How Many Characters for a Murder Mystery Party Game

Bigger Party of 20-25 People?

If you have just a FEW people over the 20 character cap, you have a couple of options that are different from – say – 25 and up. The tricky part with a 23-ish guest list is that now you have a handful who aren’t suspect characters while everyone else is. As hosts, we don’t want anyone to feel left out, but anything more than 18 core suspects gets confusing and overwhelming for a maximum 2 hour investigation. SO! There are two things you can do in this situation:

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You can use the 18 suspect version, add on the 2 character Witness Expansion Pack, and then have your two or three extras be sleuths. If you have guests who are happy to just investigate without taking on a suspect character, this is perfect – they can work alone or together in pairs or groups to question the suspects and solve the mystery.

If it’s the opposite, and all of your 20-25 mystery party guests WANT a character, our top recommendation is for them to come AS detectives. They can create their own detective names, and you can use the extra name tags included in your Host Materials folder (file name: Name Tags) to give them their own mystery identity. They can create a character for themselves and have their own back story, and even introduce themselves to the group as the detective called in to get the situation under control and get to the bottom of the crime.

To take this scenario a step further, you can use your materials to have your detectives deliver the Announcement of Murder and the final Big Reveal at the end. All of our mystery packages come with two options for the Announcement of Murder and Big Reveal: mp3 audio files and transcripts. For this situation forego using the mp3 files and instead let your detectives deliver this information to the group using the printed transcript.

We have had these ‘handfuls of extras’ really bring their own style to their additional roles. We have had a sleuthing team of four without suspect characters arrive with custom hats declaring that they were coming for the killer. Another time, the guests of one of our hosts all took on a classic sleuth from literature and made a ‘Battle of the Detectives’ – may the best detective win. So, with a bit of imagination and the right type of guests, this technique can be a lot of fun.


Opt for a smaller package. We know, at first this can seem a bit backwards, but instead of just having a just few people who aren’t suspect characters in your murder mystery party, you could use a 10-12 suspect murder mystery package and have a larger group of guests just investigating. This is a similar technique to how we run our 20-50 person murder mystery events – a smaller ‘cast’ of suspects, and everyone else working alone or together in pairs or groups to question the suspects and solve the mystery.


Want to see some mystery party spotlights using this size of murder mystery package?

Take me to the mystery party themes!