Frequently Asked Questions
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What are the complete steps involved in planning and hosting a mystery dinner party?
- The first step in planning your party is to choose which of our fives games to play. Each of our games is suitable for adults, but depending on your setting (indoor/outdoor, fancy/casual), you can tailor your game to your liking. We recommend youth under eighteen play Mystery at the Movies, since this game has been created with a younger crowd in mind, in terms of topics covered and crime details, although adults also greatly enjoy this game and would not notice it being any different than the others, with the exception that it is a missing persons case versus a murder case.
- The second step is purchasing the game you chose, and if you need more than ten characters, making sure to purchase the ‘Ten Extra Players Download’ as well. After you purchase the kit, next read the Party Planning Booklet from cover to cover.
- The third step is choosing which of your friends will play each character, and getting their invites to them via email, snail mail, or even more easily, asking them to view their invite and character pages at your chosen game’s website at www.suppersleuths.com. We recommend using a simple invite online like “Evite” to give guests the date and time, details and to direct them to our site for their particular player pages.
- Next, plan the menu, and while you can make everything yourself, you will likely want to ask attendees to each bring one of the courses for the group. Make sure they know how many guests will attend. Recipes are included on each game page so you don’t have to get caught up in splitting a menu yourself. You can alternately order take-out or pizza or have your event catered so food preparation is not an issue. Let guests bringing recipes know recipes don’t have to be exact, but make sure you all consider others’ major food allergies.
- Plan your costume and decorations. When you download your game, you will see simple but effective decorating tips included in the Party Planning Booklet. These ideas will help you to inexpensively create a great setting. Choose a table or hall that would be ideal for pictures of each character or couple and decorate that area a bit even if you don’t have time for a more elaborate setting. Your costume can be as simple as using things you find at home, such as clothing and makeup to create an artistic representation of your character, or as elaborate as visiting www.buycostumes.com or a local store to purchse the perfect attire and makeup.
- Print the game file or contact us if you would like it split to upload onto tablets. We suggest color printing for the covers and clues if possible, but this is not necessary. You can use a home printer or ask a print shop to do the printing. If you play on tablets, be sure to print out the certificates and ballots for after the game. If you purchased the Extra Characters Kit, print off their invitations and ballots also, so they have something to refer to and read from at dinner!
- Remind your guests of the event (and if applicable, recipes you asked them to bring) a few days in advance, telling them they need to give you as much notice if possible for a cancellation so you can be sure to rearrange characters. IMPORTANT: Make sure there are at least eight players for your game.
- Go shopping before the event, making sure to purchase take-home containers as well as ingredients for prize cookies for the winners of the three awards given at the end of the night (you will use ballots to vote on ‘Best Sleuth, Actor & Costume.’). Instead of cookies, you can also purchase a prize that is theme-oriented so you don’t have to bake as much (ex: movie theater candy and popcorn for Mystery at the Movies or a famous art poster for Murder at the Museum)! Optionally, you can also get name tags to make sure your friends know their character names for the night. Feel free to buy favors for each guest as well, but this is not a necessity.
- On the day of the event, prepare your cooking/meal ahead of time so you won’t have to be in the kitchen during the fun. Warm things in the oven, ask friends to help beforehand, or do only the final step between rounds. Get into costume after you have decorated and set the table with the player booklets you have printed. Even if you don’t have a role in the game as host (although it’s usually more fun if you do), wear something to go along with the theme. Play music that will nicely complement your game theme, using Pandora or the theme music suggested in your Party Planning booklet. Use props to create a fun setting, such as interesting or dimmed lighting, caution/crime scene tape, and posters or photos, etc. if you like! Place Player Booklets and pens at seats around the table, and set a camera next to your place setting, so you can snap photos all night long.
- When the guests arrive, briefly introduce them to one another first by their real names, so they are comfortable with the others in the room, and before they are asked to engage in theatrics with them! Seat everyone at their table setting (no particular order) and ask them to familiarize themselves with the first couple of pages of their player booklets and to open to the ‘Appetizer Round’ after that. Serve the appetizer food and a beverage, and your night will have officially taken off.
