Here's a selection of people's stories and pictures from Happy Birthday R.J. – if you've enjoyed one of our games, you can click here and tell us your own story.
"We have all kinds of birthday parties. Some of the favorite ones have been scavenger hunts until now. Everyone enjoyed Happy Birthday R.J. so now they want to know which one is next.
It was a lot of work to put it together because I like to use a lot of props. I even made real invitations. I think the best part was they had to be someone else. So they forgot all about their own worries and had a great time.
I have never seen so many people just slip right into character. We ended up having 17 players. I used most of the ideas that were given and I would suggest to use them. They were helpful.
I found some little trophies and put the occasion, date, and praises on them (great job--wasn't as bad as you thought--superb job). They like getting a memento of the occasion. I just want to thank you for putting together a great package.
I would recommend it to anyone."
Happy Birthday R.J. – group photo – Sue Morrison
"...the game and evening was very enjoyable and it worked very well indeed."
Rob Ivory, Essex, United Kingdom
Happy Birthday R.J. – R.J., Billy and Jack – Sue Morrison
"Over the years I've had many murder mystery parties, and once I found Freeform Games
I never went back. I played Happy Birthday R.J. last year for my 17th birthday party and
I think it was one of my favorites. Freeform makes it so easy to have fun. My friends and
I are actors, so we love to dress up and improv, but anyone can do it. (I had my uncle, and
my 9 year old cousin in it too) It's so fun, and my friends and I look forward to it
every year. I'm planning on having another one next month for my 18th birthday!"
Louie Rinaldi, United States
"Last night I played your murder mystery Happy Birthday R.J. with some friends from university. I just want to thank you for having created such a wonderfully fun and engrossing game. Each of my guests said they had had a fantastic time and I had just as much fun as the host. I've played several 'scripted' Murder Mysteries in the past, but I have to say that yours was vastly superior and I'll certainly return to Freeform Games in the future."
Matt Clifford, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Happy Birthday R.J. group photo – Nathanial McConnell
"Ran Happy Birthday RJ last weekend. Excellent – everybody enjoyed it. I had to add the additional character (i.e. Ginger) and to add to the enjoyment, I provided him with a gold pen which was stolen by one of the characters at the party. The whole evening went down very well and after I've given my wife time to recuperate I will purchase another mystery from you."
F Grover, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
"We've just finsihed playing Happy Birthday R.J. last weekend and the night was very interesting to say the least! Everyone who came was dead excited and couldn't wait to get their teeth into their individual goals and objectives plus solving 3 crimes…
We did have an eventual winner in the woman who played Dolly Douglas which means the girls are beating the boys so far after playing 2 years worth of freeform murder mystery games. Girls 2 Boys 0!
When the victim (who I won't mention here as to not spoil it for the rest of you) was killed we created a great scene in doing so. The lights were turned out, birthday cake lit, candles blown out and then bang! A shot in the dark, the victim falls to the floor clutching his/her chest, fake blood oozing between their fingers! HEHE! Not to mention the innuendos about horses!
So thanks once again for a great night and see you next year! "
Nick Eccles, United Kingdom
"Hmmm… 50. What to do to celebrate reaching that age? I don't feel 50 – and my friends tell me I don't look it. (That's what friends are for!) Do I let it slip quietly by and pretend it's not happening, or do I have a huge (and expensive) party for everyone I know? When a friend suggested a murder mystery party, it sounded perfect. I could invite a dozen or so of my closest friends – some of whom had never met each other – and it would be something quite different. The guest list grew to 16 quite quickly and I searched around to find something suitable. Happy Birthday R.J. seemed ideal – who doesn't fondly remember the Dallas era? It would be easy for the guys to dress the part (suits or jeans + cowboy hats) and, as us gals were all of a certain age, we found that most of us, rather embarrassingly, had kept a few shoulder padded outfits in our wardrobe. I'd never run a murder mystery before and I was a bit daunted by all the info – but I took the advice of old hands on the internet and printed everything off well in advance and sent each guest a 'pack' of information. I also made up notebooks for each guest – and covered the fronts with a picture of SouthFork Ranch!
"Real panic set in when six extra people wanted to join in – I used Ginger Roberts and then wrote in 5 extra characters – which gave me a bit more insight into how the game would run and, although it was a lot of work adding extra notes and cross referencing everything, it was great fun in itself! One last-minute guest had to come as a 'maid' who had no real part other than to help me serve the champagne and food (all Texan of course) – and she was so enigmatic (not having any part written for her) that everyone thought she must have done it!
"Half the fun seemed to be the anticipation – local friends who'd been invited were comparing shoulder pads, diamonds and blue mascaras for a couple of weeks beforehand and the guys were apparently using their commutes to work to 'swot up' on their characters!
