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Suggestions for Improvement

Feedback on Murder at the Four Deuces Murder Mystery Parties!

Moderator: AlphaSquirell


Suggestions for Improvement

Postby trish1400 » March 29th, 2011, 10:45 am

Hello,

We played Murder at the Four Deuces this weekend, there were 10 of us (5 male and 5 females) in a huge mansion in the Lake District (England) and it was absolutely brilliant. Everyone got into character and anarchy ensued. No one guessed the murderer as everyone was so busy improvising that it was impossible to deduce what was a red herring and what was part of the game.

We did the Mature version but I’d consider it to be very tame. We’re all in our 20s, British and in no way religious which perhaps makes a difference but it’s far less rude than the last murder mystery I did which didn’t even come with a warning. The only part I thought was a bit untoward was the allusion of in cest (I know that should be only one word but when I wrote it as one word the forum informed me that I'm a sicko pervert posting spam - which is lovely).

I was hosting but as I was also playing I didn't read any of the information beforehand. I've since read through everything and have a few suggestions on how it can be improved (some of these are for the host, some are for the host only if they are not playing and some are for Dinner and a Murder) I won't include any spoilers, that the host wouldn't know anyway, so read on with confidence. I bought the downloadable version and printed it at home. We didn't use the RSVP system.

Printing (clearly this only applies to the downloadable version) – this comments are really for Dinner and a Murder but might be useful for hosts too.

1) It would have saved me an age if all the character and confidential booklets had not been separate files - as they were also ordered by Windows in alphabetical order I kept having to refer to the Guest List Worksheet to see which character name to print next, open the PDF and click print - then repeat (it would a lot more annoying if I hadn’t had a duplex printer). It would be better if you had one pdf file for all the character information and one for all the confidential information in the order the characters need to be assigned out in. Then in the printing instructions you could include a list of the characters and the pages on which they appear on (or just say each character booklet is four pages long) so if you were just printing the 11 essential characters (10 plus victim’s second character) you'd print pages 1 to 44.

2) I’d remove the contents checklist from the download version – it’s clearly all there and it’s just another thing to read.

3) I guess the host guide is the same regardless of whether you buy the downloaded version or not. It would be much clearer if there was a single set of instructions for the host when they are preparing the game plus a set of instructions for on the night. Presently the host who is printing the game has to read the ‘Read Me’ file, the Host Guide, the Guest List Worksheet, the Printing Instructions and the Action Card / Weapon Card printing instructions. A lot of this information is repeated and it’s just unnecessarily confusing.

4) I don’t understand why the action cards / murder weapons are the shape they are. Are they meant to have a spine like a book?

5) List of consumables required would have been really useful prior to purchasing the game. Along with the breakdown of contents on your site it would have been good if you’d said how many pages each section would need to be printed out (clearly some would have to be per character). It would also have been useful to know the size of the labels recommended, how many envelopes would be required, that I really need to print the action / murder weapons on card rather than on paper (standard paper you can see the text through – not great for picking out of a hat, even when I folded them small).....

6) In the printing instructions it should say what parts should be printed single sided. If you have a duplex printer it’ll tend to remember your last setting and Evidence printed on both sides isn’t much use for displaying.

7) Not sure why the Certificates have to be downloaded separately – I found that a bit annoying as I’d disconnected the router to plug in the printer (should really get more plugs - I know).


Characters and Character Information – some of these can only be done by the host if they are not playing and are prepared to edit the game.


1) I would say it's really a game for 14 to 20 people. The U.S. Congressman Darrin Toosteal, Rhett Bumbler, Donna Wannabe, Sly Sleaze and Vanessa Crooner have pretty well integrated characters and there were at lot of people going 'who's playing Vanessa?' etc.

