help anyone really understand what’s happening and it’s pretty boring. We’ve always found that if you all talk through the action/sequence as your character, it helps loosen things up, people start finding the humor in their character and they get a better understanding of the whole picture. It’s informal and relaxed – two things you need to alleviate some of the actors’ nervousness.

Holiday Themed Mystery Games

Helpful Tips

Murder on Maui Suspicious Suspects

Q. We can’t decide on a theme! What do we do?

A.  Whichever script excites your primes suspects the most is the one you should do. If they’re enthusiastic about the theme and the characters, you’re half way home to a great mystery party or event.

Q. Can we edit or adapt a mystery?

A. All mysteries can be edited for content so long as you maintain a motive for murder for each of the prime suspects.  
 
Is it someone’s birthday? Anniversary? Tweak the storyline so it’s a celebration for them (don’t forget to adapt the program included with the game). An evening full of fun and zaniness, not to mention wild characters and a murder or two – an unforgettable celebration to be sure.

Q. How do you get the crowd to listen to you for the important parts?

A. A microphone (preferably hand held wireless) is essential for cavernous rooms or for crowds larger than 50 or 60. Don’t speak until they quiet down – this works amazingly well. Announce as best you can that you have something to say then wait. You’ll find that folks will start “shushing” each other. Don’t hesitate to tell them “this is my moment” – especially if you’re the killer trying to confess. Ask them if they want to hear why you committed the crime then wait for them to quiet down before you speak. It’s that old trick with comedy: wait until after the laugh to deliver your next line.
 
Q. Should I decorate my house or function room for the mystery? 

A. You can if you want to but it’s not necessary. Your guests will be so engaged with the suspects and the action they may not even notice decorations (we know from many, many years of experience). That being said, if you want to go all out and decorate, go for it! For games set in the past you might want to hide or remove contemporary items around your house or event location. 

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