Frequently Asked Hosting Questions
FREQUENTLY ASKED HOSTING QUESTIONS:First, a gift for our hosts: Click here for the Guest List Worksheet and click here for the Party Host Checklist
QUESTION: Should the host play a role in the game? If so, which character?
The host should absolutely play one of the characters in the game! We want our host to have an equal amount of fun and intrigue as his or her guests! And our parties are SO easy to host - you will have plenty of time to play! You can also choose any character that you would like to play from each of the character lists. Try not to look at the clue cards when you are preparing the game but better yet - have our staff prepare your kit in a Party Ready Pack so you can be on an even playing field - as far as surprises go - with your guests! The host doesn't even have to know 'who' the victim or murderer are before the game!
QUESTION: One of my guests has to be the victim? Won't they get bored because they're out of the game?!
Quite the contrary! As far as the victim being a character - in the history of our business with our customers and market tests, etc. we found that people 'enjoy' being the victim in our games. We do not take anyone - especially the victim - out of game play whatsoever. We believe in fun for everyone and that is why the victim doesn't know they are the victim and the murderer doesn't know they are the murderer - until it is time to know. As far as the victim goes during the game - this is the character that gets the 'most' attention throughout the game. In Round One - they are very heavily into the story line and might even start to figure out that they are the victim. In Round Two - they are notified via their clue card that they are the victim and all they need to do is wear a victim sign and then 'play as a ghost of their character.' The instructions ask them not to speak and communicate in other ways (this has proven to be hysterical) but play along with the rest of the players as usual. You can also elect as the host to have them 'speak as a ghost' or just play normally. As long as they're wearing the victim sign - they're designated as the victim. We also have optional items to put with the victim kit which are crime scene tape (they can decorate themselves with it), white face makeup (to put on their face because they're now a ghost) and we even have a victim t-shirt that they can put on to further distinguish themselves and it doubles as a party souvenir. So being the victim at one of our murder mystery parties is a very, very good thing...especially if you love attention! Now, some may find it 'silly' to have the victim come back as a ghost of their former character. Well, do you want to look the victim player in the face and say 'game over' as soon as the murder occurs? No, you won't want to do that - the fun has just begun with the investigation! Our author, who has decades of experience of hosting parties, keeps everybody in the game for equal fun!
QUESTION: How involved are the 'optional' players of the game? Will they know they were optional and feel left out?
Obviously, the murderer and victim are within the required players and you must have the required players intact to play the game. The optional players have the same type of materials as the required players. They'll never realize they weren't optional to the game. They will have motives and a story that intertwines with the rest of the characters and some optional players actually have a big role in the game. However, you can leave them out without affecting your game. Optional players may be played in any combination from the main game and expansion pack(s). Some games have a pre-game round where guests contact each other prior to the game. This round is optional. Some games may have the optional players contacting each other, but with directions on how to handle it if you are not playing a specific player. The actual game play will not reference players that are not in your game, however. Some games have all players reading the solutions in round three. There will be instructions on the expansion pack files on what to do in order to insert the expansion pack players into round three - no worries, it's simple! To find the character lists without the required and optional designations, it will be located on the free invitations and the YourMysteryParty.com guest pregame site for each game.
QUESTION:Do you have mysteries where the victim is already disclosed and isn't a guest?
We have one game designed like that - Doom Mansion. However, we tend to disagree that 'murdering' one of your guests isn't fun for the victim! Quite the contrary! It builds an added layer of suspense when the guests don't know who will be murdered. Why would you really want to attend a party where the mystery has already occurred? Not as much fun! In Round Two - the victim will be notified they are the victim - not even the host has to know who it is - and they'll leave the room via a cue to 'become' the victim - minimally by wearing a victim sign but you can go all out and have them apply white face makeup, wear a victim T-shirt and decorate themselves with crime scene tape - it's hilarious when they walk back in the room. From that point on - they are to communicate in other ways than speaking (optional but funny) because they are a 'ghost' - but you can allow them to speak - as long as they keep their victim sign on. They're not taken out of the game at all! In fact, they're the highlight of the game! We've done tons of research and found that the players that have played the victim in the past 'hope they get to be the victim again in the next murder mystery game!' We would never want to take anyone out or make anyone feel like they were not important in the game or to the story line - so that's how we are different than those other companies that take your guests out of the game after they are murdered. All of our mysteries are formatted this way with the exception of Doom Mansion - which was done originally for a group of pre-teens who couldn't 'murder' one of their friends due to their age but wanted the 'clue game' parody. But we've had plenty of adults play this game as well and it's great fun! But we obviously prefer to make one of the guests a victim - it's the way to go! Don't want to have a 'murder' in your game? No worries - we have a great selection of non-murder games. QUESTION: Can I change the gender of a specific player?
