This can be played in any open area such as a gymnasium, hall or good-sized room. Start by having everybody look at their feet and then close their eyes with their heads bowed. Let players know that as you go around the room, if you tap them on the head once they will become the murderer or if you tap them on the head twice they are the detective. Go round and select one person to be the murderer and one person to be the detective. An alternative way to do this is to put a number of folded paper slips into a hat or large bag with one slip marked with a “X” or “M” for murder and another with “D” for Detective. Players each then take out a slip of paper without showing others what is written on it.
The important thing is for players to not know who is the murderer.
The Detective goes into a different room.
As hinted at in the title this is usually played in darkened/unlit rooms and passageways, which adds to the excitement/fun, but can be played in daylight or with lights on if preferred.
If you are going to play in the dark – switch off all the lights for the game to begin. Players then wander around as they wish. At some point, the murderer selects their victim by touching them on the shoulder or if in a lighted room surreptitiously showing their victim crossed fingers. The victim needs to count to 20, to give the murderer time to move away, before they feign their death and lies down at the spot they were murdered.
Players call out for the detective and can move around if desired before the lights go back on. The detective then has 3 or 5 chances to question players (who must answer truthfully – except for the Murderer who may lie if they wish) and to figure out the who the murderer is. If the detective gets it wrong you can either play the round again or let the murderer announce themselves.
When a person is dead they yell their name and say they are dead. At which point they go out into the room the detective was in. The detective comes back in and tries to figure out who the murderer is in 3 guesses. If wrong on the 3rd guess the murderer owns up.