Death in Venice


Death in Venice is a present-day murder mystery game set aboard a luxurious yacht for 5 to 9 people where the host can play too. Clay McFarland, hotshot movie director, has been killed just after receiving the prestigious Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival. But who is the murderer? Written by Mo Holkar. Recommended for ages 15+.


Death in Venice is a murder mystery game for 5 to 9 people where the host can play too. It is set on a luxury yacht at the Venice Film Festival, in the present day. Download the free introductory pdf file.

Death in Venice is an evening of film-festival fury, movie-making misbehavior, and murder! 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 Death in Venice?

See stories and pictures
from Death in Venice
Celebrity Online

Last night at the glamorous Venice Film Festival, controversial director Clay McFarland picked up the prestigious Golden Lion award for this season’s hit movie Never Look Back. But this morning, he was found lying in front of St Mark’s Cathedral – hacked to death with a meat cleaver.

The stars of the movie and some of their guests supposedly spent the night sleeping off the effects of the post-awards party, on the Casanova, their luxury yacht moored in the marina – but it seems that someone was up to no good. Traces of McFarland’s blood found on the Casanova’s dinghy mean that police are confident that the culprit is one of those who are now confined aboard the yacht.

As cathedral bells toll out across the ancient city, on board the Casanova a frothy ferment of vineyards, memoirs, gossip, jealousy, and movie-set punch-ups will come to the boil.

Charge your glasses, put on your designer sunglasses, and join the cast and crew of Never Look Back as they try to solve the mystery of Death in Venice!

Death in Venice 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.

No combat, no poison.
No combat, no poison.
The host can either play one of the characters or can just be the host, as they prefer.
The host can either play one of the characters or can just be the host, as they prefer.

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

Cast of characters

From Never Look Back

  • Daniel Setters: The star of Never Look Back—a strong and soulful leading man who mingles tough with tender.
  • JJ Kowalski: Expert film editor, responsible for the narrative thrust of Never Look Back.
  • Mary-Lou Sinclair: The other star of Never Look Back, a skilled and versatile leading lady renowned for her ability to express subdued emotion.
  • Tindall Nobbs: Supporting actor in Never Look Back, famous for a friendly and approachable demeanor.

Visitors and guests

  • Célestine de Vincennes: Decadent French minor aristocrat, reputed to be fabulously wealthy.
  • Courtney Keller: Personal assistant to Landor Hammond. Always seems to be rather busy.
  • Cruz Vicente: Journalist covering celebrity material for the Celebrity Online website.
  • Landor Hammond: Tech mogul responsible for a string of online businesses, and owner of the Casanova.
  • Lyra Spark: Hugely successful pop star, currently thought to be trying to develop a side career as an actor.

Death in Venice is for 5 to 9 players:

  • 5 players (2 male, 2 female, 1 any)
  • 6 players (2 male, 2 female, 2 any)
  • 7 players (2 male, 2 female, 3 any)
  • 8 players (2 male, 2 female, 4 any)
  • 9 players (2 male, 2 female, 5 any)

You also need a host – someone to organize the party and ensure everything runs smoothly. That can be a separate person – or the host can also play one of the characters in the game. It’s up to you.

How Freeform Games murder mystery games work

Death in Venice 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, Death in Venice contains plenty of other plots and secrets to keep everyone busy. Death in Venice  isn’t scripted, and lets the players decide how to achieve their goals and thwart their enemies.

On the evening of the game the guests are met by the organizer, the Chief Steward, and welcomed to the Casanova.

They each have their detailed backgrounds – including dark secrets and personal objectives. The fun then begins as they form alliances, blackmail each other, lie, cheat, and deceive! Along the way they may uncover some of the mysteries of Death in Venice. Who punched who on the set of Never Look Back, and why? Who is The Child in the Sailor Suit, and who will play their parents? And, of course, who is the murderer of Clay McFarland?

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

And the host can play too! Unlike most of our other games, the host can also play a character in Death in Venice. Just be careful not to read the file that’s marked as secret, if you plan to do that. (Or if you want to just host the game, without playing a character, you can do that as well.)

Recommended for ages 15+

We recommend Death in Venice for those aged 15+, as it includes romance and dating as themes in play.

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.

  • Alessi Enorme – Venetian celebrity chef (Any)
    (by John Mulheren)

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

“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 Death in Venice 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 with the name of the game and the email address you used to purchase it, and we’ll resend it.

1 review for Death in Venice

  1. June Wilson (store manager)

    What a great evening.
    We decided to play Death in Venice over Zoom in the end as we had issues with discord and it worked so well.
    We made everyone a co-host so they could then go between rooms themselves and only brought them back to the main room for announcements. The time flew for everyone. We had a lot of couples playing one character which they loved as they could strategise and plan together.
    Thank you so much for a great time. I really love your games and so do all my friends and family.

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Q & A

How soon will I get my game? asked on 12 August 2021

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 11 August 2021 store manager
(0) (0)
Where's my password? asked on 10 August 2021

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 9 August 2021 store manager
(0) (0)
How do freeform murder mystery games work? asked on 8 August 2021

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 7 August 2021 store manager
(0) (0)
Have you got any games for beginners? asked on 6 August 2021

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 5 August 2021 store manager
(0) (0)
Do you have any games suitable for all-male or all-female groups? asked on 4 August 2021

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 3 August 2021 store manager
(0) (0)

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