These Freeform Games titles differ from How to Host a Murder and its many imitators. Your guests won’t get rigid scripts with pre-set clues they must reveal (say) every 15 minutes. Instead, in advance of the party, you provide each guest a character profile with goals, contacts, and secrets, not unlike a conventional tabletop RPG. At the gathering, you all decide who to talk to, trust, or betray. In four hours or so, will the murderer be discovered? You won’t know until the party’s over.
With settings from Hawaii to Golden Age Hollywood to the Wild West, these .PDF kits include step-by-step instructions for the host, quick-start hints for guests, illustrated item cards, reference sheets, and much more. Many games provide versions for kids, extra “emergency characters” in case someone brings a friend, and other thoughtful touches.
This was our first collection of party games. If you’re not familiar with the murder-mystery party genre, see the July 2007 Escapist article “Murder Parties.” Check out Freeform’s free introductory ten-guest Way Out West game.
There were four party games in our Smaller Groups Collection (6-14 players, total retail value $120):
- A Will to Murder (6-9 players, retail $30): In 1930s Britain, a wealthy family feuds over the last will of their murdered patriarch.
- Lei’d to Rest (6-12 players, retail $30): A luau gone bad at a Hawaiian beach resort.
- A Heroic Death (8-12 players, retail $30): The Superheroic Justice Doom Squad has to save the world, but first they must escape their volcano headquarters.
- Way Out West (10-14 players, retail $30): The party’s on at the Silver Dollar Saloon in Cactus Gulch, 1884.
- Davy Jones’ Locker (10-15 players, retail $30): In Tortuga, 1785, Caribbean pirates aim for the big haul — or the keelhaul.
- Spellbound (13-17 players, retail $30): At the Tremaine School of Magic, students must investigate a memory-loss mystery while also taking final exams.
- Arabian Nights (18-24 players, retail $40): An hour after the Sultan announces his daughter’s betrothal to handsome Prince Ala ‘ad-Din, the young prince is found dead in the marketplace.
- Hollywood Lies (16-32 players, retail $50): At the post-award party for Dazzled to Death, film stars and producers wheel and deal despite the sad death of the award-winning star.