- Now, game play begins. You or your co-host or another character can read the opening comments in the Party Planning booklet, as well as the Crime Scene Evidence. Pass the Crime Scene Evidence around (or your tablet, if it is on it), and direct the players to look at the ‘Appetizer Round’ pages of their booklets, and in the order specified, to read from them. After everyone has shared this round, leave a few minutes for questions and answers, and to get things warmed up, ask a few of your own questions to various players. You have completed the first round, and now you can ask a guest to help you clear places and begin the fun all over again, until each of the next three rounds is completed.
- While you are swapping dishes between rounds, ask a co-host to conduct the three bonus rounds with the players (one between each of the next three rounds), so guests are continually entertained. (These are not mandatory, but greatly add to the fun, competition and loosening up of the guests).
- After the final discussions and interrogations take place in the Dessert Round, ask characters to write down who they think committed the crime on the last page of their player booklets. Everyone should then go around and share who they think committed the crime and why. Now it is time for you as host to either read or choose another theatrical player to read the Final Verdict. One of the players will be revealed as guilty.
- As your guests discuss the crime and the ‘criminal’ shares about his or her scheming ways, you can pass out ballots so guests can vote on their favorite actors, costumes and sleuths. Tally up the votes and give certificates (and if you have them, prizes) for the winners of each category.
- Allow your guests time to linger, to talk about your amazing party and don’t forget to take pictures of everyone after the night is through. Finally, choose who will be the next host of a Supper Sleuths mystery dinner game! If you send us a comment or picture of your event, you get a $5 off coupon also!
- Most importantly, have fun! As host, the group is relying on you to lead and model the way to a good time, so don’t let little things worry you, like someone forgetting when to speak or a food item not being perfect. Get into character, be dramatic, and laugh a lot – others are sure to follow your lead and you will all have a great time!
How can I prepare my guests for the party?
It’s easy. Once you have decided which game to play and assigned your guests their roles, you can send them to our site for everything they need, including their invitations, recipes and player pages, so they know how to dress, how to prepare and act, and how to make any recipes you’ve asked them to bring. There is even a link to the www.buycostumes.com shop if they’d like to purchase their attire.
Can we custom tailor your games to fit the needs of our group?
While our games are copyrighted, we don’t mind if you add elements to game play to make your group’s event highlighted. For instance, if you are hosting a birthday party, you could pretend it is one of the character’s birthdays (the one who is having the birthday, obviously) and it won’t influence the game at all as long as your friends know you made this change. If you would like to change player info, remember this rule: Feel free to add on but don’t take out. Nearly everything in each player booklet has relevance to the weight of the evidence and taking something out changes the whole dynamic of the conclusion. Should you try to add a special twist, you as host should read the Final Verdict to make sure you don’t lead away from the real conclusion. Hope you have fun, and let us know if you have further questions! If you would like a custom game, we are happy to assist. Just write to us from our contact page
Can we play with fewer than eight guests?
In order to get the most out of our games, you do best with eight players. We suggest asking your guests to ask interested friends also or switching the night to include more folks. In our experience, you do not have to know a person wellto enjoy these games together, since everyone is acting all night anyway. That being said, you can add a whole new level of fun if you play with close friends with whom you can really let your guard down! Finally, if you still want to proceed with six players, write us twenty-four hours beforehand and we can give you some details which will require some spoilers, but will help you to proceed with less confusion.
How can we play on tablets?
Simple. After you purchase your game, write to us and tell us how you want to game divided (four on tablets and four on paper, all on tablets, etc.), and we will make sure to send you the files to whichever email(s) you prefer. Open up the PDF file on your tablet, and scroll to play! You can do your entire game on tablets if you like, with you ask host having the Party Planning booklet, Bonus Rounds, Crime Scene Evidence and Final Verdict on your tablet! However, we do recommend printing the certificates and ballots, since guests just love voting at the end!
Do you have a study guide I can use with Mystery at the Movies?
Yes, this study guide is included in your game download, and is a wonderful way to talk about the biblical allegory of the game, since Ransom, who has gone missing, has many Christ-like characteristics, and the players of the game all resemble certain biblical characters’ strengths and foibles. The game centers around sin and redemption, and there are unique opportunities in the study guide for individuals to share about their own struggles as they relate with their own characters’ highs and lows.
I bought the ‘10 Extra Characters Download’ and I only have need for three of the characters. Is this ok?
This is totally fine. You can choose whichever three characters you like best and assign your guests to those. Each character in the packet is independent of the others. The only essential players are the eight suspects listed first on each of our game pages.