Not really. First, we cannot provide editable files because of copyright. Second, we can't allow you to edit the game because of copyright. Third, if the author thought the role could be easily played by the opposing gender, it would be marked as 'either gender' to increase flexibility of the game. Gender related issues may be involved in the story line, so it would not be optimal to change anything about any player. These games are well thought out and story lines can be quite extensive and interconnected. Changing anything can alter the ability for the mystery to flow smoothly and is not suggested. If you need a game with more gender flexibility- we have plenty for you! Ravenwood Masquerade Ball, for example, has 40 mostly gender flex characters!
QUESTION: Explain your rating system and what is the difference between teen and adult games.
You won't find a more conservative murder mystery game author. There is no foul language, sexual innuendos and / or drug references in our games. The only games that reference alcohol in the story lines are the prohibition (1920s) games - because of the times (i.e. bootlegging, rum running, speakeasies, etc.). Even though a love triangle is one of the biggest motives for murder, it is only mentioned in three games - the Grand Gatsby 1920s game, the 1960's Peace Love & Murder, and the 1970's Panic at the Disco. Even then, it's only mentioned - no details given - it's just a strong motive for murder and fit the personality/scenario of those characters. With that said, our ratings are based upon difficulty. If you see a game that's 13 and up - that means the minimum age for comprehension is 13. We assess the rating based upon test groups when a game is first published. We tweak the minimum age based upon feedback. NOTE: if you email us asking if your 10 year old can play a 13+ mystery - we will give you the standard answer of no because we have tested it at a minimum of 13 years. Asking our staff to sanction outside of what we have put into place for a rating isn't fair to them. If you have a bright 10 year old and believe s/he can comprehend material for 13+, it is your decision. We have sample game materials for each game under the helpful links section of the page so you can get a good grasp of the reading level, content, etc. There are a few games that are only in the teen section and not adult because they are geared for teens (i.e. Teen Idol Awards, Oster Awards). This doesn't mean that adults can't play - it just means it is a teen content game. Also, there are some games that are not listed in the teen section because they are not geared for teens, such as the Wine Tasting murder mystery. On the flip side - some people have asked us for risque material in the games. With our author - that's just not going to happen. She is an award-winning Young Adult novelist and just doesn't have that in her nor does she wish to publish risque content. You can, however, instruct your guests to embellish their characters in any way they want to add risque content. It's just not going to be published that way!
QUESTION: Can we use your games for profit &/or for a fundraiser? Also, are we able to post your art/graphics on our site or promo materials for this event?
ANSWER: Hosting our games for profit without our consent is a violation of international Copyright law. If you plan to make a profit on our games &/or host them publicly, you must have a commercial/multi-use license. This includes but is not limited to event planners, restaurants, bed & breakfast facilities, hotels, etc. Even more important, you must abide by the terms of the license. Our staff routinely searches the internet for our game materials and if we find you are selling or hosting our games illegally, we take immediate legal action against you. You are also not allowed to use our graphics on your website or on any type of promo materials without purchasing a commercial license and abiding by the terms set forth in the commercial / multi-use license. However, if you wish to use our graphics for a personal party - just email us and we'll be glad to give you permission to do so free of charge! Lots of folks have put our graphics on a cake top and it looks absolutely fabulous!
If you are a 501C with a federal ID, we will waive the commercial license fee for you to host as a fundraiser. Simply put your 501C number in the comments section of the shopping cart and we will automatically waive the license. Do not lose your order number, however, as we can contact you in the future to ensure your game was licensed or the license had a waiver. My Mystery Party will donate up to four commercial fees per non-profit ID number per year. Again, we do diligently monitor for illegal use of our games and we will pursue legal action against violators.
QUESTION: I'm an event planner, can I host your mysteries for my clients?
Yes, you can, but you need a commercial license (see above). You have to be on site, hosting the event. You are not allowed to transfer the hosting to anybody besides who is on record for purchase.
QUESTION: Do you only offer downloads or can it be mailed to my home?
We offer both instant downloads and boxed sets. The instant downloads are available immediately upon purchase and you can avoid shipping fees. They are PDF files (standard) and best opened with Adobe Reader - the newest version will always be the best. Nothing needs to be shipped, you have everything you need to play once you download the file.