2) I would probably make Big Jim "return" as the Inspector - who comes to question Big Jim about the Black Hand Gang murders but arrives just too late to question him (or is that just in time to "remove him?"). Clearly someone else would have to feel his pulse – he could be dragged out to the ‘dumpster’ by the other characters and return as the inspector who has been observing the party. This is just because I think the inspector felt a bit left out of all the scheming going on with the other characters (he has a few connections but he doesn’t get a confidential booklet) - I’d assigned the character to someone who’d said they’ll play only if they could drink through it so I was under the impression they weren’t too enthralled with the murder mystery idea but in the end I think they felt a bit hard done by.

3) I would edit the character and confidential booklets of the murderer so they don't know they are the murderer - knowing removes some of the fun of the game for that person and it stops them from talking to others as much as they don't want to be caught. Quite a few of the people in our game suspected themselves anyway so I think this would work quite well. Some of the murders secrets could still remain but would be edited so it wasn't clear who pulled the trigger.

4) The character booklets themselves could be split up a bit - everyone was talking about the murder mystery leading up to the event and there were a lot of questions about how much of it could be discussed. We worked out that it was just the "My Character's Background" section that was confidential - the rest of the booklet was the same for everyone. If I was hosting it again (and not playing) I would create a character booklet that just contained the character information. I would distribute the instructions on how to play and the character list separately (and customise them to suit 'our' game).

5) I would include Big Jim's confrontations in his character booklet (i.e. issued in advance) - giving them to him at the start of the game just meant he was hesitating with his responses. I'd probably also put Exhibit D in Carrie's Character booklet and Exhibit G in Madam Meme's Confidential booklet, then I've only money and name tags to give out at the start of the game (and people without extra bits don't realise the others have extra bits).

6) Baroness Ravioli has a ‘Secret’ she is meant to brag out (in her Confidential booklet)– as this is one of her motives, I would remove it from the ‘Secrets’ section.

7) I would not resurrect any guests (other than the victim) as the new characters we gave out had quite a lot of new interactions with now dead people, it’s pretty hard to forget what you already knew and it gives you a greater incentive not to die. Otherwise you get people who are happy to die because they are out of money and bored of their character. It would also cause less confusion when voting at the end. Having said that it would be best if the murders came very near the end of the game so the people playing the dead characters weren’t hanging around.

Action Cards and Murder Cards – suggestions for the host

1) I was being rather selfish and wanted to play properly despite being the host so we didn't do the scavenger hunt (we were in a rented house in the middle of nowhere and everyone there was playing). We picked out of the hat for both the weapons and murder cards. I put in some extra blank pieces of card so not all the actual cards were picked (I thought this would make it more similar to the odds of finding a weapon in the scavenger hunt) but in hindsight that was a bit silly (three weapon cards were picked and one action card). I should have had two separate draws, one for each - so all eight cards were in the field (as it were) and there was a possibility some people could have one of each.

2) Also for the ‘extra’ murders because I, as the host, didn’t want to know who the murderer was we got everyone to just die rather obviously. Basically the instructions were to not give your murderer away so you had to give them time to get away or go into a different room and just scream and die. That worked fine – I had no fear that anyone would just play dead for hours without making sure their body was discovered.

3) I would put that the "Immunity" card can be used more than once on the card itself (I know it’s in the instructions but it can’t hurt).

4) I would remove the 'Card of Knowledge' as no one wrote any notes and looking at their booklet seems a bit much. Another Truth card would work just as well.

5) I would put a caveat on the “Truth” card that you cannot just ask someone if they are the murderer.


Game order – suggestions for the host

I would change the game order in the Step by Step host guide slightly. We faced the following problems:

• When we first started no-one really knew who everyone else was – the name tags aren’t enough – we had to stop and do a round of introductions.
• Most people missed most of the confrontations as they were already dragging each other into cupboards, toilets and pantries to plot various evil schemes.
• Lot of the guests were freely making up so much stuff that it wasn’t until the evidence was unveiled that they realised they’d said stuff that contradicted the actual story. It would be better if the Evidence was read out before the Confidential booklets were distributed.
• I would make sure the murder cards weren’t given out until near the end. This would mean dead people wouldn’t be hanging around waiting for too long (as I don’t plan on resurrecting them – see above). In our game nearly everyone knew who they wanted to bump off in advance anyway (whether by their own hand or by an associate’s).

