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FAQ

What are downloadable kits?

If you’ve never bought a downloadable murder mystery game on-line before, or never played one (downloadable or otherwise) and want to find out more about it, then don’t worry – you aren’t the first.  We are so confident in the quality of our games – when you buy from us you are guaranteed a a great night in or your money back!  All our downloadable dinner parties are supplied with:

  • Full instructions Each game contains information on how to use the downloaded files including details on printing etc, instructions for running the mystery itself, as well as hints and tips from previous customers.
  • A guide for making the most of your theme. Including ideas for personalizing your game materials, menu choices, home decoration, appropriate music, and additional after dinner games/activities to compliment your murder mystery.
  • Invitations. Designed for double sided printing, these invitations come with a color cover design and all the information your guests need to know.
  • Easy print character booklets. We recognize how difficult double sided printing can be for many computer users. All our booklets come designed for single sided printing. We can supply the booklets formatted for double sided printing if wished. Just ask. Please be aware it takes time to reformat booklets and we need adequate notice, especially in busy periods.
  • Scripted dialogue and solution booklets for an optional inspector. This inspector part can be taken by the host, allowing you to invite one additional dinner guest as a character if wished.
  • MP3 Sound files for the optional inspector (dialogue and solution). All our 6 – 12 player dinner parties come with an MP3 voice over file as standard. This allows the host to take part as a character and remain totally in the dark themselves as to who the murderer is!
  • Recipe suggestions. Sample recipes are provided in the download. The recipes are NOT compulsory! You may wish to cook something different.

If you decide to purchase the game as a printed kit – what you are asking us to do is print your game for you. Your game will arrive by post, printed, ready assembled and packaged in an evidence box.
Printed kits are exactly the same as downloadable kits, in terms of content – it’s just that instead of you printing the game, we print the game for you and it will arrive ready to go.
If you aren’t sure whether you would like us to print your game for you – then we are happy for you to change your mind. Simply contact us after purchasing the downloadable game and we will arrange to print and ship your order to you after you make the additional payment.

Our dinner party games will contain the following:

  • Instructions – which will include how to run your game, how to make the most of your theme, hints and tips, suggested recipes and a money off coupon towards next purchase.
  • Invitations
  • Envelopes for the above
  • CD version of the inspector part
  • Character booklets
  • Inspector booklet in a sealed envelope to prevent accidental viewing.
  • Name sticker badges for your guests

Please note postage costs are not included in the printed kit prices – these are added during check out when you add your address – as it costs different amounts to post kits to different parts of the world.This additional fee (charged on top of the downloadable game price) is to cover:

  • High quality colour laser printing and high quality paper.
  • Collating, stapling, assembling and packaging the game materials.
  • Supply of all printing, paper and assembly materials associated with the above.
  • Staff costs associated with formatting, assembly and packaging the games for sale.
  • Packaging.
  • Insurance.

Picking the right game for you

What do the content ratings mean?

Our content ratings are based on the ESRB rating scheme.
All ratings are based on content NOT suitability, which means TEEN games are CLEAN games, but may contain language that is difficult for some teenagers to comprehend/read.
TEEN games are often games which are most suitable for mixed audiences and church groups.
It is worth noting that all our murder mystery games are rated TEEN or above as murder counts as violence for younger children. Some children younger than teens will handle the reading level of a standard murder mystery plot. Children who struggle with comprehension will not.
It is possible for us to “dumb down” the reading level on some games to make it possible for younger children to play – just email us for help.

TEEN games will contain “tame” plot lines. This can include plot lines like

    • A game with a character who has had a string of monogamous heterosexual relationships, where all relationships are kept “non-sexual” for the purposes of the game e.g. someone who is two timing a girl.
    • There may be mild innuendo in the booklet, but when played this could be hammed up, or toned down depending on the person acting the role.
    • Alcohol may be mentioned in the game, but it will not include references to drinking to excess.
    • Illegal drugs will not be mentioned within the game, but legal drugs e.g. paracetamol could be.
    • There will be no explicit language, however where the odd mild swear word appears in song lyrics e.g. in Smashed Hits, this will still be present in the game. The word “Sex” may crop up, but not in a sordid context. e.g. a character might say “don’t mention the “sex” word.”

MATURE rated games don’t necessarily mean the games contain explicit language, or sexual references. However the themes will be more gritty. To give you some examples:

  • A game with a character who is homosexual
  • A game with a character who has been polygamous, or who discusses relationships of a sexual nature. (e.g. having affairs)
  • A game with a character who has taken /dealt in drugs.
  • A character who overindulges in alcohol
  • A character who gambles.
  • A character who has had a child out of wedlock.

