25 Best Virtual Murder Mystery Party Ideas and Games 2021 - Oprah Mag

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Can you crack the case?
If you’ve already watched every Halloween movie and hit your nearby spooky festivals, but you still haven’t settled on a Halloween party theme, look no further than a virtual murder mystery party. This interactive online game night isn’t your typical Zoom happy hour. Though these COVID-friendly ideas largely cropped up in 2020 when more were isolating at home, these virtual parties are here to stay, because they’re just as much fun, you can celebrate with anyone, anywhere—and, hey!—you don’t even have to get out of your pajamas if you don’t want to.
Sound intriguing, but worry your (or Aunt Susan’s) technological skills aren’t up to snuff? Virtual murder mystery parties for adults are actually fairly inexpensive (expect to spend about $30 to $40 for self-hosted games) and easy to organize, thanks to an emergence of live hosted services and downloadable packages. If you’re hosting, all you have to do is pick your theme—from ’80s prom gone wrong to intercontinental assassins—buy a kit, get a group together, set a date and time, and make sure you all have access to the internet and a singular streaming platform like Zoom or Google Hangouts. Then, you’ll send out the instructions provided for you—typically via email or an easy upload service like Dropbox.
Of course, you can also go the free route, crafting the entire virtual murder mystery yourself, including everyone’s character descriptions. Though totally doable, there is a downside: It takes a lot more leg work, since you’ll have to dig deep into your imagination to create your own story line, then assign the cast, and guide participants through the puzzle.
No matter which route you go, plan to set aside somewhere between one to two hours for the big event. (Duration depends largely on the amount of participants.) You can also turn it into a dinner party complete with pumpkin cocktails and creative finger foods—just send around a suggested menu first so all of the guests can feel included. And, for the best experience, encourage your fellow players to review their part beforehand and dress in character for the occasion. (It’s much more fun if everyone sets the scene by hanging up their own decorations, too). If you’re working with a service, don’t worry about any prep work—their host will do it for you. But if you’re writing your own story line or buying a kit and hosting yourself, make sure to email instructions and character scripts ahead of time. And don’t worry: In the vast majority of cases, there’s no special technical skills like “side chatting” necessary—you simply run through a pre-prepared script together, letting the mystery unfold.
To make the experience as easy (and therefore fun) as possible, we’ve gathered more than two dozen fully fleshed out games. All you have to do is download and play.
For the most hands-off (and stress-free) experience, consider hiring a service to run your virtual murder mystery for you. This company has an entire roster of professional actors that stand in as Zoom host at an agreed upon time, guiding you and your fellow detectives through an entire evening of online sleuthing.
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Studio owner and director, Jacqueline Hyde, has vanished without a trace. What happened to her—and who’s to blame? This virtual murder mystery party (for six to 20 adults) comes with all the scripts you need to find out whodunnit.
Price: From $30.79
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In this online murder mystery, Louisiana Williams’ annual Mardi Gras party goes terribly wrong—she’s found dead in the bathtub. Can you and your party guests (six to 12 adults) use the included scripts to help Inspector Claude Cluesnot uncover which masquerader is to blame?
Price: From $30.79
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Choose from four storylines—Murder in the West Wing (six participants), Mafia (seven participants), Western (10 participants), and That Show About Love (10 participants)—then let the pros run your virtual murder mystery party for you in a private video chat.
Price: $30 per person
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For something a little different, try this long-running mystery. The case can’t be cracked in just one evening. Instead, the company sends you new clues—a combination of physical and digital materials—to dig into each month. To go virtual, simply set up a recurring video chat with your friends, so you can put your heads together to solve the crime.
Price: From $30 per month
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In this intimate murder mystery (you only need four to six adults), you’ll work collaboratively via Zoom or Google Hangouts to find out which resident attacked their neighbor.
Price: From $30.79
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This free app has countless themes to choose from, making it easy to host a string of murder mystery parties to, well, die for. Good thing, because you’ll be hooked in no time.
Price: Free, with in-app purchases
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A two-hour murder mystery that challenges you (and four to 10 friends) to meet over video chat to uncover the culprit in the murder of Leota Xavier—the most despised lady in the sleepy town of Dreary Hollow.
Price: $42.95
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Sign onto Zoom to transport yourself to the roaring 20s, where you and four to 10 friends will take a stab at solving the murder of Jimmy Legs, the mole who crossed Hal Sapone, a notorious crime boss from Chicago.
Price: $42.95
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Trade another night of binging the baking show by a similar name for something a little more thrilling—a murder mystery party that challenges you to find out who left esteemed judge, Shaw G. Bottom, for dead in the competitor’s tent.
Price: From $30.79
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This company uses a proprietary video conferencing software to split your group into teams (sort of like breakout rooms!) that work together to examine clues and review case files to solve the mystery of Neil Davidson’s murder.
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In this virtual murder mystery script, guests arrive at a stately mansion ready for an evening of merriment. Instead, they find something horrifying: The butler has been murdered. Can you solve the case?
Price: From $30.79
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When Don Breathin, owner of the popular theme park “The Frightening Fair” has been found dead, everyone suspects foul play. Sign onto your favorite video chatting software and use the downloadable script to uncover which staff member double-crossed their boss.
Price: From $30.79
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Need some last-minute entertainment? Try this instant download that challenges your group of online detectives to find out who killed Miles Randolph, the crotchety owner of Randolph Toys, Incorporated.
Price: $42.95
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When a New Years celebration ends in murder, the detectives need your help cracking the case. Put your online sleuthing skills to the test to see if you can piece the mystery together.
Price: $44.95
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If it’s been a long time since you jetted off on an international vacation, let this murder mystery help you visit one of the world’s most famous museums (virtually, of course) in pursuit of a cold-blooded killer.
Price: From $30.79
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Looking for a solo or two-person option? Play the classic murder mystery board game via an easy-to-access iPhone or Android app. With 10 different themes, brain teasers, and varying levels of difficulty, there’s no shortage of entertaining ways to play.
Price: $3.99
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A beloved pop star is dead—and it’s your job to find out who committed the heinous crime in this musical mystery thriller.
Price: From $30.79
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Forget this year’s family reunion. Instead, come together to solve this fun, retro virtual crime. There’s plenty of room for everyone to participate—the game, one of the largest around, accommodates up to 80 adults.
Price: From $45
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A successful archaeological expedition veers wildly off course when Lady Carmathen is found brutally stabbed in her cabin. Can you and your video-chatting pals catch the killer and rescue her missing rubies?
Price: From $30.79
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In these virtual murder mystery experiences, professional event hosts take care of everything from setting the scene through execution, so you can enjoy the evening just as much as the rest of the guests.
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A night of samba and salsa has gone terribly wrong. The professional dancers and judges need your help to uncover the killer among them.
Price: From $30.79
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Here’s a murder mystery game you can comfortably invite the teens in your house to participate in. All of the characters are inspired by YA short stories, and the game doesn’t include any mature content, like foul language or sexual references.
Price: $45.95
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In this two-hour game for four to 12 adults, your group will sign onto Zoom or another online platform to investigate two murders on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
Price: From $44.95
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Take your girls’ night online—just hope it doesn’t end the way this mystery does. While you sip your drink of choice, you’ll work together to find out who gave Carrie the birthday present she never wanted.
Price: From $30.79
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