If this is your first time and you’ve never hosted a murder mystery dinner party before, it’s sometimes quite daunting.
We’ve all heard rumours about different parties that have run with various friends or friends of friends…
“We all found out in the first minute Jude was the murderer as she read it out of her book.”
“I had to play the victim and I was dead all night with nothing to do.”
“We had to send people to another house when they were killed, and folk ended up having a much better party over in the “dead house” than we did trying to solve the murder.”
“No one knew what was going on. We were all lost and we gave up half way through.”
The reason there are so many reports like this is because every firm who writes murder mystery games for people to play at home does it differently. With so many different formats available it means you can’t be 100% sure your party will work in the same way as another’s event and it means you, as host, are left trying to work out which kits do which things in order to find the right format for your group for it to work.
Some websites have multiple formats of small group games in their catalogue, as they allow different authors to create different styles of kits. While this allows for greater variety, what it means in real terms is that even if you shop on the same website you can’t be sure your next game will run in the same way, and you may end up having to learn all over again how to host an evening.
We took the decision early on in our business to standardise our formatting. Within our catalogue of games there are set formats of party, and all our dinner party games run in the same way, which means if you’ve played one of ours, you’ll know what you’re doing next time around.
We also proof all our author’s work, which means you can be sure the games all work and all follow the same format.
And we’re here to provide customer support, have a dedicated help-line and you can reach us on the phone or via email out of hours to get some real-person-help.
So how do we get around the problems I’ve listed above?
Well… in our dinner party games the only person with the answers (knows who dunnit) is the host, and even they can remain in the dark if they choose to as they don’t need to print out the solution.
We provide all our murder mystery dinner parties with MP3 files (or a CD if a printed kit is purchased) which means the solution is hidden in that voice recording and can be played at the right point in the evening to reveal all.
Jude can’t tell everyone she’s the murderer, as even she doesn’t know! Problem 1 solved.
In our dinner party kits the dead person is always dead before the party starts. This saves anyone playing the victim, which, to be frank, is a REALLY boring role!! Problem 2 solved.
Two houses? Seriously? All our dinner party games are designed to run over dinner. This means there are three rounds in each pack, designed to run in line with first course, main course and dessert. (Though you can run them without a meal so long as you work through the game in round order.) Because everyone stays together all night, you all party in the same place. There’s no “them and us” mentality. You’re all suspects, you’re all potential murderers, you all have to work out who dunnit together. Problem 3 solved.
As for Problem 4…If no one knows what’s going on, there really IS a problem with the game. It’s either too complicated for your needs, or the instructions just aren’t plain good enough.
We work on the premise that the simpler things are to run the more fun you’ll have. Who wants to spend 2 hours understanding the rules? It’s far far better to learn something quickly and then spend all night playing.
Our games are really simple to master. There are instructions as you go along and we provide each guest with enough information they can ham things up if they want to. Our games are structured (not scripted, though there are some scripted bits). It’s this structure which means them easy to play, but not hard to solve. No one should be confused and everyone should have fun. Problem 4 solved.
If you’re looking around for the first time, and have never played a murder mystery before, you’ll always have questions. We have an FAQ section with some of the more usual questions we get asked, but as I say, we’re here to help. Just contact us if you’ve never played before and want some help. It’s what we’re here for.
We work on the basis that we can’t advise unless we’ve played, so we’ve all played at least one murder mystery before, and many of us have played a lot more than one (they get quite addictive).
Jo, the MD, works in the office full time and as she’s written more than ½ the games in the catalogue herself, and designed the formats, she really does know how they work and how they can be pulled apart to work in different ways too.
So if you need help – just call. Honest. We’re here to help!
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Red Herring Games Ltd
UK +44 (0) 1472 348909