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Subject: Murder Mystery Games rss

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Mike Smith
United States
Thompsons Station
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I don't even know if they're classified as games. I've never played one. You know what I'm talking about, though, those "How to Host a Murder Mystery Party" games. They're called something like that. Every time my wife sees one at the store she picks it up and looks at the back of the box, talking about interesting they look. I want to buy her one for Christmas, so I was hoping for some recommendations. We should be able to get together a group of just about any size to play it, but I don't know how interested they would be in ACTING like the characters, as some of the games seem to include instructions for what costumes everyone should wear, etc. I don't think the group would be good enough sports to take it that far. I don't mind if it's out of print if it's something popular enough that I can eBay up a copy. Again, any recommendations would be appreciated. Thanks very much. For taking the time to read this I will reward you with a photograph of a sleeping hedgehog.
 
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Jason Sample
United States
Pelham
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How to Host a...
First of all, I loved the hedgehog picture. I have some experience with these games and I will say that they can be a lot of fun, but the group needs to be into it. Anyone who likes a good Halloween party (with costumes, obviously) would like one of these. We played a mafia themed one of these once and it was a blast. It is more about getting into character and role-playing than game playing.

Give 'em a shot.
 
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Jason Pass
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Another less expensive option...
Try to pick up one of these games at a Thift store. I picked up one this weekend for $2, and saw two others for sale at a different store (for $3 and $4 respectively). It might be a better way to try it out with your group instead of dumping the $30+ they usually go for.
 
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eddie rey falucho
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I remember attending and hosting a few of these in college. It was a great way to interact with people you don't know. But like Jason stated, the people have to be into the whole theme and idea. I remember attending one party where one person just couldn't get it. I was just an "extra" so I didn't have a role but you could see/feel the discomfort the other people were having. Fortunately, he wasn't the killer (he stated it early); however, it took forever to get clues out of him which is vital for the experience.
 
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Bob
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My wife and I have have been hosting these each year for the last 7-8. We invite people who we think will get into their parts as that what makes the game. As far as recommmendations, I think the most fun we have had is the the Western themed one: The Good, the Bad, and the Guilty. Fun theme and reasonable difficult to solve, but not impossible. 2nd most fun: Saturday Night Cleaver as we are all in our 30s & 40s and lived through the 70s! Hate to admit it, but I'm still a BeeGees fancool In just a couple of weeks we are hosting this years party: A Matter of Faxe, so if you are still shoppong around I'll let you know how it goes. Most of the games are listed individually here on the Geek so you can look them up and see how others rated them. Ones I wouldn't recommend. Chicago Caper & Last Train to Paris.
Hope this helps, drop me a line if you have any other specific questions.
 
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We played one set in the 60s. I played a character named Phillip Mabong who was some sort of record producer type. It was a blast. Sure, it definately helps to play with folks who are into it, and alcohol certainly helps. Of the 8 people invited, 6 brought bottle of wine, and one brought a bottle of Maker's Mark. Needless to say, I don't remember who the killer was, but I enjoyed myself.
 
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Jon M
United Kingdom
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Don't bother
If your guests are not going to be into dressing up and acting in character it is not going to be fun. Try one where the constumes are not too outrageous (we have a skiing themed one to try) or where your guests may have an interest already (e.g. 70's nostalgia or whatever).

Do the people like party games? Have you tried werewolf with them? Are any ex RPGers?

I would second the large quantities of booze approach as this lets people loosen up a bit. I would recommend pre dinner drinks, liberal bottles of wine with dinner, a couple of digestifes and if any one is still standing only then start the game.

Good luck
 
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Randy Cox
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Whoa there--let's not listen to all that booze and wardrobe stuff
I've played a dozen or two of these games and own about 70 more that are waiting in the wings to be played (kids have to get a little older and afford us the opportunity).

In 2003, we hosted five such parties with lots of different players. Every one of them was fun and some of the plotlines were better than others (see my session reviews under Matter of Faxe, First Class Murder, Love & Marriage, and Wirst Case Scenario; didn't bother with Konan Castle, as it was pretty bad). Note: I don't give away results in any of the writeups, no matter what you may think from the text.

Here's the key point--if your wife is intrigued by the box, get one and host a party pronto. Here's an equally important point--you don't have to dress up. Some people give a token attempt at dressing up, but I almost never do and I'm the host! It does not detract from the experience one bit. Likewise, there's usually wine, but no one ever gets sloshed at my parties. We're all sober and have tons of fun.

They're great and you don't have to act at all. Plenty of my guests just show up and read the info straight from their booklets without trying to "act." Others act like they're just reading verbatim to throw us off the fact that they may be the killer.

Remember, the event is the thing. The fact that 8 friends and acquaintances get together to shoot the breeze and eat is the main attraction. There's also this neatly-packaged, structured game that helps avoid trying to come up with conversation that's not about politics or the weather.

The ones I'd suggest are pretty much any of the How to Host a Murder line (though I also didn't like Chicago Caper or Last Train from Paris and didn't care too much for the 60's one -- Tragical Mystery Tour). The Murder Mystery Party line is hit-or-miss, and there are a lot of titles out there on eBay from this company (University Games). The Canadian Max Haines Evening of Murder line is usually about as good as HTHAM, though usually not quite as deep in the plot department. I've played only one Mystery by Vincent (there are a dozen or so in the line), and it wasn't all that great--don't start with that one (for one thing, the games are no-frills, text only affairs).

Finally, don't try one of the "free form" murder parties (PartyZone line by TSR, plus a few British outfits). These are much more acting and less structured. Role players love this sort of thing, as it's no holds barred, but casual gamers enjoy the structure and safety of the How To Host style games (and, thankfully, that's the overwhelming majority of games available out there).

Summary: get a game. Any one will do. Invite people and explain to them that acting and dress-up are not required at all. All that is required is that they be in a mood to enjoy themselves and pretend they are a different person for most of the evening, accusing (nicely) and, more importantly, diverting attention as need be.
 
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Mike Smith
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Hey, thanks a lot for all the recommendations. I didn't realize these were included in the database, so I'll look through them and try to pick one out for her for Christmas.

Thanks again.
 
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