Flaky guests are always a problem. Sometimes they go down sick, sometimes their cat dies suddenly, sometimes they just can't make it due to snow - but when you've got a murder mystery dinner party booked and they fail to show up - what can you do?
If it's one of ours - give us a call - as we deal with this sort of thing every week. And if we've got 24 hours notice we can usually ease your headaches. But if it's not one of ours... you can hardly ring up Amazon and ask them... so what CAN you do?
1) Firstly - take a look at the game. Is it structured with "extras". Some games have optional characters and if you think you have flaky guests - then assign yourself, or them to these parts, as that way if they're not there, they were optional anyway and the game will work without them. If you've already assigned characters and that isn't an option - look at the list and see if there is anyone similiar to the characters missing and see if you can recast one of your optional guests back into a main role.
2) If you have no optional characters and don't want to know who did it before the guests, then your only real option is to find a substitute. This needen't be another guest. (After all there aren't many people you can invite at short notice without making them feel really "un-special"/ "after thoughts" / "didn't want originallys" but if you have someone who doesn't take offence easily... ask them - it always works better with a person in place.)
If you can't think of an also ran - then try one of these:
- Get someone to play two roles. This works really well if you have some comedians in the group - notify them in advance and get them to bring a prop for each character they're playing. Put two seats at the table so they can switch between chairs and get them to play both roles.
- Use a puppet. as above - but with a puppet. We know of someone who used an emu once as they had a last minute drop out. Apparently it went down really well.
- Just take it in turns to read out questions and answers from the booklet and read out the scripted lines. It doesn't matter who does the reading, so long as the information that character had get's heard.
- Firstly - find the solution. Check that the missing guest isn't the murderer! if they are - you really have no option but to recast them.
- If they aren't, then look through the missing person's booklet. Do they impart any critical information? Could this be given to someone else? or does it not matter if their answers are lost entirely? If the latter, then simply cut the questions they have for other people out of their booklet / information pack, find the questions for them in the other guests information and stick the questions over the questions related to the missing character. If the former, its more complicated as you'll need to redistribute answers as well. (confused? Ring us. We don't mind helping you out when you get stuck, even if it's not one of our games. Though we obviously don't have all the answers if that's the case!! But we might be able to guide you through how to do it.)
- Then use a bit of correction fluid and ensure that whoever usually speaks after them speaks after the person before. And if you can transfer the lines, or create a linking line to ensure a seamless flow - then do that too.
- Finally, if your game has scripted dialogue - then use correction fluid and ammend everyone's booklets so someone else reads their lines. Alternatively just ask someone to read those lines as they crop up.
With our own games however - if you get stuck and we have notice - we do all the faffing about so you don't have to.