A Dead Man’s Chest

(8 customer reviews)


A Dead Man’s Chest is a pirate murder mystery game for 12 to 16 guests and a host. Two rival pirate ships descend on Caribbean island – who will find Captain Flint’s buried treasure? And who murdered him in the first place? Written by Mo Holkar. Recommended for ages 12+.


A Dead Man’s Chest is a murder mystery game for 12 to 16 guests and a host. It is set on a Caribbean island in the pirate era. Download the free introductory pdf file.

A Dead Man’s Chest is a thrilling evening of piracy, intrigue, heroism, and skulduggery! Your guests will be in the middle of the action, and it will be up to them to wheel and deal to get what they want. Will they achieve their goals, keep their secrets hidden, and survive A Dead Man’s Chest?

“A Dead Man’s Chest was very clever, excellently written and we all LOVED the open-ended nature of what people could do. SO much plotting and back stabbing.”
Jack Lawrence, United Kingdom

See stories and pictures
from A Dead Man’s Chest
Read the
Caribbean Courier

Two pirate crews descend upon the sleepy Caribbean island of Santo Oloroso – to avenge the death of their former master Captain Flint, or to find and grab his treasure?

Old enmities will surface, deals will be made and broken, and some folk will swing from the yard-arm while others receive the dreaded Black Spot, before these affairs are settled, for good or ill.

Will fortune favour the brave? Will faint heart ever win fair lady? How many Pieces of Eight make a Doubloon? Find out all this and more at A Dead Man’s Chest.

A Dead Man’s Chest 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.

“Just wanted to tell you that A Dead Man’s Chest was an awesome mystery – my friends really loved it. Thanks for a great product!”
Michael Eddings

Includes rules for the use of poison.
Includes rules for the use of poison.
Includes rules for combat.
Includes rules for combat.

The free introductory pdf file contains an introduction to the game, a cast list of all the characters, and a copy of the Caribbean Courier.

Cast of characters

The Scurvy Knave

  • Captain ‘Black’ Jack McCracken – the dashing and gallant Captain of the Scurvy Knave
  • Sawbones McGraw – the sarcastic but reliable ship’s doctor
  • Quintus Swelter – the vain and sinister ship’s cook
  • Tom – the helpful young ship’s boy

Colonial forces

  • Sir Percival Stanforth – the steadfast and rather stuffy Governor of Jamaica
  • Elizabeth Stanforth – the Governor’s highly desirable (if demanding) elder daughter
  • Captain Hal Overy – the stubborn and blunt Royal Navy Captain

The Fury

  • Captain ‘Saucy’ Nancy Martin – the bold and fiery Captain of the Fury
  • Alice Tremain – the Fury’s shrewd and intellectual 1st Mate
  • Blaise Richelieu – the temperamental and passionate ship’s cook

Diaho natives

  • Hayapitl – the diplomatic Diaho chief
  • Cassinga – the intimidating DIaho shaman
  • Tokeleth – the chief’s headstrong daughter


    • Don Inigo de Velez y Contrera – the aristocratic and condescending Spanish nobleman
    • Salamanca – the Don’s cynical and easily amused valet
    • Bill Pistol – the marooned former pirate, now as mad as a brush

A Dead Man’s Chest is for 12 to 16 guests:

  • 12 guests (6 male, 4 female, 2 any)
  • 13 guests (6 male, 4 female, 3 any)
  • 14 guests (6 male, 4 female, 4 any)
  • 15 guests (6 male, 4 female, 5 any)
  • 16 guests (6 male, 4 female, 6 any)

You also need a host – someone to organize the party and ensure everything runs smoothly.

How Freeform Games murder mystery games work

A Dead Man’s Chest is unlike other murder mystery games. Although the game starts with a murder, each character has several goals they must try to accomplish. While they may want to solve the murder, A Dead Man’s Chest contains plenty of other plots and secrets to keep everyone busy. A Dead Man’s Chest isn’t scripted, and lets the players decide how to achieve their goals and thwart their enemies.

“We played A Dead Man’s Chest in honor of my 21st birthday and had SUCH a great time! … The next day, the game was the ONLY thing being talked about in the theatre department – everyone was telling everyone how much fun it was, all the funny jokes, everything – it was quite a hit!”
Bonnie Prather, United States

On the evening of the game the guests are met by the organizer, the ship’s quartermaster/mistress.

They then receive their detailed backgrounds – including dark secrets, objectives, and money. The players can form alliances, blackmail each other, steal items and even mutiny. Along the way they may solve some of A Dead Man’s Chest’s mysteries. Why was the Governor’s daughter kidnapped by pirates? Who is the masked do-gooder ‘El Cuervo’? Where is the fabled treasure buried? And of course, how did Captain Flint die?

Finally, the game concludes and everyone finds out how they did, and what secrets everyone else was concealing.

Recommended for ages 12+

We recommend A Dead Man’s Chest for those aged 12+, as it is family-friendly and contains no adult themes.

Extra characters

Sometimes you have too many guests and need more characters. So most games have free extra characters (written by us or previous hosts) included in the download when you purchase the game.

