I’ve been so excited to write this post, but at the same time I’m still incredibly tired from all the preparations that went into it, this last week or so! As you’ll know, from my post here (To Sew or Not to Sew) I was offered the opportunity to pick a Murder Mystery game from Daggerville Games, completely free of charge, in order to review it on my blog! I was super excited even when I got the message, let alone when I started to plan it all!
I rallied around the usual group of guests, getting 8 definite attendees (me included). As the site currently only offers 4 games (with more on the way), our choice was limited to only one option – Hamlet, a game for 8 players. That said, Martin who I have dealt with a few times from Daggerville Games, also said Hamlet was one of their most recommended. I was a little dubious about the Shakespeareaness of it, but deciding to throw caution to the wind, I opted for that game.
Now as regular readers of my blog will know, I like to throw myself into these Murder Mysteries – planning everything from costumes, to decorations, to food. This was no different. As soon as I’d ordered this game, I was into immediate host mode. However this was also where my first issues began.
Daggerville Games offer a very unique way of ordering your game. Instead of purchasing a whole box load of stuff, or even downloading a heap of files – as host you instead have to enter email addresses of all your guests, into the selected parts they will play. Their parts are then emailed out to them – and only them. You also pick an email address for the person who will receive the Solution – in this case I just used my own email address and stored the information without reading it.
First issue was that I didn’t know everyone’s email addresses. I had to text several people to ask them, before actually placing my order. Second issue was that I accidentally misspelled someone’s email address when ordering, meaning they didn’t get their copy at all. Luckily Martin was on hand to be helpful, sending another copy to the correct address. Third issue was that one of the other guests didn’t get their email at all (and their address was definitely correct) though it could have gone to spam or trash – again Martin was great and sent me the copy so I could forward it on.
Looking through what I’d been sent (I had the part of Queen Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother), I was both impressed and concerned. Impressed because the whole part seemed to be scripted and in a clever way whereby you only got to see your own part, with lead-in’s from other characters so you would know when to speak. It was something my brother and I had tried to do when we wrote our own Murder Mystery, back in May for my birthday. However concerned because there was no character information, costume suggestion etc. I have never studied Hamlet at school and so its a play I only knew vaguely. As a guest I had to google costume ideas and as a host I had no information on how to theme the party, what food I might cook or even a little bit of storyline around the game itself.
That said, we embraced the murder mystery as a challenge and I’m pleased to say everyone rose to it. Since the last murder mystery we had done had involved castle scenery, I decided to avoid that. Instead it was actually my eight year old daughter who suggested theming the night on a play idea. I soon ran with the idea and decided our lounge would act as a theatre, with our bay windows (already equipped with red curtains) acting as the stage, the sofas pushed to the sides as ‘box’ seats and extra dinning room chairs brought through as audience seats. I bought a few additional bits to dress up the room but otherwise it was nice and simple decor.
With regards to the food, I wanted to go rustic and sort of old fashioned. Basic foods like meat pie, bread, potatoes etc. I settled on beef pie (which I actually forgot to cook in the end!), potato skins, bacon bread and cheese bread, breaded cheese, corn on the cob etc. I also made homemade chocolate chip scones and white chocolate chunk brownies. Sadly I forgot to photograph majority of the food though, as always!
|Bacon bread, Popcorn and Hamlet quote napkins, Brownies & Scones|
Finally that brings me onto costumes and as you know I was making mine. Since I want to save all that for another post, I’m not going to add all the costume pictures here. However needless to say everyone did a great job.
The Murder Mystery itself – despite my concerns about the Shakespearean, lack of character info and lack of host info – was a success! Everyone had such a great time and by the end of the night we were all in agreement that this was one of the best we have ever done. The script was funny (largely because we are smutty and mixed with the Shakespearean language, it was even better), it was clever and well thought out, easy to follow and very simple to know when you were supposed to say your lines. Though only one person guessed the murderer correctly (that was me by the way – not the murderer but the person with the correct guess), when the solution was read out we all agreed that it was put together well and you could almost have figured it out fully yourself.
As you know, we have done a lot of Murder Mysteries over the last year or so. They started off with an impromptu birthday celebration and continued every month or at least every other month until the end of the year – and that was June 2012. However during 2013 we have definitely found ourselves less motivated to do them, with only one in March for my partner’s birthday and my own in May. This Hamlet murder mystery has definitely re-sparked the flame though and before the evening was even over, we were planning our next murder mystery for October.
Daggerville Games, thank you so much for letting us have one of your games for free (though they are £20 for anyone who is interested!). We thoroughly enjoyed it and would all recommend you to others. Our only advise would be more information for the host and character info/costume suggestions for each guest. Otherwise you’re doing a great job. Shame you don’t have a Halloween murder mystery though or else I would be buying and planning it right now!
Watch this space for our Halloween Murder Mystery though, being held Saturday 26th!
*This product was gifted to me free of charge, though all views and opinions are my own