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"I started hosting murder mystery games a few years ago, and most recently I've done Death on the Gambia and Under the Big Top. My friends and I agree, your games have been the most intriguing, most delightful, and most successful of all our murder mystery parties. Now we budget in an extra two or three hours to thoroughly enjoy all of our gossiping, plotting, two-timing, and back-stabbing! It's the side plots that truly make your games. Everyone isn't just staring at the ground, magnifying glass in hand, searching for murderous footprints. They're maneuvering a complex web of secrets and connections, buried pasts and devious ambitions, free to approach any issue in the manner they feel most beneficial for their character's particular gain. In fact, you could take out the murder and still have a great time! Freeform Games is my go-to for the highest quality murder mysteries."
Tatyana Rasmussen, United States
"We played Under the Big Top on New Year's Eve -- it went brilliantly! I was quite nervous at first in case I had made a mistake preparing the envelopes. We were 16 players (I had downloaded the extra character) from 10 years old to 74 years old -- the 10 and 12 years old were brilliant doing the dirty deals with their fake money! We almost forgot midnight, so busy everybody was talking about the various plots (we had finished the game at 11.30pm!)"
Claudine Combrie, Northants, United Kingdom
"We had a wonderfully funny time last night at Under the Big Top. I have to say that some of the costumes we saw were not only imaginative, but wildly funny. I am so proud of all of my friends who went out of their way to make the evening a success.
Many of them expressed concern that they would never be able to learn all the information they were given ahead of time, but the party ran quite smoothly. The laughs never stopped and continued well into the wee hours of the morning. We just couldn't stop.
We used a white plastic tablecloth roll alternating with rolls of red wrapping paper on the walls to make it look like the inside of a tent. Rolls of red and white crepe paper went from the corners of the room into the center of the ceiling for the roof. We had a balloon arch, curtains hung in doorways, and balloons everywhere. It looked super and the decorations certainly added to the fun."
Debi, United States
"I hosted (on my own) again for the first time since 2008 Under The Big Top last Saturday and it was really good! I created Jo Jo's Emporium and added freaky props and fake spiders web to the walls plus playing cards tacked to the wall for an extra mini-game ;) I dressed as a mime as the circus-hand and very nearly won the best costume which I was very glad about! Well, that's six down and people are already talking about the seventh on the way… Thank you once again Freeform for a great murder mystery! :)"
Nick Eccles, United Kingdom
If you would like to tell us how your party went, please click here to send us your story.
Under the Big Top is a dinner party murder mystery game for 12 to 15 guests and a host – download the free introductory pdf file.
Join us in a thrilling evening of betrayal, deceit, treachery and circus mayhem. You will be in the middle of the action and it will be up to you to wheel and deal with the other guests. Can you achieve your goals, keep your secrets hidden and survive Under the Big Top? It's up to you.
"Another great evening thanks to Under the Big Top, everyone got very into character and there were some great costumes. Can't wait for our next murder mystery."
Jessica Murray and the York St John drama society, United Kingdom
It's 1952 and Bo Bennett's Big Top Bonanza has reached Sarasota, Florida for their final show. With a successful nine month tour behind them, the performers and staff of the Bonanza are making plans for a restful and rewarding off-season.
As the curtain falls on the final Big Top performance, a select few gather in JoJo Bones' Exotic Emporium of Enigmatica (part of the Bonanza). To celebrate the successful tour, JoJo will host a night of revelry, food, drink and, this year, what JoJo has promised to be "startling revelations". Tragically, however, JoJo was killed last night. His body was found early this morning in the lions' cage, mauled by lions Gladys and Mountjoy. Since JoJo's body reeked of alcohol, preliminary reports are that he wandered into the cage in a drunken stupor.
But, the show must go on and the post-season party will continue – and so the selected performers and staff of Bo Bennett's Big Top Bonanza assemble to remember JoJo and celebrate the successful season. This may be their last chance to seal their fates for the future…
Under the Big Top lasts for about four hours and is suited to an evening. It is often played over a meal – a finger buffet if possible to allow guests to circulate and talk in private.
The free introductory pdf file contains an introduction to the game, a list of all the characters, a copy of the Sarasota Star – plus details of how to buy the game.
|Number of guests||Male characters||Female characters||Characters that can be played by either sex|
Under the Big Top is unlike many murder mystery games. Although the game starts with a murder, most of the characters have more important things to do than to investigate it. And the killing may not be over – it is unlikely that everyone will survive the remainder of the evening!
Under the Big Top is played just like a murder mystery game. You may be trying to solve the murder, but primarily you are (initially at least) concentrating on your own goals and objectives. Unlike most boxed murder mystery games, Under the Big Top lets you decide how to achieve your goals and thwart your enemies.
On the evening of the game the guests are met by the organizer, the Circus Hand. They then receive their detailed backgrounds – including dark secrets, objectives and money. Some are hatching schemes. Others harbor nasty and unbridled ambitions. The players can form alliances, blackmail each other, steal items and decide what they plan to do next season. Along the way they may solve some of Under the Big Top's mysteries. Who will be appointed the new Manager of JoJo Bones' Exotic Emporium of Enigmatica? What is the real story behind JoJo's death? All will be revealed Under the Big Top.
Sometimes you have too many guests and you need more characters. So we've written a free extra character for each of our games that you can add in, and some of our customers have created their own characters for their parties and are kindly willing to share them.
Please note that we haven't tested these and they may not tie in exactly with our games.
IMPORTANT – if you've bought the game, you can download the files for these characters from the download page where you got your main game files. Contact us if you need the link and password to get back to that page.
Under the Big Top costs £20.00 (GB pounds). That works out at about US$30.34 at today's exchange rate, although the rate charged by your credit card may vary slightly.
To purchase Under the Big Top, follow these three steps.
Step 2: Read our terms and conditions of purchase. Then come back here and click on the button to buy the game!
Step 3: Our orders are processed by WorldPay – we don't actually see your credit card details. After you have entered your credit card details you will be emailed the location of the main pdf files, plus the password required to unlock them. You can then download those files and enjoy the game!
We accept the following credit and debit cards:
We offer a Cast Iron Guarantee on all our murder mystery games. If you're not completely satisfied with Under the Big Top then please let us know within 30 days and we will refund you.