The best part of a murder mystery game is that it is tailorable to nearly any party size; small, medium, large, and even some corporate murder mystery games include up to a hundred employees. It depends on the event and party feels – intimate and secretive or chaotic and lively.
So, how many people do you need for a murder mystery party? An interactive murder mystery game requires more than 4 people to play. Most games have 4 – 20+ players, but larger games are undoubtedly possible. A game between 4 – 20 people usually takes about 1.5 – 3 hours, usually divided into rounds, and depends on breaks for food and beverages.
Whether you are planning a murder mystery party for a small, medium, or large group, we are sure that you will have a great time!
If you need some help deciding, we look below the benefits and consideration of small and large group murder mystery parties and ideal numbers for virtual murder mystery games.
Murder mystery games for small groups
It is often a misunderstanding that smaller-sized murder mystery parties are not as successful or fun as those for larger groups –completely untrue. The size of the game does not determine its success or people's enjoyment. Smaller-sized games do have a different feel than the larger rounds and are great as easy-to-host games for a single person or first-time hosts.
Firstly, smaller-sized groups make for very revealing and intense games. For interactive murder mystery games, there is a requirement for the characters to mingle, uncover, and coerce the truth from other players. The fewer players, the more you can dig into a character's backstory, motives, and secrets.
An element of the interactive-style murder mystery games is that while each player is trying to discover the identity of the murderer, each character also has their secrets embedded into their backstory or character booklets. Uncovering these secrets often adds to the fun and is more achievable in smaller groups.
A fun idea for small groups is to offer the guests a prize or award for "Best Amateur Sleuth" who best learns all dirty little secrets. This ups the stakes and makes the whole game more intense.
Secondly, for first-time hosts and single person hosts, a smaller guest list often makes the game and party easier to run. There is a certain complexity with hosting and running a murder mystery party, and we recommend for your first time hosting a murder mystery party with 6 – 12 guests is a great start.
Choosing to host a smaller party will also bring down your murder mystery party preparation time – especially food prep. It is even more manageable and affordable if you decide to get catering for the party.
The only downside to smaller murder mystery parties is that they are often shorter than larger parties. Most rounds rely on you mingling and asking each character questions to determine their guilt. As there are fewer people to interact with, it can speed up the game. It is often great to include other puzzles or games like scavenger hunts if you wish to further extend the game.
All of Masters of Mystery's murder mystery game kits are suitable for small groups, parties, and gatherings.
Murder mystery games for large groups
It is a fact! The more players trying to solve the mystery, the louder and more chaotic the party will be. Large-sized murder mystery parties can consist of 20-40+ people. Murder mystery parties can comprise 100+ guests, but these are often managed by companies that include actors who play suspects or act as clues providers. Essentially, the party size is entirely up to the host.
In large groups, exchanges between many murder mystery characters are exciting and promote more of a need to work the room, interact with others and focus on the task at hand – solving a murder. For certain corporate murder mystery parties, larger numbers of players foster group collaboration used as team building strategies and exercises.
Larger group murder mystery parties generally are longer as there is a need for more breaks for food, beverages, and dancing.
While larger parties are lively, interactive, and exciting, there are perhaps more considerations for party preparation and management. For larger murder mystery parties, some things that you may need to consider could be:
- Assigning a co-host – having some help managing the group can make life a little easier. The co-host can help manage the party or be clued in to the game's play to help the night run more smoothly.
- Dining options – for more immense parties, buffet-styles, spreads, and finger food is easier to manage.
- Food preparation – If you have more guests, then you are going to need more food. You don't want to spend all day cooking! Consider hiring a caterer who can create some themed-cuisines for your party or consider a party themed-potluck, and your guests can bring home-cooked dishes.
- Location – Larger parties often require more space to mingle, but you still need to be able to bring the party together to read or watch the clues for each round.
Larger murder mystery parties are entertaining, but they do require a little more preparation time. All of Masters of Mystery's murder mystery game kits are suitable for larger groups and come with the option for expansion packs for each kit.
Virtual murder mystery game sizes
Image: Roaring 20's virtual murder mystery game
If we have learned anything from the last couple of years, it is that you can connect with friends and loved ones across the globe or even down the street without having to leave your house. It is a lesson borne from extenuating global circumstances, but it begs the question – why not have a virtual murder mystery party?
Virtual murder mystery games group sizes can be small, medium, or large. It often depends on the online platform you choose to host the party on and how you choose to organize it.
For online murder mystery parties, smaller groups between 4 - 12 tend to be more manageable as it gives each of the player's opportunities to speak to each other and ask questions. Unlike a real-life party situation, there is less opportunity to talk to guests one-on-one. Often, all your characters are exchanging questions simultaneously on the screen – almost like they are in a discussion around the dinner table.
There are specific online platforms that offer breakout spaces, like zoom, which provide smaller groups of people opportunities to interact in a speed-dating-type scenario. This adds urgency and intensity to a virtual murder mystery party as characters try to probe for answers in a limited time frame. The speed dating element is an excellent idea for larger parties or even smaller ones but would ultimately be controlled by the host.
If you are planning a virtual murder mystery party for a small, medium, or a large group of people, then these are the things you need to consider:
- Platform/App that will best accommodate a group of your size and the various devices your players use.
- Speakers, mics, and webcams are essential for all your players
- You may want to include breaks between the rounds for your players to eat, drink or take a break
- Consider opportunities for breakout spaces and speed-dating for larger groups
- Make sure your guests set up in a quiet area of your home so that you can hear all members of your murder mystery game group.
Virtual murder mystery parties are enjoyable and easy to set up and run. All of Masters of Mystery's murder mystery game kits are suitable for online play and compatible with zoom software, and come with the option for expansion packs for each kit.
To host the best Murder Mystery party, see our Murder Mystery Game Kits for friends and family. Our murder mystery kits include fun characters; video story plots other resources that make hosting more fun. For murder mystery dinner party ideas, check out our blog with event ideas and resources to host a murder mystery party.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do murder mystery games take?
The game time is dependent on several factors relating to the murder mystery game version, the specific gameplay of that particular game breaks for food, drinks, and dancing, extra inclusions or puzzles, and party awards. Most games allow for 1.5 - 3 hour playing times, which are generally organized into rounds.
What are expansion packs for murder mystery games?
Murder mystery expansion packs offer additional character options to increase the size of your game. The characters can be played in any combination unless specified on the pack. The host can use as many extra characters as they need, and the optional characters use the original game materials.
What is the best online platform to use for a virtual murder mystery game?
All virtual platforms offer similar experiences, and it depends on the size of your group and your participants' online capabilities. Some platforms, like zoom, offer breakout rooms that can be useful for creating speed-dating scenarios.