Just because we’re socially distancing doesn’t mean that we still can’t have a blast! This post will be a follow-up to our “How to Host a Murder Mystery Party to Die For” and will dive more specifically into how to host one of our Zoom Edition Parties (which can actually be used on any video chat platform)! Murder Mystery Parties themselves can be quite daunting, but hosting one over Zoom can be even more intimidating (we know from personal experience). We’re hoping that this article will help any future or current party hosts virtually murder their friends in an effective manner (fictionally, of course, get off our backs FBI).
What’s Different? Whether you’ve played one of our In-Person games before or not, you may be wondering what sets this apart and makes it compatible with Zoom. Our main goal when creating a Murder Mystery Party Zoom format was to have a party that would be really easy to follow and keep things orderly over a video chat setting. After a long time of deliberating, here’s what we came up with:
1. Each Character will have their own Character Folder (digital), that you can email to your guests directly.
2. Each guest will get a Flip-Through Packet that they can easily follow along with as the host guides the evening.
3. Each round has scripted questions for your guests.
We find that these changes really make everything go smoother over a virtual setting. Because of the new formatting, when you purchase a Zoom Party, you will download a .zip folder that contains over 100 PDFs (20 Characters – 5 Files/ Character Folder and the Host’s PDFs). We know that can seem intimidating, but really we just wanted to make sure that everything was already organized for you and now all you have to do is assign a character to your friend and email them the folder with that character’s name on it!
Time to choose your party! We know, we know, we may sound biased, but a Murders Incorporated Party is an amazing and easy way to start planning your party! A kit will give you a pre-written story, in-depth characters, detailed instructions, an easy-to-follow timeline for the night of, posters for your party, and more! We pour hundreds of hours into editing, writing, and designing our stories to give our party hosts memorable mysteries without all the hassle! When considering which party is best for you, here are a few things to consider:
- What theme do you want to play? At the time of this article, Murders Inc. has three different Zoom options to choose from (1920s, An Invitation to Midnight Manor, and Murder at the North Pole) with plans to have more soon! It’s best to read through each item description and see which theme would be the most fun for you and your group!
- Take your group into account. Make sure to check out the character count and Master Character List for each story (listed in the item description) so that your party will match up with the number of guests you have coming as well as the male to female ratio.
Dive into the Instructions! Now that you have your party, it’s time to open it up and see what’s inside! Each party is going to come loaded with ways to make your party a blast, you’ll receive:
- Instructions. It’s always best to start with the instructions! These are going to tell you everything you need from “tips and tricks to party hosting” to “how to murder someone”. They’ll also include your timeline (which will be your guide for the night of) and a master character list that will help you assign your friends to their new mysterious personas! Don’t want to know who the murderer is? No problem! Just skip “The Conclusion/Reveal”.
- Characters. Speaking of assigning your friends to their characters, we always think that this is one of the most fun parts as a host! Using your Master Character List and your Meet the Suspects Sheet, you can begin to find the best fit for your guests. The new Meet the Suspects sheet contains the biography of each character so you can get a feel for them! Want to see all of the Character Cards in-depth? They’re located in the “Character Folders”.
There are a few different types of characters including Primary, Secondary, and (depending on how large your party is) Tertiary. Primary Characters are essential to the storyline, they may die, be the murderer, or be included in some essential pieces of evidence. Secondary Characters still have really fun and involved roles to play but they are non-essential, this way if they can’t make it the show will still go on! Tertiary Characters are just like Secondary Characters except that they build off of the Secondary Character so it’s best to assign these last. While assigning characters, make sure you choose your most involved and dependable friends to fill the primary roles!
- Evidence. Depending on which party you choose, there will be between 1-3 Murders throughout the evening! After each murder, there is an Evidence Reveal. These pieces of evidence are the key to solving who the murderer is! With Zoom Edition parties, each guest will have copies of all of the Evidence in their Flip-Through Packets. We always suggest reading each piece aloud for your guests (or assigning a guest to do it if you want to get more people involved!).
