How We Picked Murder Mystery Games
As we compiled our list of murder mystery games, we chose to eliminate traditional board games and boxed games like Clue and instead focused on roleplay games that can add an element of mysterious fun to your next party. All of the companies we feature make their games readily available online. Additionally, we chose manufacturers that offer mysteries that suit a variety of tastes and age groups, cater to groups of any size, and are customizable.
Do you consider yourself a budding Nancy Drew or Hercule Poirot? Maybe you're more of a Sherlock Holmes, or perhaps supernatural sleuthing is more your thing. The murder mystery game makers we feature have plenty of themes for your whodunit event, including fantasy and medieval, Christmas, Halloween, time periods like the 1950s, and more. We looked at what you get with your murder mystery party kit, as some companies offer basic but functional packages, while others include extras like email invitations.
Before you start your search for the best murder mystery game for your party, it’s important to consider how many people are in your group and who comprises it; some games only facilitate a certain number of guests, and if there are children present, the content needs to be age appropriate. Some companies go above and beyond when it comes to help and support, offering extensive resource lists; blogs full of hints, tips and ideas; and community forums. Check out our other articles on family entertainment if you want to learn more.
Best Murder Mystery Game for Families
SimpliFun makes games that cater to adults, but it also has an extensive selection of mysteries for children and families. It has mystery and murder mystery party kits for kids as young as 6 years old, as well as non-mystery party kits for kids as young as 1 year old. In addition to traditional mystery and murder mystery kits, you can purchase scavenger hunt mystery kits of differing difficulty levels. Its kits come in a variety of themes and include holiday mysteries, treasure hunts and party packs that can inject some festive flair into your Halloween, Christmas and other seasonal gatherings. There are even options for youngsters throwing all-girl, all-boy and slumber parties that have entirely female or male casts.
Unlike some companies that make murder mystery party kits, SimpliFun has options for the whole family, including sleepover, scavenger hunt and treasure hunt mysteries just for children. In addition to its mysteries and murder mysteries, SimpliFun sells themed party packs for children as young as 1.
Best Murder Mystery Game for Adults
Shot In The Dark Mysteries makes games for children, teens and families, but it is our recommendation for murder mysteries for adults. We chose this company because of the depth of its mysteries and the "mingle mystery" format it uses to encourage guests to interact with one another, as well as its selection of themes and versatile storylines.
When you purchase one of its mystery games, you get a comprehensive pack of goodies, including character complexity information so you can decide just who should be assigned which character. You also get a link to the PLAY! site where you and your guests can view a trailer, get a sneak peak of some of the suspects and more. If your guest list requires a different number of suspects or a different male to female ratio, you can contact the company, and with enough notice, it can create a version of your chosen mystery to fit your group.
Best Murder Mystery Game for Large Groups
Merri Mysteries sells mystery and murder mystery party game kits for groups of up to 100 guests. This, combined with its detailed character cards and variety of themes, makes it our pick for the best murder mysteries for large groups.
This site's mix-and-mingle murder mysteries can accommodate 17 to 100 participants. Each guest holds at least one clue, and he or she must talk with other guests to get more clues and information to solve the mystery. Each suspect has answers to character-specific questions on his or her own card. While the mysteries are scripted, adlib is also encouraged. These kits are great for gatherings with family and friends but work equally well for office parties and other corporate events.
Merri Mysteries sells murder mysteries, as well as mysteries without the murders, that are suitable for adults, families, children and educators with a variety of themes. The company’s games accommodate different group sizes, from eight guests to over 100. None of the adult murder mysteries include profanity, so most kits are suitable for conservative events like work parties and church activities.
There are a few common mystery game themes you can find at most of the companies we highlight, including wild west, roaring 20s and gangster, tropical, and vampire and ghost stories. Some companies carry mysteries with steampunk, zombie, medieval and fantasy, and chocolate themes, as well as other fantastical or period themes, but these are definitely more niche.
Many mystery games work well if you are planning a costume party, especially if you want your guests to dress in period clothing. Others, like a mystery about a high school reunion or a superhero and supervillain, can be set in any time and place you want, as the content of the mystery isn't integrated with a specific era or location. Some sites even recommend specific mysteries based on the theme of your murder mystery party.
Different companies include different supplies with their murder mystery kits. At their most basic, the best murder mystery games come with detailed, well-crafted plots; engaging character cards you can give your guests; and host guides.
In addition to these basics, some games come with sneak previews or trailers you can use to entice your invitees. Other items you may find in your murder mystery kit include name tags, accusation forms, clue cards, invitations, email invitations, MP3 downloads and suspect guides.
Group Size & Type
To a large extent, the murder mystery game you choose hinges on your guest list. Depending on the company you purchase from, you can throw a party with as few as four people to more than 100.
Some sites sell packs with extra characters, in case your group exceeds the maximum number of mystery participants. However, these characters tend to be less involved in the story.
When you host a family party or a party for children, it is also important to choose a murder mystery kit that is age appropriate. Similarly, many companies specify which of their adult games are clean or tame, so you can match the content to the tastes of your guests and tone you want to set.
Help & Support
The best murder mystery games offer plenty of help and support. Besides email and phone contact information, some sites have FAQs and help videos. Additionally, many companies have community forums and blogs where you can find helpful tips and ideas for hosting, costuming, saving money and preparing a menu. Some companies also provide resource lists, containing links to sites that offer costume supplies, decorations, hosting essentials and other items.