Can we play with more than twenty guests?
Definitely. There are at least three ways of doing this successfully.
- Place your first twenty guests in all of the suspects and extra guests we provide in you, and then have other guests come dressed as “friends and relatives” of those characters. For example, in Murder at the Museum, Jasmine Lipton is an art benefactress and a cat lover with a capital L. At her table, you could ask guests to come dressed as her butler, her maid, her frisky beau, and her annoying dog-loving younger sister. Make sure to ask these extra guests to bring add-on dishes so you have plenty of food to go around. Tell them to ad-lib, accuse, act, play bonus rounds, etc. Print them extra ballots so they can vote also!
- At a large group event, assign eight to ten guests at each table and have each individual table represent one full game. Buy enough copies of the game for your large group, or ask us about our commercial package. Set the Crime Scene Evidence at a separate table so everyone has access to it, along with any props. Have an emcee with a loud voice or microphone go from table to table to see how the guests are acting and getting along, and reminding guests at the end of the evening what each clue was, since each group’s clue will be the same. Have this emcee announce the Final Verdict, and play bonus rounds as tables or as a large group, and you will have a wonderful time! Make sure you print the ballots for each guest to vote!
- Have us custom create extra characters for your party! Contact us from our contact page to get a price quote for this awesome and well-priced option.
Do we have to eat while we play?
No. We know that while most people will enjoy eating while they play, some groups play our games on a retreat, at work, or in a small group and eating is not a necessity, just a fun way to switch between rounds. If you don’t play with food, we recommend definitely playing all three bonus rounds. Begin with “Appetizer Round” and then after that, play one bonus round in between each of the next three courses, switching to the next rounds of, “Soup/Salad,” “Main Course,” and “Dessert” at each interval.
How old do you have to be to play a Supper Sleuths game?
We recommend players be at least eighteen for our four murder mysteries, and at least fourteen for our mystery dinner game Mystery at the Movies. Of course, some fourteen year olds are not appropriate as players, since some are still very immature and some twelve year olds may even be mature enough. Parents or guardians who are concerned should read through each game character to discern whether their child is old enough to play. Characters deal with a few mature themes such as gambling, thievery, and of course one player’s character will be the murderer, though there is nothing grisly. Some children are not well suited for a game on this level, and in that case we suggest a more child friendly mystery game altogether for them to play, such as Master Detective Clue, while the adults play one of the Supper Sleuths games.
Are the script and player booklets fully-inclusive or is ad-libbing recommended?
We have created the booklets to be fully-inclusive for a more predictable night, or an especially reticent or shy crowd, and so each person can feel free to either read directly from their player booklets or to simply ad lib the important details. A quieter person may surprise you by how flamboyant they become in their characters’ skin, while an extrovert may surprisingly need the script. We totally recommend ad-libbing as long as you don’t take anything you need to share out, of course!
I don’t see my question listed here?
Please send us your question from our contact page and we’ll get back to you with an answer within 48 hours.
I don't have a PayPal account, how do I buy a game?
No worries! You can pay through PayPal without an account or the need to set one up, just click here for instructions.
What suggestions do you have for decorating?
As far as decor goes, it’s all about the game theme! Each game comes with a Party Planning booklet with specific decorating tips to give you many specific ideas, but in general, make sure you use your game theme to create a setting that will add to the theatrics of the game. For example if you are playing our museum game, your party may have a formal flair and you may want to utilize jazz or classical music and fake art posters to create a posh artsy feel. Serve your drinks in wine glasses and create a poster for your door or entryway that reads, “The Rall Museum.” If you’re playing the county fair game for example, you are going to go casual and outdoorsy with decor obviously (for drinks, think mason jars with berry lemonade and a sprig of mint – or simple cans of soda), and you can play country music, Elvis Presley, or oldies. You can also visit our Facebook & Pinterest page for great visuals of how others have decorated!
Can we use your games for a large group fundraising or church event?
