T’was a death before Christmas

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twasadeathbeforechristmas
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Every year in the small country village of Mid-Trimming the residents come together to sing carols through the village streets. At the end of their night of wassailing, tradition dictates that they all gather somewhere for a final Christmas party before the big day itself.

This year the carol singers descended on Mid-Trimming Manor, owned by the wealthy miser, Bob Scratchitt. Everyone was surprised when he agreed to play host, but they were even more amazed when he was discovered dead in his own lounge!

So much for being a season of goodwill and glad tidings; this Christmas it looks as though someone had some very ill will indeed! The question is: who?

By buying this product you can collect up to 41 loyalty points, which will be worth £2.05 to spend on your next purchase.

Characters in the 6 player game:

Carole Singer – Retired Headmistress
Bookish, with half moon specs and drab clothing, Carole Singer has a stern countenance and perfect pitch.

Jacques Frost
– Butcher
Straight from work, still in his blue striped apron or white coat, Jacques is burly, cheery and friendly and throws himself into any party.

Holly Reath – Postmistress
Decked out in festive colours and Santa hat, Holly is not as prickly a character as you might expect, though she does love to poke her nose in where she isn’t wanted.

Declan Halls – Baker
A friend to all, Declan finished work early this afternoon and has come in his winter woollies prepared to eat, drink and be merry.

Gaye Buntin – Newspaper shop owner
Fond of bling and bright colours, Gaye just loves Christmas and really gets into the festive spirit with flashing earrings and reindeer antler headgear.

Chris Tingle – Grocer
Always armed with seasonal fruit as gifts, Chris Tingle is fond of Arran sweaters.

Additional characters in the 8 player game:

Silvia Bells – Chair of the local Amateur Dramatics Society
Larger than life and twice as glittery, Silvia is a thwarted actress, with class, darlings.

Noel Nowell
– Scout leader
Dressed in khaki, with neckerchief and woggle, Noel takes his scout leadership very, very seriously and is never off duty.

Additional characters in the 10 player game:

Missie Le’Toe
– Clothing retailer.
Specialising in fashion from Europe, Missie Le’Toe has cultivated a French accent and is always dressed flamboyantly.

Scott Spine – Policeman
Just off duty, Scott is still wearing dark blue trousers and white shirt, however after a day roaming the village he is more than ready for a drink and is already quite merry.

Additional characters in the 12 player game:

Angela Onnatree
– Riding School Owner
Never seen out of her beige jodhpurs, Angela has a distinctly upper-class accent, but is actually really down to earth.

Ivor Cracker
– Landlord of the local pub.
In shirt sleeves and dark trousers with a tea-towel still hanging out his back pocket, Ivor has just finished a shift at his local to join the wassailing.

Never run a downloadable murder mystery before? Then don’t panic!There is no special acting required. Guests do not need to memorise any information, and everything they need to play their parts is provided to them in a handy printable booklet. The games are constructed so that everyone has to interact, and scripted dialogues are included to help break the ice and get everyone into character. Even total novices get into the swing of things quite quickly!

The game includes both sound files and a script for the inspector character who provides the setting, clues, and summaries for each round, as well as the final solution. This means as host you too can play and remain completely in the dark as to the culprit, or play the inspector yourself and invite an extra guest to the party!

Each downloadable dinner party game requires use of a printer, around 120 sheets of A4 paper (each character booklet is around 9 pages long), envelopes so you can send out your invitations, and either a laptop or MP3 player (e.g. an ipod) to play the inspector MP3s; OR a CD burner so you can burn the MP3s onto a CD to run in an ordinary CD player.

When you purchase this kit you will download the following files:

  • How to use this game
  • Instructions for running the murder mystery
  • Making the most of your theme- ideas for decoration / activities.
  • Invitations
  • Character Booklets (available in single sided printer and double sided printer format)
  • Scripted for the inspector character (available in single sided printer and double sided printer format)
  • Solution script for the inspector character (needed when printing from the single sided copy)
  • MP3 files for the inspector character (dialogue and solution)
  • Hints and tips
  • Recipe suggestions
  • Money off voucher towards next purchase

When you purchase this kit as a printed kit you will receive through the post:

  • Instruction booklet (includes hints and tips)
  • Invitations and envelopes for all the guests
  • Character booklets
  • CD of the inspector
  • Inspector booklet in a sealed envelope so you don’t find out the solution by accident!
  • Making the most of your theme and recipe suggestions booklets.
  • Money off voucher towards next purchase (printed inside the booklets)

We can customise this game.  However, sadly we do have to charge for this service as even minor customisations take between 1-2 hours to process in the office and we need to buy toilet roll and biscuits as much as the next person…

It’s hard to give “ball park” figures for what different customisations would cost however we’ve attempted to HERE.

Remember… if you just need 1 extra person, or 1 less person, why not add in the inspector as your extra guest.  The inspector can usually be male or female as the “for real” inspector can simply invent a new name for themselves.

Some hosts prefer to play the inspector role as it means they can work on the catering while the round plays out amongst their guests.

8 reviews for T’was a death before Christmas

  1. A really fun game. The character booklets had a good balance between scripted conversation and improvised. It was very clear how to tackle the improvised sections and even the shyest member of the party was getting in to it by the third round. Unlike other games I have played, it wasn’t at all noticeable that there were ‘extra’ characters as everyone was equally included. Du-ring the game it became pretty obvious what the murder weapon was (perhaps too obvious?) so it was nice to feel like we’d worked it out although there remained a little twist that none of us had fully foreseen. I’d definitely consider purchasing a game again.

