Miscellaneous By Ryan / November 30, 2017 Share 0 Tweet Pin 0 Share 0 Share 0 RYAN'S REVIEWMy Rating: Likes thumbs-o-up Well organized game packet. thumbs-o-up Great interaction among guests. thumbs-o-up Good characters and theme for the night. thumbs-o-up Good flow to the night. thumbs-o-up Option to include more guests. Dislikes thumbs-o-down Some storylines unused. thumbs-o-down Host knows which characters are extra if they set it up themselves. thumbs-o-down Little tricky to cut out clues for guests without seeing the solutions. Intro/First ImpressionsRecently we decided to host our first ever Murder Mystery Party. We didn’t know which company to use so we found some via Google (See our list of the Best Murder Mystery Party Companies here). One of the companies we found was My Mystery Party, and now that we have completed it we have a review for our readers. Don’t worry, as the title says, there are no spoilers!To preface this review, it should be noted that this was the first murder mystery party that I have done (only 1 out of the 6 Hexagamers had done one before). So that said, I don’t have much to compare it to other than my expectations. Though, I did look at it with a critical eye afterwards. Also, I was hosting the party while playing along, so I’ll try to add in thoughts on that as well.We decided on the 80s themed party, for the amazing costume opportunities… which definitely didn’t let us down (more on this later).The Purchase and DocumentsWe decided to do a digital download (PDF) of the party documents instead of having them mailed to us. Personally, I think this is the only way to go these days. Everything is instantly available and usually cheaper because it’s digital. I can say this process was clean and easy from this company.The documents came if a few PDF files, with most/all of the important stuff in one (68 page) file. This main document was very well organized and set up. It has a table of contents to let you know what different sections are on what page; plus, it also has notes on which ones you shouldn’t read if you are wanting to play along as the host.They give a quick synopsis and directions on what to do as the host of the party. For beginners, or experienced players for that matter, this is super helpful. I referenced it a few times throughout the night to make sure that we were on the right track.On top of the obvious things like round clues and character descriptions, there are also some bonus games in the document as well as name tags, and even menu options. Pretty much everything you would need to run your party.I will admit that next time I do one of these I will likely pick the specific pages I need and only print those ones off.More on the actual setting up of the clues in the Thoughts on Hosting post later.Pre-GameThere are some pre-game messages that get sent with this game, simple leads on some conversations you are going to have or could have during the night. This helps set the tone of people’s character and build some hype. Though, there wasn’t too much too this pre-game activity, it was still nice to get people in the right mindset.As people showed up to the party, we did mug shots for fun, since everyone was eventually going to be a suspect -- and so we could capture the amazing costumes that everyone had on. We figure we would do this early in the night in case costumes got wrecked or people had too many drinks.Almost everyone showed up in their costumes, and were in full character right from the get go. We were a little annoyed waiting on one guest who was late, but soon realized that they were ‘fashionably late’, since that was in their character description.Round OneI’ll start by saying this was my favourite round.It might have been because this was my first time doing one of these and I didn’t know what to expect, but mainly I think it was because it had the best interaction.You finally get to play your character role, and talk to others who are in full character. We had accents, attitudes, and acting to make things hilarious. It can be pretty hard to stay in character when you have one person karate chopping everything he see, and another who’s accent switches from Australian to English to something in between.For the actual game play, it worked really well for getting people to interact with each other. Each person received a small sheet of paper with things they can and can’t reveal. As well as things they are supposed to go talk to people about. Eg. Go talk to _________ about their new TV show and see if they have any openings for you.The openness of these interactions was great. You could lead right into your question or simply get them talking. The key being to get as much information out of them as possible. You want to really get to know their character so you can understand how they would interact with others, and obviously for their motives on the murder that was to follow.People would gather into groups of 2 or 3, interact with each other, and then move onto another group. In some scenarios you would be repeating the same information over again, but that’s ok. It helps to keep you in character. Also, some of the ‘info’ you had and shared would cause other people to share something you didn’t expect. Without giving a specific example, you might share something about why you are mad at someone for something, only to find out there is more to the story…or that that person is mad as well.This is the round that lasted the longest for us, and I think it is important that you not rush it. The more you can interact with people (even if they aren’t specifically on your character sheet of people to talk to) the more information you have. This also makes it easier to go back to them later in the game.The key take away from round one I found for beginners doing their first murder mystery party is that you don’t have to be afraid. You will be making small talk, but it is somewhat guided small talk. You have starting points as does everyone else. Plus, you can ask people ridiculous questions about their character and force them to make stuff up on the spot. Eg. Ask Nork from Pork if the females on his planet are good looking or not.Food TimeWe opted out of making food for everyone on this night, despite having food suggestions in the game packet. Reasons being that it would have been expensive and time consuming to prep food for everyone for dinner. We wanted to be able to enjoy the party and interactions without having to worry about how the food was doing.What we did instead was order pizza. I snuck away in the middle of round one and ordered enough for everyone (everyone pitched money so as to save some money).During dinner, some