Murder Mystery Theatre, The Game
At the time of inception, my murder mystery game was created as an end of the year activity to keep my students engaged as we reviewed. It’s based off of the board game Clue, but I designed it to be more interactive and adaptable, although as it is, it works great for theatre basics.
Here’s the OBJECTIVE: A theatre patron has been found dead in the theater. The goal of the players is to determine who the murderer is, what weapon they used, and where it happened.
In Murder Mystery Theatre, The Game, the players are the game pieces while one individual serves as the game master. In the classroom, this could be the teacher. You’ll need a playing space with a tiled floor to use these as your “spaces”. Around your playing area, place sheets of paper with the “places” on them (print and use the ones in the attached document or create your own). Determine a central starting space. You’ll need either a six sided die or an app for rolling dice. Each player will need pen and paper to keep track of clues (You can print the attached chart for players to take notes.). Players shouldn’t share notes. To make them reusable, laminate them and use dry erase markers. You’ll also need three sets of cards: Places, Objects, and People. Either print from the attached document or write them on note cards.
Prior to setting up, shuffle your three card decks (places, people and objects). The game master will secretly select one card from each stack, make a note of who the murder is, where the crime was committed, and what weapon was used. (The game master can use attached the chart instead to either randomly or purposefully select a place, object, or person if you prefer.) You can add additional, relevant people, places, and objects as needed.
1. The producer always goes first, then players continue in order by proceeding down the list of “People”. Roll the dice to determine how many spaces to move. Players can move in any direction they choose and head toward one of the places. Players cannot pass through an occupied space, although multiple players can end up in the same “Place.” Players must always move the exact amount of spaces rolled on the die.
2. Once a player arrives at a “Place”, they make a guess of the who (People), what (Object), and where (Places) of the crime. The game master announces to the group which, if any, of their guesses are correct. Players take note, and continue on to the next player, trying to narrow down the who, what, and where. Players must visit a new location for each guess (i.e. They cannot remain in the same space and continue to guess.) The first person to correctly figure it out, wins.
The first time you play, it may take longer, but each game lasted less than an hour (perfect for a class review).
For an advanced version, you can require players to only guess the “Place” that they are at. Players are still required to move the amount of spaces they roll once they have arrived at a “Place”. Another advanced version is for the Game Master to only tell the player who guessed if any, of their guesses are correct. These advanced versions can even be combined to create a longer more strategic game. The advanced versions tends to take longer and may exceed classroom time depending on your number of players.
Whether you’re looking for a fun Murder Mystery Game, an interactive review of theatre terminology, or just something to keep students engaged, I think you’ll enjoy Murder Mystery Theatre, The Game.
For the printable murder mystery game document, click HERE.
If you’re interested in more theatrical games, check out my article Theatre Games.