At the workplace, employee get-togethers could often end up being just casual catch-up sessions and getting acquainted with each other. But, if you wish to add intrigue, anticipation, and excitement to the mix, murder mystery team-building games are the perfect solution for your next themed party.
Murder mystery games are interactive, realistic, and a lot of fun. They can be played as a party game or a team-building exercise with a team of any size at the workplace or even virtually. We have listed 15 action-packed murder mystery team-building games for a super fun office party!
1 What is a murder mystery team-building game?
Murder mystery team-building games involve participants coming together as a group. This exercise tests their problem-solving skills in order to unravel the mystery and identify the murderer. The game includes murder or a crime perpetrated by one of the participants, and the death of a victim who could be unknown or another player. The body count may slowly increase as the game continues. Participants must solve the mystery in an allotted time frame.
The game creates positive interaction among each other, which helps in enhancing their ability to work together as a team. Participants can dress up for their character to add to the fun, especially if the scenario takes place in a particular era, such as the 5th or 18th century! The murder mystery game allows team members to let go of their inhibitions and catch a break from their work routine. This makes up for an evening of enjoyment and a much-needed break, not to mention some fun memories for life!
2 How to play a Murder Mystery team-building game?
There are several ways to play a murder mystery team-building game:
2.1 Scripted or turn-based:
The game includes a storyline that releases vital information and clues intentionally throughout the game. Characters learn of their involvement as and when the plot unfolds. Participants receive a script to read and shall be prompted with staged questions.
At the beginning of the game, players get details of their respective characters. It is up to them to solve the mystery without relying on the plot itself. The details of their persona characters include secrets and objectives which have nothing to do with the crime, but just adds a layer of player interaction and fun to the game.
2.3 Online-based forum:
A host has to invite you to play these games. One of the participants becomes the murderer in every turn, and they are notified of the same at the beginning of the game. They can be deceptive and try to deflect the blame on others in order to not get caught. The other participants, who play the detectives, must expose the murderer before they reveal their identity at the end of the round.
3 8 Murder Mystery Team Building Games
3.1 Storm survivors
A bunch of athletes are chilling on an island in the Great Barrier Reef after a competition. Suddenly, a cyclone erupts, and boom! Someone lies dead. The rest of the players are marooned together on the island with a murderer, who may strike again!
The kit provides all props and hazards related to the tropical islands, like deadly stingers, crocodiles, rains, in addition to the scripts, character descriptions, clues, host’s guide & name tags. There are three versions to play the game: 8-16 guests for $24.95, 17-30 guests for $29.95, and 17-50 guests for $39.95.
3.2 Caught in a Spanish Web
Take a trip to Spain with this exotic Spanish murder mystery team-building game. Arthur Seaton, the owner and director of the Hacienda Hotel in Spain, has been brutally stabbed to death in his own office. The luxury hotel has been in operation for less than a year. He was one of those typical bosses one would hate, and someone made sure he’d never bully anyone again. Who did it? Was it the concierge? Or the waiter?
This classic Whodunnit? kit consists of character scripts, clues, name tags, and acts for the play. There are three versions to play the game: 10-16 guests at $24.95, 10-30 guests at $29.95, 17-50 guests at $39.95.
3.3 Dangerous Housewives
The inhabitants of an ordinary-looking suburban street, Hysteria Lane, have gathered around for their routine weekly poker game. However, right before the croupier deals the first hand, one of the housewives’ husbands is dead. Get your detective face on, for an hour of juicy secrets and shocking revelations!
The price starts from £21.99, and can be played between 6-20 participants. The game comes in two formats – a pre-printed box set which contains instructions, character booklets, invitations, and more; and a downloadable game, which includes PDF and MP3 files. You can hire an actor to play the detective, at an additional cost.
3.4 Murder on the Ghost Train
Keep the Halloween vibes going with this spooky murder mystery game. Don Breathin, the founder and owner of the famous theme park – The Frightening Fair – is dead – on his very own ghost train! Sends a chill down your spine, doesn’t it?
The game can be played in two formats – a pre-printed box set that contains instructions, character booklets, evidence, and invitations; and a downloadable game that includes PDF and MP3 files. The cost starts from £21.99, and accommodates 6 to 20 players. There is an option to hire an actor to play the detective at an additional cost.
3.5 Murder on the Nile
This one is for the historical fantasy fans. Lady Carmathen went on a cruise to celebrate a successful archaeological expedition that was funded by her husband. But alas, she was found dead in her cabin, brutally stabbed in the chest. It is observed that the letter T has been drawn on the mirror with lipstick. Is it due to the Curse of Tutankhamun, the Egyptian pharaoh, whose tomb was destroyed by archaeologists? Time to find out!
The game’s cost starts from £21.99, and can be played between 6 to 20 players. You can play the game in two formats – a pre-printed box set that contains instructions, character booklets, evidence; and a downloadable game.
3.6 Another One Bites The Dust
Get some Freddie Mercury groove on as you plan this murder mystery team-building game! The popular MVT Music Awards night is held at the magnificent Saveloy Hotel in London. Freddy Neptune is geared up to receive quite a number of awards. Right before the event is about to begin, Cilla Queen, one of Freddy’s biggest fans, announces that he is dead! Who is responsible?
The game can be played among 6 to 12 participants. The price starts from £21.99 and the range depends on the team size. The formats to play the game are available as a pre-printed box set and a downloadable game, both include the evidence and character booklets.