Yes, at a large group event, assign eight to ten guests at each table and have each individual table represent one full game. Buy enough copies of the game for your large group, or ask us about our commercial package, which can be tailored for 99+ guests. Set the crime scene evidence at a separate table so everyone has access to it, along with any props. Have an emcee with a loud voice or microphone go from table to table to see how the guests are acting and getting along, and reminding guests at the end of the evening what each clue was, since each group’s clue will be the same. Have this emcee announce the Final Verdict to everyone at once, and you can play bonus rounds as tables or as a large group. If you are collecting donations for a not-for-profit, charge guests admission at the door and have a raffle for a theme-related prize at the end of the game! Other ideas are to sell photos of each couple, have a theme-based bake sale at the event, or to auction off special props from the night (ex: Elvis’ wig, Olympic athlete’s shoes, etc.).
Do you customize games?
Yes, we will add on new extra characters for $4.99 each, and for a completely customized game package, depending on your need, our prices range from $49.99 to $199.99 US dollars for 8 to 20 players (and more for more players). We hold copyright for any of our add-on writings, including completely customized games. Please write to us from our contact page to give and get details of your next customized special event!
Can I buy a package that includes character costumes and a printed game?
You can buy a printed game from us for the rate of $99.99. It will have everything you need printed and shipped to you via priority mail, including party planning booklet, invitations, envelopes, recipes, stapled player booklets and clues, final verdict, crime scene evidence, nametags, and bonus round activities so you don’t have to do anything except (if you want) decorate and plan the menu. Since sizes of costumes for all guests are different, we recommend you use the simple link through our site to get your attire. Here is that link: www.buycostumes.com
What is your age recommendation for Mystery at the Movies?
We cannot say with firm certainty who is ready for our games since often “age ain’t nothing but a number” and some sixty year olds are too immature. However, the jokes even in this more youth-oriented game would go above the heads of most guests under the age of fourteen. For a safe bet, this game is best played by those sixteen and up.
The games say 8 to 10 players for the initial package. Can we play with nine?
Absolutely. The ninth and tenth guest are not suspects, but they have full player booklets just like the first eight players. Choose the male or female guest out of the two (there is one of each), and your ninth player should fit in without a hitch.
I have an uneven number of males and females. Can I switch up character genders?
Some of our characters suggest a male and female to come as dates, but most of the characters can be easily swapped via a first name change. Feel free to play around with this, and as host to read ahead in player booklets to see if this would work with your particular crew. Just don’t spill the beans of the secrets you find there!
Do we have to use the menu you provided?
No. We have tailored the recipes to suit the game themes, but we know there are countless other varieties that would go well with each game, and you can choose anything you like to eat or switch up an easier version of the recipes we have included. You could easily swap in pizza, breadsticks, drinks and ice cream for the rounds as well, in whichever order you like. Finally, you could go without food, letting the lulls in accusations and bonus rounds be your cue to move to the next course. As a middle road, just serve light snacks once or at each round.
Do we have to dress in costume to play a game?
Nope. While game ambience is heightened with costumes, our games can just as easily be played without costumes. A few of our characters are asked to bring props but they aren’t essentials to any of the major clues. Everything you need is included with your game purchase, you just supply the characters, whether they are dressed in costume or not.
Are your games appropriate for a church or youth group?
For playing with a church or small group, we highly recommend Mystery at the Movies. This game was created with you in mind, and includes a more innocent target and verdict, as well as a study guide for such groups to discuss the biblical allegory in the script. Our other games are suitable for those eighteen and older but don’t fit in as a youth group type of game typically. The games don’t use violence or strong language, but there is a bit of suggestive humor and since it involves a pretend murder, there are definitely accusations and clues revealing various guilty parties (some of stealing, some of lying, some of drinking, etc), especially the one who committed the “murder.”
How come only the first ten guests have a script?
The length of the game would drastically increase if these additional (non-suspect) players had a full player booklet. In fact, we are rare in that our 11th through 20th characters even have a full first round, but we wanted to make sure each extra character had a chance to have a solid and full intro as well as plenty of ad-libbing particulars throughout the game. You won’t find many companies that play full characters for all of the rounds since going through twenty plus character parts each round would get very lengthy and take away from the important flow and interactive back and forth nature of the games. Make sure to print out their invitation and information for them, so they have something to refer to while other guests are reading through their player booklets. Though they are not suspects, you don’t have to advertise this, since it’s fun for guests to accuse all players sometimes. We recently had someone who felt shy play an extra character and she dressed to the hilt, adlibbed her first round, never said another word all night, and ended up getting accused on the sheer basis of her mystique. She had a blast and it makes sense to offer these roles to your less extroverted players.