  2. It was nearing New Year’s Eve and although we had offered to host the celebrations for several friends, nothing had been arranged … Wanted to do a murder mystery but had left it a bit late so was hugely relieved to discover Red Herring’s downloadable versions. I’ve played a lot of murder mysteries and these are definitely of comparable quality. I also like the lack of packaging waste and instant arrival of the game! It was very straightforward to follow the instructions and a hugely successful evening. The setting was in a village with various shopkeepers in the cast which fitted beautifully as we actually had the village postmaster and mistress present! There was much unexpected hilarity over the myriad references to Christmas carols in the names and script which, together with the champagne, helped create a relaxed evening full of laughter and groans at the humour. I read a lot of murder mysteries and my only comment for making it even better would have been to have had a more complex plot that was more challenging to guess. Overall, excellent materials with an unexpected element of humour that ensured a great evening. Would definitely use again.

  3. A really fun game. The character booklets had a good balance between scripted conversation and improvised. It was very clear how to tackle the improvised sections and even the shyest member of the party was getting in to it by the third round. Unlike other games I have played, it wasn’t at all noticeable that there were ‘extra’ characters as everyone was equally included. Du-ring the game it became pretty obvious what the murder weapon was (perhaps too obvious?) so it was nice to feel like we’d worked it out although there remained a little twist that none of us had fully foreseen. I’d definitely consider purchasing another.

  4. I was given the daunting task of organising a staff Christmas Party. So rather than book onto the usual over-priced corporate Christmas Parties, I decided (rather last minute) to gamble on running a Murder Mystery Dinner Party for our small team of 12. And the gamble absolutely paid off! The service from Jo was second to none, making sure that I had all the relevant information and what to do before I purchased the game. I got the emailable version and found it easy enough to print off the booklets and burn the cd with the inspector’s dialogue – this was without finding out ‘who dunnit’ as I wanted to be part of the mystery too. The evening itself was a huge success. We held it in our staff meeting room and made sure that it was decked out for the Christmas occasion. I have to say that all the participants got into character brilliantly (some maybe too much) and this only enhanced the evening. We had so much fun and even out of work I have not laughed as hard as I did that night. A tip I would give is to make sure the participants have their brief with plenty of time, so they can sort out the costume and character’s personality, as this definitely aids the evening! Eve-n if you don’t get this game I would highly recommend Red Herring Games!! I have used them three times now and have been very happy with every game!

  5. We had a fantastic evening last week playing ’twas a death before Christmas. Thanks for helping me out at short notice. I played Scott Spine. We all had a good laugh and none of us guessed the murder – though someone came close. We look forward to playing another murder mystery soon – we are thinking of doing a public fundraiser at the village hall next!

  6. The game worked really well, a great evening’s entertainment with no technology in sight!

  7. My last guest just left and I had to write a review of ‘T’was a Death Before Christmas. We had a wonderful time. This is my second successful Red Herring Mystery Party. We play a variety of murder mystery games throughout the year and tonight was enjoyed by all. Though I purchased the 12 player game, 2 of my guests declined early enough that I was able to edit the party. With a little cutting and pasting, I was able to remake the booklets for 10 players. We had 11 total guests, with myself playing the role of the Inspector. In addition to the game, I also added a treasure hunt between rounds two and three. This was to give the guests a break from questioning each other and getting them up out of their chairs. I pretended the hunt was created by the victim and along with each clue to the next location, I left evidence about the suspects that he supposedly left for them to find. (I tend to read through the materials beforehand, so I knew all the answers to the game and used this to my advantage. I find this works better for me as a host). Knowing the answers, I also recreated the scene of the crime, with plenty of physical evidence to back up the clues written in the game. What I like most about Red Herring Games is they are so easy to use and you get so much in your packet. Not only do you get the game itself, but suggestions for decorating, recipes in keeping with the theme and tips to incorporate other games with your party. It couldn’t be easier and it’s a host’s dream. I had played plenty of Santa Claus/North Pole themed mysteries. This game was a humorous twist on the “Midsomer Murders” TV show. The characters are silly and quite fun to play. Since the cast is a nice mix of eccentric village personalities, costumes are easy to come by and playing your part is very easy. And this is a great game to play during the Christmas season. Plenty of seasonal themes run through the game and the scripted dialogue is quite funny. My guests were laughing and enjoying themselves. I decorate my home for Christmas in a big way, so by simply adding a murder mystery event helped to celebrate the holiday earlier in the month. I also filled stockings with candy and toys for each guest. What fun to see grown adults digging in to their toys. I even bought Christmas Themed Soap Bubbles and throughout the evening the room was filled with bubbles around the table. The game simply couldn’t have gone better. We got a late start (we decided to eat first) and so didn’t begin until 8 p.m. and wrapped up the case by 11:30 p.m. It was a good length and kept everyone interested without becoming dull. Out of ten guests 4 of them solved the crime completely. Everyone was able to figure out the method of murder, but only the four had the entire story correct. Even though this is a high number of people who figured it out, they were quite happy with it. We’ve played a few very complex games and they enjoyed this nice, lighthearted change of pace. I gave away a variety of Christmas gift baskets as prizes for the winning solutions, as well as best actor and best costume. (I got them at a great price). We just had a wonderful time, the games here at Red Herring are well made and are so easy to use, with plenty of extras. It all went so well I’m already up late at night planning our next party. Thank you!

  8. good

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This game is rated Teen
This game contains:

Content that may be suitable for persons ages 13 and older.
Including:
A murder - violence suggested.
Alcohol Reference - Reference to and/or images of alcoholic beverages.
Comic Mischief - Depictions or dialogue involving slapstick or suggestive humor.
Suggestive Themes - Mild provocative references or materials and sexual innuendo. Acting as if attracted to particular characters is suggested in the character backgrounds.

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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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