Killing it with Murder Mystery Parties

At the start of this year I moved to Narrabri, a NSW country town at least five hours from anything bigger than itself. Despite having a two screen cinema and a couple of ten pin bowling lanes in the back of a pub, it remains a town where one is required to make ones own fun. Thankfully, most people are in the same boat. While meat raffle Wednesdays at the RSL are fairly stimulating, we needed something extra (and an excuse to use up all our meat winnings). For whatever reason, that extra thing has turned out to be murder mystery parties.

Having never played a murder mystery game before I did not know what to expect. A friend organised the first one and as soon as she mentioned it was pirate themed I put my hook up to get involved. I just think pirates are cool. Whether it is correct or not, my original impression was of people sitting down to dinner and talking across the table. The version we were playing was from a company called Freeform games, and as the name suggests, there was a bit more too it than I had originally thought.

A few weeks before the date we were each given a character summary and a background to the events of the night. This helped us to understand what to do and to get our sweet costumes ready. It turned out that the dread pirate Captain Flint (of Treasure Island fame) had been murdered! The two ships under his command had anchored off a tropical island which was inhabited by native as well as a collection of other misfits. Not only was this the island on which Captain Flint had buried his treasure, but the volcano in the centre of the island was going to erupt in a few short hours. The scene was set for intrigue, mutiny and a mad scramble to find the treasure and leave on one of the two remaining ships, possible as a new captain.

With snacks laid out all around the large living room of our accommodations, we each received a packet of information about our characters. Within we found a detailed background, our secrets and goals, and various items and abilities to use to help or hinder our fellow guests. Some of us put on questionable accents, there was the occasional swordfight and I managed to ‘poison’ a few key players by having them take a swig of my homemade grog. In the end it was a great night and I achieved all of my goals (no big deal).

Our second foray came from the same company, but had a circus theme. The well loved performing dwarf JoJo Bones had been found dead near the lion enclosure. As one of the main performers I was aiming to get out and start my own circus company. The game involved a crime ring, art theft, embezzlement, bribery, and likely unique to our particular playthrough, a polygamous wedding involving two Russian brothers and their shared love, presided over by their sister. Anything is possible if you use your imagination!

At the moment of writing I am planning to host our next adventure, which has an Arabian Nights theme. As the host I get to read through a detailed description of everything, and each individual characters goals, secrets and abilities. Also I get to dress up as a genie. I can’t wait.

Check out Freeform Games or any other murder mystery company for a good way to have an awesome night of dress ups, strategy and roleplaying.


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