So my proposed order would be:
1. After the host announcement I would ask everyone to introduce themselves by reading (in the first person) their character description from the Guest List Worksheet.
2. Prior to the murder I would keep everyone in the same room (so they should be able to hear at least some of the confrontations).
3. After the murder I would let everyone continue to mingle and gossip about the murder (I would let them leave the room at this point too for private conversations) the inspector would have a chance to question some people.
4. Then the guests could have dinner – after dinner the Inspector would present his Evidence.
5. The guests would then be given their Confidential information
6. More mingling, scheming and questioning with the new information.
7. Then I would have the draw for the action cards.
8. And either give out the clues for the scavenger hunt or do a murder weapons draw.
9. Then allow the guest to mingle some more (I realise this might be a bit tricky as they don’t have new information but we improvised so much it really didn’t matter).
10. When the game starts winding down wrap up as normal.

Those are all my suggestions I think. I hope Dinner and a Murder sees these comments as constructive criticism rather than just straight forward criticism. You’ll notice they are all very practical suggestions – I couldn’t fault the creativity in anyway, the plot was excellent and the mystery really well planned out.

I would have entered the March prize draw but we were so busy terrorising each other that no one thought to take any photos! I’d appreciate it if you’ll accept this as an entry.

Keep up the good work – I’ve already recommend a friend to try your Death by Chocolate for her sister’s Hen do. I’m hoping next year everyone will reprieve their roles in Murder at the Four Deuces 2.

Thanks for a great night,
Trish
trish1400
 
Posts: 2
Joined: March 29th, 2011, 6:46 am


Re: Suggestions for Improvement

Postby trish1400 » September 1st, 2011, 5:15 pm

The friend I recommended Death by Chocolate to did purchase it and we did it a couple of months ago for her sister's hen do (in one of Europe's most finely preserved medieval castles no less).

I've a couple of comments to make about it but as it's partly a comparison to the Murder at the Four Deuces game we played I thought I'd comment here.

In Death by Chocolate the murderer did not know she was the murderer initially but was told in her confidential booklet. She is told in her character booklet to brag about something which singles her out as the murderer so by the time the evidence was read out everyone knew "whodunnit". Similarly the murderer was disappointed to discover she was the murderer and said it ruined the game for her - so another vote for not being told.

I was bit disappointed with the mystery in this one. I felt the motives and evidence for Murder at the Four Deuces were more sophisticated and there were red herrings etc but with Death by Chocolate it was a lot more obvious. About half the group guessed correctly and the other half only didn't guess correctly because they thought it couldn't be that easy. It's possible though that as it was larger group I didn't get to hear all the interactions and relationships between the characters (although as I was playing the inspector and quizzed everyone during the swapping I think I had a better idea than most).

The whole swapping thing took forever (I think there were 18 of us playing) and it really stopped us from moving on - turned out you didn't really need to do it.

The scavenger hunt clues are the same for the Death by Chocolate as for the Murder at the Four Deuces so I couldn't really participate (would have been cheating really).

The only other comment I have to make is if you're organising it as a surprise; make sure everyone brings their glasses! The mother of the bride had to get one of the other girls to read her booklets to her and couldn't really play properly as she couldn't refer to them.

It was a good laugh still though. The bride to be was delighted.

Trish
trish1400
 
Posts: 2
Joined: March 29th, 2011, 6:46 am


Re: Suggestions for Improvement

Postby 2coolbaby » September 15th, 2011, 12:16 am

Hello Trish,

WOW, long post. Let me see if I can address your issues one by one.

Printing (clearly this only applies to the downloadable version) – this comments are really for Dinner and a Murder but might be useful for hosts too.

1) It would have saved me an age if all the character and confidential booklets had not been separate files - as they were also ordered by Windows in alphabetical order I kept having to refer to the Guest List Worksheet to see which character name to print next, open the PDF and click print - then repeat (it would a lot more annoying if I hadn’t had a duplex printer). It would be better if you had one pdf file for all the character information and one for all the confidential information in the order the characters need to be assigned out in. Then in the printing instructions you could include a list of the characters and the pages on which they appear on (or just say each character booklet is four pages long) so if you were just printing the 11 essential characters (10 plus victim’s second character) you'd print pages 1 to 44.


