Murder Mystery Games and Companies

         Here are some recommendations on commercially available murder mystery games, including companies and products. If you have any reviews or comments on any of the products listed below, please email me at <jhkim-at-darkshire-dot-net>. In general, I would try not to expect a sensible plot from most commercial mysteries. The emphasis is usually on whimsical fun rather than on logical mystery solving.

Bepuzzled Brand

         Makers of the ``Murder A La Carte'' series, a series of six-character m urder mysteries. The mysteries are boxed sets priced at $24.98 each. The company does not sell directly. Bepuzzled was acquired by University Games in February 1999.

University Games Corporation "Bepuzzled" Brand

The games include:

Brewing Trouble (6 to 8 Players)
Food, fun and drink at the Mountain High Beer Festival. The party's over when Harry Hopps is found murdered in a vat of beer. What a way to go...
Bullets `N' Barbecue (6 players)
In the Old West, in the town of Drygulch, the sheriff (named Take Noble) is shot in the back.
Chinese Takeout (6 to 8 players)
Set in a San Francisco townhouse, filled with memories of victim Emily Bogg's days in China.
Lethal Luau (6 to 8 players)
A Hawaiian-themed game, where a private detective has been killed.
Pasta Passion and Pistols (6 to 8 Players)
A restaurant owner in Little Italy named Pepi Roni is killed.
A Taste for Wine and Murder (6 to 8 Players)
The annual wine festival knocks the guests on their glasses, when the local vineyard owner is found buried underneath his wine cellar...

Similar catalogs include The Mind's Eye (1-800-949-3333) and Mindwares (1-800-999-0398).

Decipher, Inc.

         Makers of the ``How to Host a Murder'' series: eight-character murder mysteries done in a tongue-in-cheek style, generally featuring an introduction tape, and four rounds of various documents and character information.

Decipher, Inc.

The mysteries are boxed sets priced at around $30 each. It includes:

The Watersdown Affair
It is January 1936 at an English country mansion. Sir Roger Watersdown, the wealthy owner of Watersdown Beverages, Ltd., has invited several ``friends'' to a weekend party in the English countryside at Watersdown Mansion. But soon murder is discovered, and the guests must decide who among them committed the crime.
The Last Train From Paris
It is June 1940 aboard a train leaving Paris. The German troops are about to enter the city. Roads are a hopeless snarl; the trains are full with little space aboard them. Yet, to remain in the city would not be pleasant. Aboard a government train heading for the safety of southern France, a murder is discovered. Passengers must decide who committed the deed.
Grapes of Frath
It is June 1925 aboard a yacht in the Mediterranean. An internationally famous distributor of champagne and owner of a multi-national corporation has invited several close ``friends'' for a cruise aboard his luxury yacht. In a secluded bay in the Mediterranean, murder is discovered and it is left to the surviving guests to unravel the crime.
Archeologically Speaking, It's the Pits
It is June 1895. Arthur ``Art'' E. Faxe, the ecentric Englishman, has invited eight guessts to participate in an archeological ``dig'' at a site in Mesopotamia. Almost immediately, rumors circulate of an important ``find'', butt excitement gives way to dismay when murder is discovered.
The Chicago Caper
It is September 1928 in Chicago. Notorious gangster Harold ``Hal'' Coppone's return is expected to trigger a wave of violence. Instead, Coppone has disappeared, mystifying police and the criminal underworld alike. To the small group gathered in a speakeasy near Coppone's headquarters, the crimelord's whereabouts become only part of the mystery when murder is discovered.
Hoo Hung Woo
It is 8th century China at the Autumn Moon. Guests of the Hoo family have been invited to gather in the Grand Hall at Hoo House on Hoo-Hung-Woo Islands. Hoo Houses is an elegant Chinese mansion and the summer home of the Hoo family. As guests gather for an evening of reflection, poetry, and feasting, the celebration gives way to deadly dismay about hoo dunnit!
The Class of '54
It is 1959 in a small town in the U.S.A. The local high school class of 1954 has scheduled its 5th year reunion to coincide with the return to town of Rockford ``Rock'' N. Roley, the famous rock 'n roll star. Excitement is running high until the recollection of a high school prank leads to the discovery of murder!
The Hollywood Premiere of Powar and Greede
It is 1936 at the famous Powar Gardens Theater in Hollywood. The guests are gathered for the gala premiere of the film, ``Powar and Greede''. As guests arrive at a small private party for the cast, hosted by W. Anton Powar himself, Hollywood's elite mill about in anticipation. Excitement turns to horror as murder is discovered.
The Duke's Descent
It is September 1931 at an English country estate. The 13th Duke of Airesborne has invited his eight possible heirs to announce just who among them will be thte successor to his title. Before he can do that, however the Duke is murdered in a hot air balloon accident. The potential heirs must figure out who among them killed the Duke and the other unfortunate victims.
The Wall Street Scandal
It is October 20, 1987 in the New York penthouse apartment of mega-rich Wall Street financier Jon K. Bonds. Jon K. has called a special meeting of the Argonaut Fund Partners to discuss the impact of yesterday's stock market plunge. The partners arrive at 6:30PM to begin their meeting but discover murder instead.
All My Children
It is April 1990 at the Pine Valley Inn. Following one of Pine Valley's most glamorous and successful charity events, the noted benefactor and plastic surgeon Phil N. Thrope has invited several prominent business and society leaders to a meeting at the exclusive Inn. But he does not appear for dinner, and soon the guests are involved in solving a mysterious murder.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (TM)
Eight of the starship's must trustworthy crew members become suspects when the mythical Orb of Knowledge is actually discovered by a Federation mapping team. When the Orb disappears, containing all the knowledge known to exist in the Unverse, crew members become prime suspects in a mystery that is out-of-this world!
Teen Mystery: Hollywood High
It's the decade of the 90's, and a group of students at Hollywood High in California must solve a very hip mystery that threatens to destroy their school, their friends, and their livess. Designed especially for players aged 13-18, this episode has characters, setting, and a plot guaranteed to delight teens.

