About Murder Mystery Games

What are Murder Mystery Games?

These are games where the players generally compete to discover the identity of a murderer. There are several different varieties of game, from the simple scripted games played round a table over dinner to those acted out at residential weekend breaks and all stops in between.

Murder Games tend to have themed scenarios such as Egyption Archaeology in the 1920's or the Chicago Mob in the 1930's. Most games include costume ideas and menu suggestions. Some contain period music as well.

They can cater for 6+ players, with some games available for 200+ players! The most common number is 8 players, four male and four female.

There are also a number of 'Mystery Party Games' in the downloadable category aimed at teenagers and kids. These tend not to involve murder, sex, gambling, drink or drug related scenarios and focus more on a fun mystery to solve. Think Scooby-Doo!

Scripted Dinner Party Games

The simplest Murder Mystery Games are played with a few friends round the dinner table. Each player gets a character to play, a bit of background and a list of questions to ask and statements to make at pre-determined times. These games are 'scripted' games, so called because they follow a specific script. The script gives vital clues to each player allowing them to determine the identity of the murderer.

In most cases, the murderer doesn't know he is the murderer! These games are the ones most often bought in boxes. They are generally played in a couple of hours and usually have a specific number of players, 8 being most common, 4 male, 4 female. You cannot play these games with the wrong number of players!

These Dinner Party Games are really good introductions to Murder Mystery Party Games.

Unscripted Murder Mystery Games

Although simple scripted games are great fun, the fun really starts when you try an unscripted game. These are generally for more dramatic types who like to roleplay and act their characters a bit more.

In simple scripted games, there is one route through the games, one killer and one solution. In many of the unscripted games, there are no such restrictions! Yes, there may be a murderer... but there may be wheels within wheels and as the plot thickens, many twists and turns might be uncovered. Characters might be given backgrounds, secrets, aims and goals. They act up to these throughout the game.

Usually you don't 'win' by determining who the murderer is (that would be a bit easy for the murderer). Instead, you have to complete the goals of your character - for example the murderer might have to frame another player, another might have to successfully blackmail a rival, someone else might be trying to uncover an illicit affair (and then murder one of the affairees and frame another).... the possibilities are endless!

These games are really good fun, and only moderated by your players abilities to roleplay and act. They often cater for larger numbers of players too, and are often flexible on numbers because clues do not rely on specific people reading specific text from a script.

These games ore only available as Downloads - no boxed versions exist that we know of. Check our links to some reputable Murder Games companies for more information.

Boxed, Download or Professionally Hosted?

The majority of games are boxed mysteries for a set number of players. These are generally the ones that take place over dinner. They are usually themed (pirates or thirties style etc) and for a set number of people. They are great fun and ideal as an introduction to these games. These are usually scripted games that follow a linear track with clues and relevant information thrown in along the way at pre-determined points. Even the murderer doesnt know who did it!

You can now buy Murder Mysteries to download on the 'net. These tend to be more flexible in terms of player numbers and the way they can be played - for example some can take a whole day, or a weekend. Some can be played with upto 200 guests (yes, thats right - great for corporate events). These games usually have a host who knows the plot, the murderer, the back ground etc, and ensures the game plays out correctly. However, they are often un-scripted, but have lots of player background material, so the players really have to act out their roles. The murderer will usually know it is them. Characters might also have their own goals within the game too (sucha s blackmailing another player).

Many hotels now run residential Murder Mystery evenings or weekends (especially during the 'off season') and hire in actors to play important roles. You are immersed in the game from start to end.

In Other Words

You might here these games refered to by a different name, but wahtever they are called, its Mainly Murder!

Other Names:
Murder Mystery Games
Dinner Party Murder Games
Murder Games
Murder Mystery Evening
Murder Mystery Parties
How to Host a Murder


Published Game Series:
Murder a la Cart - boxed series
Murder Mystery Party - boxed series from BV Leisure
Host your own Murder Mystery Evening - boxed series from Cheatwell Games
How to Host a Murder - boxed series from Decipher Inc. (now discontinued)