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Murder at the Four Deuces (Tame) Review - Contest Entry

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Murder at the Four Deuces (Tame) Review - Contest Entry

Postby silentechoes » September 6th, 2015, 6:18 pm

All of my birthday parties in the past have been, ah, contained. By that, I mean D&D with three friends and a bag of chips. So for my final birthday party of my high school career, I decided to go grand and host Murder at the Four Deuces (Tame.)

The memories made last night will stay with me for a long time.

It was… the bee’s knees.

From the preparation stage, I was giddy. I enjoy graphic design, so I went with the downloadable version which gave me the freedom to add my own touches of creativity. For instance, I took the provided Carrie Crooner poster but personalized it with a picture of the guest playing Carrie. (pictured below.) She cracked up when she saw it and took it home to hang on her wall. Plus, the speakeasy theme is so fun. We hung strings of playing cards on the walls, lit candles, and set up a display with fake liquor boxes and my saxophone.

Our party lasted for four hours, but easily could have continued for a fifth. I called ten minutes until Whodunit cards were passed out and everyone exclaimed, “No! Not yet!” There were still secrets to be revealed. That is my absolute favorite part about this murder mystery: the relationships are so detailed. I’ve played a mystery by a different company, but there wasn’t any character depth at all so we got bored. But with the Four Deuces, there was so much to discover and motives to really play upon. It is very well-written.

I do have recommendations for potential hosts:
1. The more the merrier. Strive to invite as many people as character packets provided. I didn’t, and after cancellations, our numbers dwindled down to thirteen people. While it was still incredibly fun, I feel like certain characters would have really enhanced the drama (especially Rhett Bumbler and Sly Sleaze.)
2. While the website says that the host(ess) can participate as a character, I would like to amend that. Acting as both the hostess and MeMe Wannabe, I tried to print the papers and fold them before I read anything crucial. Firstly, it didn’t always work and I accidentally spoiled the conclusion for myself. Secondly, the evening would have run smoother if I had read through everything and ensured all of the required secret dealings were dealt. For example, Big Jim accidentally left a crucial piece of info out of his announcement, which led to some confusion later in the evening. In summary, the host(ess) should read carefully through all materials to effectively facilitate the schemes.

A note from Dinner and a Murder on this: I don't exactly agree with this. I think a person can play and host and definitely doesn't need to read everyones character backgrounds, confidentials and the Solution. I do suggest playing a more secondary character, if possible, just to free yourself up more for hosting. Even if Big Jim left one of the confrontations out, it should have been in other peoples backgrounds or confidentials or even the evidence anyway. We do not expect everyone to hear every confrontation, so solving the murder does not rest on this. It would be impossible for a host to follow everyone around and try to make sure that they are spilling secrets, which may not be in their best interest anyway. If they read everyones backgrounds, confidentials and the solution, then there is no reason for them to even play a character and why should they be left having no fun while they put in so much work to make it happen? I could see having the host read the Confrontations and make sure the guest playing Big Jim performs them all, but it's just a fluke that one got missed anyway and I doubt the host knowing would have prevented it, unless they kept a copy and read along as the confrontations happened. If you start doing things like that, then a host is going to be completely overwhelmed. It was just a pure player mistake and not one that would ruin the party.

3. When you hand out your character booklets, provide a list of which guest is playing which character. Emphasize that guests should study the character list closely. My guests didn’t do the required reading until the car ride to my house (we’re high school students, what do you expect?) which led to a lot of “Which character are you playing? And how are you related to Big Jim?” Before we began playing, we did introductions and established relationships (for example, “I am Rebecca Ravioli, the daughter of Don “Big Jim” Ravioli and his ex-wife, Vicky Ravioli.”)

A note from Dinner and a Murder on this: Nametags should take care of the which character are you playing question. After that, asking questions is important to establishing cause, effect and relationships. It really is just a part of the investigative process. You can introduce your characters, but if they establish relationships, it closes the door on easy conversation openers for them. It's these kinds of questions that start letting your people get into their characters and feel out other characters.

4. Provide lots of space. I was originally going to contain the party to only a few rooms, but last minute decided to allow people up the stairs. That was a great decision, because people could find more privacy when discussing the best way to slit someone’s throat. At one point, the entire downstairs was drowned out by the hysterical giggling of two people…coming from the bathroom… They tied for Best Actor Award.

A note from Dinner and a Murder on this: I agree with this 120%! The more room the merrier. Our parties spread through rooms, outdoors. One time we tried to play in one large room and it got to where people were afraid to go to the bathrooms, because that is where all the hits were taking place! lol We were joking all night about the ghost gangster that was hanging out in the bathroom knocking off everyone!

I will repeat: Murder at the Four Deuces was a blast. I already have plans to play the sequel with the same crowd for New Year’s, especially now that I and everyone else knows what to expect.
Everything set, just waiting for the first knock on the door.
MeMe Wannabe, Baroness Ravioli, Vicky Ravioli, Mary Toosteal, and Rebecca Ravioli during initial introductions. All looking very sweet and all with their own dirty little secrets.
Three generations of Ravioli girls (the Baroness, Vicky, and Rebecca), having a laugh over dinner.
Capo Tequila and Big Jim Ravioli. Capo kept that toothpick in his teeth all night, I was impressed.
That's me!
Rebecca Ravioli looking gorgeous. She altered her junior prom dress; it was so easy for everyone to dress up with what they had in their closets.
Capone rocking the scars. Rigid collodion--easiest special effect makeup ever.)
Carrie Crooner, "The Sultry Songbird."
Baroness Ravioli, Congressman Toosteal, MeMe Wannabe. (Right after the Baroness graffitied the Carrie poster much to everyone's enjoyment.)
Al Capone, Congressman Toosteal, Vicki Ravioli, Don Wannabe, Cassandra Steal. The mugshot board was a hit.
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Re: Murder at the Four Deuces (Tame) Review - Contest Entry

Postby 2coolbaby » September 8th, 2015, 7:00 pm

I do love your guests costumes and Rebecca Ravioli's was so great! She did a good job with that. If we provide posters, they really do need to be posted with everything on them. It seems your poster was missing an important item from it. At least that I can see. If you do Four Deuces 2 make sure that the signature makes it onto your poster!
Mary Lee
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Re: Murder at the Four Deuces (Tame) Review - Contest Entry

Postby silentechoes » September 8th, 2015, 10:39 pm

Thank you for the feedback. I will keep those in mind if I host another party. And I will tell Rebecca you complimented her costume; she'll get a kick out of that.
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