Click here to download the newest version of Adobe Reader.
Each of our games is also available via a boxed set called a Party Ready Pack. Our staff will prepare your kit for you upon purchase and within 2-3 days, will ship to the address you input upon purchase via the method (UPS) you choose. The 'party ready pack' includes the following: click here. The kits are professional in appearance.
QUESTION: What if I want to add more characters on one of the mystery games? First - check to see if there's an available expansion pack. Go back to your game page and check under the 'helpful links' section of the page to see if there's one. Second, check to see if one of your players is expandable. It will be noted on the game description & the character list (again, the link is under the helpful links section). After that, you've got more options... you can add on characters to the list that go with the theme of the party. Give them some simple game-related clues - but nothing that would alter the mystery. Or, if you don't feel like doing it yourself, we will do it for you at 25.00 USD per character with a 50.00 USD charge for the first character. Here is the link for custom characters. It takes up to 10 business days to complete your character(s) - depending on the author's queue.
QUESTION: How long is a mystery party?
The mystery parties are done in three rounds - appetizer hour, dinner (optional), and then dessert (optional). This typically takes about 1.5 - 3.0 hours and can take longer if the optional activities are played. The following is an example time line - although games will vary slightly:
7:00 PM: Guests arrive, have their pictures made and enjoy appetizers. Have the guest instructions, and a character list available for the guests to view.
7:10 PM: The host goes over the instructions for the mystery game. It is optional to have each character stand up and introduce themselves to the group. You can play the game trailer video for an introduction.
7:20 PM: The Round One envelopes are handed out and the game begins. The guests mingle and discuss the clues on their clue cards. Motives will start to unfold during this round.
7:50 PM: An optional bonus game is played. (15 minutes)
8:05 PM: Dinner is served. (Dinner is optional – appetizers / snacks can be served throughout the party instead of serving a formal dinner.)
8:45 PM: The Round Two envelopes are handed out, and the guests mingle about with their pre-murder clues.
9:00 PM: The victim becomes the victim, and the investigation of the crime begins. The mystery investigation sheets are handed out and the guests reveal their post-murder clues and investigate the crime.
9:15 PM: The forensic report is revealed. The guests review it and finalize their best guess of whodunit.
9:20 PM: The investigation sheets (guesses of whodunit) are turned in to the host and the host allows the guests to one at a time accuse who they believe did it.
9:30 PM: Dessert and coffee (both optional) are served and the Round Three envelopes are handed out to the guests. The guests sit in a circle and one-by-one, the solutions are revealed by each suspect and the murderer confesses at the end. You can allow a few minutes for the guests to mingle at the end to discuss the mystery.
9:45 PM: Another bonus game is played (15 minutes)
10:00 PM: Now it would be time for an optional awards ceremony! (5-10 minutes)
*Please note: if you want to shorten the mystery party, omit the bonus games, don’t stop for dinner and simply serve appetizers/snacks throughout, omit the accusation round &/or the awards ceremony. If you wish to extend the length of the party, simply add more bonus games!
QUESTION: When will you get more mystery games?
We can guarantee at least one new one per month. We have one award-winning author (not outsourced like some other sites) and we take great pride in our mysteries and scavenger hunts!
QUESTION: How long do I have to download my game after I purchase it?
You have an entire year to download your game after purchase. Because these are single use purchases, a year for party-planning is great. If not, and your party is delayed, be sure to download your game within the one-year time period. Games are revised on a routine basis to keep up with the times (and sometimes, retired). Therefore, associated materials (i.e. expansion packs, Your Mystery Party guest site) may not jive with a main game if you wait five years between purchasing a game and its expansion pack - or - if retired, these materials may not be available in the future. If you have a commercial license, however, you will retain the right to host the party as many times as you desire for a lifetime. However, you still have a year to download the game and save to your hard drive.
QUESTION: Am I allowed to copy all or a portion of the game and / or use it again?
No, you are only purchasing a single use game. The buyer on record is the only host registered to host the game. The game is not transferable to another end user. Worldwide copyright laws protect mymysteryparty.com printed materials. No part of these electronic or printed documents may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, emailing, recording, scanning, emailing, texting, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written consent from mymysteryparty.com. You, the buyer, are entitled to utilize these electronic and / or printed materials for one use only at one event for non-profit, that is, unless you purchase multiple usage rights via a commercial license. We do have commercial licenses available that will give you lifetime rights to host the party for profit. You are also not authorized to use our graphics without permission. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to use our graphics for any reason (i.e. party invites, cake tops, etc).