We used to have the files like that. This presented a few problems. First, it was too easy for the host to see information that they should not. We received a lot of complaints from hosts that thought the game had been ruined for them because it was just too visible and almost impossible to not see information when organizing and handing out everything. In addition to this, people really like the feel of holding the booklets (which no one can spy from if they forget and don't work to keep everything hidden). Loose full size pages are a pain for your guests to keep up with. The booklets are easy to carry, refer to and keep private info private. We received a lot of feedback that everyone prefers the booklets.

2) I’d remove the contents checklist from the download version – it’s clearly all there and it’s just another thing to read.


It is actually there to also insure that the host has everything the night of the party. Unfortunately, not every host reads or organizes their material well. I know we repeat things a lot, but this if for the benefit of those that just have a harder time putting everything together for the party. There are more than you can believe. We would rather overdo it, then to have upset hosts who missed something and it affected their party adversely.

3) I guess the host guide is the same regardless of whether you buy the downloaded version or not. It would be much clearer if there was a single set of instructions for the host when they are preparing the game plus a set of instructions for on the night. Presently the host who is printing the game has to read the ‘Read Me’ file, the Host Guide, the Guest List Worksheet, the Printing Instructions and the Action Card / Weapon Card printing instructions. A lot of this information is repeated and it’s just unnecessarily confusing.


Pretty much, see the previous comment. The Host Guide tells the host what everything is and what to do with it. The Guest List Worksheet is to be used just to assign characters to your guests and keep a list for reference. The Action Card/Weapon Card instructions are not just printing instructions, but what to do with them before and during the party. We separate the things to cause less confusion to those that really get overwhelmed with too much information in one place. If we put all of this in the Host Guide and had a 20 page host guide, it would overwhelm many, so we break many things down into smaller chores, so that they are easier to accomplish. Obviously, you would have no problems if everything were streamlined into one file, but not everyone can multi task or handle large chunks of information. We have gradually changed our games over 11 years using customer feedback, before, during and after their party. This feedback overwhelmingly favors the current incarnation of the games which have resulted in much less confusion and customer issues. I am sorry that repeated information left you confused, but it is better to repeat information that is necessary for the game, then not to and it get missed.

4) I don’t understand why the action cards / murder weapons are the shape they are. Are they meant to have a spine like a book?


They are made to be folded in half. The original design was on business cards, which is why they look like that. We are actually redesigning many elements in our game now. This is one of them. We are also going to separate out the step-by-step and the Host announcement onto one 2 sided sheet for the host to use the night of the party. I know, another piece of info separated, but this has been requested several times.

5) List of consumables required would have been really useful prior to purchasing the game. Along with the breakdown of contents on your site it would have been good if you’d said how many pages each section would need to be printed out (clearly some would have to be per character). It would also have been useful to know the size of the labels recommended, how many envelopes would be required, that I really need to print the action / murder weapons on card rather than on paper (standard paper you can see the text through – not great for picking out of a hat, even when I folded them small).....


We do have a picture of all the contents on the front page and a list of the game contents on each game page and we also have a preview file that has the Host Guide, a character background and a character confidential. This would give you a very good idea of the amount of printing involved. We always print our action and weapon cards on paper and have had no issue at all. For drawing we always held the hat up, so the person could not look in. Index cards are not required. Envelopes are not always required either, especially since the majority of our customers use our rsvp system. As far as the labels, again, these are not required. You can choose to use them, or you can use paper and cut them out and give guests the label and a straight pin. We also talk in many places on the forum about the fact that we do suggest the box due to the large amount of printing involved with the download.

6) In the printing instructions it should say what parts should be printed single sided. If you have a duplex printer it’ll tend to remember your last setting and Evidence printed on both sides isn’t much use for displaying.


