Murder mystery player tips: Murderer, Inspector, Suspect, or Victim

Whenever I receive an invitation to a murder mystery, I’m always excited – and more than a little nervous! What role will I play this time…will fate make me the murderer? No matter who you’re playing as, we’ve got you covered with murder mystery player tips for each role.

We’ve seen all sorts of approaches to the various roles: from meticulous, note-taking inspectors to murderers spinning out of control, caught in their own webs of lies.

But is there a way to play your role perfectly? Are there any tactics for getting out of a sticky situation? Yes indeed!

Read on for pro tips and tricks for each of the roles:

How to play the perfect murderer

In most murder mystery parties, the murderer is allowed to tell lies to cover their tracks. In some games, the game mechanics require that the murderer doesn’t even know they did the foul deed. If you’re the murderer, how can you get away with your crime?

How to play the perfect murderer – Tactic 1

  • Use misdirection. Make meaningful accusations against someone else, drawing the attention (and suspicions) of the other players onto them. Try to base your accusation on a solid motive (“Well, that’s something worth killing for.”) If you’re allowed to, strengthen your accusation with a small lie.
  • Start using this tactic as early in the game as possible so that it doesn’t stand out as a desperate move later on.
  • Don’t overdo it – don’t be too aggressive in your accusations, too persistent, or accuse too many people. If the other players notice what you’re up to, they’ll be even more suspicious of you.
  • Try to catch any errors of logic in the person you accused (“You said you only arrived at 6PM, so how could you have seen what happened at 5:45?”)

How to play the perfect murderer – Tactic 2

  • Stay quiet, blend in. Don’t give colorful answers. Loud, active players usually draw the most suspicion and have the most accusations leveled at them by the end of the game. Instead, remain in the shadows. Sure, it’s not the most fun way to play, but it’s a proven success strategy.
  • Bide your time. Towards the end of the game, when you’re confident the others don’t suspect you, that’s when you can be more active in your approach.

How to play the perfect murderer – Tactic 3

  • Try to hide behind the “fact” that you don’t know who committed the murder. Obviously, this depends on the plot of the game you’re playing, but we’ve seen this tactic work marvelously well before.
  • Why don’t you know, or why can’t you remember? What’s your cover story? Pretend you drank too much alcohol, or maybe you’re under the influence of prescription medication? (“It’s embarrassing, but I, uh, passed out on the toilet and when I woke up, the victim was already dead!”)

How to play the perfect murderer – Tactic 4

  • Carefully plot the perfect web of lies. Lie often, easily, and blame other people.
  • This tactic is no cake walk. You need to commit fully, and be ready to lie again to cover your tracks because there’s a continual risk something you said will be proven to be a lie.

Full disclaimer: This tactic fails in most cases. That said, if you do manage to pull it off, you’ll be forever remembered as a legendary killer! No guts, no glory, and no pun intended.

General tips for the murderer

Prepare for the worst: at some point during the game, something you said will be contradicted and everyone’s going to look at you with suspicion burning in their eyes. Maybe you lied before: “But I was never in the bathroom!” Then someone calls you out: “Well, I actually saw you in the bathroom. You lied.”

This is not a good moment for the murderer. How do you get out of it? Firstly, keep your cool. Then commit, convince your accuser it was a misunderstanding: “Yes, I was in the bathroom. I think we crossed wires. When you asked before, I thought you asked if I was in the employees’ bathroom. I wasn’t, so that’s why I said no.”

Using this simple trick, you can often recover your credibility. Another trick is to lay out some excuses before the game even starts.

From the moment you know you’re the murderer (hopefully, when you get your invitation), start brainstorming excuses. Why did you do this, why that, why did you go there, at that time? Quietly pondering this beforehand can lead to better alibis and comebacks than hoping for a burst of inspiration midway through the game.

Finally, if the heat of the moment has you flustered, buy yourself some precious time: just pretend to read through your clues again. But instead of reading, think, think, think! Come up with your next move or invent a brilliant lie.

How to play the perfect inspector

With such a well-informed killer on the loose, who will see through their deceit? Many murder mysteries have a role for a police inspector or detective who arrives at the crime scene after the murder and isn’t a suspect. If you’re assigned this role, it’s time for some detective work.

But what, exactly, does this entail? And how do you do it well?

No need to bake your noodle, we’ve got you covered with our pro tips for playing the perfect inspector:

  • Follow the facts – ignore rumors, hearsay, or opinions.
  • Take notes. The timeline of events is often carefully plotted. If you’ve noted down who was where, and when, you’ll be able to rule out certain suspects.
  • Use the “3 M” method: Get inside the murderer’s head by trying to find out the Motive, Means, and Method they used. Ask yourself questions like: Is this motive strong enough? Why now, why today? Did the killer have other opportunities but didn’t take them? Why wait till today? What does the suspect stand to win (and lose) from the victim’s death?
  • Find out each player’s motive. But keep in mind that in reality, many murders are committed without strong motives.
  • There’s always the chance that more than one person committed or assisted in the murder. Never forget this!

Detective work is all about asking the right questions. Here are some questions to crack the toughest of cases:

  • Where is the last place you saw Person X?
  • Why are you here tonight? What is your reason for being here?
  • Did you know the victim? If so, describe your relationship with them. Did you have a good relationship?
    At the time of the murder, where exactly were you?
  • Do you have an alibi? Can anyone else support your story?
  • Who do you know that might hold a grudge against the victim, or stand to gain from their death?
  • Do you know anything else about any of the evidence or clues presented so far?

How to play the perfect victim

Well, it wouldn’t be a murder mystery party without a mysterious murder.

Depending on the game you’re playing, the victim is already dead before the game starts. In other games, the victim plays along until they’re killed partway through.

If that’s you, then here are some pro tips for dying the perfect death:

  • Die loudly and dramatically so everyone can see and hear you go.
  • Lie down on the floor long enough for everyone to gather around you.

How to play the perfect suspect

If you’re not the murderer, the inspector, or the victim then you’re a suspect. Playing a suspect is a double thrill: can you figure out who the killer is without accidentally making yourself look guilty? Here are some pro tips to help you do just that:

  • Avoid drawing suspicion. Usually, your character has a dirty secret or motive for the murder. Try to keep this from the other players.
  • Do solid detective work (see the Inspector section for details).
  • Familiarize yourself with the tricks and tactics the murderer may use against you (see the Murderer section for details). By putting yourself in their guilty shoes, you’ll be prepared for any sneaky cons the killer may pull.

How to play the perfect host

Some murder mysteries need a host to steer the events of the evening.

In most cases, the game script allows for the host to play along. In other cases, the host organizes and runs the game, but doesn’t play the role of one of the characters. In either case, the host has a lot on their plate – and we don’t just mean catering for all the guests!

If you’ve enjoyed these murder mystery player tips and want more info, see our ULTIMATE GUIDE to hosting a murder mystery!