Thanks for your questions, I'll take them in order! It can be all a bit confusing at first, but hopefully it'll make sense as we go through.
* You can attack someone with a knife card, or a gun card, that's right. (But not if you don't have one of those.)
* And if your attack is successful, then yes, you can steal their item cards and their casino chips -- but not their Secret, Information or Abilities.
* An attack will never kill someone straight off – they always have ten minutes in which they can be given first aid to bring them round. After those ten minutes have passed, then if it's in the early part of the game (before 9.15 in our suggested timetable) they will come round by themselves. If it's after 9.15, then they will die if they didn't get first aid in the ten minutes.
* Yes, you're right. That's why we only let people get killed in the last 45 minutes of the game – so they don't get bored.
* We were a bit reluctant to give the players the rules on fighting in advance, because most of them won't get into fights so it won't ever be required. (Also, we thought that this might encourage players to start blazing away from the very beginning of the game, which isn't really desirable.) So for that reason we usually just explain it to a particular player when they tell us that they want to attack somebody. But I guess if you would like to eg. give the rules in advance to the people who have guns, then it's the section on p20-21 of the instructions (from the heading 'FIghting' to the end of 'Unconscious people') which is the bit you would want to include.
* Yes, you're quite right, it is important not to have fighting run away with the game and spoil people's enjoyment that way. So we have the rule about no deaths before 9.15, and also limited numbers of bullets in each gun. We reckon that the balance is about right in the game now, so there will be some exciting fighting but no-one will get their game spoilt by getting killed out of it before they've had a chance to achieve their goals.
If you have reason to believe that your players will be particularly bloodthirsty, then you could (a) remove one of the bullets from each gun, or (b) push the time-of-death further forward to say 9.30 – that will make it even safer. But that shouldn't be required for normal players.
* Fake gambling isn't actually part of the murder mystery game, but of course lots of people do want to include it in their party. You can have it going on in the background throughout the game (run by the croupier and casino manager characters), or you could have it as an interval to break the murder mystery up. But basically the game and the characters have been written for occasions when there is no fake (or real) gambling taking place, so they don't depend on it at all.
* Yes, if you're going to be using real poker chips, then it would be great to substitute them for the cards that we provide – that will make for a much better atmosphere.
* It is important in the game that some people are poor and need money, while other people are rich and have loads of money to spare. So if you start everyone with the same chips, that will cause problems. I would stick to the amounts that we suggest, while the murder mystery is going on – you can always give people more chips afterwards if they want to carry on gambling on more even terms.
I hope that helps and is clear – do say if there are any other questions,