If you are unsure which game is appropriate for your group – there are two things you can try. The first is to open up the “trial booklet” or “trial Script” link which will give you a sample character from a 6 player game, or a sample script. The second is to call us on +44 (0)1472 348909 and we’ll chat to you about the content of the games and help you find the one most appropriate for your party.

Well, like everything it all depends.  We usually say a standard dinner party with three course meal will take between two and three hours if you run it with 6 – 12 people.  Each additional character adds approximately another six minutes to the time, however beware, the more people you have the harder it becomes to keep everyone on task!  And what could have been a three hour game can stretch to five.  There are sadly no “hard and fast” rules as it all depends on how much fun everyone is having.  We’ve rushed through a 12 player game with a youth group in two hours, but equally have played a game at home with only eight people that started at 7pm and was still going at midnight!

That depends on the game purchased.

For our small group dinner party games the minimum requirements if you are downloading the kit to print at home are about nine sheets of paper per character, a printer and a stapler. Any props and decorative touches are left entirely up to you.

If you want the game materials to look at their best then you might choose to have access to a guillotine, thick card for the booklet covers and a color printer.

If you purchase a printed kit – everything you need is in the box.  It’s up to you to provide the meal and any decorative touches as you see fit.  Recipe suggestions are included in the box, but you do not have to use those recipes for the game to work – pick something you are comfortable cooking – it’s more important that you prepare a meal you’re confident with and have fun.

No. However  our games are formatted in rounds to accommodate a three course meal.   However there is nothing to stop you having a 2 course buffet or a canapes and wine only, so long as all the suspects are in the same room able to hear what’s going on each round.

Don’t worry – we’re used to dealing with this sort of thing.  At no additional cost we will substitute your purchased game to one with a smaller number of players on request.  However, please give us time to process the request as we need to be in the office to arrange the swap.

If you ordered a printed kit – then we are happy to reprint your order, but unfortunately we may have to pass on to you the cost of reprinting your game. Standard “off the shelf” kits can be exchanged free so long as the kit is returned to us undamaged.

If you expect you will lose just one couple, then give that couple (or yourselves) the last two characters on your game (you can check this by looking at a lower numbered game to see who is missed off). That way, if the couple can’t make it, everyone else can still come as the characters you originally asked them to be and we can easily swap the kit for you.
We can bespoke create “optional” guests with enough notice, but fees will apply.

We can help as we’ve done this before.

However not all games will adapt to 5, but if you contact us we will see what we can do.

Yes. We can adjust a game by removing one character, and if we have notice, then we will try and accommodate any unusual requests too, e.g. three men and five women, six men and three women etc.
As a general rule we cannot reduce to a ratio of male : female below 3 : 3. And charges will apply.
Any requests for this should be made with at least two weeks advance notice, and you should check with us first before buying a game to ensure we are not too busy to meet your timescale.
When you make contact we will be able to tell you whether your request is possible, what the total price will be and take payment over the phone, or provide an invoice to you to pay at your convenience.
We regret that we are not always able to alter the voice recording speeches. Any alterations will be made to the inspector booklets, but the voice over will sometimes contain the additional omitted characters.

Why not try one of the following suggestions (all of which have been done by customers over the years):

  • have a person play two roles
  • use a puppet for the extra guests
  • invite a last minute “friend” – everyone loves a party and few will turn you down. And it’s a great way to get to know new people.
  • buy a game one less than you need and as host you take the role of the inspector.
  • for numbers 8-20 you can sometimes remove a “spare” by tailoring the booklets of the remaining guests.  This isn’t an easy undertaking, but it IS possible.  (details below)