  • Balavari – young Diaho tribesman. (M)
    (by Jenni Malloch)
  • Belladonna – Jack McCracken’s fancy-woman. (F)
    (by Jocelyn Thompson and Bonnie Prather)
  • Bosun Barnes – crewmate of Captain Overy. (M)
    (by Dathan Burden)
  • Bosun Barnes (alternate) – crewmate of Captain Overy. (M)
    (by Dan Johns)
  • Grace Cooper – pirate of the Fury. (F)
    (by Dan Johns)
  • Jay Sommer – stowaway aboard the Scurvy Knave. (Any)
    (by Lisa Perez)
  • Louis de Monnaie – deckhand aboard the Scurvy Knave. (M)
    (by Tara Laben)
  • Madame Zuzu – Santo Oloroso’s resident voodoo lady. (F)
    (by Al Kennedy and Carrie Graham)
  • Rev Cecil Howard and Georgiana Fitzsimmons – Missionary minister and she-pirate. Must be used together. (Any)
    (by Andreah Mathews)
  • Reverend Ian Plumpton – missionary travelling aboard the Scurvy Knave. (M)
    (by Dathan Burden)
  • Rose – Ship’s Girl of the Fury. (Any)
    (by Dathan Burden)
  • Shay Collins (family-friendly version of Belladonna) – pirate of the Fury. (Any)
    (by Jocelyn Thompson and Bonnie Prather, revised by Lisa Perez)

Please note that we haven’t always tested these – and they may not tie in exactly with our games.

IMPORTANT – you shouldn’t add too many of these characters in to your game as they haven’t been designed to work together (unlike the main game characters). If you add in several, they may make your game chaotic and incoherent. You should probably instead choose a larger game. If you still want to add several extra characters (four or more), we recommend having an extra host to help.

“Thank you for a great site, fantastic games, good service and very quick reply. Keep up the good work.” Ole Martin Brodwall, Norway

Cast Iron Guarantee

We offer a Cast Iron Guarantee on all our murder mystery games. If you’re not completely satisfied with A Dead Man’s Chest then please let us know within 30 days and we will refund you. See our full terms and conditions, and our refund policy.

Trouble downloading? If you have trouble downloading the game files, please first check your spam folder. If you still can’t find the download email, drop us a line at info@freeformgames.com with the name of the game and the email address you used to purchase it, and we’ll resend it.

8 reviews for A Dead Man’s Chest

  1. Spencer R. (verified owner)

    We did this for my 40th birthday and it was great fun! So many hilarious interactions between players trying to accomplish conflicting goals. I would definitely recommend.

  2. A Customer (store manager)

    The format of A Dead Man’s Chest was different from what we have done before, but the kids had a wonderful time. They played the game for about 3 hours and were all equally engaged. They have asked that we host another game later this year.

  3. Maria (store manager)

    Wow! What a great evening.
    I wanted to do something a bit different for my birthday and I had tried boxed versions of
    Murder Mystery games before but they were nothing like this. A Dead Man’s Chest was great and
    I was so pleased with the effort my friends made in dressing up! They were all really
    impressed and we will be doing another one for my birthday this year!

  4. Katharyn Roffey (store manager)

    The game [A Dead Man’s Chest] was fantastic, I did it for my son’s 13th birthday party and everyone had a fab time. It was a lot of work beforehand, reading all the instructions and getting all the pack together, but between my husband son and me, we got it sorted. The worst problem was that two people cancelled, one the day before which was fine, but one person just didn’t turn up — but as my husband and I didn’t have a part, we managed to sort it out.

  5. Keith (store manager)

    A Dead Man’s Chest was a great success. It’s well thought out and so kept us all active the whole time. It’s very good for getting everyone talking and having fun. None of us had played a mystery before, so we took some time to get started, but once we got going it went well.

  6. Dan Johns (store manager)

    (Dan ran A Dead Man’s Chest as a training aid at an English as a Second Language school.)
    The students were pretty apprehensive at first and it took some convincing to get them to join the party but once there they all had a great time. The last one I ran, though, turned into a bloodbath from the get-go but I didn’t have much control over that. The highlight was when one of the players, who was running around attacking people, failed to get his intended target to take a drink he had poisoned and, forgetting he had poisoned it, drank it himself.

  7. Tara Laben (store manager)

    My church "youth" group (ages 15-30) recently played A Dead Man’s Chest, and the game was a big hit! … We appreciated that the game was family-friendly, and that it had a good mix of complicated and less-complicated characters to accommodate the players’ varied acting abilities. This game was more than worth the cost, especially since I now know where to find an engaging party game whenever I need one!

  8. Chesley Way (store manager)

    I have been doing murder mystery parties at my place for at least 6 or 7 years now and in that span of time about 9 games or so, and I have to say hands down that your approach these types of games is the best. The flexibility is great with how everyone can essentially do what they will with their characters since there is no pre-defined script to follow. Just now I have purchased the A Dead Man’s Chest game and I am looking forward to matching up my friends with the given characters. Again great games and thus greatly appreciated.

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Q & A

How soon will I get my game? asked on 20 February 2022

You can download your game immediately after making your purchase. We will also send you an email message containing a download link and password so you can download your game later.

answered on 19 February 2022 store manager
(0) (0)
Where's my password? asked on 18 February 2022

Please check your email (including your junk folder). If you're sure you haven't received it, then please get in touch. It helps us if you tell us when you purchased the game and what email address you used.

answered on 17 February 2022 store manager
(0) (0)
How do freeform murder mystery games work? asked on 16 February 2022

Most of our games have an impartial host who organizes the party. Hosts don't solve the murder with everyone else – they have already read the game and instead watch the game unfolding.

Guests use their wits and negotiate, scheme, and plot with other guests to get what they want. Nobody needs to learn complicated backgrounds or memorize lines – character backgrounds are little more than a side or two of paper – which can be kept to hand for reference during the game.

answered on 15 February 2022 store manager
(0) (0)
Have you got any games for beginners? asked on 14 February 2022

Yes! If this is your first time hosting a Freeform Games murder mystery, we suggest choosing one of our more straightforward games. Click here for our 'games for beginners' page.

answered on 13 February 2022 store manager
(0) (0)
Do you have any games suitable for all-male or all-female groups? asked on 12 February 2022

Yes! We have several games where all the characters are ungendered and can be played by anyone. Click here to see our ungendered games.

answered on 11 February 2022 store manager
(0) (0)

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