Every pdf contains a note with the printing instructions for that pdf.

7) Not sure why the Certificates have to be downloaded separately – I found that a bit annoying as I’d disconnected the router to plug in the printer (should really get more plugs - I know).


We do that for 2 reasons. 1. The certificates file is very Hi Res and thus very large. If we added it to our game, it would be problematic for anyone still on dial up and there are still some out there. 2. When we get a phone call from a host who is frantic because their party is upon them and they don't have the Certificates, then we know that this is one of the people who doesn't read their information and they could possibly have a party gone wrong. If you can't read the Host Guide and see this paragraph and link, then you really need to take another look at ALL your information. When we get a phone call from someone asking about the Certificates, we take the time to stress the importance of reading and understanding everything and also ask if they have any questions about anything. These are the people that I was talking about in your earlier questions. There are so many more than you know. We get several calls a week from people asking about the certificates. This assures us that we can give these types of people more personal service to ensure that their party is as successful as the mad party skills multi-tasking host/ess.


Characters and Character Information – some of these can only be done by the host if they are not playing and are prepared to edit the game.

1) I would say it's really a game for 14 to 20 people. The U.S. Congressman Darrin Toosteal, Rhett Bumbler, Donna Wannabe, Sly Sleaze and Vanessa Crooner have pretty well integrated characters and there were at lot of people going 'who's playing Vanessa?' etc.


We have hosted with no issues with only 10 guests (actually, we once did it with 9). We do state in the character backgrounds to just ignore any information that relates to a character who is not there. If you get "Who's playing Vanessa?", then you have a guest who did not read their character background. Yes, they are more integrated, but you also have to realize that the odds are good that these characters will make an appearance later, when murders take place.

2) I would probably make Big Jim "return" as the Inspector - who comes to question Big Jim about the Black Hand Gang murders but arrives just too late to question him (or is that just in time to "remove him?"). Clearly someone else would have to feel his pulse – he could be dragged out to the ‘dumpster’ by the other characters and return as the inspector who has been observing the party. This is just because I think the inspector felt a bit left out of all the scheming going on with the other characters (he has a few connections but he doesn’t get a confidential booklet) - I’d assigned the character to someone who’d said they’ll play only if they could drink through it so I was under the impression they weren’t too enthralled with the murder mystery idea but in the end I think they felt a bit hard done by.


I think trying to get someone to do detective duties until the deceased Big Jim returns would be too confusing. We do give the Inspector secrets, but we don't do a confidential for the simple reason that we leave this character to be played as a good cop or bad cop, depending on how the person playing them wants to play them. If we gave them too much background, then we would have to force them into playing one way or another. Regardless, the Inspector can have one of the biggest parts in the evening. They have a LOT of power and the right person in the part would really take advantage of that. If playing straight, they can be questioning everyone and trying to figure out what is going on, if playing on the take, they have the power to make some very powerful friends and/or enemies. I think that the problem was probably more the person playing that part.


3) I would edit the character and confidential booklets of the murderer so they don't know they are the murderer - knowing removes some of the fun of the game for that person and it stops them from talking to others as much as they don't want to be caught. Quite a few of the people in our game suspected themselves anyway so I think this would work quite well. Some of the murders secrets could still remain but would be edited so it wasn't clear who pulled the trigger.


Actually, in this I have to totally disagree and most people do. As someone who has played the kind of game where I was the murderer and did not know it, I can tell you that it is highly confusing and upsetting, as I would have totally played my character very differently if I had known. I would have been planing red herrings and buddying up anyone who suspected me. I have heard time and time again from customers who have played both types and you are actually the only one ever to prefer not knowing. Overwhelmingly, they prefer knowing. It makes more sense in the game and is less confusing and more realistic.

4) The character booklets themselves could be split up a bit - everyone was talking about the murder mystery leading up to the event and there were a lot of questions about how much of it could be discussed. We worked out that it was just the "My Character's Background" section that was confidential - the rest of the booklet was the same for everyone. If I was hosting it again (and not playing) I would create a character booklet that just contained the character information. I would distribute the instructions on how to play and the character list separately (and customise them to suit 'our' game).
And there is nothing stopping you from doing that. I do not prevent the ability to copy and paste in our pdf's like so many others do, specifically for this reason. I think the ability to customize is important to the host that wants to do that.