It is possible to remove a character from your party, but not easy, and NOT if you need to go from 6 to 5 (as you might inadvertently remove the murderer!)  If you have 8 or more guests, it’s often possible to adjust the games DIY.
Firstly find the booklets of the last character(s) in your invitation list.  These are always the more “optional”.
If you are just removing one, check that the one you leave behind doesn’t speak AFTER the person you plan to remove.  If they do, you will need to write over the top of their introduction and concluding statements so that they now speak after the person who is still IN the game (the person mentioned in the booklet you have removed).
Now pull apart the booklet of the character you plan to remove and set aside the pages with the questions and answers.
Cut the questions out.  Taking care to keep them in different piles for rounds 1, 2 and 3.
Now go through the other guests booklets finding the questions they would have asked the character you removed.  Staple or stick one of your “cut up” questions over the top of any questions you find.  Making sure you put the right question in the right round!!
As host, any time your missing guest is supposed to speak in the shared dialogue at the start of the rounds, just read in their lines.
The extra will still be mentioned on the voice recording, but game play should work.
If you don’t want to go through the process of sticking the questions over the top of the questions for your missing guests in the other players booklets, you can instead tell the guests there were 2 other characters who are now not playing.  Cut up the questions and place them on the table in 3 pots, for rounds 1 2 and 3.  As a guest finds they have a question for a missing character they simply pull a replacement question out of the pot in the centre of the table (just make sure they take it from the right round!).

We never advise giving guests their character booklets in advance of the party as just occasionally one will forget to bring it along and then the party turns into chaos!

However as our downloadable copies and our printed copies are formed from the same database you can usually fix a last minute hiccup like this by ordering the downloadable version of the same game.  Your forgetful guest can then use that PDF copy instead of the original booklet on the evening (either by reading it from a tablet, or by printing it off).
If this happens to you – just email us after the party and explain what’s happened.  In most cases we will reimburse the cost of the downloadable game.  We reserve the right to refuse a refund if we can’t trace your original order and confirm that it WAS your game – so please ensure you have your customer order number to quote.

After paying you should be directed immediately back to our site to a screen with the download links embedded on the page.  Click these links to download your order to allow printing.
After clicking the links your computer should open up a file download box on your screen. When this happens click “save” and specify a folder you can find easily once it’s finished, e.g. My Documents, or the desktop. Sometimes computers will automatically save files into a “download” folder, every computer is slightly different, but if you get stuck, just use your file search option to locate them based on the file names.
After download open up the folder you specified and within it should be the game files you downloaded.

Yes they will.  All the files are PDF or MP3 files.   All of which should cause no problems for MAC users.
If you struggle to download them – just email us, often we can send them directly to your email address instead, and 9 times out of 10 that resolves the problem.

In our murder mystery games we provide a voice recording for an inspector who leads you through the mystery game, providing an introduction, case updates, summary and conclusion.
These voice over MP3 files are exactly identical to the character booklet for the inspector which is also provided at no extra charge.
Using the voice over files on the night means you and your guests can all play a suspect. If you would prefer to facilitate the mystery yourself as the inspector then you can use the character booklet provided instead.
All our MP3 files are recorded professionally. When we adapt a game to order we cannot always amend these voice over files as we do not have a recording studio in our offices! However we have an arrangement with the people who do our recordings, and if you request an adaptation and still want the voice over part we can negotiate a one-off recording cost for you, charges will apply. One off recordings take time to create and we usually need at least a month’s notice to create one for you.

There are two different formats of booklets available to download.  Both are printed differently.

If  you are using a domestic printer – one which only prints on one side of A4 paper, you’ll probably find it easier to use the “single sided print” version.  These assemble in a unique way… not easily explained in writing…so please watch the video below which will explain how that works!
When the booklets first print out, it may look a little odd, perhaps even out of order, but don’t worry – it does all come together into booklet format.
Rest assured, instructions are included in the game materials for how to assemble these booklets, however if you wanted to see exactly what is involved, and how they look after printing then please watch the video above, or read on.

  • Print everything off!
  • Do one booklet at a time. Separate your booklet so that the cover is to one side.
  • Fold all your sheets in half so that the printed side is outermost.
  • Put the cover (the one with the picture on) to one side.
  • Gather all the other pages together in a bunch so that the folded edges are on the right and the open edges are on the left.
  • THIS NEXT STEP IS OPTIONAL (and just for the more pedantic of us) : If you want to make the booklets look especially neat then use a pair of scissors, or a guillotine to cut approx ½ centimetre from each OPEN edge. Taking care to make sure that the amount taken from each page is identical.
  • Slot these folded pages inside the cover sheet so that the open edges are INSIDE the cover, in the middle where the fold is.
  • Close the booklet and staple twice, once at the top and once at the bottom of the folded edge. This should secure all the pages within the booklet together.
  • Then carry on and do the rest of the booklets!

Remember – if you want to personalise your party: make your own booklet covers. Information on how to do this is contained in the “Making the most of your theme” file which you downloaded.

