Murder mystery games for large numbers of guests – Novice hosts

How easy is it to run a murder mystery evening?

Very often we’re asked how easy it is to run a murder mystery evening for large numbers of guests. The answer very much depends on what style of murder mystery you are running!

Some of our murder mystery kits suit total novices and are designed to run with very little advance planning and rehearsals. One doesn’t event need a fixed cast!

You’ll find our murder mystery scripts for experienced hosts here. But when it comes to hosting as a first timer, and as a total novice, you have two options for easy to host murder mystery games.

Option 1) If you’re familiar running dinner party games at home, then our dinner party style murder mystery for large groups is an ideal first choice. These run in a very similar way to the dinner parties and so long as you have everything printed up ready to go in advance, then you can run them with just yourself as a facilitating host inspector and pull in the cast from the rest of the audience.

This makes them ideal choice for a commercial venture too – as the only “actor” required is YOU. The audience are the ones taking part as suspects. Which means it keeps your overhead costs to a bare minimum.

We would normally suggest using no more than 8 suspects, and having a group size of no greater than 80 in order to produce a polished evening that everyone will enjoy. However we’ve had feedback from numerous fundraisers who’ve successfully pulled off games like this with 200 guests using microphones and casting the suspects from the organisational team who can throw their voices sufficiently to be heard.

Option 2) Skit and Clue based games are a great intermediate murder mystery experience bridging the gap between a fully cast event and a “no cast” event. With these you need 6 actors capable of learning very minimal lines, which means they can be very novice actors, and people who just like to ham things up are ideal! So long as they can throw their voices sufficiently in a room full of guests that’s great.

These games have the benefit of having a “dead body” contained with the plot – which guest love. There’s screaming to announce a murder, and another death midway through the evening to really spice things up – BUT in order to keep things as simple as possible, rather than making the cast learn a lot of back story – instead the plot is provided to the guests on slips of paper which they must barter and exchange with other groups in order to see enough clues to solve the plot.

Church groups LOVE these style of murder mystery evenings as the whole room becomes involved in reviewing clues and exchanging them between teams. It makes for great interaction between teams, rather than everyone just watching a team of actors. It’s also fairly “low key” so it’s not a threatening level of performance, and the audience know exactly what’s expected of them at any point.

Hosting a murder mystery as a complete novice isn’t as difficult as you might think – and as ever we’re here on hand with help and advice, only a phone call or email away. We’ve run every single format in our catalogue more than once and understand the pros and cons of each type and what level of preparation you might need.

We are usually happy to send samples from scripts, and/or the instructions for a murder mystery to let you get a flavour of a script too – just ask.




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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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