5) I would include Big Jim's confrontations in his character booklet (i.e. issued in advance) - giving them to him at the start of the game just meant he was hesitating with his responses. I'd probably also put Exhibit D in Carrie's Character booklet and Exhibit G in Madam Meme's Confidential booklet, then I've only money and name tags to give out at the start of the game (and people without extra bits don't realise the others have extra bits).


There is a method to our madness here. These items are all absolutely necessary to the game and it is not a good idea to have to rely on a guest to remember to bring it to the party. If just one of the items is left at home, lost or the guest doesn't show up last minute, it can mess up the whole game. Not everyone hosts these games at their home where they can access and print these types of things last minute. We choose to be safe instead of sorry.

6) Baroness Ravioli has a ‘Secret’ she is meant to brag out (in her Confidential booklet)– as this is one of her motives, I would remove it from the ‘Secrets’ section.
I will have to look at that, as I am not even sure what you are talking about here.

7) I would not resurrect any guests (other than the victim) as the new characters we gave out had quite a lot of new interactions with now dead people, it’s pretty hard to forget what you already knew and it gives you a greater incentive not to die. Otherwise you get people who are happy to die because they are out of money and bored of their character. It would also cause less confusion when voting at the end. Having said that it would be best if the murders came very near the end of the game so the people playing the dead characters weren’t hanging around.


This is another one of those personal preference things. Most people love the intrigue and backstabbing that the weapon cards add. Each murder adds another character to the party, which will bring in even more secrets and more action. I plan out my games with the specific intention of having a specific character either be there from the beginning or show up later, if your number of guests is smaller. This allows the game to still work for smaller groups. The weapon cards are not distributed until about half way through the party, so it isn't as if this starts happening right away. In our games, most of the murders don't happen until close to the end anyway, as people with the cards tend to hold onto them until they absolutely need them or they can get the most money from them. And like you pointed out, no one wants guests to have to stand around not being able to participate and the cards really are such an important and fun part of the game.

Action Cards and Murder Cards – suggestions for the host

1) I was being rather selfish and wanted to play properly despite being the host so we didn't do the scavenger hunt (we were in a rented house in the middle of nowhere and everyone there was playing). We picked out of the hat for both the weapons and murder cards. I put in some extra blank pieces of card so not all the actual cards were picked (I thought this would make it more similar to the odds of finding a weapon in the scavenger hunt) but in hindsight that was a bit silly (three weapon cards were picked and one action card). I should have had two separate draws, one for each - so all eight cards were in the field (as it were) and there was a possibility some people could have one of each.


I definitely would not have done it the way you did. Our weapon and action card sheet does make it clear that if you are drawing both to put the action and weapon cards, plus just enough blank cards that each guest draws one card with none left over. I think it would be more fair that everyone get a better chance in drawing something, instead of giving anyone a chance to draw 2 items. That doesn't seem fair at all to the person or persons who end up with nothing because some got both a weapon and action card. My suggestion to hosts is to follow the instructions given.

2) Also for the ‘extra’ murders because I, as the host, didn’t want to know who the murderer was we got everyone to just die rather obviously. Basically the instructions were to not give your murderer away so you had to give them time to get away or go into a different room and just scream and die. That worked fine – I had no fear that anyone would just play dead for hours without making sure their body was discovered.
We used to have our games done like that, but we actually did have an issue at a customers party that someone was left dead for a very long time in a room and the guest was highly upset about the issue and it really caused a big ruckus at the party and for us after the fact. So please, follow the instructions.

3) I would put that the "Immunity" card can be used more than once on the card itself (I know it’s in the instructions but it can’t hurt).


Good idea. I will put this idea in my to do list for the game mods I am working on.