QUESTION: How should I pass out the round clues?
This can be done a few different ways. 1. You can arrange them on a table slipped inside of color-coded, sealed, and labeled envelopes and announce to your guests when each round ends. The guests can get their new round envelopes from the table. 2. You can give all of the round clues to your guests as they arrive to the party and let them know that you will announce when to open each envelope. Be sure to announce to the guests at the beginning of the game to only read the clues for the current round. 3. If your friends are the sort that might need extra time to view their clues (i.e. social drinkers that will be toasty by the second round), you can send the round 1 clues in advance of the party. It is not advised to give the round 2 or 3 clues in advance of the party as in round 2 - the victim is revealed and in round 3- the murderer is revealed. You wouldn't want to spoil the mystery!
QUESTION: How do I know when to start each round for the mystery?
The rounds typically take about 30-45 minutes for the guests to mingle and sort through their clues. You, as the host, should be able to tell when the guests are done mingling with their clues and then you will announce the round has ended and give the next round of clues. The biggest problem that new hosts will encounter is rushing the game. DON'T RUSH! Take your time, relax and enjoy the mystery as it unfolds.
QUESTION: What is the difference between the instant download version and the party ready pack?
Click here to see all the differences between instant downloads and party ready packs.
QUESTION: So why choose our 'party ready pack' instead of a published boxed game?
Our mysteries are of the highest quality. We have an award-winning murder mystery author who has written over 100 games for our company. Our author has also published 'The Official Party Host Handbook' and 'The Halloween Party Host Handbook.' For those reasons, we have the best murder mystery game author who knows how to throw a party and keep your guests intrigued. We include bonus activities and the other boxed games do not - they are usually a straight mystery party for 6-8 guests that will heavily rely upon your guests for improvisations. Our games typically have far more players, as well.
In published games, the 6-8 characters are typically given a 'booklet' with all of their clues. We have more available players and prefer to give the clues in rounds in sealed envelopes to build excitement and intrigue. The guests won't know everything about the game and their character at the start of the game! The murderer doesn't know they are the murderer and the victim doesn't know what's coming! When the guests are handed a new envelope for the round, it is exciting! We love how our victims never know it's coming and the murderer doesn't know he or she did it until the end - when everybody else finds out.
The other boxed games with clues in separate rounds still require lots of prep time - i.e. cutting out and stuffing clues into envelopes, sealing and labeling them, etc. Our party ready packs come ready to go for your big day.
QUESTION: Are your murder mystery parties scripted or clue based?
We've got the greatest combination of both! Ours are a hybrid and we take the best of both worlds. The guests are not left out in the cold with just a character description in a booklet and not knowing what to do next - and on the flip side, it's not a script like you're reading a play during a rehearsal either - who wants to do that? Boring! Confusing! Our games are highly interactive but 'directed' as each character gets a new clue card for each round with developing character information and clues / tasks for each character to perform, things to know, things to ask others, etc. Also, we give information for each character to conceal if they want to so they know how to react to others. If it is necessary to come out in the story line, it will in future clue cards! In real life you would know more about your character than others would. We also don't allow our victims to know they are the victim until it's time and the murderer doesn't know they did it until the end. With the booklet/scripted games, players get that information all at once - including the crime that happened! Do you want to rely upon your guests to keep the secret that they are the guilty party for the entire game? You'd be risking the evening with one of your guests having the answer!
Also, with purely scripted games, the victim isn't in the game - so how much mystery and intrigue can build up during the mystery party? Not as much as our highly interactive, evolving format. So, give our hybrid mystery parties a try - we're confident you'll be back for your next party...and your next...and your next....
QUESTION: I want to set you up as a vendor and need a 1099.
Since we will not do over $600 in business with you during a calendar year, we are not required to provide a 1099. On the other hand, if you elect to have a large party ready pack over $600 &/or a custom mystery written and the total exceeds $600, we can provide a 1099.
QUESTION: I want to purchase with a purchase order.
< span style="font-size: small;">Unfortunately, we are not set up to accept purchase orders at this time. We do provide invoices with the total amount charged, however.
QUESTION: I am tax exempt, how do I purchase a game without sales tax?
If you live in the state of Texas and have a Texas Sales Tax ID - put this number and your business name in the comments section of the shopping cart and we will refund your tax. Unfortunately, our system isn't set up to do this cleanly, and you'll have an invoice showing tax charged, but with a line of a refund of the exact amount with a note that the tax was refunded. Hopefully this will suffice for your internal auditors.