Write your own Murder Mystery Game! - Part 1 - Ideas and Introductions

Welcome to my blog!  I began writing murder mystery games many years ago after becoming bored with those on the market at the time.  I wanted something unique and personal which I could play with my family and friends which would give hours of fun and entertainment. 

I now want to share my experience with you and show how you can write your very own murder mystery game.  If you are new to my games, they are quite unique in that different characters can be the murderer and victim each time the game is played.  They also contain secret tasks for each character, unique character personality profiles, wacky costume suggestions and prolific confessions from the killers. 

Over the coming posts, you will see a step by step guide to putting together your murder mystery game.  Once you have completed and played it, I would love to know how you got on so please share your experiences and photos!  You’re also welcome to comment on these blog posts with any questions you may have.  So, let’s begin!


Part 1 – Ideas and Preparation

So we begin with what is an essential part of your murder mystery game, the ideas and preparation.  Sometimes this stage can take many weeks in itself.  If you want a truly great murder mystery game, it is important not to rush it.  Take time to really think about and come up with some great ideas.


The setting / Theme

The first thing you need to consider is where your murder mystery game is going to be set and whether there are any particular themes.  There are an endless choice available but its better if it’s something which appeals to you.  You may go for a 1950’s style or ancient Egypt.  Maybe a futuristic setting or one from the present day.  You may want to theme it around Halloween, Christmas, New Year or Valentine’s Day.  Maybe you want to theme it around a talent show or birthday celebration or during the reading of a Will!  The choices you have are endless.  I would always recommend going for an area that you are familiar with or enjoy to begin.


On Microsoft Word or an equivalent, start jotting down your theme and setting for your murder mystery party.  It doesn’t have to be concise at this point, just include any thoughts and ideas around the setting and the theme.  Save this Microsoft Word or equivalent file as “Ideas” as this is the sheet where you will write down and review all the ideas and amendments to your game. 


The Characters

The next step in the preparation is to decide how many characters you want to include in the game.  Again, this is completely up to you.  Remember you have quite a bit to include in about each character (as detailed in later posts) and so you don’t want to have too many, especially for your first game.  However, you also need enough characters to make the game interesting. 


When I developed my first game, I based the number of characters on how many people I believed would attend the party.  This is always a good basis for your game.  If you are still unsure, I would suggest between 8 and 10 players is always a good place to start.


Begin to think about how many male and female characters you want.  I usually go for a 50/50 split, however it is entirely up to you if you want to include more men than women or vice versa.  Again, thinking about who you intend to play the game with. 


You can also begin to think about how the characters know each other, e.g. are some married, or parents / children or brothers / sisters, work colleagues, friends, etc.


And that’s it for the first part!  So to summarise:

* Think of a theme and a setting

* Decide on the number of players

* Decide on male / female split

* Decide how the characters know each other

* Write all your notes down in an "Ideas" file 


Tune back in next time for more about developing the characters!