If you are using a large office printer – one which prints double sided – then you may want to print the “double sided print” version.
Customers who aren’t familiar with print settings sometimes call us to tell us every second page is printing upside down.  This isn’t a problem with the file, but rather with your printer settings.
When asking a printer to print double sided, you need to specify printing in LANDSCAPE and also how the paper turns.  Every printer calls the page turn method something different. Some will say “book turn” some will call it “Left or Right side margin”, others will call it a “short side flip” turn.  So you need to find out what your printer calls it and specify that.
In general, it’s not the “Booklet printing” setting.   So that’s something to watch out for and ignore.
We do talk people through print methods regularly, so don’t feel an idiot if you have to phone up and have us talk you through your printer settings.  We won’t laugh at you.

If you would like some files in MSword rather than PDF to allow you to adjust designs, booklet titles, names or add a picture of your choice then please contact us after purchasing your game and request it.  Please make sure you quote your order reference number so we can find which game you ordered, and we will forward you an MSword copy as soon as we can.
Sometimes it is easier if we adapt the booklets for you, so if you want a customisation to format then please get in touch and we’ll try and help.
All our dinner party game booklets print single sided for ease of use. If you would prefer a double sided copy then we can do this for you – please get in touch.

If you order a downloadable kit – the kit should be available instantly on a download link – and will also arrive via email with a link for you to download it.
If you order a printed kit or accessories and elect for standard service – this is first class within the UK and Airmail outside the UK.

  • UK – 1-3 working days (the Royal Mail don’t guarantee next day on 1st class any more).
  • Europe 7-10 working days
  • Rest of World – 14-28 working days
  • If you order a printed kit or accessories and elect for expedited shipping – we use a Courier or Royal Mail Next Day Delivery within the UK; and a courier outside the UK.

 

  • UK – Next working day
  • Europe – 3-7 working days
  • Rest of World – 3-7 working days

 

Don’t worry if you suddenly find you need to change an order.  We’re used to this.  Party planning rarely runs as smoothly as people expect!
Friends who say they can’t come are suddenly worried they’re missing out on the “event of the century” and tell you they can make it after all, other friends suddenly wave off the party as they’ve just won an all expenses trip to Vegas… It happens.
If you know within 24 hours of placing the order that you have the wrong size kit, please email us immediately.  We may be able to call a halt to the posted kit before it leaves the office and work out a quick exchange.  If you are sizing up – there may be a small charge to pay.  if you are sizing down, you may be eligable for a refund!
If the printed kit has already left the office, we are happy to exchange the game, however additional shipping fees may apply.
Usually, so long as you pay to return the original kit ordered at your own expense, we will meet you half way and ship you a replacement kit at our own expense. However if we have custom produced a kit for you, we may not be able to resell the returned item and additional fees may be incurred.
If it’s a downloadable kit – we can just arrange a direct swap with you once you’ve paid any upgrade fees.  Simples.

We have no machines in the office that handle distribution.  All orders at Red Herring Games are handled and processed by real people and we always endeavor to ship orders within 48 hours.
If you received a dispatch confirmation email from us, we received your order and have shipped it.
So if it hasn’t arrived when you were expecting, it means, sadly, that your order may have fallen victim to “natural causes”.
Mail men occasionally drop packages in puddles, trains are occasionally robbed, boats sink, and conveyor belts sometimes chew up post..
If the order hasn’t arrived when you were expecting just get in touch so we can see if we can find out what has gone wrong and get a replacement to you ASAP!
International shipping can take as much as 21 days – however, if you need it quickly and fear it may have fallen victim to the postal gremlins, contact us and we will see what we can do to help!
Obviously if you ordered a downloadable product, we aren’t shipping that one to you – instead you’ll find that in your account ready and waiting for you.
Just occasionally we have stock at an Amazon warehouse near you and supply the printed kits from there directly.

There are several reasons your order may not be complete when it arrives.
You may have ordered a mix of items, some of which are shipped from different sources e.g. Napkins and other accessories may be shipped from an Amazon warehouse, and your order shipped directly.
Sometimes we split an order to take advantage of the best postage rate or service.  This often happens if you order multiple kits, or several large accessories or gifts.
If the rest of your order fails to show up within a week please get in touch.  Just occasionally we make a mistake or the postal services lose half an order.

If you are missing a component of a murder mystery game then please contact us immediately.
We have no machines in the office who pack for us, everything is handled by real people, and if we haven’t had enough coffee one morning, we know mistakes can happen.  If you find your order isn’t complete – you’re missing a booklet or a set of labels – just drop us a line and allow us to fix it!
If you  found out about it too late to fix it before your party, and we aren’t immediately available to help via email or phone – then please order the downloadable version of your game and use the PDF copy for the missing booklet, or MP3 file for the missing CD.  Contact us immediately and we will reimburse you for your order as it was our mistake!

