We are living through a time like no other. But girl, we still gotta find ways to have some fun! Put the spark back into your Saturday night and or bring your team back together by hosting a murder mystery video call! Here are my top tips for hosting a murder mystery party during a lockdown or isolation period.
What You’ll Need
- A video call app. I suggest Zoom, but any app where all participants can hear each other will work.
- A chat app. Such as Whatsapp or Facebook, where everyone is connected. This is so players can quiz each other.
- A mystery game – check out my Etsy shop for some options
- A guest list of game players
- The desire to kill (Just joking, but actually wanting to host a mystery party is important!)
- Costumes and props. Not essential items but who doesn’t want to wave a beautifully cut crystal champagne glass in front of a video camera?
- I suggest you bookmark this page to refer to when playing!
How to Play
- Select your game. How many players will you have? Would you prefer a classic castle style mystery or a magical wizarding land? Does it need to be clean, or do you want alcohol and affairs?
- Draft your guest list
- Send the invitation including time, date and each player’s character script* via email or Whatsapp.
- Download the Zoom app and set up a meeting, circulate these details.
- Set up a Whatsapp group or other chat group for this game with all participants.
- If it’s an option in your game, select the killer and let them know in advance.** Read your game instructions carefully, it’s important to understand how the game was created so you figure out best how to translate it to the virtual world.
Playing the game!
- Once on the meeting, welcome everyone in character. In some games, the death takes place during the game, and in others it has already happened before the game commences. If the victim is to die on camera, make sure they have a good camera and mike set up.
- Read the evidence and introduce yourselves. This may take a bit longer than if you were together in person as you’ll have to allow each person to take turns to speak individually. Otherwise, play the game as usual.
- Take a break halfway through (if you’re playing one of my games I suggest taking a short break after Act 2). Instruct players to question one another directly and come back online.
- Proceed with the final act. Bear in mind that some characters may have particular actions or roles to carry out that were scripted with a live game in mind, so allow everyone a few minutes of camera time for this.
- Once everyone has read their script booklets, all the evidence has been read etc, it is now time for everyone to MAKE THEIR ACCUSATION! You should get to the killer last so they can MAKE THEIR CONFESSION!
How long will it take?
Depending on the number of players, it you should allow an hour or two. If you have only 4 people, you could play it in 30 – 45 minutes, but if you have over 45 people, it might run over 2 hours. If it is a longer game, take plenty of off-screen breaks.
*Sending the scripts: As Etsy only allows sellers to attach 5 files to a download, you’ll find the character booklets/scripts within the main game PDF. If you want to send these to players individually there are a few ways.
- The easiest is to just send everyone the full game file and ask their scouts honour not to read everyone else’s part.
- Or you can screenshot the pages for each player.
- Third option, and my preferred one, is to open the PDF, select print, and then SAVE TO PDF, selecting the pages of each character’s script. Then you’ll have an individual PDF for each player
**In real life, you would shuffle a deck of player cards that say innocent and guilty, allowing the killer to be selected without the host knowing who it is.
A note from the author
We are living through some crazy times. In the short few weeks since this crisis unfolded, I have played and had a number of my games tested by players using Zoom. But these were written for real-life gameplay, so there may be some moments that aren’t perfect, so I ask for your understanding.
What I do know, is that the characters are fun to play, the set up can translate to this format, and where there is a will, there’s a way. I’m here to answer any questions you may have!
Most of my games are flexible and reusable, so when this all blows over, you can get all dressed up and lay a beautiful table for your guests as you welcome them into your home, and say wow, it’s so much more fun to play this in real life!