"I decorated my house to look like SouthSpoon with lots of over-the-top cheap crystal and candelabra and chandeliers. I also printed off pictures of Dallas and Dynasty characters (like JR and Sue Ellen's wedding photo!) and put them into spare frames and casually placed them around the house among my own pictures!
"I was a bit worried that the reality wouldn't live up to the expectation and had a panic as the big day dawned. But what a blast! From the moment the first guest arrived – a friend of 30 years whom I simply didn't recognise in her guise as 'Sue Helen' – to the moment the guests and Sheriffs tried to solve the murder, I can honestly say I have never laughed so much nor been so entertained. I couldn't believe how well everyone played their part – right to the end. I gave out prizes for the best wig, worst accent, most outrageous outfit and most enthusiastic approach. The other great thing about the whole evening was that it meant everyone had to talk to people they didn't know – and in character they could do it enthusiastically without worrying about being judged. My sister summed the evening up when she confessed that she had been dreading it (if you've not done one before the information you get does make it seem somewhat daunting). She's quite shy and had been terrified of having to 'act' in public. After just two minutes she was so 'in character' and enjoying herself as Dixie that she quite forgot her inhibitions and was really involved in the game. She said at the end that she couldn't remember when she had last enjoyed herself (or laughed) so much.
"I poured the last guest out at 3.00am and am still getting the thank-yous days later.
"A huge success all round and certainly a 50th birthday to remember for all concerned!"
Lin Johnston, United Kingdom
Happy Birthday R.J. – Sue Helen and Sam – Sue Morrison
Happy Birthday R.J. – Ali and Dolly – Sue Morrison
Happy Birthday R.J. group photo – Sally Martin
"Fun. Happy Birthday R.J. was an entertaining evening that is unique, something our friends look forward to every year.
We enjoy these games and choose them based on the number of people that we have to play (for an annual party that we've played for the last 5 years).
I like the flexibility that people have with their characters (to tell the truth or not), mingling during a buffet dinner and the twists that are in each game"
A Customer, United States
"I played Happy Birthday R.J. for my own 25th Birthday last weekend, and all of my friends are still going on about it!
Everyone got involved in the Texan accents, and we can't wait to try out the next Freeform game!! Thanks so much for a flawless evening :-)"
Jennie Dixon, United Kingdom
"I hosted Happy Birthday R.J. at Bellamy Manor & Gardens Bed and Breakfast in Enfield NC this past Saturday April 14th 2012. We had 14 people in attendance. All went smoothly and all had a great time. I was surprised that even though people had 2 pages of notes to read and understand (plus a 2 page introduction the night before) – everyone got into character and had fun with it. See here."
Darren, United States
"Happy Birthday R.J. was a thoroughly good night's entertainment for all. Young and old!"
A Customer, United Kingdom
"We played Happy Birthday R.J. for our daughter's 16th birthday. She invited 14 of her closest friends and they had a blast. Many of the girls played male characters but that just made it interesting and they had fun hamming it up. None of the girls had been to a murder mystery party before so it took them a minute to get going but when they did anything went. It was a night that they all will remember and we hope to have another this summer just for the fun of it. Thank you so much."
Mae, United States
"I hosted Happy Birthday R.J. in 2005. The murderer being determined by me (the host), was awesome. I had several potential characters that I could have pulled aside and told they were the murderer, but I ended up picking the one who seemed to be playing out her motive the strongest, and it worked out beautifully! This was the first Dinner and a Murder I ever did, and to date was the best one – mainly because of that aspect! I have since done 3 more – and am planning my next one for next Spring."
Elizabeth Phillips, United States
"Just a short note to let you know we held our Murder Mystery [Happy Birthday RJ -- below] last night and everyone had a ball. This morning I have had all my guests ring me without exception, to tell me what fabulous party it was last night and that they had never had so much fun at a party. So, thanks guys for the game. I have already had people ask me where I got it from, so I have given out your web site. Thanks again. "
Sue Morrison, Sydney, Australia
Happy Birthday R.J. – Sue Morrison
Happy Birthday R.J. – the first playtest – Mo Holkar
Happy Birthday R.J. – 16th birthday party – Mark Eades
"We played Happy Birthday RJ for a 13 year old's birthday party (with slight adaptations!). A group of teens who had never done an rpg before had what they described as the best party they'd been to and they are looking forward to the next time. Keep up the good work."
Pam Everitt-Bronze, Essex, United Kingdom
If you would like to tell us how your party went, please click here to send us your story. We'll then give you an email address to send pictures to, if you'd like yours to appear here.