If you have not hosted a murder mystery party before, the experience can be a bit challenging. It really is not as difficult as most people think – games are pretty easy to host. But until you have hosted one or two events, these simple tips will make the host’s life a bit easier.

Getting started

Take time to plan for the event. The events are pretty wordy and may require a lot of time to absorb. People do not need to memorize every little detail of the game, but it will help to know everything. So, make sure to take time to plan ahead. Print out everything and read it ahead of the event.

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You do not need to understand it immediately. Skip over things that you find confusing and come back if you have time later. At some point, people need to prepare for the event. They will need envelopes for every character. These envelopes will contain character backgrounds, as well as the rules and regulations of the game. Usually, the details can be two to three bond paper long, plus some ability cards and items vital to the game.

 

Some people re-read the characters as they stuff the envelopes – it will remind them of who they are and what abilities and clues they start with. Individuals will most probably find it pretty useful to have various notes to hand as well. So, stuffing the packets with information, people will need to print another set if they need to refer to it during the game.

Experienced gamers have everything complete at least one week before the event (invitations and envelopes packed and stuffed). It will minimize the likelihood of last-second rushes. Emergencies will still happen, but with preparations already completed, these last-minute rushes are a lot easier to deal with.

Casting

There are ways to cast in this kind of game. Hosts can make the cast beforehand, or they can do it during the day of the event. Both have their weaknesses and strengths. One significant advantage of casting the players in advance is that the guests will have more time to prepare for their roles.

They can make or buy the right props and costumes, as well as help contribute to the mood of the game. One disadvantage of it is if someone in the group is assigned with an important character (let’s say the murderer) and cancels at the last minute. It will be a big problem since the host needs to recast that character.

It means that someone will have an inappropriate costume for their new part. If the host decides to cast on the day of the event, they need to encourage their guests to dress appropriately. It may mean that they lose a little moody, but it means they are not relying on any guest in particular.

Another option is to combine the two methods. Tell people in advance which characters they are playing, and leave some characters to cover all eventualities. Then there is the casting itself – how do people decide who will get which characters? There is no fast and hard rule for this, since nobody knows their friends the way they know them.

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Some hosts cast characters on a random basis, and according to people who attended these events, both methods seem to work. Hosts can also ask their guests what type of character they want to play – but then they run the risk of disappointing other people that do not like the characters assigned to them. Experts do not recommend sending out every character’s background in advance.

If hosts do that, they run the risk that their guests (either partners or close friends) may start playing before the event begins. The guests may accidentally give away essential secrets and unintentionally spoil the game for everyone. People also have another problem if guests drop out – they cannot give their characters to another player because they know essential information about their previous character. That is why people need to find an additional person who is not assigned a character before.

Catering

First and foremost – while most of these games are designed to be a sit-down meal game, some are not. Instead, players need to move freely around the room, talk privately with other players, or skulk in one corner of the room. They cannot do that if they are only sitting down and having a three-course meal. If people do want to provide meals, they have two options.

The first option is to provide meals in advance. Invite the guests early, give them food and drinks, and hand out the characters. The problem with dinner parties is that,guests rarely wanted to do anything after the meal other than digest the food they just have eaten.

Sit-down meals in the middle of the game do not work either, because it will break the mood and force participants into the kitchen – away from the competition. Another option is to give the participants finger foods like a cold buffet, pizza slices, or sandwiches. Finger food is the ideal meal for this kind of event. The participants can eat anytime they want while still focusing on the game. These kinds of foods will also require minimal effort to prepare.

Hosts can also ask the participants to contribute to the meal and help them with the workload. Drinks are another issue to address. It is very important to provide enough water or soft drinks. Games like murder mystery party and games are conversational, and the guests will soon become pretty thirsty.

Make sure to stock up on water, juice, coffee, soda, or whatever you think the guests will want to drink. Whether there will be alcohol depends on the host of the event. Too much alcoholic drinks usually ruin the game, so make sure to serve as little alcoholic drinks as possible. A small amount of alcohol can sometimes remove a participant’s inhibition and start the game moving.