Death on the Gambia

(13 customer reviews)


Death on the Gambia is a 1930s murder mystery game set aboard a river boat for 8 to 11 guests and a host. Venture into the heart of darkness in this 1939 murder mystery game set on the River Gambia. Written by Steve Hatherley. Recommended for ages 15+.


Death on the Gambia is a murder mystery game for 8 to 11 guests and a host. It is set on a riverboat in The Gambia in 1939, and characters include spies, adventurers and scientists. Download the free introductory pdf file.

Death on the Gambia is a thrilling evening of plotting, mystery, and treachery. 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 on the Gambia?

“I hosted Death on the Gambia for a New Year’s Eve party, and my guests loved it! It was our first time playing an interactive murder game, and they were all surprised at how much fun they had. They all marvelled at the complexity of the game, and they talked for quite some time, and are still talking about it several days later! Great game!”
Jennifer Vals, United States

See stories and pictures
from Death on the Gambia
Read the
Gambia Tribune

It is 1939, and across Europe, countries are preparing for war. In the distant British colony of Gambia, a smaller drama is about to unfold as the tramp riverboat Christabel starts a routine trip along the River Gambia…

Death on the Gambia 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.

Note that while Death on the Gambia doesn’t start with a murder to solve, it’s likely that murders may be committed during the party!

“Death on the Gambia was fantastic! The theme, game play, props, costuming, and murder and treachery was everything I hoped it would be for our Murder Mystery Party! If you like or think you might like a role-playing type party, this one is absolutely wonderful for family and friends from high school age and up!”
James Barnes, United States

Includes rules for the use of poison.
Includes rules for the use of poison.
Includes rules for combat.
Includes rules for combat.
Does not start with a murder that needs solving.
Does not start with a murder that needs solving.

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

Cast of characters

  • Jane Carter: an American journalist working for the Gambia Tribune.
  • Dexter Fairchild: an intrepid big game hunter from England.
  • Captain Sam Ironheart: captain of the Christabel.
  • Uzoma Jobe: first mate aboard the Christabel.
  • Joey Keene: one of Gambia’s finest detectives.
  • Connor McDouglas: a rugged Scottish
    archaeologist, adventurer and finder of antiquities.
  • Marie Renard: a famous French artist.
  • Gabe Schwartz: a brilliant German doctor
    bringing aid to the people of the jungle.
  • Caroline Tanner: an English widow seeing the world.
  • Alex Thomas: chief buyer for the Happy Peanut Spread Company.
  • Vic Townhill: an English missionary.

Death on the Gambia is for 8 to 11 guests:

  • 8 guests (2 male, 2 female, 4 any)
  • 9 guests (2 male, 3 female, 4 any)
  • 10 guests (2 male, 3 female, 5 any)
  • 11 guests (2 male, 3 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

Death on the Gambia is unlike other murder mystery games – it doesn’t start with a murder to solve (although one is likely to be committed during the game). Instead, plenty of other plots and secrets will keep everyone busy, as each character has several objectives they must try to accomplish. Death on the Gambia isn’t scripted, and lets the players decide how to achieve their goals and thwart their enemies.

“Everyone enjoyed Death on the Gambia and came in character to the party and stayed in character the whole evening and even for the next week!! Thank you for the game. It made an unforgettable evening for my guests.”
Anna Gísladóttir, Iceland

On the evening of the game the guests are met by the organizer, the deckhand of the old riverboat.

They then receive their detailed backgrounds – including dark secrets, objectives and money. When everyone has arrived the Christabel casts off and starts the voyage along the River Gambia to Bathurst, Gambia’s capital city. The fun then begins as everyone questions, bribes and blackmails each other. As the evening progresses they may even try to murder one another!

Finally, the Christabel arrives in Bathurst and everyone finds out how they did, and what what secrets everyone else was concealing.

Recommended for ages 15+

We recommend Death on the Gambia for those aged 15+, as it contains the following themes: potentially quite violent (simulated, not real violence!) and calls for a good deal of duplicity.

Extra characters

Sometimes you have too many guests and need more characters. Death on the Gambia comes with free extra characters (written by us or previous hosts) that are included in the download when you purchase the game.

  • ‘Ginger’ Roberts – freelance reporter in search of the Big Story. (Any)
    (by Freeform Games)
  • Akuchi Tamba – biologist studying River Fever. (Any)
    (by Lisa Perez)
  • Jenay Richfield – European fur shop owner. (F)
    (by Kimberly Flack)
  • Sasha Simirnov – Russian poet. (Any)
    (by A. Fidan)

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 Death on the Gambia 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.

13 reviews for Death on the Gambia

  1. Mary (verified owner)

    This Murder Mystery game was fabulous! I (the host) had never attended a murder mystery party before, and so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The game materials were very thorough – I had to read them over multiple times – but they helped prepare me so that I could run the game smoothly. There was blackmail, multiple attempts at murder, arrests, and theft – it was a lot of fun!

