Which script should I pick?

Large group mystery games come in a variety of formats and you need to pick a format that will work best for you and your event.

We sell a variety of games which may suit, from single stage performances to multi-room performances that will get your guests visiting many different rooms.

Some games work best conducted at a table – the perfect choice for mystery meals. Other games are run with guests visiting different rooms and listening to cast talking.

How do you select the right large group game for you?
Hopefully this brief introduction to each format will help. But if you’ve never hosted a game before – Do call or email us for advice – we’re always happy to help.

The first thing you need to decide is how you are planning to run your event.  That will dictate what murder mystery format will suit you best.

Think about:

  • What kind of venue do you have available?
  • How many people can you fit into venue?
  • Catering?
  • Do you want to take part too?
  • How many people can you rope in easily as “cast”?
  • How much effort do you want to go to?
  • Will your cast be willing to rehearse?  Or do you need something that can be acted script in hand?
  • Do you have access to props?  Sound equipment? Staging?

If you wanted to run a mystery without food, most have distinct rounds, so have a think about how you are going to break up those rounds.  Will you do team building activities between rounds?  Or just drink prosecco…

We’ve broken down the different formats for you so you can quickly spool through.  Some have videos which explain how they run to help you decide.

Standard dinner party extension
We can adapt our standard dinner party games to involve more guests with everyone having a character role and something to say.

These extension kits are always created to order and costs vary depending on how many extra guests are needed – just get in touch for details.

Do bear in mind, extending a game beyond 20 characters is not something we often recommend, as involving everyone equally extends play time to nearly 5 hours… but sometimes when you just need 1-5 extras, it’s worth the extra effort and time it’ll take to play!

More often than not we suggest using the dinner party style scripts.  With these you have cast and guests, and it is possible to request we provide character details for each “guest” so they all feel included.  Again this is something we build to order and quotes vary depending on what we already have on file.


Dinner party style scripts
These games are an adaptation of a standard dinner party kit and are designed for DIY evenings.

The cast can be audience members as you need no prior rehearsal, and they are not explicitly told in their booklets they are the murderer.  So everyone can take part and have fun.

The only person in the know is the host who usually takes the role of the inspector.  However when we print these to order, we always seal the solution in an envelope – which means as host you too can take part, and as even the inspector won’t know who the murderer is!

The other guests at these events take the role of “detectives” and will question the cast during the evening using pre-written questions.

These questions mean that everyone gets involved, and the results are hysterical as guests and cast throw themselves into accents.  While we don’t yet have any videos of this style of DIY event, they run in a very similar way to our Participative evenings below (which do contain a video).  They just aren’t as “event polished”.

These types of games work best with audience numbers between 12 and 80.


Participative murder mystery evenings
These style of evenings are only available as event managed nights.

They are immensely popular, as they involve the audience as suspects and detectives and everyone gets the opportunity to examine evidence and interrogate the inspector and his helper over the course of the evening.

The difference between this style and the DIY version above is:

  • Actors – these participative evenings come with 2 actors to facilitate.  The actors know all the back story to the plot and can answer other questions the guests want to pose.  They also add atmosphere and a lot of fun.
  • Scripts – these events are always introduced with a scene acted script in hand by the guests – this is always hysterical as everyone hams it up and throws themselves into things with no rehearsal.
  • Evidence – in the participative evenings there are crime scene photos and photos of physical evidence to examine.  Audience are left wondering what these clues mean to the case and how to fit them into the bigger picture.  These pictures prompt lots of discussion.
  • Questions – these are all worded in first person, which means they are “ready to go”.  They are specifically designed for large scale events, and written as “script” in contrast to the DIY scripts above where the information is simply adapted from a standard dinner party kit.

These types of games work best with numbers between 12 and 80.

While we do not sell these event scripts for DIY use, they are available to event managers on a commercial license basis.  Do contact us for details.


Skit and clue based games

Clue based semi scripted games are usually only available as DIY scripts, though we can work with you to provide these event managed if you prefer.

These are usually performed by seven cast and the mystery is solved in teams.

Teams watch 2-3 short skits and swap written clues during the course of the evening.

The scripts are small and are easily learned by complete amateurs. Written clues need to be printed and cut up prior to the event, and on the night these are passed around by the guests.

These games are immensely popular, as there is very little preparation, rehearsal or props required.

If needed the cast can act “script in hand” and if they do not read any accompanying material they too can become part of the audience as they don’t need to find out “who dunnit”.

These types of games work best with numbers between 50 and 250. Though be aware with numbers above 100 you will need microphones for the cast and duplicate clues.


Dinner theatre style - mystery meals

These games are designed to be run over a formal dinner, and are what most people recognise as a murder mystery evening you would attend in a hotel setting.

The game requires 5/6 cast and they need to have several rehearsals together before the performance, as well as the confidence to learn their character background and ad lib for questions they will be asked by the guests.

These games are great fun, but not the first choice for a novice host unless their cast happen to come from an amateur dramatic background.

These games work best with audience numbers between 30 and 160 – however be aware you MAY need microphones depending on the venue acoustics and cast ability, with numbers above 100.

