Guest Author - Jay Shaffstall
An all girls murder mystery party sounds like a great idea for a birthday party. And it is, but there are some differences between running a party for a group of teenage girls, and running one for a mixed set of adults. Since I recently had the chance to run a game for teenage girls, I wanted to share some tips for anyone thinking of doing this.
Don't Worry About Gender Balance
Teenage girls are much more likely to enjoy playing male characters than teenage boys are to enjoy playing female characters. So don't worry about finding a game with gender balance, the girls will take to the male roles just fine.
Assign Roles In Advance
The girls are also more likely to get into the costuming aspect of a murder mystery party, and dress to the nines for their role. They can get pretty creative with costuming, so make sure to let them pick their roles in advance so they know how to dress.
Be Ready To Move Things Along
Most murder mystery games have phases. There's usually a phase where everyone is interacting in character and getting to know each other, then an investigation phase after the murder, etc. Watch how the girls are doing, and be ready to move to the next phase when they seem like they're winding down in the current phase.
Also be ready to give hints and tips to anyone who seems like they're having trouble figuring out what to do.
Be Ready For Lots Of Giggling
They're teenage girls, this is a given. They're going to have fun, and laugh, and be out of character just as much as they're in character. While that might make a seasoned role player cringe, it's their party, and they're having fun. Go with it, and be ready to move things along if they're out of character too long. Nothing like a good murder to get them back into the game!
Plan Plenty Of Food
Teenage girls can eat just as much as teenage boys, at least when the boys aren't around. Plan on plenty of food for the party.
Have An Open Bar
Okay, leave out the alcohol, but if the murder mystery party scenario would support a bar, give them one. Make frozen daiquiris with fruit juice and ice in a blender, and you'll probably have some of the girls wondering if they're getting tipsy.
The bar not only lends a lot of atmosphere, but gives people who aren't sure what to do next something neutral to do in character. They can head to the bar to get a drink, and think about what to do next.
Pick The Right Scenario
Some murder mystery parties are basically sitting around reading the contents of envelopes, while others involve walking around socializing. Teenage girls have way too much energy to be happy sitting around reading envelopes, so make sure to get a scenario that involves free form interaction in a party setting.
I'd also recommend getting one that's light on rules mechanics. Teens are good at socializing in their own peer group, so if the only mechanic for trading information is talking to someone else, that's fine. They don't need to worry about rolling dice, playing Rock Paper Scissors, etc, or other mechanics that would take them mentally out of the party.
If it's for a birthday party, have the birthday girl pick a scenario she likes. The Night of Mystery scenarios are great for this sort of party.
Get Out Of Their Way
The phrase "herding cats" is a good analogy to trying to control the actions of a group of teenage girls. So don't try! Just watch for when they seem like they're done with a phase, and move on to the next phase. A three hour game might only take two hours if they all know each other and are comfortable interacting.
Above all, have fun yourself!