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It's a very 1980's thing to do, to host a murder mystery party. But then I was a teenager in the 1980's so obviously fell for the myth, and finally got round to this last year... The idea is simple - inside the rather lovely box, is an apparently disappointing selection of invitations, menu cards, clues and a cassette tape... you choose your guests and select characters for them to play, they turn up in the appropriate costumes (from grieving widow, to Catholic priest, to well-dressed gangster), you cook food, they provide wine, and together you solve a mystery. The theme of this one is a mafioso style killing in America - and you're encouraged to decorate your dining room with checked tablecloth, chianti bottles etc. Even the murderer doesn't know he or she 'done it' until near the end, and you have to work out from the clues who has the strongest motive... the tape has to be played at certain points during the meal, and then at coffee time the killer is unmasked... It IS fiddly, it can be hard to concentrate as you work your way through vino bianco... but it's also terrific fun if you enter into the spirit of it. And though it is quite expensive, it has obviously involved a lot of work writing the scenarios... though it's not going to give crime authors too much to worry about in terms of plot... Choose your guests carefully - and if everyone comes ready for fun, you too could have an evening of pasta, passion and old-fashioned fun.
These games are really not worth the money but providing you are not expecting huge amounts from the game you will probably have a lot of fun. You do need to get everybody's 'buy-in' and try and encourage evryone to dress up and use fake accents. The menus that are suggested are far too complicated for most people so I would stick to a basic Italian three course meal. This range of games is basically an idea for an evening with friends. You each have a part and you have to read various scripts from your books in front of you and open certain clues during the course of the evening. I have a feeling that in order to allow you to relax and eat at the same time as read these scripts and try to work out who the murderer is, none of it is done properly. We found the evening quite complicated but still enjoyed it. This particular game is set in Little Italy in New York. There are 6 main parts and 2 add-on characters and the story is about a family who own an Italian Restaurant, the figure head of which has been murdered the night before. You have to find out where each player was the night before, question whether they have a motive and consult a Psychic and a priest to help you. It is incredibly complicated with books, clues and audio tapes which all must be read at the right time and played at the right time. We didn't work out who the murderer was and even when we found out, we couldn't really justify the motive so maybe we missed something somewhere. It is fun but it is complicated.