Halloween Murder Mystery Weekend – Tips
If you have never participated in a murder mystery party game before, the concept can seem a bit strange or a little intimidating. Not to worry. It really is not difficult to play – they are little more than evenings of really fun “let us pretend” games for adults. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Planning for the Event
Before you arrive at the murder mystery you should have enough details to provide yourself with some kind of costume if needed. You are not required to wear a costume, the choice is yours. Items in murder mystery games are usually represented using sheets of paper. You should never (and I cannot stress this highly enough) use props for weapons. It is just too dangerous – anyone passing may not realize that you’re only playing a game. Other than weapons, props are fine. Before you arrive you will be given your detailed character background, the rules and anything else you need. Your character background will explain why you are here. It is important not to discuss your character with anyone else before the game starts, other than telling who your character is. If you do so, you’re likely to give away certain secrets and spoil the game – mainly for yourself! Upon arrival you will receive an envelope that details any secrets that you need to keep hidden and information your character may know. It will also provide you with some objectives you will need to accomplish. You may have several objectives. In most cases you do not open this envelope until after the murder. It is best if you can arrive about 15 minutes early. Give yourself plenty of time and you’ll have a much more enjoyable evening. Depending on the group and the plot, the mystery may run over the time stated. In the scheduling you may need to do to attend, it is best to allow an extra hour just in case.
Talking to People
The trick to doing well at a murder mystery party, whether you are trying to solve the murder or just achieve your other objectives, is to talk to people. You need to talk to the other players and find out who can help you, and who may hinder you. It is not always easy to strike up conversation – particularly if you do not know the other players. It is best to start with the people mentioned in your character background. If your character knows them, it is likely that their character knows you – that you are mentioned in return in their background. You will also have something to talk about – they will be mentioned for a reason, which gives you a topic to start with. Do not be afraid of giving away your background information. You will find that some people hoard information, but I have found that if I am free with my information then other players will reveal something in return. Be circumspect about giving out secrets, however. You would not reveal that you are the murderer now would you? Ideally you want to talk to everyone in the game. While it might be tempting to focus on those players that appear most relevant to you, you may miss out meeting someone who can help you. Do not be above eavesdropping. You can gain valuable information this way. You may even be able to acquire information that can allow you to blackmail someone.
Please remember that murder mystery games are just that – a game. People would not necessarily be behaving in ways you expect. They will be playing characters with their own secret backgrounds and agendas. Somebody will probably be working against you, others may have been told to snub you, or have been told lies about your character. Someone may seem to be really obnoxious and rude. Most likely that is the character they are playing and as such keep this in mind at all times. Do not take anything personally – it is only a game! Please be careful. Do not do anything that could injure or harm yourself or anyone else.
The main indicator of success is the amount of fun you had playing. If you failed all your goals, but still had a great time, then the night was obviously a success. It is often useful in the game to find your allies as soon as possible. Normally, to achieve your goals you need to get other people to help you. And that usually means negotiating with them, because they will usually want something in return. Provided that their goals do not conflict with yours, there is no reason why you should not go for it. Should you keep your goals secret? It depends on the goal. Some goals can easily be shared: “I have lost my watch – can you help me find it?” Goals that might reveal one of your terrible secrets are perhaps best left hidden. If you need something from someone, and they ask you to pay for it, there is a good chance that the price will only rise as the game proceeds.
Getting Away With Murder
We have found that sometimes characters improvise and decide that they can best reach their goals by committing murder! To this end we have developed some rules for this to happen. First you must act in character and as such a murderer does not want to be caught and only commits ‘murder’ for very good reasons. You do not commit murder in front of people, unless you can be absolutely positive that any witness will keep silent. You also do not share this information if at all possible, as it could cause you to get caught. No props are to be used when committing ‘murder’. To commit ‘murder’, you tell the person you are murdering that they have been murdered. You tell them how they have been murdered. At that time the person that has been ‘murdered’ is to pose as a dead body. The murderer then tells the host that they committed the ‘murder’ and where the ‘body’ can be found. (This is in strict confidence and will not be shared. The reason for this is to insure that the body is found quickly and to insure the host has the solution to the murder for the ending) The host will be sure that the ‘body’ is found. After the ‘body’ is found, the victim will then arise to become the Inspector which was called in at the discovery of the most recent ‘murder’. They can then tell those present what evidence was found. IE: How long the victim had been dead, cause of death etc… (Of course they cannot give away the identity of the murderer under any circumstances, because as the inspector they do not have this information.) If you know someone committed a murder do what your character would do in this circumstance. Would they keep quiet, go to the police or blackmail them?
Notes on poisoning: If you choose to ‘poison’ someone you have to take into consideration access and ingestion. In other words you have to be able to have access to the victim’s food or drink when no one is watching. Just put your hand over the food or drink for the ‘poisoning’ to have occurred. (Be careful… if someone sees you then you could get caught!) Then the ‘victim’ has to drink or eat the ‘poisoned’ item for you to have successfully poisoned them. At which time you tell them they have been poisoned and have only so much time to live. After that amount of time passes the ‘victim’ ‘dies’
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