Adding fighting and poison to a murder mystery party

One of our customers recently wrote to us asking which games have combat in them.

(I’m not sure if they were looking for games that had combat, or games without combat. Not that it matters.)

We realised we hadn’t made it easy for our customers to work out which games have combat and which ones don’t, so we have added icons (from game-icons.net) to our choosing a game page to make that clear.

Includes rules for combat.

Includes rules for the use of poison.

Uses superpowers instead of our usual combat and poison rules.

No combat, no poison. No combat, no poison.

One character will die during the game, and will be replaced with a new character for that guest.

The host can either play one of the characters or can just be the host, as they prefer.

Written by Peaky Games, and only recommended for people who have hosted one of our murder mystery games before.

Standard rules

We also have our standard rules (combat, poisoning, pickpocket, capturing and arrest) which anyone can use—either for their own games, or to add to a game that doesn’t normally use those rules.

A Speakeasy Murder – includes our combat rules

But how do you do that?

To explain, I’m going to show how I might add combat to Murder on the Istanbul Express (which is set aboard a luxury train where fighting would normally be forbidden).

Option #1—in the background

The easiest thing I could do is simply have the rules in my back pocket should they be needed. The game includes items that could be used as a weapon, and if one player decides that their character really must attack another, I would use our rules to adjudicate that (rather than forbid it).

First aid kit

I would also provide a first aid kit as an item on the train (perhaps in the kitchen).

But I wouldn’t advertise this in advance—I’d just use the combat rules if they were needed.

Option #2—announce it in advance

The next option is to announce that the fighting rules will be used during the game briefing, but don’t introduce new abilities or items (except the first aid kit mentioned above). Simply identify which of the existing items could be used as a weapon, and let the game commence.

Could this lucky horseshoe be a weapon?

Use common sense when working out which items could be used as a weapon—and be prepared for players to improvise.

Option #3—add abilities and items

Finally, I would embrace combat and announce that not only that the fighting rules will be used, but I’d give out suitable abilities and possibly even weapons.

But who to give them to?

  • Characters looking for revenge and their targets
  • Law keepers
  • Heroic types
  • Villains

I would give all of these a weapon of some sort, and an ability from the list in our Combat Rules.
And to balance everything, I would give other characters either an extra ability (from those used in the game) or a first aid kit (for doctors or anyone who might reasonably have access to one).

I would also share the combat rules with everyone as part of their character packs.

To add combat or not?

For me, though, I probably wouldn’t add combat to a game that doesn’t already have it.

I know our games without combat work fine without it, and adding combat can create unnecessary complexity that it doesn’t need.

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