Hello, detectives! So you're interested in a bit of mystery, murder, and mayhem, all from the comfort of your home. Well, consider the virtual murder mystery game to be very much afoot…
So, what is a virtual murder mystery game? Virtual murder mystery games are online social events where players act out a murder story plot and work to unveil the killer's identity. The game aims to discover which of the participants is the murderer while socializing and having fun with other players. Virtual murder mystery games are also referred to as virtual murder mystery parties or online murder mysteries.
Over the last year, virtual parties and online social gatherings have become the new norm. We have the technological capabilities to connect with family and friends all over the world almost instantly. So why not consider introducing a little mystery and intrigue into your next family or friend online catch-up. There's nothing like a bit of murder to bring people together!
You may also like to read our How to Host your Own Virtual Murder Mystery Party
What virtual event platforms can you use for online murder mystery games?
Several online virtual event apps can be used to host an online murder mystery game.
- Facebook Messenger (for up to 50 players)
- Zoom (100 players)
- Skype (100 + players)
- Google Hangouts (up to 100+ players)
- Microsoft Teams (100+ players)
- Houseparty (for up to 8 players)
- Whereby (50 players)
- Orbits (100+ players)
- Discord (100+ players)
- WeChat (up to 9 players)
Our favorite is Zoom. For family and friend gatherings from anywhere between 4-20 people, we find Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, and Facebook messenger to be the most accessible apps for interphase. For corporate online virtual murder mystery games, Google Meet and Zoom are great, but we recommend using the online app that your office teams are most familiar with using.
Our least favorite app is Microsoft Teams, as it is incredibly restrictive and complex for the host to manage. Some corporate offices may use it and prefer to use the app for their corporate murder mystery team-building event. Still, the system is not user-friendly for the game: for example, Changing your participant's names to the characters is challenging to accomplish.
Discord is great for people who regularly use the app for online gaming, but it is more challenging for new users to get the hang of it quickly. For an artsy experience, you can also use Orbits, a unique platform that offers virtual venues that you can match to your murder mystery party theme: EG. Manor house for a Sherlock Holmes-inspired Murder Game Party. It can be a little hard to set up, but it can create the party's ambiance – virtual escapism!
Zoom Murder Mystery Parties
Masters of Mystery virtual event platform of choice for virtual murder mystery parties is Zoom. Zoom offers the most straightforward user experience for both the host and the players. Zoom can host up to 100 participants at once, so it is great for Corporate Virtual Murder Mystery parties or online youth group murder mystery games. As most murder mystery games, especially online games, are a better experience in smaller groups, there is less of a need to go for platforms that host more than 100 participants.
It has a broader range of hosting features even on the free plan and has a great mobile app, so your participants can join from either their mobiles or computers.
Zoom Account setup is also super easy: fill in your details and sign up for free. If you have a paid account, then you have a 24-hour meeting limit. However, if you are using a free account or basic plan, the drawback is that your meeting times will cut off after 40 minutes.
At Masters of Mystery, our games are Zoom-compatible with even Zoom's basic plan time constraints as our games have rounds. We suggest that after each round, you take a 10-minute break. This way, your zoom participants can go the bathroom or fix themselves another beverage between each round. You can upgrade for $14.99 US a month.
Reasons for Zoom Murder Mystery Games:
- A free plan is feature heavy
- Easy online hosting experience
- Compatible with multiple operating systems
- Break-out rooms for
- Great mobile app for participants
How to run a murder mystery game on Zoom
Before you start, there are a few things we recommend to do before you launch the game:
Invite all your players beforehand with a link to the zoom meeting. Include with the invitation their character booklets and any information they might need to set up their Zoom account and any other technical Zoom details that might help them - this is always a nice touch!
In the Zoom, settings make sure that you allow the private chat box so that people can send messages to each other in the Zoom chat.
When you launch the game, ensure all guests are added to the video call and remind them to have their character booklets ready.
It's the host's job to kick off the game and ensure all guests are added to the video call. Remind them they need their character booklets ready.
In the beginning, get guests to change their names to the "character's name" to get into the spirit. It further sets the atmosphere and reminds your guests to stay in character.
Let your players know that it is crucial to avoid muting themselves unless their home environment requires it. That way, other players can hear and gauge their reactions to events and clues.
As a host, you can choose to read the introduction or share your screen with the rest of your participants and play the Detective's speech.
Let your players know that they can exchange information privately through the chat or in any break-out spaces you chose to create. Private side conversations cannot be seen by the host and can be individual or groups.
Then, let the game begin!
Should you get dressed up for these virtual affairs? We say, of course! It again adds to the atmosphere of your party. Remember, the reason people love murder mystery parties is the chance to escape!
Though it is entirely your choice to dress up or not, all Masters of Mystery's Game provides vast scope for fancy dress. Why not have some fun, and all our murder mystery game kits come with costume guides and ideas.
Food and Beverages
If you want to avoid the hassle, you could eat beforehand; but it is far more fun to eat together in our experience. It is a great idea to plan and plan a menu, including some fancy drinks and beverages. Make sure you have a few breaks throughout the game to enjoy food and beverages. Enjoy a virtual dinner party together, and it will feel just like a real party!
Zoom breakout-rooms for a murder mystery party
A trending virtual game option for murder mystery enthusiasts is to offer participants the possibilities to go into break-out rooms and engage in more private conversations or interrogations. The game then resembles more like a standard, pre-lockdown murder mystery game. Another way to organize this is to have it set up like speed dating so that each player gets a certain amount of time with one or several other characters.
Zoom Breakout rooms can be a little more work for the host, but they can be entertaining for your players.
Some advice for break-out rooms are:
- Create some atmosphere by assigning each breakout-rooms a part of the theme setting. For example, for a James Bond-Themed Virtual Murder Mystery Game, you may have the casino, the bar, the slots, the deck, etc.
- Create the break-out spaces before your virtual guests arrive.
- To allow each of your players' freedom to go between the rooms, make each of your players a co-host, or the host can manually assign people to different break-out rooms.
- Allow private-chat on Zoom so that you can message, question, or even interrogate players in private.
- The host can close break-out rooms or send your participants to a particular room to deliver clues, evidence, or messages.
- Guests can make their own virtual backgrounds or backdrops, either using pictures from the internet or designing them themselves.
The most extensive advice we can give hosts wanting to try and use break-out spaces is to practice creating and using them on Zoom beforehand.
Masters of Mystery Virtual Murder Mystery Games
The beauty of all of our virtual murder mystery party games is that they can be played in real life, or they can be played virtually. They are all equally fun!
If you're interested in hosting an online murder mystery game, check out our themed game kits:
- Roaring 1920's "The Great Glitersby Murder"
- 1940's themed "A 1940's Murder"
- 80s Hollywood "Murder in the 1980s"
- Monster-themed "The Haunting of Monster Mansion"
- Sherlock Holmes -themed "Murder at Moorbourne Manor"
- Wild West-themed "High Noon at Dead Man's Saloon"
- Wizarding themed "Mystery at Toadwart School"
- James Bond-themed "From Monte Carlo with Murder"
- Christmas themed "Christmas Mashup Murder"
Well, players, the game is very much afoot…
Frequently asked questions
What's the difference between a virtual murder mystery game and a real-life murder mystery game?
The truth is that there is barely any difference between the way an online murder mystery game is played and a real-life murder mystery party. The only real difference is that the players are interacting virtually.