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Creating your own Murder Mystery Dinner Party Game Scenarios

Updated on November 6, 2010

What is a Murder Mystery Dinner Party Game?

A murder mystery dinner party game is an interactive live action role-playing game where your guests take on the roles of suspects or sleuth’s and attempt to solve a murder.

The host decorates their home to represent the scene of the crime and the guests attend dressed in costumes playing the parts of their characters.

A murder will occur and the guests will try to identify the villain by investigating evidence, examining clues, and questioning each other until they can come to a conclusion.

Murder mystery games are a great way to liven up your next dinner party and offer your guests an experience that they will rant and rave about for months to come.

Choosing a Theme

When writing a murder mystery scenario, before anything else, you will want to establish some general details for the premise which will set the overall theme and atmosphere of the story.

When does the story take place? Your mystery could take place in any time period you may desire, past, present, or future. Choose a time period that interests you and do a some research for more inspiration if necessary.

Although rare, some murder mystery scenarios involve a specific genre, such as horror, science fiction, or fantasy and may include exotic supernatural story elements or plot devices such as vampires, zombies or ghosts.

Where does the story take place? Your mystery could take place just about anywhere in the world you could possibly imagine, or in cases of the science fiction murder mystery scenario, it could take place in outer space, on a space ship, a space station, or on another planet. You may not only need a geographical location but also a physical structure in which to place your scenario. This could be an old Manor, a Country Inn, a Hotel, or just about any other place that may suit your fancy.

Choosing a Scenario Event

Why has everyone come together? The suspects, sleuth's, and other characters of your story will require a plauseable situation to bring them together when the murder takes place. The stereotypical premise of many murder mystery scenarios is the 'Reading of the Will' plot. It can be just about any type of social gathering event or function  you can imagine. Wedding receptions, class reunions, awards ceremonies, are all great ideas and there are many more you could use to justify the reasons for everyone being present when the crime occurs.

Creating Characters

Your murder mystery scenario will need a victim, a villain, suspects, and perhaps some other supporting cast characters which may be witnesses or sleuth's.

Most murder mystery dinner party games consist of six to eight suspects, one of which will be the villain, and sometimes one or two of these characters will be murdered during the course of the investigation. In some cases the victim has already been established (and murdered)  when the game begins or it may take place later in the scenario as the story unfolds.

You will want to establish the gender, names, ages, and perhaps the occupations of all your characters that you will use within your scenario. Typically, writers of these murder mystery games like to create over the top or larger than life characters that will be both amusing and challenging for the players to act out while playing the game.

Clues, Evidence, and Redherrings

In order for the players to solve the mystery, they will have to discover the body of the victim at some point in the game story. Once the murder has occurred the investigation can begin and the clues and evidence can be gathered and examined. Some of these clues should be valid while some of them should be false or misleading redherrings.

The clues you use in your story could be just about anything you can imagine so long as they can be linked to one or more of the suspects, including the true villain of course. Clues could be anything from forensic evidence to the types of clues found in mystery books or movies. In real life crime scene investigations there are four types of evidence: Anecdotal, Testimonial, Statistical, and Analogical. You may use these types of evidence or clues in your story as well.

Time of death, cause of death, and the location where the body is found would also be considered important information needed to solve the crime.

Weapon, Motive, and Opportunity

The true villain (or murderer) in your story will need a legitimate motive or a valid reason for having killed the victim of the scenario. This motive will essentially become the basic plot for your story.

All of the main characters in your story should have or appear to have a motive for murder so that at first everyone could likely be guilty. Those investigating the circumstances of the murder would have to be able to determine who could be guilty or innocent by reason of deduction.

The murderer will also have to be linked to the cause of death. This generally involves some type of weapon or a method for murder. In many cases you would want some, but not all, of your suspects to be linked to some type of weapon or method of murder consistent with the victims cause of death.

The villain should have a shaky alibi at best and the most plauseable opportunity to comit the murder. Some suspects will have better alibis than others but it should eventually be found that the murderers alibi is false.  Once again, you would want some of, but not all of, your suspects to have some opportunity to have murdererd the victim in your scenario. 

Ask me anything you like!

I am new to Hub Pages but more than happy to answer any questions you may have about creating, writing, and hosting any or all of your Murder Mystery Dinner Party Game events.

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    • profile image

      K. 

      5 years ago

      Can the host be one of the suspects? We have only a total of 6 people, including a host. I can't really tell if this is possible from the pre-written ones, so I'm looking into writing my own.

    • profile image

      tammy 

      5 years ago

      I am looking into hosting a murder mystery dinner party! My twist is Im a Pampered Chef consultant and would like to incorporate a PC cooking show into one! Any ideas would be great!

    • profile image

      kristina 

      5 years ago

      is there a way to do this for a large church group and have the mystery but not the murder?

    • profile image

      Brianna Carlisle 

      6 years ago

      Dear Joyce F, sorry I took so long to respond, been so busy writing my next series of books. Although my book may very well be useful to you in creating your Mystery --in all honesty it is designed around the theme of murder. There are ideas for toning down the content and such but other non-murder related mysteries are not the focus here.

    • Joyce F profile image

      Joyce F 

      6 years ago from USA

      Brianna, using your book do you have to have a murder? Can the crime be some other type like a bungling accident or something? I like the idea of writing my own story, so I can control how dastardly the characters are. A murder would make a good story, but for a church group murder seems to be a little harsh. :-) We want to have mysteries to solve, we just don't want anyone to have to be a criminal.

    • Brianna_Carlisle profile imageAUTHOR

      Brianna_Carlisle 

      8 years ago from Colorado, USA

      For anyone interested I have written a how-to guide for writing and hosting your own Murder Mystery Dinner Party Games. Check the links, I don't want to post here to avoid spam. You can also follow me on twitter if you like.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Brianna-welcome to hubpages. Murder Mystery parties used to be the rage back in the 80's and 90's, although I don't hear about them too often any more--or perhaps, it's the location of where I am living now, LOL

      Great hub with clear information. Congratulations on your nomination. I've always wanted to attend one of these MM dinners so...this will motivate me to look this up in my area. Thanks.

    • profile image

      Brianna Carlisle 

      8 years ago

      Thank you all so much!

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 

      8 years ago from Texas

      Hhhhmmm, Now this would definitely change the dinner conversation for the norm that usually occurs at parties. Congrats, on being selected as one of this week's HubNugget Wannabe Nominees. Good luck to you! :)

    • elayne001 profile image

      Elayne 

      8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      Interesting dinner conversation and game. Thanks for sharing. Congrats on the nomination and good luck.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      I wonder what dinner would be like if we have a murder mystery to solve. Now I am intrigued. hahahahah Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination. Yiiipppeee....read all about it by following the links http://bit.ly/ayOBXG

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