After paying you should be directed immediately back to our site to a screen with the download links embedded on the page.  Click these links to download your order to allow printing.
After clicking the links your computer should open up a file download box on your screen. When this happens click “save” and specify a folder you can find easily once it’s finished, e.g. My Documents, or the desktop. Sometimes computers will automatically save files into a “download” folder, every computer is slightly different, but if you get stuck, just use your file search option to locate them based on the file names.
After download open up the folder you specified and within it should be the game files you downloaded.

We can take the stress out of party planning, and put the fun back into what can be a total headache by customizing a murder mystery specifically to your party!
If you have an uneven mix of male and female participants, an unusual number of guests, or even just unusual guests, or a specific celebration in mind – then we are here to provide you with a personal service that will tailor a murder mystery game to your needs.
If you are looking for something fully bespoke then allow us to talk through with you what you are looking for and provide you with a free quote.

We can write you a fully bespoke game, using the characters of your choice, the setting of your choice, even the plot of your choice. From country house mysteries to conference call team building events, we have done it all!
But to cope with small budgets we’ve also supplied many companies and private customers with minor customization to pre-existing games. The sorts of minor customization work we have undertaken has included:

  • adjusting the presentation of the game materials supplied (adding cream card, sealing wax finishes etc)
  • adjusting the way a game plays e.g. making it more mix and mingle style / free-flowing / choose your own method of deduction style.
  • including particular pictures in game materials
  • renaming characters
  • changing genders of characters
  • adjusting the number of participants
  • providing an uneven mix of male and female guests
  • pre-printing invitation information and adding in details of birthdays or special events
  • changing the setting of a game
  • writing in specific characteristics of a character into the game
  • changing the name of a venue

We pride ourselves on providing a customer specific service – and while we can provide a charging schedule, this is only a guide, some work will be cheaper or more expensive depending on the selected.
However, we are happy to provide a free quote or chat through ideas with you.  So please email us or call us on +44 (0)1472 348909 if you have any questions.

Example charging schedule.

Please bear in mind this is just an EXAMPLE… prices DO vary with games selected, during peak season, with short notice etc…

Band A

Price approx- £15
Adjust picture and /or title of game (Changes of game title not reflected in game materials)
Remove one character (male or female)
Add invite information  e.g. date, time, venue, RSVP, onto printed invitations

Band B

Price approx- £35
Adjust mention of the venue throughout game on written information – BUT NOT in the inspector recording e.g. Merkister Hall is changed to another hall name.
OR
Adjust character ratio within max and min parameters of the game e.g. 3 women 6 men – IF POSSIBLE within that game.

Band C

Price approx- £90
Adjust character ratio of male to female outside the normal max and min parameters without adjusting voice recording e.g. 7 women 3 men – but only IF POSSIBLE within the game without an extensive re-write.

Band D

Price approx- £210
New character names and change of genders required within the game, new voice recording to reflect those; however no plot alterations (e.g. if a plot is unsuitable for a female role, because of a relationship angle, then you may end up with a homosexual relationship within the plot. The game is proofed in-house but not edited professionally.
This requires at least 6 WEEKS NOTICE.

Band E

Price approx- £550
New 12 player written game. We need 12 weeks notice. Editing and voice over included in price. Plot must be suitable to retail on main website after production with or without minor tweaks.
The game kit rights retained for resale by Red Herring Games.
Extra characters cost £15 each.
This requires at least 6 WEEKS NOTICE.

Band F

Price approx- £1250
Single use, fully custom written 12 player kit for a specific event – not suitable for resale by Red Herring Games.  Editing and voice over included in the price.
Extra characters cost £20 per character.
This requires at least 6 WEEKS NOTICE.
OR
A custom written large group game which is suitable for resale on the website after delivery with or without minor tweaks.  Editing and voice over included in price.
This requires at least 12 WEEKS NOTICE.

Band G

Price on request
Exclusive custom written kit – not for commercial resale by Red Herring Games, but can be retailed by customer. Editing and voice over and/or DVD included in price.
This requires at least 6-12 WEEKS NOTICE.
Please be aware, writing murder mystery games takes time!
When considering a fully bespoke game please note that our authors benefit from at least two months advance notice to allow them to juggle commitments.
We can undertake “rush jobs” but this does escalate our charges.