How to Host a Murder Mystery

edited December 2010 in Story Games
My friends were supposed to throw a big New Year's bash, but they are lazy and weak, and didn't actually make any plans or invite anyone, so now they have a small guest list and are in need of something fun.

Someone suggested we do one of those 'How to Host a Murder Mystery' games. There will be about a dozen people, all creative, mostly non-gamers.

Has anyone ever been involved with one of those before? Are they lame? They seem lame on the internet, but it's hard to say.

My apologies if this has been discussed before; I couldn't find a previous thread.


  • Yep, they are lame. No "game" to speak of, really.

    Check out Mike Young's stuff here:

  • Also Shifting Forest Storyworks. The boxed How To Host A Murder games are surprisingly un-fun.
  • I've only played one.

    It was, indeed, quite lame.
  • Thanks for the links, all.

    I am sorry to hear those boxed games are lame, Yet, deep down, I expected it.

    If there was a good eight-person RPG, I'd suggest it. But I guess we'll play Apples to Apples and Celebrity instead. Ooh, or maybe Sea Dracula.
  • Wait, "a dozen" or "eight"? If the latter, I'd go get Long Live the King NOW and have a blast: one King, seven Courtiers. Any extras can play Status roles (which some times need a person to middle-man, if one wants to be extra sneaky).
  • "Are You a Werewolf?" ( is a simple game that can handle that many people. It's not exactly an RPG, but it has the advantage that you can play for as short or as long as you like, and people can drop in and out. All you need is a pack of playing cards. Lots of fun if you get into the vibe of it.
  • Are You The Traitor? is another Looney Labs, werewolf-esque game. It's a bit different, and is points-driven, but it has similar emergent game play as AYAW? (or its predecessor, Mafia).
  • Now, now, I think we are being unfair to the "How to Host a Murder Mystery" games. I for one have found them quite fun.

    The game is pretty much entirely scripted. Each player is given a booklet, broken into chapters. In it you'll find what questions to ask and what answers to give. The order of interventions within a chapter doesn't matter, as long as they are all made before we move on to the next chapter.

    The fun is in getting in character, dressing up (makes for neat group pictures too) and playing the part of the suspect you play, and trying to solve the mystery. It's like being in an Agatha Christie novel.

    I've played Long Live the King too. Once. It was very, very fun. I was the king. I think it would have been more fun to be a courtier. And the Bastard Prince won far too easily. I'm not sure whether the game is imbalanced or whether the player was simply very skilled. Though I believe a Murder Mystery would be enjoyable, especially with non-gamers, I think LLtK might be moreso.

    Werewolf games tend to be much shorter. The game will be part of the evening, rather that the point of the evening, as it would be in the former case.

    There are lots of enjoyable party games out there as well. Divide the guests in teams and play pictionary, hangman, charades... Or just play Cranium.
  • edited January 2011
    Well, the groups in question was somewhat drunk by the time we got around to it, so it would have failed miserably. Apples to Apples was definitely the way to go.

    That said, I think dressing up and being hammy would be fun. Maybe not fun in the "game" sense, but fun anyway.

    Oh, and Cranium is just terrible. I hate it.
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