A murder mystery party works best with a minimum of about 10 people and a maximum of around 30. There are games for adults, for teens and for kids. The easiest thing to do is to order a box set game or download one from the Internet, which will include all the instructions you'll need. You, as the facilitator of the game, will receive:
- Instructions on how to coordinate the investigation of the murder
- Roles for all the suspects, including family backgrounds and "memories"
- Clues that can be exchanged or read aloud at critical moments
- Solution sheets for guessing who the killer is
- The "denouement," read aloud at the end of the party, revealing the killer and his or her motives and means
To make sure everything runs smoothly at the party, you'll need to prepare your guests properly ahead of time. In advance of the party, each guest will be assigned a character and sent a dossier of sorts -- a background of the characters, the pretend locale (aboard a ship, perhaps?) and the crime. Each guest also receives a booklet describing her particular character, including her background, goals, objectives and special abilities (and, of course, whether she's the murderer). If you're going the costume route (and we advise you do!), this information will help your guests put together their outfits. The guests also receive any special items they might need to play their characters.
When your guests arrive to the party, provide them with notebooks and pens, so they can jot down clues as the game progresses. Most games will come with itineraries, so the facilitator (you or someone else you've selected to be the facilitator) can make sure the group sticks to a time schedule and that the game moves along at a nice pace. At the end of the game, you'll collect your guests' solution sheets before revealing the killer, and see which one of your friends was the best sleuth!