Way out West

(16 customer reviews)


Way out West is a murder mystery game for 10 to 24 guests and one or two hosts set in the Wild West. Characters include dastardly railwaymen, upright sheriffs and scheming saloon staff. Written by Tracy Bose. Recommended for ages 12+.


Way out West is a murder mystery game for 10 to 24 guests and one or two hosts. It is set in California in 1884, in the classic Western mold. Download the free introductory pdf file.

Way out West is a thrilling evening of scheming, intrigue 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 Way out West?

“We played Way out West on New Year’s Eve and really enjoyed it a lot. I have flagged your website in my favorites so we can easily access you next year if not before. Thanks for all of your hard work on this game.”
Jackie Vick, Minnesota, United States

See stories and pictures
from Way out West
Read the
Cactus Gulch Gazette

It is the spring of 1884. America’s west coast is slowly being populated with small towns full of settlers, coming to prospect for precious metals, set up ranches and run dubious saloons. Now the railway is coming! Cactus Gulch is one such small town. Founded 20 years ago, tonight it has a festive air as the townsfolk get set to start their 20th anniversary celebrations. Plus, the railway is coming! However, all is not running smoothly. Land disputes, disreputable card games, strange folk from out of town, and quarrels with the local Indians are all adding to a tense atmosphere…

Way out West 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.

“Thanks for a great party – definitely recommend Way out West to friends!”
Mel Woods, London, United Kingdom

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 Cactus Gulch Gazette.

Cast of characters


  • Maxwell Jebediah Adams: Town drunkard and ne’er-do-well
  • Minnie May Adams: Former Sunday School teacher
  • Robert Barnaby: Young legal clerk
  • Ol’ Barr: Reclusive fur trapper and Indian friend
  • Able Blane: The town’s reliable sheriff
  • Lucy Calhoun: Zeke Calhoun’s daughter, a tomboy
  • Dan Fairweather: Honest deputy sheriff
  • Doc Faraday: Notorious gambler
  • Widder James: Grande Dame of the ladies in Cactus Gulch
  • Etta Johnson: Local schoolmarm
  • Kalamata Kate: Young waitress
  • John Paulson: Town’s much-revered judge
  • Blaise Sadler: Aging saloonkeeper


  • Three Feathers: Revered Indian shaman
  • Runs Like a Deer: Indian woman


    • Mel Easton: South West Rail rep
    • Elijah Entwhistle: Traveling preacher
    • Soon Li: Chinese migrant worker
    • Frederick Lloyd: Wealthy English mining investor
    • Marco the Mesmerizing: Traveling stage magician
    • Christy Martin: Storekeeper from out of town
    • Slick O’Hare: Scruffy ranch hand for hire
    • Clem Parham: Mid West Rail rep
    • Ruby Sapphire: Flame-haired singer

Way out West is for 10 to 24 players:

  • 10 players (5 male, 3 female, 2 any)
  • 11 players (5 male, 4 female, 2 any)
  • 12 players (6 male, 4 female, 2 any)
  • 13 players (6 male, 4 female, 3 any)
  • 14 players (6 male, 4 female, 4 any)
  • 15 players (6 male, 5 female, 4 any)
  • 16 players (6 or 7 male, 5 female, 4 or 5 any)
  • 17 players (6 or 7 male, 6 female, 4 or 5 any)
  • 18 players (7 male, 6 female, 5 any)
  • 19 players (9 male, 6 female, 4 any)
  • 20 players (9 male, 7 female, 4 any)
  • 21 players (9 or 10 male, 7 female, 4 or 5 any)
  • 22 players (9 or 10 male, 8 female, 4 or 5 any)
  • 23 players (10 male, 8 female, 5 any)
  • 24 players (10 male, 9 female, 5 any)

You also need one or two hosts, to organize the party and ensure everything runs smoothly. (We recommend two hosts with more than 12 guests, particularly if this is your first Freeform Games murder mystery party.)

How Freeform Games murder mystery games work

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

“We received your game, Way out West, and had our party last weekend. It was a huge success. Everyone went all out on their costumes and the game flowed smoothly. Thanks for your great customer service!”
Lisa and Anthony Perez, Oregon, United States

On the evening of the game the guests are met by the organizer, the Bartender of the Silver Dollar Saloon.

They then receive their detailed backgrounds – including dark secrets, objectives, and money. When everyone has arrived the celebrating starts, but it is immediately disrupted by a shocking announcement. The real fun then begins as everyone questions, bribes, and blackmails each other. As the evening progresses they may even try to murder one another! Along the way they may solve some of Way out West’s mysteries. Where is the map to the recently discovered silver lode? Who owns the land that the railways are desperate to get hold of? Why are the Indians threatening to rebel? Why is a pack of cards so important? Why is the preacher so sinister?

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

Recommended for ages 12+

We recommend Way out West 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.

  • Alex Gables – freelance reporter (Any)
    (by J. Yu)

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 Way out West 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.

16 reviews for Way out West

  1. Rachel T. (verified owner)

    We ran Way Out West for my daughter’s 21st birthday. The participants had a blast. It ran smoothly, though it took quite a bit of time to prep.

  2. Anonymous (verified owner)

    Played with 16 players + host. There’s individual goals on top of figuring out who’s the murder. Everyone really liked it, even the people who ended up not completing their goals/not figuring out who the murder was! It’s not scripted so you can really do the character the way you want it.
    We have both introverts and extroverts in the group and they all liked it. No one is thrown on the spotlight, which is really good for shyer people. You end up interacting 1:1 or in smaller groups.

    A lot of fun, worth the $45!