Dinner and a Murder Mystery Games

         Producer of interactive murder mystery party games, for between 8 and 50+ participants. The games have a normal range, and a separate extra character packet for larger groups. The games are available as boxed sets or for immediate download, plus including an online RSVP application for organizing the event.

Dinner and a Murder Mystery Games
Phone: 1-888-791-1635
Office Hours: Monday - Friday / 10:00 a.m. CST to 5:00 p.m. CST

Their games include:

Murder at the Four Deuces (10-20 players, or up to 50)
A roaring 1920's gangster murder mystery party game that takes place at the Four Deuces speakeasy.
Four Deuces - Tame (10-20 players, or up to 50)
The Tame version of Murder at the Four Deuces. Suitable for fund raisers, company team building events and groups a little more conservative.
Four Deuces 2 (10-20 players, or up to 50)
This sequel to our very popular Murder at the Four Deuces gangster game takes place 4 years later.
Death By Chocolate (8-21 players, or up to 31)
A girls pampering hen party, with a chocolate theme, and a little mystery too.
The Immortal Murders (8-20 Players, or up to 30)
Political Intrigue among the Vampyr (Vampire) Houses, Mage Guild, Were Clans & the Fae Court. Not your normal ghouls & goblins. A Costume Ball setting that is perfect for Halloween Parties!
The Santa Clause (8-20 players, or up to 40)
A contemporary murder mystery game that takes place at the Holiday Party of the law firm Lie, Cheat & Steal.
A Killer Reunion (8-20 players, or up to 33)
A very clean romantic murder mystery game with a Class Reunion theme. You can use any year or decade setting for this game. Suitable for conservative groups.
A Class of 57 (10-20 players, or up to 33)
For one night, we will return to the Fabulous Fifties, when Elvis was at the top of the charts. Sock hops, hula-hoops, and poodles were radioactive. Getting pinned meant something altogether different than it does these days. Suitable for conservative groups.

Freeform Games LLP

     A British company making mysteries making mysteries for small parties, available as downloadable files. They have seven mysteries (as of July 2004) which vary from 6-9 guests to 16-33 guests. The games are freeform, meaning that they are not broken up into rounds and have more character interaction. The games require one host/coordinator who will not be able to participate (i.e. he knows who the killer is). The authors emphasize making mysteries which are "challenging, intriguing, involving, and clearly written". Founded in 2001 by Steve Hatherley et al.

Freeform Games LLP

Haley Productions

     A company making Murder Mystery Dinner Party Games designed for 15 to 125 guests, described as "audience-participatory comedy". These are designed to have 6 to 8 volunteers who will act out the primary suspects, victims, detective and killer. They will have full knowledge of the script (i.e. they'll know whodunnit). Other guests can follow, participate in and witness the action, and question the suspects to find out whodunnit. The event will be about 1 1/2 to 2 hours long.

Haley Productions

     The imprint of author Tim Morrell, based in England. He has 14 murder mysteries for varying numbers of players - ranging from 4-5 players to 13-18 players. The games can be bought as PDF Version, Economy Version (UK delivery only), or Deluxe Version (UK and Worldwide delivery).

Murder In A Box

     An Australian company which produces a flexible series of "Premium Edition" games which require a host to guide the activity, and are available for different numbers of people: 2-15 people for AUD$120, 15-60 people for AUD$180, or 60-120 people for AUD$220. They also have "Standard Edition" Murder Mystery Dinner Parties are for 2 to 15 people.

Murder In a Box
PO Box 1202
Canning Bridge, Western Australia 6153


Murder On Us

     A thematic party planning company that specializes in murder mystery events, active since 1992. They do not published mysteries but can be hired for private and corporate events (no rates listed) which include catering as well as the mystery. They also conduct occaisional events where tickets are available to the general public -- generally at locations along the Pacific U.S. coast. See the web page for dates and locations.

Elisa Graybill
Murder On Us

     A company based in Omaha. The format is for eight people. Players are given complete information in their Character Packet, and are allowed to lie or do whatever they want in line with the character. It also tries for a logical rather than "cutesy" ending, complete with props for physical evidence. Contact info:

Ryan Renner

         The first mystery (as of March 2003) is entitled the "Rubber Chicken Caper". The Robber brothers, owners of the Robber Rubber Chicken Company are found dead in their island mansion, with only eight possible suspects.

