One of our customers, Peal, got in touch with us recently to share with us a site they had prepared for lockdown Murder at Sea with 20 guests.
We’re really impressed – it’s a great way to set the scene for your online murder mystery party.
They built their site using Google sites. I’m not sure if they used one of the templates or if they built it from scratch (possibly the Event template). Other free website builders are available.
Murder at Sea – Home page
This is the home page. They’ve used an image of a suitable liner and included our introductory text from the game. They also included a couple of checklists.
Before the Party Checklist
- Read your character description and (if possible) print out your abilities.
- Read the rules to understand how to use items and abilities.
- Ensure Zoom is working on your computer (Phones may be hard)
- Ensure Google Hangouts is working on your computer.
- You can check this by going to the map page and clicking one of the rooms in the ship.
On the Day
- Reread your character details again!
- Do you have?
- A snazzy outfit and your character prepped
- Phone and Laptop Charger
Then head on over to The Great Staircase and join the Zoom Meeting
(Murder at Sea starts with the lights going out and Captain Bayard being shot – I don’t know how they staged that.)
This page contains the locations where the game will be played. The Great Staircase is the main Zoom location – that’s where the party will start. (Note that Zoom has a 40 minute time limit if you don’t have the paid version. Jitsi is a free alternative, but lacks some of the features that Zoom has.)
The other 11 locations (The Dining Room, a First Class Cabin, an Empty Deck and so on) are all Google Hangouts that the players can use to have private conversations.
(I’ve explained how you can set up Google Hangouts in this way at the bottom of the page.)
On this page, everyone can get access to the information about their character.
This is our cast list – it’s our cast list pdf embedded in the page.
So for example, clicking on Christina Younger takes you to the page below:
The three links on this page (Items, Abilities, Character Description) all go to protected Google Drive folders that the host has set up. Access has been shared with the relevant player only, so only they have access.
You could also use Dropbox or OneDrive – or ownDrive as one of our other customers recently described here.
Zoom lets you add a virtual background to your calls, so rather than seeing your normal background you appear to be somewhere more appropriate.
So here the host found (and created) lots of thematic image files (.pngs) for their players to use.
Here are some examples of images – one of an Edwardian room and the other a background for one of the characters – this one for Elizabeth James with the Union Jack.
There were even animated angel wings, presumably for characters who had died during the game.
The final page, Rules, has links to our standard rules for poison, pickpocketing and so on.
Here’s how you can set up a video call that people can just drop into and out of.
1 – go to https://hangouts.google.com/
2 – In the middle of the screen you should see:
3 Click on “Video Call”
4 You will get a new pop-up with the video call. You’ll also get a dialogue box like this – just close it by clicking the X in the top right corner.
5 You’re now in a video call, all alone.
6 Copy the URL of the call, which will look like “https://hangouts.google.com/call/…” and then a random list of letters and numbers.
7 Save that URL somewhere. Anyone can then click on that URL and go straight into your video call. (And I mean anyone, so be careful about making it too public!)
8 Set up several hangouts – and give them appropriate names such as “On deck” or “At the bar” or “Under the gazebo”.