We are regularly booked to provide these style of events to venues around the UK and have worked overseas too.


Multi-room events

These are not sit-down events and are great for fundraising, small bed and breakfasts or large hotels wanting to make the best use of their space and invite maximum participants.

If wished a buffet can be made available in a separate room, or in all the rooms used, for guests to pick at on their way around, or you can have a formal meal half way through the programme.

These games are hugely popular as they require guests to really get into the whole interrogation thing and are, of course, great fun.

They are more time consuming to prepare, and require a dedicated cast who are prepared to learn their lines and act throughout the night, as well as an array of props.

These games can be adapted to run from single stage, by photographing the clues and displaying them on an evidence board, and simply asking the cast to recite their monologues in turn from the stage.

These games work well with numbers between 50 and 500. But please be aware, the more people you have attending the more planning you will need to put into organising the event.

For numbers greater than 200 you will need to think about using microphones for the cast depending on the size of the audience in each room.

Also bear in mind that with greater numbers attending you must ensure that the rooms you plan to use are large enough to accommodate the number of guests!

We are regularly booked to provide these style of events to venues around the UK and have provided event management overseas too – just get in touch for details.


Further options

We can also produce games tailored to your specific venue or event given enough notice.

If you need something specific – because we design and construct games “in-house” we are one of very few companies world-wide who can custom write to order to achieve your specific requirements.  While we have “templates” for our standard events, custom events are by nature much more fluid, and as yet, we’ve not had a challenge we’ve not been able to meet.

The sorts of things we’ve done in the past include:

  • Providing fully immersive games where everyone has a suspect role and the event runs on a mix and mingle basis, with each guest having secret missions during the proceedings to undertake.
  • Providing games where everyone is fully involved at a dinner table, with questions and answers amongst the table ONLY, but drawing information together towards the end to provide 1 murderer in the room.  (This sounds obvious, but it’s a logistical feat and not as easy as it sounds if you aren’t running “event format” style.)
  • Arranging team building events where teams work against each other to achieve mission objectives and discover the authors of a crime before it happens by exploring CSI work stations and breaking codes to access other team’s files.
  • Arranging team building events with video footage of crimes and evidence for them to discuss and handle.
  • Designing educational games for TEAFL work.

Fees for custom writing kits vary dependent on game and what is required.
Just contact us for a FREE custom game quote, or for any event management requirements for your murder mystery night.

Still unsure what sort of event you need after reading all the formats? Just contact us for free advice and support.


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Flexible and fun!

We contacted Red-Herring-Games for a party for a special occasion. Why going to restaurants to eat is the preferred activity to mark milestones is beyond me and my friends.   The choice of mystery was obvious, looking at the options from New Zealand on the web Red Herring stuck out from the international options.  A quick look at the site and games showed subtlety as well a range of choices.  The numbers you could have for each evening was important,  Red Herring had scaling options a good range of scenarios but most importantly were Jo and team being flexible, responsive and helpful.

Rachel McWilliam, Arts Development Officer, Lincs Inspire

Thank you Red Herring Games for the marvellous 'Murder!  Cargo Connections?' event that you organised for us as part of Museums at Night at the Fishing Heritage Centre in Grimsby. The whole evening went so well and was brilliant fun.  I know from all the feedback that our visitors had a fantastic time. It was really good working with you and I have no doubt that we will do again in the not too distant future.  

A. Nonymous (council employee)

I would like to thank you and your colleague for helping contribute towards our successful conference last month.  Everyone really seemed to enjoy the evening and it was rewarding that so many delegates were able to participate in addition to the main "Actors".  Our conference evaluation froms included the following comments:
  • "Enjoyed the evening entertainment!"
  • The evening entertainment was great and the confusion made it great fun!"
With thanks and best wishes.

Sarah Spencer (Cleethorpes Chronicle)

I had no idea what to expect before purchasing a ticket for Old, New, Borrowed, Blue, which was being staged at a nearby hotel, and feared it might involve taking part in some way. However thankfully for me no acting was necessary, just some amateur sleuthing. "Wedding guests" of which I was one, were called upon to move from room to room in the hotel in groups, questioning a number of possible murderers with the aim of solving the mystery of the dead bridegroom. The interviewees were really fun characters and gave us all some good laughs. Of course they all had motives and it was a case of identifying the shiftiest. The wedding theme was particularly good, as it fitted well with the venue, the buffet that was part of the evening (with a wedding cake in the middle) and the fact that everyone had been able to dress up to fit in without going to the trouble of fancy dress. I didn't think I had enough "evidence" to actually accuse anyone but later regretted not even writing down my first guess as it wouldn't have been too far off the mark. The evening was great fun and everyone seemed to enjoy it and take part. I would definitely recommend Old, New, Borrowed, Blue as good for getting even reluctant or first-time mystery party-goers involved.  

Alan Young (Personal Touch Mortgages)

What a cracking nights entertainment! We don't get out much nowadays with 2 kids and this was exactly what we were looking for in a good night out. Lots of fun with tongue firmly in cheek and everyone kept guessing whodunnit right to the very end. Would definitely attend another!!!!!  


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