Party planning questions

How long will a murder mystery last?

Well, like everything it all depends.  We usually say a standard dinner party with three course meal will take between two and three hours if you run it with less than 12 people.  Each additional character adds approximately another six minutes to the time, however beware, the more people you have the harder it becomes to keep everyone on task!  And what could have been a three hour game can stretch to five.  There are sadly no “hard and fast” rules as it all depends on how much fun everyone is having.  We’ve rushed through a 12 player game with a youth group in two hours, but equally have played a game at home with only eight people that started at 7pm and was still going at midnight!  Event scripts are easier to guess as they are more “controlled”.  Typically they last three hours with a meal.

What else do I need to run a murder mystery?

That depends on the game purchased.

For our small group dinner party games the minimum requirements if you are downloading the kit to print at home are about nine sheets of paper per character, a printer and a stapler. Any props and decorative touches are left entirely up to you.

If you want the game materials to look at their best then you might choose to have access to a guillotine, thick card for the booklet covers and a colour printer.

For the large group event scripts in addition to printing out the game materials, you will need props and costumes for the cast. Each game requires different props and some are easier to source than others. If you would like to know the essential props for a specific game then please get in touch and we will forward you the instructions documents which contain the prop lists.

Do I need to provide a meal for the murder mystery games to work?

No. However most of our games are formatted in rounds to allow a three course meal.  The only game format which works best without a three course meal is the Multi-room format.

We have adapted games in the past to work as “mix and mingle” affairs.  If you’d like us to create something special for you to allow a mix and mingle event, then please email us.

What happens if I lose guests?

We understand how difficult it can be to organise a dinner party! Which is why, at no additional cost we will substitute your purchased game to one with a smaller number of players.  However, please give us at least two working days to process a request!

If you ordered a custom printed kit – then we are happy to reprint your order, but unfortunately we will have to pass on to you the cost of reprinting your game. Standard “off the shelf” kits can be exchanged so long as the kit is returned to us undamaged.

If you expect you will lose just one couple, then give that couple (or yourselves) the last two optional characters on your game (you can check this by looking at a lower numbered game to see who is missed off). That way, if the couple can’t make it, everyone else can still come as the characters you originally asked them to be and we can easily swap the kit for you.

We can bespoke create “optional” guests with enough notice, fees will apply.

I don’t have 6 players – can I play with 5?

We can help as we’ve done this before.
However not all games will adapt to 5, but if you contact us we will see what we can do.

 I need an odd number of players – can a game be adapted?

Yes. We can adjust a game by removing one character, and if we have notice, then we will try and accommodate any unusual requests too, e.g. three men and five women, six men and three women etc.

As a general rule we cannot reduce to a ratio of male : female below 3 : 3. And charges will apply.

Any requests for this should be made with at least two weeks advance notice, and you should check with us first before buying a game to ensure we are not too busy to meet your timescale.

When you make contact we will be able to tell you whether your request is possible, what the total price will be and take payment over the phone, or provide an invoice to you to pay at your convenience.

We regret that we are not always able to alter the voice recording speeches. Any alterations will be made to the inspector booklets, but the voice over will sometimes contain the additional omitted characters.

Don’t want to pay to customise the kit?

Why not try one of the following suggestions (all of which have been done by customers over the years):

  • have a person play two roles
  • use a puppet for the extra guests
  • invite a last minute “friend” – everyone loves a party and few will turn you down. And it’s a great way to get to know new people.
  • buy a game one less than you need and as host you take the role of the inspector.
  • for numbers 8-20 you can sometimes remove a “spare” by tailoring the booklets of the remaining guests.  This isn’t an easy undertaking, but it IS possible.  (details below)

How can I remove a character from the game in the 11th hour?

It is possible to remove a character from your party, but not easy, and NOT if you need to go from 6 to 5 (as you might inadvertently remove the murderer!)  If you have 8 or more guests, it’s often possible to adjust the games DIY.

Firstly find the booklets of the last character(s) in your invitation list.  These are always the more “optional”.

If you are just removing one, check that the one you leave behind doesn’t speak AFTER the person you plan to remove.  If they do, you will need to write over the top of their introduction and concluding statements so that they now speak after the person who is still IN the game (the person mentioned in the booklet you have removed).

Now pull apart the booklet of the character you plan to remove and set aside the pages with the questions and answers.

Cut the questions out.  Taking care to keep them in different piles for rounds 1, 2 and 3.

Now go through the other guests booklets finding the questions they would have asked the character you removed.  Staple or stick one of your “cut up” questions over the top of any questions you find.  Making sure you put the right question in the right round!!

As host, any time your missing guest is supposed to speak in the shared dialogue at the start of the rounds, just read in their lines.

The extra will still be mentioned on the voice recording, but game play should work.

If you don’t want to go through the process of sticking the questions over the top of the questions for your missing guests in the other players booklets, you can instead tell the guests there were 2 other characters who are now not playing.  Cut up the questions and place them on the table in 3 pots, for rounds 1 2 and 3.  As a guest finds they have a question for a missing character they simply pull a replacement question out of the pot in the centre of the table (just make sure they take it from the right round!).

 I’ve lost a booklet what can I do?

We never advise giving guests their character booklets in advance of the party as just occasionally one will forget to bring it along and then the party turns into chaos!

However as our downloadable copies and our printed copies are formed from the same database you can usually fix a last minute hiccup like this by ordering the downloadable version of the same game.  Your forgetful guest can then use that PDF copy instead of the original booklet on the evening (either by reading it from a tablet, or by printing it off).

If this happens to you – just email us after the party and explain what’s happened.  In most cases we will reimburse the cost of the downloadable game.  We reserve the right to refuse a refund if we can’t trace your original order and confirm that it WAS your game – so ensure you have your customer order number to quote.

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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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