people broke character to interact with each other. Some people in our group don’t get to see each other that often, so they wanted to catch up a little. We weren’t too sticky about that, plus it can be a good break from your character so you have energy to do it again in the later rounds.Round Two (Pre-murder)This round was very similar to round one. Each person was given a new set of information/clues/things to do. A lot of the information built on the previous rounds, but there was some new information.Again, people went and talked in small groups gathering more information about each other. We found that we all had similarities of hating on one person. This made it somewhat obvious who was going to get murdered, but that didn’t matter. In fact, it added to the night, since it was now clear that everyone had a reason for ‘getting rid of’ that person.We probably could have let this round go on a little longer, but half of the items on the character cards were for pre-murder and half we for post-murder so we wanted to keep the flow of the round going instead of people getting bored.Round Two (Post-murder)Once one character gets murdered, the whole tone of the night changed. As it should. Thematically. You are at a party having a good time, then all of a sudden someone is killed, so you instantly switch to acquisition mode and investigation mode.In our case, it was pretty funny because, in character, we all ‘rejoiced’ once this person was gone. Which made it look like any one of us could have done it.There was still some interacting that went on after the murder, but we noticed a switch from small groups to larger groups interacting… there was some extra evidence that was presented and eventually we got to the point where we were all interacting as one big group. Ideally, I don’t think this is the way it is supposed to go, and you should keep moving around the room to talk to people and gather more information. Since this was our first time hosting one of these events, we simply let it play out naturally. Next time, we might force people to interact more to see how that way works.Having the WhoDunIt sheets was nice, so you could write down all the information you have gathered, but also somewhat stops people from walking around. Again, more effort to make people interact would have made this round last a lot longer. Plus, it more make it so that everyone’s information wasn’t symmetrical, and thus you would be able to determine who is the best detective a lot better. More on this in Round Three.At the end of the round, everyone passed in their sheets with their guesses of the murdered and why they did it. We also added on the sheets a place for the guests to vote on:Best DressedBest Actor(ess)Best SluethRound ThreeThis is the round which reveals who the actual murdered was, along with all the other guests reasons for their innocence. With this particular company, guests read in a particular order until the murderer is revealed. This is a fun way to do it as it slowly builds towards the murderer and their motive.Though, what we did before all this was each person took a turn to say out loud who they thought the murderer was and why they did it. This was a pretty fun part of the night. Partially because everyone’s guesses were all over the map, and partially to hear what everyone came up with for answers to the crime.Once everyone starts reading, you can see the deflation in people who guessed wrong. In our case, there was only 4 of 12 people that got it right, 2 of which were the murderer and the victim.Once all was revealed we did prizes for the three areas mentioned earlier. Prizes are optional, but we wanted everyone to have a good memory of the night, so we did Ghost Blitz, a bottle of wine, and some chocolate bars.Bonus Games and Other ThoughtsWe played a few of the provided bonus games throughout the night. There were trivia contests, guessing games, and a spirited/hilarious game of keeping the balloon up as long as possible without hands.For the most part these are just fillers and to added some variety to your night. They were super fun and I highly recommend doing them. We ended up doing one of them after everything was solved and people could concentrate on it more, but inserting them whenever you want can extend the night and thus the fun.There were a few storylines that came up among a few guests that never went anywhere. We figure that these might have been more important with more participants (we didn’t maximize all the available guests). Though, this occurred with a couple of people, and while it helped them to talk about things, it was irrelevant to the other guests, especially because they were told to keep this information quiet.Personally, I missed out on some key information that I needed to help solve the murder. I had it narrowed down to 2 people, but had to take a guess on which it was. I was originally upset this wasn’t shared with me, but the reality is that it is my own fault. I should have made more conversations with people, since I didn’t interact with this one specific character very much. Lessons learned! That shouldn’t be an issue for most people unless they have guests that deliberately withhold information.In our game we pre-decided that the victim would not be able to talk after they we killed. Since they were a ghost of themselves and all. The game packet says you can let them talk or not, up to you. For our night, this worked out amazingly. Props are given here to the victim for being a good sport and having the personality to pull it off. My suggestion is that you vote on this before the night starts so everyone knows before the game and don’t feel like they are being ‘picked on’. Some games handle the victim differently than others, so look into this when choosing a company to go with.ConclusionI felt the night was a huge success, especially since this was our first attempt. The night went smoothly, the costumes were on point, and everyone was laughing and having a great time the whole night.I’m very aware the group of people you choose to do this night with is the biggest factor on whether the night is enjoyable or not. Luckily for us, our group of friend went all in and made it amazing!The game/company we used worked out very well. Other than a couple of small things we noticed, the game itself worked great. We would definitely use them again in the future, plus the price was reasonable and comparable to the other companies.There are a number of great murder mystery party companies out there, and we plan on trying them all out. Be sure to check back for reviews of more murder mystery parties to help you find the one that is the best choice for you.