There are a variety of different virtual meeting applications out there and we’d advise you to use the one you and your friends are most familiar with when planning your party.
If you have never taken part in virtual meeting before, it’s actually easier than you think. But it’s always worth getting to know the technology ahead of the party so you don’t get phased by it!
Plan a mini practise session before the party with any friends who aren’t familiar with it before you get to the party. It saves stress on the day!
You could even use our free mini murder mystery to practise on a very small scale before running a big one!
What you and your guests need to take part in a virtual party:
An Internet Device
You can operate most meeting aps from a smart phone, tablet, laptop or desktop. Decide what device you want to use and download the appropriate software before the party.
If you are using a smart phone or tablet make sure you have a rest for it. It gets really tiring holding the device up for an hour otherwise!
If you’re on a laptop or PC make sure you have speakers, mic and webcam.
Ensure you have adequate charge, or a charger to hand. Virtual meetings use up a fair amount of battery on any device.
Get yourself a drink (or three) and nibbles/food if you want it. A word of warning – crisps are REALLY loud.
You can either print this out ahead of time, or use a digital copy of it on another device. Either works well.
Ensure you aren’t in a noisy room or a main thoroughfare for the rest of the household, otherwise there will be cameo appearances from your family throughout the party and constant noise on your mic!
Notebook and pen?
Some guests like to keep track of information with a notebook and pen. But this is optional!
Making the most of the occasion
Virtual parties are no different to REAL parties. It’s just that your friends are on webcam rather than in front of you at a table. And just like physical parties the more you put into the party the more you get out of it.
Once you know your assigned character, do spend some time thinking about how you will portray that character for everyone else. You may want to dress up like the character for instance, or bring some props onto the zoom chat with you to support your role. Get inventive.
Remember, as the webcam focusses on a small area, you may also be able to set the scene behind you to match your character or the story. Some aps like Zoom have the ability to customise your background too, which means you could find a suitable photo to act as your background image (you just need to remember to sit in front of a plain wall).
In the run up to your event
Send your guests all the information they need via email. This should include the software information and meeting time.
If any of your guests need a practise session – arrange this ahead of the meeting so everyone is fully confident when you get to the party.
Decide what you’re going to do about the inspector. In all of our games this is provided as both a script and as MP3s. However when hosting digitally we always suggest using the script. Sound never travels well through speakers, and you will always get a better virtual party experience if the script is read out directly into the group over the webcam.
You can do this easily yourself. Just leave your screen and come back wearing a disguise. OR ask a non-participant (spouse, child or housemate) to come on to the screen just to read out the inspector scripts.
If you really don’t want to take on the inspector role. We’d suggest emailing the mp3s to each guest so they can play them directly from their PC/Phone at the appropriate time. Just remember to mute everyone’s mic at this point in the meeting so you don’t get a cacophony of overlapping sound.
Dealing with the Character booklets for the guests
The character information required for the event is all contained in the same file.
We would suggest emailing the single sided print version to your guest ahead of the party. This is the easiest to use digitally. They don’t even need to print it out – just open it up on their screen while they’re playing.
The characters crop up every 9 pages, and as a general rule they’ll be in the same order as they are on the invitation document. So character one will be page 1-9, character two will find their booklet page 10-18, character 3 will find their booklet page 19-27.
If you’d prefer we split the booklets for you – we can do this – just give us 48 hours as we aren’t always instantly available to run it through the splitting software and rename all the files.
Script for the inspector
The script for the inspector can be use in exactly the same way. Please be aware that the solution script is included in this booklet. If you don’t want to know the solution, DON’T READ TO THE END!!
Meal or no meal?
It’s entirely up to you whether you want to run a traditional dinner party over the airwaves or keep it simple and run it with no food.
Some hosts ask all their guests to make the same menu. Some even do a judging contest on food presentation in each household!
Just remember if you’re eating, that the mics do pick up all noise. So sometimes the munching can get really irritating!
Our games naturally break into 3 to allow meal breaks. Which means you can run the party over 3 sessions, or simply run it back to back.
Parties do run faster when run digitally. And as a general rule of thumb we say it’s approximately a minimum running time of 6 minutes per character. So a party with just 6 will take around 36 minutes to whizz through if you aren’t ad libbing and chatting as well. A party with 20 will take around 120 minutes. But that’s just a rough ball park guestimate. You may run faster or slower.
For those who would like a little bit more support we are able to provide a virtual inspector for you. They will host the meeting on Zoom (our preferred platform) and will be there to help lead you through the mystery.
Cost vary, but usually are around £300 ($375 USD). Just contact us for a quote.
We’re always here to help you. So if you have any questions – do just drop us a line!
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Red Herring Games Ltd
7-9 Alexandra Road
North East Lincolnshire
UK +44 (0) 1472 348909