  3. Harry Gordon (verified owner)

    Such good fun- the night went really well with gun slingin, false accusations, trials and tribulations. The pack was wonderfully thorough, and loved how detailed the plot was. Some people got a bit confused at one point but as the host I was there to guide them into play. One thing on reflection I think which would be advised for future murder mystery parties would be a ‘speed dating’ round for characters to quickly introduce themselves amongst each other to quickly get to grips with the many characters in the room. just a thought.

    Image #1 from Harry Gordon
    Image #2 from Harry Gordon
    • admin (store manager)

      Thank you, it’s great to hear that the game went well for you! And wonderful photos 😀
      Mm thanks for the suggestion of a ‘speed dating’ round of introductions – that’s a terrific idea, we’ll work that into the instructions for the future.

  4. Allison (verified owner)

    We had a great time! We were all first timers but I still think it went really well. I feel next time I do a game I need to explain more instructions such as you can’t guess it just by learning everyone’s secrets and to explain not to use all your abilities in the first half. We technically had an hour left but everyone had used their abilities and didn’t know what else to do. I look back now and realize as the host I should have coached them a little better and help give them questions to ask since I was familiar with the other characters. But for a first game we enjoyed it and everyone had a good time and wants to play again since we have an idea about how to play now!

  5. Callum C. (verified owner)

    A brilliant evening of Wild West fun – perfect for our New Years Eve party!

    We had everything from pickpocketing to a duel – highly recommended!

  6. Rosie Eaton (store manager)

    I ran Way out West via zoom for a group of old school friends last weekend and it was so much fun! The players said it was one of the best evenings they’ve had all year. Thanks for a lovely evening.

  7. Wendy White (store manager)

    We hosted our first Murder Mystery dinner game, Way out West, at our bed and breakfast two weeks ago for a group of friends. My husband didn’t want to participate at first, but after a half hour of playing the murderer he had a great time. We’re hoping to make murder mystery dinners a regular event at the B&B and really like the format and stories you’ve developed.

  8. Jacobeth Whiting (store manager)

    First we must thank you for the creative and all round FUN evening we had last night, hosting Way out West Expanded (kids’ version) for 27 people!! My husband and I decided to host a murder mystery as an opportunity for peeps in our home group to get to know the church staff better – it was both hilarious and VERY successful.
    I am so glad I began my journey with murder mysteries playing a Freeform game. I have heard of many other more controlled or directed games. I doubt those will ever have the same attraction as the working out of a unique sequence of events, determined by the players!

  9. Jocelyn Pethtel (store manager)

    We got the free version of Way Out West and wound up purchasing the Expansion pack. We bought it for our couples’ class to do at church. It turned out so well, everyone had a blast and we are looking forward to doing our next one this year. You guys offer an awesome experience for a good price. We just purchased our next mystery for this year All At Sea and are incredibly excited to start planning it and getting it together 🙂 Thanks!

  10. Klaudia Smith (store manager)

    It was the very first time that I ever participated in any murder mystery game and it was great!! I hosted Way out West. People loved it and are asking for more 😀 !
    The players were so creative! [Character X] was pretty smart, they got the cards and everything they needed to be all set. Then in the end [Y] and [Z] put the map together so they could find the silver lode, give money to [A] and they could buy the Range from [B]. It was awesome!!!!

  11. Elizabeth Holthouser (store manager)

    Way out West Expanded was my first game from Freeform Games – but I will DEFINITELY be using your site again – nevermind that I know several people who are planning to use your games as well 🙂
    It was GREAT FUN – I purchased this game to use for my 30th birthday party and it was a HUGE success. Everyone had such a great time – people were even trying to resolve character “disputes” over the next couple days! Several guests have told me that they want to do something similar for their own get-together. I’ve referred EVERYONE to your site 🙂

  12. Kerry Walmsley (store manager)

    Just wanted to email you all and say what a fantastic day we had Saturday night when we ran Way out West. We all had a blast, everyone dressed up and got into the spirit of things… Nearly a week on, we are still talking about it, and the photos have proved a great success! I am hoping to run another on New Year’s Eve, so will probably email you at the time asking for help on that one!

  13. Bob Cantlay (store manager)

    Just wanted to say thanks. We held our Way Out West party last night and it was a huge success. Everyone had a great time and the characters worked out perfectly. Will check back every so often to see if any new ones come out as I am sure the group would enjoy another mystery at some point down the road. As for me, I have to rest up — keeping track of everything has worn me out. I enjoyed the system and look forward to trying another one. Thank you for your help.

  14. Stephanie McLaughlin (store manager)

    Our Way out West party was a great success. My husband was the bartender and I helped. We had an adult playing Kate and 18 year old playing Christy and the rest were 11 and 12. They did great and were even trying to settle the land dispute the next day at school!

  15. Kim Loftus (store manager)

    Way out West was a very good simple theme for people to obtain fancy dress and get into their characters – with no excuses of not being able to find a costume! This was our first attempt at a freeform game and I think it was very successful and was much more of challenge than a previous murder mystery game we played. Once people got over the shock of actually having to think for themselves they all got into it! No-one guessed correctly who the murderer was!

  16. Lee Nelson (store manager)

    Thanks so much – everyone at our party thoroughly enjoyed the complexity of Way out West. There were so many more mysteries to be worked on besides the murder and all members of the party enjoyed having so much to do. We never had a ‘dull’ moment!

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Q & A

How soon will I get my game? asked on 28 October 2020

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 27 October 2020 store manager
(0) (0)
Where's my password? asked on 26 October 2020

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 25 October 2020 store manager
(0) (0)
How do freeform murder mystery games work? asked on 24 October 2020

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 23 October 2020 store manager
(0) (0)
Have you got any games for beginners? asked on 22 October 2020

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 21 October 2020 store manager
(0) (0)
Do you have any games suitable for all-male or all-female groups? asked on 20 October 2020

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 19 October 2020 store manager
(0) (0)

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