As a fundraiser for Two Time Theatre Company's production of 'Sleepin' with the Jesus Fishies', I hosted a Gangster Murder Mystery Party. I thought the theme was appropriate seeing as our show is in a couple of weeks! I was hoping for a big turn out so buying a dinner party murder mystery game was out. Instead, I put together a murder plot based on four suspects (played by our cast members Chris, Mikel, Jenni, Alisha and Koreen). This was easier because guests could arrive whenever they wanted and still have equal chances of solving the crime. When people arrived, they received their keg cup filled with bribe money, an answer slip, a notebook for jotting down tips, a rules sheet and a favor. We had toy guns, beads, fedoras, and sequined feather headbands.
Here's how to play:
Gangster Murder Mystery How To
The body of Lefty Hooligan has just been found floating in the Mississippi River.
Welcome to our speakeasy where Lefty Hooligan had been seen earlier that night.
The local authorities have narrowed it down to four suspects: Doris the speakeasy’s
owner, Frankie the bass player in the jazz band,Betty the cloakroom girl and Bugsy
the local high roller who often frequents the speakeasy. All four suspects had a motive and were seen hanging around a suspicious location with a possible murder weapon. But only one of them did it. The four suspects are recognizable by their nametags. Your job is to question the suspects and determine who murdered Lefty, with what weapon (one of them was a tommy gun), what their motive was (one motive was that Lefty had insulted them), and where the murder took place. (hint: lovers of logic puzzles will do well.
1. You have 6 play money bills. Each bill (regardless of denomination)
can be used as a bribe to get one response.
2. You can get responses from the suspects or from other players.
3. All suspects are telling the truth, except for one, who is lying.
The opposite of their statements are true.
4. Suspects will be vague with their answers unless questioned directly,
in which case they will have to answer you.
5. Each suspect has three tips of vital information.
You will need all 12 tips to solve the puzzle.
6. When you think you have the answer, write it down on the answer slip
and give it to the Host who will time stamp it.
7. The answer will be announced at the end of the evening.
8. A cash prize will be awarded to the Super Sleuth who was the first to
solve the crime and other prizes will be awarded to the Best Performer who
was the suspect most in character,Wealthiest Player for the one who uses cunning
and bribery to collect the most money, Best Costume for the one who
showed up to the party in their best Gangster or Flapper attire, and
Honorary Detectives for anyone else who solves the puzzle on their own
after the Super Sleuth and before the solution is announced.
The beer mugs (full of pretzels, dice, cards, beads, and tylenol) and ring pops were
the prizes. We set out a mason jar of freshly sharpened pencils and the labels were
used to mark our snacks. I served retro bar and cocktail snacks on mismatched serving containers and china. We had sourdough pretzels, popcorn, beer nuts, ginger snaps,
almond windmill cookies, apple pie fries (call me for the super easy recipe!),
veggies with hummus, and banana chips.
9. If you have any questions on how to play the game, please ask your host.
1. Start by deciding who is lying
2. Keep track of your answers and who told you them
3. Make sure to write the suspects tips word for word
4. Ask clear questions like “Who do you think did it?”, “What do you know about
the murder weapon?” and “Do you know anything about the location?”
5. Caution: ease dropping and spying are not against the rules
6. You must give your responses to others to earn more bribe money but be careful,
the first one to solve the puzzle is the Super Sleuth and wins the prize money.
I think everyone had a good time! It was so much fun watching people try to figure it out.
Players and suspects were very creative: I heard a suspect giving tips with out
having to ask the right question for double the bribe, players teamed up to share answers,
some players profited from bribe money left unattended on the table, others took wild
guesses and focused on gathering up the most money.
Several people helped sell shots for a dollar. Since we were pretending this was a speakeasy, we served gatorade and vodka in sugar rimmed tea cups. I bought a fish ice cube tray from IKEA that I thought was cute for the shots and made them 'Sleepin' with the Jesus Fishies' shots, but the ice cubes melted almost immediately.
We set up a photo booth in the guest room where you could get you mug shot taken or
get your photo snapped in your get-away car. We charged $1 for prints and I printed
them out right there with the help of a color printer and my Mac.
Thanks everyone for your support!
We raised $200 for Two Time Theatre Company!