Red Herring Games

Specialists in downloadable murder mystery games for all seasons and all types of events.

We sell murder mystery dinner parties for 6-12 players, and murder mystery games for large groups, we also have a selection of children's mystery games and quizzes.

If you need a death to order, then we can write a custom murder mystery game just for you!

Please visit our shop by clicking the fish!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Fundraising? Check out our 3 top tips.

Sponsorship!

Sponsorship is the key to ANY charity function, be it a small event or a large one. If you can cover your intial costs with sponsorship, then everything raised on the night and through ticket sales will go to your charity.

Get your local press on board and make a mention of every company that sponsors your evening. You might also want to mention them on the banners, advertising posters, tickets,or a logo within the guest hand out or on a poster at the venue.

Although everyone hates begging, if you never ask, you never get.

So put yourself out there a bit. Ask around, offer companies that sponsor you a free ticket as thanks and ALWAYS remember to thank them twice. Once as soon as their sponsorship arrives, and again after the event to tell them how much you raised as a result of their support. Two letters of thanks will make it much more likely that you'll get a positive response next time around, and also they are likely to display your letter to their customers which means your charity get's publicity too.

Raffles

When it comes to running your night - don't forget the additional revenue you can use towards your charity by running a raffle.

Again - sponsorship is the key. Write to your local companies, or ask around friends and family to obtain raffle prizes.

Also... and here's a great tip... sell more than one colour of raffle ticket!

Strange but true... if you have 1 strip then people will buy 1 strip. If you have 3 different coloured strips then people will by 3 strips of tickets, if you have 5 different coloured strips then people will by 5 strips. It doesn't seem to be dependant on the price of the ticket! It's the colour! People feel they have more change of winning if they have a selection of coloured tickets.

So NEVER have just one book of raffle tickets, always have 4-6 books! You can reuse any left overs next time around!

The KISS principle.
(Keep it Simple Stupid! - for those that aren't familiar with the acronym.)

It's easy to be talked into running an event. There are a host of reasons why a "big" event seems like the best plan. But cost it out!!

Don't be flattered into running something!

If you don't need the publicity for your charity - if it's purely a case of raising a bit of money - then think simple. And don't waste a lot of time organising something that will bring in a net profit of less then your time is worth!

You might make more money from simple sponsorship (e.g. sponsored silences) or selling name cards or quiz sheets, and they are far, far simpler to organise then a charity ball!

Where I live there is always a bunch of cryptic quizzes doing the rounds and we all get drawn into them. They promote lively discussion in the staff rooms and at 50p or a £1 a go, you can quickly make £50 with minimal effort.

If you desperately want to run an event - then check out our top murder mystery event tips.

3 quick fundraising ideas

When people think of using a murder mystery as a fundraising event, most people immediately think of the formal sit down dinner theatre style events hosted by most hotels and restaurants. But in reality - these events just aren't cost effective for fundraising as the overhead costs of hiring the restaurant, paying for the three course meal, the script, the advertising and perhaps the actors as well leaves very little on the ticket price to actually raise funds!

But don't be deterred... there are a number of ways of running a murder mystery event without a restaurant... read on for our 3 top ideas!

1. Multi-room evenings. These evenings might be more costly to purchase a script for (though we do have a free game "Fete Accompli" available for fundraisers), but these games are extremely flexible for venue and are very easy to run by total novices who have an ability to learn a speech.

Our best suggestion here, rather than hiring a venue, is to run an evening on a smaller scale by utlilising your own home, a guest-house or other community venue e.g. a church linked-house, community centre or school. (Fete accompli can even be run on a field with standard fundraising stalls!)

As these style of events don't need a formal sit down dinner, you can improvise on the food. Running bring and share buffets, hosting a take away dinner, cheese and wine night, or just nibbles. Or depending on the night - no meal at all!

These games are more cluedo style than typical dinner theatre and rely on guests visiting different rooms during the evening, interrogating suspects and locating physcial prop clues e.g. knives, frying pans, poisons, guns etc. As well as visiting a crime scene.

They are extremely popular events, and although very time consuming preparation for the host, there are no rehearsals required for the actors which makes them easy to arrange. Some actors even do them "script in hand".

2. Sponsored Mystery marathons!

Rather than hosting one large function, why not arrange several smaller evenings?

Gather a group of willing hosts and have a sponsored murder mystery evening, with 10 guests in each house participating.

The host caters and runs the evening just as you would a standard murder mystery dinner party, but as a group you obtain sponsorship for the "marathon event". Each host arranges their own night, and each guest sponsors the evening by £5-£10 to cover meal costs (or again you can run them as bring and share dinners) and the entire evening's events is sponsored by friends, family and associates. How many super slueths can you pack into one village in one evening? Also, how many murders...

It's a great way to get an entire village involved in murder mystery evenings, without having to hire a hall. It's so original an idea too, the press are sure to be interested and will run an article to help you raise awareness for your charity.

3. Clue based dinner games.

These are becoming increasingly popular with charitable fundraisers as they give all the fun of a murder mystery evening, without the cost or rehearsal time of the fully scripted games.

You need 1 large hall, with catering facilities, and 7 novice actors who don't mind hamming it up and learning a short script that will need all of one or two rehearsals (max).

If you have access to a kitchen and are able to self-cater then the easiest option is use a game like "An Italian Job", and cater in a simple Italian style by purchasing some garlic bread for the first course, Large dishes of lasagne and bags of salad for the main course and boxed desserts e.g. vienetta for dessert. Easy catering, a fraction of the price of asking in an outside caterer and you'll still have a great night!

