How would you go about creating a murder mystery game?

My parents are hotel managers and are currently managing a resort in a small town in the mountains of West Virginia. The resort is struggling getting people in and my dad, who helps my mom as he’s not in the medical condition to do anything physical, has a bunch of crazy ideas in booking and creating things to do to bring people in. They recently had an adult Easter Egg hunt during Easter (involving adults getting cash like 20s to 100 dollar bills, and coupons for free food and drinks) which was a huge success. And for Memorial Day weekend, they booked a country artist to sing for a concert. But they’re still thinking of things to do… and that’s where I come in.

Me, being the writer in the family, and also being a fan of murder stuff, my dad came to me with a proposition: create an interactive murder mystery game for a dinner party. He was originally going to buy one from a specific company, but it would cost the hotel thousands of dollars. So, that’s why he thought of me, and they’d pay me like 500 or so dollars (more if they use it and it becomes a success).

However, I’m struggling in creating the actual game part. Like… how the guests are able to interact. They don’t want it to be like other types of games where the guests mingle around as characters and try to figure out who is the culprit. They also don’t want actors, either. They want something where there’s a storyline that someone (like one of the main staff, probably my mom lol) would read as a narrator and the guests try to figure out the culprit based on asking questions and the clue they get in a box at their table.

Without knowing how many would arrive, they came up with wanting at least 10-15 boxes (clues) and I’m currently trying to figure out how I can go about setting up a script or narration and what kinds of things to add that can make it a game, at least long enough to be 3+ hours. :thinking:

How would you go about doing this?

  1. I’d study this like a play on a stage. My mother was in a play when I was about 10ish? She was the first character murdered. The things done to make sure a murder mystery play works are some of the same things you’d have to pull off in a resort.

  2. There’s experience games that do some of this already. We’ve got a store called Breaking the Code. That needs to be experienced to learn how to do the same yourself. They come with card starter packs as well, just for running immersion rooms. I’ve never done it, but I buy my neice and nephew’s tickets for Christmas because they don’t need things, but need family bonding time.

  3. To prevent issues with real idiots using a game, you’re going to want to be cautious? Designated players may need to be thoroughly exposed beforehand? And that may run into insurance issues as well as security pre-involvement.


I agree with @J.L.O about treating it as a play.
Does this have to be in one room while sitting at the same table?
If not, then maybe the narrator can take them through a tour of the hotel while showing it as the site of the murder and then having clues planted in the scenes as well. Not like the characters version, mind you, more like… it’s a guided tour with an imaginary story around it and all of them are detectives / each table is a group of detectives either listening to the story or watching it play out, and they can go interact with the crime scene(s) later.
And then maybe for each clue from the site, they get a corresponding clue from the box (in words).
Like suppose there’s two rooms, one normal and one that is a dressed up crime scene. And the guests will essentially play find the difference between the rooms and then for each difference they get a clue. Each group is assigned a site and a box, and using the clues from the site and the box, they figure out the answer, maybe…
But this would mean creating multiple pathways to finding the same answer or multiple stories


Do it like role-play. Where the people act out as a character you give them and create the story of how the person gets murdered, and the people have to figure out from clues from the other people to solve the mystery.

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Or you can always make it like a puzzle, or a clue game :thinking:

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From my understanding, the game will take place in a single room and with multiple tables (like a banquet or restaurant).

Unfortunately, my parents don’t want roleplay like actors or guests acting as a character. They want it like Clue (the board game) but in real life. :woman_shrugging:

I did have an idea, though?

Depending on how my parents would agree to this, each table is to find out the murderer through a series of riddles/codes and questions. They will have a questionnaire to fill out as the story goes on, and when the narrator says a riddle/code, the table is to talk amongst themselves to figure it out and when they do, you can find that corresponding answer in a box full of envelopes that contain the clue. Then you write the clue down in your questionnaire and continue on.

How does that sound?


Sounds like it could be fun!

Poo those were always fun, we did one in High School where my band teacher got “killed” and the band students acted out as characters that people needed to solve the mystery.

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