    I was a little worried because I was hosting the party in my small 1-bedroom apartment. However, over the evening, the guests spread out and schemed in the kitchen, balcony, bedroom, and even bathroom!

    Something to be aware of is that the host holds a lot of responsibility and you will probably be very busy the whole evening! Sometimes the host has to make in-the-moment decisions that aren’t clearly outlined in the rules; In one instance, I made an error in judgment, but then I talked it through with the guests involved and we found a solution.

  2. Anonymous (verified owner)


  3. Olga Iva (verified owner)

    This was AMAZING!!! This was my first murder party (hosting) and all the players were new to this as well. Plus, I invited people from all walks of life, so they were strangers to each other. The first 10 or so minutes people were trying to figure out what to do, but once it started rolling, there was no stopping everyone. Alliances were formed, murders were being attempted left and right and there were secret meetings taking place all over the house. I’d give this game 13/10 stars and can’t wait to try the other games from FreeForm.

  4. Candace Mills (store manager)

    We chose Death on the Gambia upon your recommendation for a family event. It was our first attempt at this. It was a lot of fun! The kids want to do it again soon. We’ll pick another game and have another fun evening.

  5. Mike Thorson (store manager)

    Death on the Gambia was a ton of fun. We loved how involved the subplots were. Additionally, the weapons and threat of death added another level of secrecy regarding character development that everyone loved.
    The threatening and fighting was a blast! People didn’t know if others were going to kill them and there was a lot of fighting in the first half of the game (which I thought was really fun since no-one was taken out of the game early).
    I really enjoy the French / British spy aspect of the Gambia, with the potential of someone being suppose to kill someone else.
    A friend of mine is planning a Lei’d to Rest night coming up and I am really looking forward to it!

  6. Jeffrey Tennant (store manager)

    Death on the Gambia — My wife and I were co-captains for 10 girls for our daughter’s 15th birthday party. They had a ball. Thank you.

  7. Eanne Russell (store manager)

    Many thanks for your great contribution [Death on the Gambia] without which we certainly would not have got together we came from all over the country and the props created by everyone were fantastic. We had appropriate food and the insect sounds, along with ship’s bell, sail, overboard and bridge!!! Great fun by all. Thanks.

  8. Tom Bates (store manager)

    Death on the Gambia was a fantastic night, I think you have to have the right mix of people but it was utterly brilliant! More, more!

  9. Sally Fish (store manager)

    I bought Death on the Gambia for my birthday party. It was absolutely splendid! All of the guests had a fabulous time. I was very worried that it would be too complicated or the guest wouldn’t want to play, but everything was terrific! The character descriptions really got my guests into it, and the sub-plots just made it more interesting. Everyone had a great time and I wanted to personally thank you.

  10. Laura Jensen (store manager)

    They loved it [Death on the Gambia]! It was hard to gauge success at the time because I was so concerned with hostess duties and keeping the game on track. When it was over and I had a chance to relax I realized that it was a huge success. It’s just not your run-of-the-mill party. I heard about it for many days after. One couple even asked me to host one at their house. And they all want me to do it again next year!

  11. Dennis Laughlin (store manager)

    Wow!!! What a great game! Death on the Gambia was a huge success with my usual suspects. We have played all the ‘how to host a murder’ games and found them pretty thin stuff. We have been casting about for a couple of years looking for better options and have found one in your line of games… We shall be placing another order soon. Thanks for a great evening.

  12. Tami Burkhart (store manager)

    Just hosted my first (and definitely NOT last) murder mystery party; Death on the Gambia. What a wonderful time, was a little worried about the guests getting involved in the game. No worries, about 10 minutes into the game, they became their characters! By the end of the evening several had suggested that we do this again, soon. Thanks for the great characters, instructions, and helpful tips. Thanks again!

  13. Lora Hubbard (store manager)

    I think that you have one of the most UNIQUE ideas for party/crowd pleasing games [Death on the Gambia, below] of all times and believe me, that’s a huge compliment coming from me…
    Keep up the good work! I would recommend that you somehow get the word out about yourselves because I know that more people would certainly order your product if they just knew!

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Q & A

How soon will I get my game? asked on 18 October 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 17 October 2022 store manager
(0) (0)
Where's my password? asked on 16 October 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 15 October 2022 store manager
(0) (0)
How do freeform murder mystery games work? asked on 14 October 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 13 October 2022 store manager
(0) (0)
Have you got any games for beginners? asked on 12 October 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 11 October 2022 store manager
(0) (0)
Do you have any games suitable for all-male or all-female groups? asked on 10 October 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 9 October 2022 store manager
(0) (0)

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