4) I would remove the 'Card of Knowledge' as no one wrote any notes and looking at their booklet seems a bit much. Another Truth card would work just as well.


Hmmm, strange, as at our parties people always take notes. Especially those that are serious about solving the murder.

5) I would put a caveat on the “Truth” card that you cannot just ask someone if they are the murderer.


I had not thought of that. Another idea for my to do list.


Game order – suggestions for the host

I would change the game order in the Step by Step host guide slightly. We faced the following problems:

• When we first started no-one really knew who everyone else was – the name tags aren’t enough – we had to stop and do a round of introductions.
• Most people missed most of the confrontations as they were already dragging each other into cupboards, toilets and pantries to plot various evil schemes.
• Lot of the guests were freely making up so much stuff that it wasn’t until the evidence was unveiled that they realised they’d said stuff that contradicted the actual story. It would be better if the Evidence was read out before the Confidential booklets were distributed.
• I would make sure the murder cards weren’t given out until near the end. This would mean dead people wouldn’t be hanging around waiting for too long (as I don’t plan on resurrecting them – see above). In our game nearly everyone knew who they wanted to bump off in advance anyway (whether by their own hand or by an associate’s).

So my proposed order would be:
1. After the host announcement I would ask everyone to introduce themselves by reading (in the first person) their character description from the Guest List Worksheet.
2. Prior to the murder I would keep everyone in the same room (so they should be able to hear at least some of the confrontations).
3. After the murder I would let everyone continue to mingle and gossip about the murder (I would let them leave the room at this point too for private conversations) the inspector would have a chance to question some people.
4. Then the guests could have dinner – after dinner the Inspector would present his Evidence.
5. The guests would then be given their Confidential information
6. More mingling, scheming and questioning with the new information.
7. Then I would have the draw for the action cards.
8. And either give out the clues for the scavenger hunt or do a murder weapons draw.
9. Then allow the guest to mingle some more (I realise this might be a bit tricky as they don’t have new information but we improvised so much it really didn’t matter).
10. When the game starts winding down wrap up as normal.


You can make those changes if you want to, as this is your party and I don't see any suggestions that would cause a serious issue, but for all the reasons I gave in reply to earlier points you made, I would have to say that your way would not be the best way for most hosts. Our games have been designed to produce the most fun for the most people. There may be some who would prefer your steps, but I personally believe that a party would play better done the way we designed it. We have over 20 years playing murder mystery games and other rpg's. Ours and games by many other companies. We have 11 years of feedback from our customers. We really do know what works best for our games. This doesn't mean that there isn't always room for improvement and I do appreciate your suggestions, but overall, what we have really is one of the best working systems available and the majority of changes we are making now are cosmetic in nature.


Concerning your second post about Death By Chocolate. I would appreciate you sending me an email with the information that you think gives the murderer away, as we surely do not want that.

We are redesigning the weapon clues in this game so that they are different. This is the only instance of this and not sure how we missed it originally.

I believe the swabbing had a twofold purpose. The solution does point to DNA, which was the purpose of the swabbing. In addition, it also gives the inspector a reason to sequester and question everyone, while making everyone feel more immersed in the game. I don't think anything needed to be held up for the swabbing. That could have happened at any time over the evening in your own schedule.

I agree that Death By Chocolate isn't as good as Murder at the Four Deuces, but I challenge you to go out and find any other game that is as good as it. That is a hard game to live up to! It really is the best game on the market. Another thing is DBC naturally suffers some if there are no men present; because lets face it, men are a huge source of problems, backstabbing, lies, cheating and... need I go on? ;-)

I had never thought to warn someone to bring glasses to a surprise party! Maybe it would be a good idea to just have a pair of reading glasses on hand. I have several pair, so it isn't an issue for these old eyes.

Despite how I probably sound, I really do appreciate hearing your suggestions. Many of the features in our games came from feedback and suggestions from customers just like you. So, thank you for the suggestions.
Mary Lee
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Dinner and a Murder Mystery Games
For murder, intrigue, extortion & back stabbing with no scripts to read!
http://www.dinnerandamurder.com
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