What is a Murder Mystery Party Game?

Sheri Cyprus

A murder mystery party game is a type of role playing themed party. The host assigns character roles to guests who interpret the characters based on printed instructions. One guest is the murderer and the other guests try to figure out who it is. Many different kinds of murder mystery party games are available at department stores as well as online.

Murder mystery party games are very popular.
Murder mystery party games are very popular.

The guest who is playing the murderer tries to deflect any suspicions by other players. The host sends basic information in the invitations about the character and his or her main goals and motives. A brief background of the character and note about how he or she acts and dresses is also usually included in the invitations to a murder mystery party game. The guest then interprets the information and develops the character, much like an actor does, but the costume is also up to the guest to interpret, create and then wear to the party.

Murder mystery games often take place at dinner parties.
Murder mystery games often take place at dinner parties.

Once at the party, the host will give each player a script for the evening. It will clearly outline what information to reveal and what to conceal from the other characters. The host also plays the game, but has the added responsibility of providing food, starting and stopping rounds of the game if necessary and making sure that everyone knows what to do before moving on to the next round.

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Depending on the particular game, murder mystery party games may be played with a small group of people or with hundreds of people. There are types designed specifically for certain groups such as teens or corporate executives. When planning the murder mystery party game, the host should assign any guest that is unsure whether he or she will be attending the role of non-suspect. All of the guests playing the suspects will be required to attend for the party to work.

A murder mystery party game usually involves dinner. The meal has to be organized and quick for the host as he or she is also a part of the game. Previously prepared finger foods and a buffet style atmosphere are popular at murder mystery party games. The party may be held as a New Year's, Halloween or other type of celebration. Bed and breakfasts and other entertainment-based establishments are known to host murder mystery party games.

Buffet-style meals are popular at murder mystery parties.
Buffet-style meals are popular at murder mystery parties.

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Discussion Comments


I'm hosting a teen mystery party/dinner for my daughter and her friends. We already have the game, which is for 8 characters, but she wishes to have 12 all together (including her). I have written down a few rough character sketches/names for some additional people, but I'll take any suggestions anyone has. Particularly, she wishes to make sure a murder is in the story, even though this one is written as a mystery only (no one gets killed). The game is "How to Host a Teen Mystery: Hot Times at Hollywood High." We love the game, but I hope someone can help with some extra character ideas. The party is on November 1, 2008. Thank you!

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