What are the Different Types of Murder Mystery Games?

There are so many different types of murder mystery games out there! If you’ve never played one before, it can be a little overwhelming to choose between them when you probably don’t know what you want.

So, we’ve written a guide to help you decide what you’re looking for in your perfect murder mystery party - 

Cold Case vs. Party

Cold case, or 'tabletop’ mystery games are not party games. In these, players examine materials such as evidence, interview transcripts and articles to solve a mystery, much like a police procedural type of mystery. Players are not in character, the focus is purely on solving the mystery. These can be played with just one or two people.

Murder Mystery Party Games are games in which players dress up and play characters in the story. The information needed to solve the mystery is imparted through interactions between characters and through clues which are revealed over the course of the game.

Golden Revolver Games are definitely party games!

Rounds vs. Free Form

Games which are formatted in Rounds are very structured, and best suited for playing round a dinner table. Information is released in rounds through characters reading scripts in turn, clues being released and characters asking each other set questions. There isn’t much improvisation and interactions are limited.

Freeform games are less structured. Characters mingle freely, but have set objectives and interactions to carry out, and players learn about each other and the wider story through these interactions. There's lots of room for improvisation. Clues are also a feature in these games.

Golden Revolver Games are mostly free form, but with some added structure. Characters mingle freely, improvising their set interactions and objectives. A few short speeches (such as a confession) and suspect interrogations add atmosphere and depth to the story, as well as ensuring a satisfying and solvable mystery.

Fixed Murderer vs. Randomly Assigned Murderer

In some games, the murderer is assigned at random either just before or during the game.This means the game can be played multiple times with a different murderer or outcome, but also means working out the murderer is guesswork. If working out a mystery is important to you, this is less satisfying because once the murderer has been revealed, you'll realise it could have been anyone and wasn't possible to deduce.

In games where there is a fixed murderer, the murderer will be the same each time the game is played, so wouldn't really be played with the same group of people. However, if working out the mystery is important (which is true for most players), this type is generally found to be more satisfying as the murderer can be deduced by considering the clues, interactions & backstory. There is often a richer story to these games.

Golden Revolver Games have a fixed murderer, which means the mystery is solvable rather than guesswork; the murderer can be deduced through the character interactions, clues and interrogations.

What Happens to the Murder Victim?

In some games, the victim becomes a 'ghost' for the remainder of the game. They can interact with others, and work alongside the other players to solve the mystery, but can't reveal their secrets.

In other games, the victim changes character and becomes the detective after the murder. As the detective, they then help to drive the action in the game, for example through interrogating the suspects. 

The murder can also occur before the start of the game, in which case a fake 'body' is set up for the characters to find. In this case, none of the characters play the victim. 

In most Golden Revolver Games, the victim returns as a detective and conducts the Suspect Interrogations. In our other games, which are designed to be shorter (Slaughter at the Speakeasy), the victim becomes a ghost, and can help solve the mystery with everyone else but cannot reveal their secrets.  

    Does the Murderer Know They’re the Murderer?

    In some cases, the murderer knows they're the murderer from the start of the game. In these cases, the host usually has to know who the murderer is, so can't work out the mystery alongside their guests.

    In most games, the murderer finds out they're the murderer after the murder happens. This is a fun option as the murderer then has the opportunity to test out their skills in deception. In these cases, the host usually doesn’t have to know and can therefore work out the mystery with their guests.

    In other games, the murderer doesn't know they're the murderer until it is revealed at the end. This means the host can play without knowing, but takes away a certain element of intrigue!

    In Golden Revolver Games, the murderer finds out they're the murderer after the murder occurs, meaning the host gets to play without knowing, and the murderer can try and deflect attention onto other characters.

      Can the Host Play Without Knowing Who the Murderer Is?

      In many games, the host can play without knowing who the murderer is, and these games usually advertise this. However, this is not the case for all, so double check before you buy if this is an important feature for you.

      In Golden Revolver Games, the host can play without knowing who the murderer is, so they can work with the other players to solve the mystery. The host can alternatively choose to find out beforehand, if they prefer to feel superior as their guests struggle!

      So now you know what's important to you in a murder mystery party, you can go and find the perfect one for you. If you're interested in a Golden Revolver Game, feel free to contact us in the chat, we're more than happy to help.
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