Murder Mystery Games Limited

         An English company which sells participative murder mystery games for up to 200 guests, available for download from the website. There are four mysteries currently (July 2002) available online.

St Cakes
A mystery for up to 200 guests.
The Last Gasp
A mystery for 14 to 40 guests.
The Auction
A mystery for 12 to 40 guests.
Farthingay Manor
A mystery for 6 guests.

Murder to Measure

A British company offering "Tailor-made and off-the-peg murder mystery events" aimed at private or corporate parties, team-building exercises, Christmas parties, etc. They range from providing the scenario as well as costumed actors ("Contract Killing"), to providing a single host and helping preparations ("Assisted Suicide"), to only providing the scenario and prizes ("Suicide"). Prior events have ranged from 5 to 10 participants.

My Dark Secret

         An online mystery game, where you sign up for ongoing mysteries which are discussed. You sign up for the discussion group for free, and participate via chat and messaging.

The Original Murder Company

         A British company formed in 1991 which offers prepared events primarily for corporate entertainment and team-building. It is run by former police officers, and some of the storylines are even based on real-life crimes.

The Original Murder Company

         The company does not offer packaged commercial material, only professional services. As every murder mystery is different, depending on the requirements, there is no list of prices.

Pentalpha Game Corporation

         A Canadian company which produces boxed sets of murder mysteries, entitled "An Evening of Murder". They are all designed for 8 players, and include profiles for each character along with a cassette tape. Contact info:

Pentalpha Game Corporation

         The mysteries are generally for 8 people. They include invitations and name tags, character profiles, an audio CD or audio file, and the author's solution. There are limited titles currently in print, as well as over a dozen older titles available as downloadable PDFs or CDs. The mystery sets include:

'An Evening of Murder: A Feast to Die For'
A dinner party hostess, having served a lavish feast, is poisoned at the table.
'An Evening of Murder: Fatal Reunion'
A mystery set at a high school reunion, where the organizer (Norma Ashby) has been killed.
'An Evening of Murder: The Tangled Web'
A mystery set at a party of people meeting after knowing each other only online through the Internet. A waiter at the party was killed, whose ID matches one of the party members.
'An Evening of Murder: The Final Act'
A mystery set in a desserted studio, where the brother of a famous actor has determined to re-enact the events leading up to his brothers death. Unfortunately, his own death was the result.
'An Evening of Murder: Breaking Point'
A mystery set at a lighthouse, where the lighthouse keeper has been murdered.
'An Evening of Murder: Dead of Winter'
A mystery set at a secluded ski resort. An heiress about to inherit 1.2 billion dollars was been murdered.

Playing with Murder

     A company offering downloadable mystery games, including both Mystery Party Kits and 30 Minute Mysteries series. Party kits last from 90 minutes to a full evening for 8-32 players, with a week of prep recommended. 30 Minute Mysteries are for 8 players and can be played at any time with no preparation.

     A site run by Mystery Writers Ltd -- a British company based in Huntingdon, England. They have (as of October 2003) six boxed games, with 8 or 10 characters. The boxed games have a tongue-in-cheek style similar to the Decipher line. Their site also includes links to various commercial downloadable murder mysteries.

The boxed sets include:

'Murder at the Panto'
A murder set in a amateur theater (the Gusset-on-Navel Amateur Dramatic Society), where the producer and director was just killed.
'Murder by Magic'
The amateur magician Lord David Coppertone is killed at his new home, Magic Mansion.
'Murder in the Pits'
A murder set at a post-race party held by the sponsor of a racing-car team.
'Murder on Paradise Island'
A resort owner (Carrie Bean) is killed at her resort on a beautiful West Indian island.
'Murder at the Match'
A soccer player (Toni Totti), due to sign by Manchester United Football Club, is murdered at a post-match party.
'Death by Design'
The interior design star of the TV show Changing Homes and Gardens is killed at a party.

Tailor-Made Mysteries

     This is an Australian company which has 23 murders which are available for download via email or by mail-order. The kit range in size from the usual to larger ones (55-80 pages) than the usual.

YouDunit Productions

A small-press American company, with eight boxed sets of murder mystery dinner party games (as of January 2008). Each set comes with a Host guide with instructions and party ideas; invitation packs for your guests with matching envelopes; clues; name tags; character breakdown for each guest; and certificates for best actor, best sleuth, and best costume. The standard murder mystery games are for 6 to 12 players, though they also have the option for corporate scripts, online games, and custom-designed games. These sell for $20 to $25.

In addition to the boxed sets, they also have murder mystery themed corporate party & team building games; bed-and-breakfast weekend games; live performances by their cast; old fashioned murder mystery radio shows; online versions of murder mystery games; and an option for custom-made murder mystery games.


John H. Kim <jhkim-at-darkshire-dot-net>
Last modified: Mon Feb 4 10:10:18 2008