3.7 Game of Frowns
Re-live the Game of Thrones experience with this royal and medieval murder mystery game. The brave King Clobbert Barabottom has the kingdom under his rule. A tourney is held to mark the coming of age and wedding of Prince Boffrey Barabottom, the king’s eldest son and heir to the throne. However, the night before the wedding, the Prince is found murdered in his chambers! Is it one of the tourney competitors?
The game is available to play in two formats: pre-printed box set and downloadable files. These include character booklets, invitations, decorations, and recipe ideas. It can be played among 6-12 players, and the price starts from £21.99.
3.8 A Medical Drama
Get your sleuthing hat on – this is an interesting one. The staff at the General County Hospital are friendly and helpful, and the hospital is one of the top-performing ones in the district. The Emergency Room is always bustling. The hospital ensures the staff can rest at the canteen during a busy shift. However, the Lead Surgeon, Dr. Richard (Ricky) Mortice, is lying dead in the doctor’s rest area. Who killed Mortice, and why?
The game kit comes with invitations, instructions, inspector CD, character scripts, decoration ideas, and more. It can be played either with a pre-printed box set or a downloadable game with PDFs and MP3 files. The price starts from £21.99 and can be played among 6 to 20 participants.
4 7 Free Murder Mystery team building games
4.1 Sour Games of Wrath
Robert Killingsworth bought the farm a year ago. Just six months later, he was found dead, leaving his widow Elizabeth to tend to their winery and vineyard on the outskirts of California’s wine country. With heaps of debt and no experience in running a business, a desperate Elizabeth puts the farm on sale in the market. One day, six people enter the farm, one of them being the cold-blooded murderer. What is their motive?
The game is free to download and play. The files include detailed instructions, character backgrounds, invitations, clues, and more.
4.2 Jazz Age Jeopardy
At the height of the Jazz Age, a Jazz Club is holding a private party in the 1920s in New York City. The club owner and son of a successful bootlegger, Felix Fonatano, is throwing this party for a group of select friends. Halfway through the party, someone makes a terrible discovery – there has been a murder in the supply room of the club! All the guests are suspects, and it is a classic Whodunnit case.
The game is available for a free download, as well as paid for the full version. The files include party instructions, character scripts, name tags, audio files, invitations, decorating tips, and more.
4.3 The Pungent Pumpkin Poisoner
This one’s a pumpkin-themed murder mystery team-building game for Halloween lovers! Founders of The Pungent Pumpkin Processing Company have hosted a celebration for their business’s first anniversary at a luxury restaurant. Friends and associates have gathered to toast the company’s success and mark the launch of its two latest products. But, one of the members is about to discover that the Pungent Pumpkin Rat Poison is lethal! Who is the Pungent Pumpkin Poisoner? And who will they poison next?
The free murder mystery game consists of downloadable character booklets, invitations, investigation panel questions, character scripts, clue objects, and round flowcharts.
4.4 Butler Kicks the Bucket
The family and the party guests are all dressed for a fulfilling dinner with a gorgeous spread on the table. The butler serves the food to everyone and takes a sip of their drink to celebrate the evening with the family. All of a sudden, the butler drops dead. Who poisoned the Butler, and why?
The game is free to download and play. It includes character cards and name tags. The murderer is notified of their identity in the beginning, so they have to play smart to keep the game going. To add to the fun, players can dress up as their characters and use props.
4.5 The Detective Club Murder
Have you ever wanted to step into the pages of your favourite mystery novel? Well, here’s your chance! You and your friends are the select members of the Detective Club, the crime-writing elite. You all are here to toast the club’s 50th anniversary. However, Sir Aubrey’s corpse is found in his study with a fatal chest wound. All the members are suspects. Can you and your team find the murderer?
The game is free with eight different possible outcomes, with a group size of 4-8 club members. You can use Ruth Ware’s instruction videos, and the host can play along too. The game comes with downloadable player booklets, suggested menus, and narration videos. Pack your magnifying glass and get sleuthing!
4.6 The Little Engine That Could Kill
On the night of Wednesday, 5th August 1932, you (a business person) and eight others boarded a three-day express train from Bombay to Lisbon. One did not survive the journey. The mystery is left to be solved by you and the seven others on the train. Will another be killed in the process?
The free-to-download file includes instructions to play, character scripts, character background, key pieces of evidence, and a map of the train. The file for the game is free to download and play.
4.7 The Malachai Stout’s Family Reunion
The roles the team will play in this murder mystery team-building game will be that of the largely dysfunctional members of the Stout family. All of you have gathered at the ancestral home for a family reunion hosted by the elderly Malachai Stout. You don’t get along well with each other, yet you put up friendly faces for the occasion. However, Malachai’s lifeless body is on his bed. Someone smothered him to death in his sleep. And the family jewels are missing as well! Who could go this far?
The free game comes with downloadable invitations, nametags, audio files, and character booklets. There is also a virtual version of the game that is available on their website.
5.1 How much do murder mystery team-building games cost?
A murder mystery team-building game could cost around $20 to $40. It depends on:
- The team size: Smaller or larger groups
- Format of playing: pre-printed kit or downloadable kits
- Version: in-person or virtual
- Nature of the game: Complex or simple to play
5.2 Does a murder mystery team-building games require a host?
Some murder mystery games require the host to moderate the game with respect to the narration and clues, in order to allow the plot to advance. In some cases, the game can use a video narration and the host can play a character as well.