- Action Cards. These cards are completely optional and are designed to add some extra excitement to your party! You can find them in the Host’s Folder and will make an announcement about them once the party starts. Guests will be told that they can request one of these at any point in the evening at which point the host will choose one at random and read it aloud for that guest. Be warned, however, as they are high risk and high reward!
- Extras Package. This package is also optional and only included in newly designed or redesigned parties! It adds on some fun elements like wine labels and party posts. Each guest will get a copy of this in their flip-through packet so that everyone can choose to decorate together even though they’re apart.
- Voting Cards. Each guest will get a copy of a voting card in their Character Folder! They can choose to edit it with a PDF editor and send it to you, print it out and take a picture of it once it’s been completed, or even just message or text you their guesses for the evening!
Start Planning! Now that you know what your party entails, it’s time to start planning for your Murder Mystery Party! There are a lot of things to think about like your theme, venue, food, drinks, decor, photos, and more! Murders Incorporated recently launched two new areas of the website which are catered to party hosts to help make the planning process as easy as possible. Both are still in the early growth stages and feel free to read, contribute, or share anything you like on the pages! You can also check out our Pinterest page for lots of ideas as well! Pinterest is an amazing platform to start planning and seeing which design/style you like best!
- Plan. The Plan Section of our website allows for party hosts to simply enter their zip code and see professionals in their area that can help them plan their parties! These are small and local businesses that we’ve partnered with who are familiar with Murder Mystery Party planning and ready to help! We’re really passionate about supporting local businesses and, on this site, you can find DJs, Florists, Bakers, Photographers, Event Planners, Bartenders, Caterers, Favors, and Decor! We don’t have many yet as we’re still growing but if you (or someone you know) owns a small business that would like to partner with us, feel free to fill out the “Business Community Application” in the Plan Section!
- Blog. Check out our Blog for party tips, tricks, and ideas that we love!
It’s Party Time! You’ve planned the party, invited your guests, and now it’s the night of! Here are some good things to remember!
- Have fun! Party planning can be stressful, no doubt. Your nerves may be going, you may be a little anxious, but remember that this is going to be an amazing night and celebrate!
- Be in Character! The host sets the tone for the whole evening so, the more fun you’re having, the more fun your guests will! Being in character can seem a bit silly at times, but once you get into it, everyone else will, and the more everyone is in character, the better the night is!
- Follow your Instruction Packet and Timeline! Everything you need to know is in this packet! All you need to do is follow what it says when it says it and you’ll be golden.
- Get Dramatic! Remind guests that there are awards for best acted out death, best guess, and most in character. People love winning awards so it really makes the drama come to life.
- Take Pictures and Screenshots! Or assign someone else to! Trust us, you’re going to want to have pictures of everyone in character! With virtual parties, it’s fun to have everyone take their own selfies or mugshot photos and send them to you via chat. This way you can save all the photos of everyone individually as well as the screenshots!
- Have Fun (again)! We know, we wrote it twice. But, it’s true! Even after all of the parties that we’ve personally hosted, it’s easy to get nervous before the party starts. Once it gets going, however, all of those nerves wash away and it’s so much fun to watch people truly make the characters their own! It’s been just over two years since our first party and we still refer to our friends as their character names from the party that night. You’re going to have some great laughs and some hilarious inside jokes! Trust us, people will be talking about this party for a long time to come!
- Send us those pictures! Okay, this one’s totally optional but one of our favorite parts of this job is seeing all of your smiling mugshots! Feel free to send us your photos or tag us @murdersincorporated on Instagram or @mysteriesincorporated on Facebook for a chance to be featured! Don’t forget to follow us for updates, behind-the-scenes looks, and some murderous humor. And we love to hear your feedback as well! Please consider leaving us a review once your night has finished!
Thank you all and happy murdering!