Murder mystery games for large numbers of guests

When it comes to hosting murder mystery games for large numbers it’s often a challenge to know what to look for or how to go about it.

Should you look for a script? And if so, how hard will it be to perform it? Will you need actors? Are the props difficult to source? Will everyone take part?

Every day we respond to enquiries about large group murder mystery events and while each one is different we thought it was about time we did a round up of some of our most frequently asked questions and we’re going to take these over a space of a few weeks, as they’re all quite involved!

So… here goes… question number 1)

 Can everyone take part even if they don’t have a suspect role?

Large group game scripts work in a totally different way to the dinner party kits.

They are constructed to use a core group of “suspects” and the rest of the guests take the role of “detectives” or “sleuths”.

People make the assumption that because you aren’t a suspect, you have a watching “passive” role which sounds boring, but with our games, we makes sure that everyone is involved in some way. And the “passive roles” aren’t all that passive.

With our dinner party style games, questions are handed out to the rest of the audience so that they all get the chance to interrogate the suspects.

With our script and clue based games, the audience review hard copy clues which they are responsible for trading with other guests.

With our participative plots (only available as event management) the audience ask questions and review physical evidence photos and can interrogate the investigating officers as well.

With our dinner theatre scripts – the audience are given a few questions as a “starter for 10” to use when interrogating the suspects as they mingle around the tables. The suspects will involve all the guests in the investigative process as they mingle.

With our multi-room games – the audience take on the role of part detective part forensic officers as they interrogate the suspects and handle the physical evidence we leave around the building.

At no point is anyone just “watching” anything, and that makes it fun for all involved without giving anyone a character role.

Running large group games in this way has several advantages:

1)      The more shy or nervous guests are never asked to do anything outside their comfort zone and can become more passive observers if they want to.

2)      The more outgoing guests will get the opportunity to ham things up as and when they want to without being under any pressure to perform. Obviously, you can encourage them to take the active suspect roles in the dinner party style or participative game formats!

3)      The host remains in control of the speed and delivery of the event (which is really useful for catering purposes!)

4)      You have a game that will last the right amount of time.  And trust us – this is a MASSIVE bonus!

An average 12 player game will take 2-3 hours over a meal, but we’ve known an 8 player game last 4 hours before! Giving everyone a suspect role, means everyone has to have something to say, so if you have 30 guests and everyone at least says “hello” then you’ve got 30 minutes just on introductions. Just imagine how that would pan out across an evening! Assuming each Q and A takes 2 minutes per person, it means an hour per round for a 30 person game. Which could mean you’re still playing the next day!

If you’ve never hosted a murder mystery for a large group before, you are sometimes tricked into thinking a standard dinner party game is cheaper. We’ve heard people say before “Well… it’ll be fine. People can just watch.”

The thing is; murder mystery games aren’t television. So it’s quite boring just to watch unless it’s designed that way. Just sitting and watching a standard dinner party game played out by 6 people who all interact together and find each other hysterical is really no fun for anyone else. So when it comes to buying a large group script – you need to look for a large group dinner party kit which has been formulated for large groups.

Fortunately we stock over 5 different options when it comes to entertaining large numbers of guests at a murder mystery, and you also have access to our custom writing facility, so if you need a bespoke murder mystery evening – we can do that too!

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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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