Friday, 8 April 2011

New game release!


Murder at Holdit General (large group version) by Tony Brown is now available on the website. (Small group versions to follow once we've had the voices recorded.

The staff at Holdit City General Hospital have been gathered together in the staff canteen. They’ve just been informed that Roger La Brat, the pharmacist, has been found dead in the patient’s day room. What a bitter pill to swallow!



Was it just a nasty accident or was he the victim of foul play? Did anyone have reason to cancel Roger’s prescription? Inspector Iris Chew, newly appointed to the homicide department, will conduct the investigation.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

How to make the most of your murder mystery theme


So, you’ve picked your mystery, you have your theme, but what now?

Well, basically you can make as much or as little effort as you like. However, from experience, the more effort you make to get your guests into the mood, the better the event runs.

Invitations

This extra effort can start way back at the invitation stage. Most murder mystery kits come with printed or printable invitations, but why not do something that little bit different?

Make your own invitations in an appropriate shape e.g. a lip stick with removable lid which reveals in the invitation information written on what would have been the lipstick.

Not that crafty? Then why not simply print or hand write your invitations and stick on themed items e.g. newspaper cuttings, shaped confetti.

Why not send a bloodstained letter? It is a murder mystery after all!

Or (if you are so inclined), why not create a short film or record a tape – just let your imagination run wild!

Menu

From the host’s point of view the easier the menu the better as you will want to enjoy the evening as well. However, take some time to find a menu appropriate to your theme. If your guests are happy to help, why not have them bring dessert, or drinks? It all helps to reduce stress on the day.

And don’t forget, you don’t have to conduct the mystery during a meal. Why not run it during a wine tasting, or a barbecue?

The easiest gimmick to use at a murder mystery is to write out a menu themed to the night, and change all the names of the courses to something like “Dispatchio soup”.

Location, location, location

Which room?

Where you hold the murder mystery sets the stage for the party. Although you could go and hire a medieval castle, or book into a train for a mystery event it is by no means an essential! Often a few minor alterations in your home can add some simple ambience to help get your guests in the mood.

Firstly think about which room you plan to hold the mystery in. Why not swap your dining room for the night and eat somewhere different in the house, e.g. a spare bedroom, or the garden?

Think about whether you should try rearranging your dining room furniture in keeping with the mystery, e.g. for a train event you might like to sit your guests at two tables with an aisle in between. For another you might want to remove the table and chairs altogether and sit on the floor. If your guests come to your house regularly even just moving the table so that it sits the other way around marks out your event as unusual.

Think about belongings that are normally in the room you use. Are they right for the theme you have selected? You might want to remove things which are out of place, e.g. for a mediaeval mystery you might want to remove or cover up the clock – they didn’t have them in those days!


Windows – most rooms have windows, but do you want to change your outlook? Why not cover them up and use an appropriate poster or picture instead? For example, for a ship themed mystery you might want to cover up your windows and make your own portholes with seascapes.

And don’t forget, this theming can start before your guests even get to your dining room. You might want to put a sign on your front door, or even create your own portcullis. Believe me, it’s all been done before!

Decoration

Some simple additions to the room used for the dinner party could make all the difference to the ambience.

Firstly look around your own house and try and find things in keeping with the theme which you can arrange around the room. Secondly ask around your friends, you might find some other items to jazz things up a little. Thirdly, go shopping - but don’t buy anything too expensive, or that you will never need again. You may want to buy some themed gifts to give away as prizes at the end of the night, and you could arrange these around the room to help with the ambience until the prize giving takes place.

And don’t forget there has been a murder in the house! You might want to set up the crime scene in one of your rooms (advice for how to do that is here), or at least draw around an outline on the floor.

Music

Try and obtain some ambient music which you can play in the background during the event. Pick music which is themed to the mystery, or if preferred find some soundtracks of ambient noise and play them!

Table setting

It is always a nice touch to set out place markers. We did a blog post not so long ago on making the most of these, so click here to read that!

Some guests might like to keep track of clues presented and may like access to a notepad and pen. You might want to keep a stack of these on the table.

If your game has booklets (ours do but not every murder mystery company is the same) then why not theme the booklets and make your own covers.

Activities

You might want to make use of a few ice breakers during your event, though from experience, the mystery is usually sufficient to get people talking!

Try and find puzzles or ice breakers in keeping with your theme. For example, if on board a ship, why not get them to play quoits? For an art gallery, why not have them play Pictionary? If at a theatre, then what about a round of charades?

Other activities you might want to consider are wine tastings, or nosings. (These could be conducted instead of a meal.) You could get each guest to bring a bottle of red or white wine worth no more than a certain amount, and then together judge the quality and rank them according to your guests’ tastes. Or, perhaps everyone could bring a miniature of a different malt whisky and do the same! Though be warned this is a good method of getting tipsy fast, and no-one might care who did the murder by the end – though you’d be sure to have a good night!

The end of the night

And what about at the end of the night? Everyone has made their guesses and the murder has drawn to a close. Should it stop there? Why not give out prizes for the correct guessers? Not sure what to give out for prizes? How about these:
  • Useful items like fuses, light bulbs, boxes of matches etc, all gift wrapped of course.

  • Stationary items, like the ever useful post-it notes
  • Sweets you haven’t eaten since childhood.
  • Cheap toys – we never really grow up, you’ll probably find a yo yo will keep your guests amused for hours!


And don’t forget goodie bags! Kids never really grow up, and most of your guests, however mature, will probably love a party bag to take home! Why not find something in keeping with your theme and give out a small memento of the evening.