Back in the UK in 2003

I’ve been running murder mystery parties for about ten years, firstly in London (UK, not Ontario), and now in Victoria (BC, not Australia). It was an occasional thing at first. I started with a kit suggested by my housemate, as we wanted to have something different for our housewarming party. “Happy Birthday, RJ“, from Freeform Games went down a storm, though it’s the last time I’ve ever had a beer (or three) while hosting. I did a few more before emigrating to Canada, and always enjoyed playing the host, and seeing a whole story unfold before me.

Then in Canada in 2012

Once I moved over to Canada, it was a while before I ran another one. When my best friend mused about doing something different for her birthday, I suggested doing a murder mystery. She hired a room at St Anne’s Academy in Victoria. This gave us a great old-time back drop to a 1930’s murder. Though not everyone even knew murder had been committed until the very end. Still, much discussion on what had -really- happened took place over cocktails afterwards.

This led me to a conclusion: I enjoyed running murder mystery parties, other people enjoyed them, and I wanted to do more. And from this, enigmatic events emerged.

No longer just for friends in 2015

I’ve now run dozens of parties in Victoria – in pubs, apartments and gardens. One, in the Paper Street Studio, was memorable for having just six players. But as they were all improv actors, they took the ideas and ran with them in all sorts of crazy directions. As a host, sometimes it’s like watching a play, one which you are nominally the director, but it writes itself.

And that, for me, is one of the rewards as player too. You are taking part in a play. You have a character, whose struggling to achieve certain goals. And they’d all be easy if everyone else would just co-operate. But of course they won’t, not easily, and you try to solve these problems. Via discussion, sneakiness or sometime direct action. There’s no physical interaction in any of our games, and anything that needs to be resolved along these lines (trying to restrain the murderer, for example) is worked out with the Host.

One of the hardest, but rewarding, events was a thirty player mystery set in a 1920’s Speakeasy. The client hired the top floor of The Guild. There was a lot of work in sorting out the players, the character information and the venue. But what resulted was an awesome night of talking, prohibition style cocktails, interaction and climatic (fake) gun fight between a couple of new enemies.

Though Enigmatic Events is more than just murder mystery parties, it’s a core part of what I love doing. If you are interested in having us host your mystery or want ideas on your own event, please email me on chris@enigmaticevents.com

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