Monday, September 28, 2009

We've moved!

Hi Folks! Our Murder Mystery Games blog have moved!

Please update your links and come view all of our mystery games today!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

When Good Guests Go Bad Part 1: The No-Show

As hosts, we can control most everything about our party like the food, the music and the atmosphere, but the one thing we can't control is the behavior of our guests. With the right invitation list, this could prove disastrous for a host with even the best intentions. How we, as Hosts On The Run, deal with these tricky situations is very important There are six identifiable types of "Good Guests Gone Bad", and we will cover each one, along with what to do with them, in our 6-part series entitled: "When Good Guests Go Bad".

In this issue we take a look at The No-Show.

In Shot In The Dark Mysteries' 2007 survey of our loyal ezine subscribers, you told us that the no-show guest is the biggest stress factor in hosting a party. In fact, most who listed the no-show guest as a stress also credited this non-committal entity with being the reason they do not host parties at all!

The no-show guest scenario happens one of two ways, the first beginning with an RSVP that they will make it and ending with a strategically-timed phone call. The conversation could continue the following way:

ring ring

Host On The Run: "Hello?"

No Show Guest: "Hello Host On The Run. About tonight - unfortunately I will not be able to make it. Tomorrow morning I have to help my grandmother move her living room furniture to the old folks home, and I can't find my watch. Without my watch, I won't know what time I need to leave tonight, so I need to stay close to home so I know what time it is."

Host On The Run: "You know, we have clocks here - wait, there's the door, the other guests are arriving, just hold on-"

No Show Guest: "I see your busy. I'll talk to you next week!"

It's not necessarily that No Show Guest has something better to do. In fact, most no-shows are well-intentioned when they RSVP, but at the last second just don't feel like going out.

Fortunately, there are three very effective ways to deal with a potential no-show guest.

  1. Don't Invite Them

The first way is to not invite them at all. Sure, you want them there, but in the case of a murder mystery game, when you need your guests to be reliable for the game to work properly, they can't be trusted. The side-benefit to this strategy is that No-Show may realize they no longer receive invitations and realize the reason - their unreliability.

2. Bribe Them With Shiny Gifts

The second way to get these guests to show up is with bribery. This may sound ridiculous, but it's incredibly effective. As you are inviting them, mention that on the evening of the party you will give them their birthday or Christmas present. Alternatively, you could have party favors for your entire guest list, and make sure that you make mention of this upon inviting the no-show.

  1. Confront Them

The third method is to speak with the no-show ahead of time and explain to them that you would love to invite the No Show-er, but you need them to show up to keep your murder mystery game balanced, the dinner table in line or the Christmas gift exchange numbers even. Usually, the no-show's intentions are not mean-spirited and an expression of how truly important they are to the dynamic of the party will make them realize they need to make the gathering a priority.

There are five more "Good Guests Gone Bad" in our 6-part series, including The Surprise Show, The Lush, The Never-Ending Guest, The Can't-Be-Wrong and The Destructo-Guest, and Shot In The Dark Mysteries has solutions for each and every one of them!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Quick and Easy Tips For Keeping Your Surprise Party A Surprise!

Quick tips for keeping your surprise party a surprise!

So, you've decided to throw a surprise party for a friend, family member or other loved one. Surprise parties are one of the trickiest parties to pull off, because the chances of your guest of honour discovering the surprise increase with the size of your guest list. Here are some tips from the Shot In The Dark Mystery Maiden to keep your surprise party a surprise!

This is probably the last thing you want to read, but try not to delegate. When the moment comes that our honouree says "Who did this?" everyone will want to say they had a part. As much as we love those who want to help us pull the party off, the more people who are involved in the process, the less control you have over the outcome. Keep control over the details and the chances of the surprise being ruined lessen.

Invite your guests in person. If you find invitations absolutely necessary, vouch for email invitations over paper invites. Anything written on paper can be discovered by the honouree, and all of your hard work will be moot! In the case of a surprise party murder mystery game (which we highly recommend), deliver character descriptions via email only. If your game includes pre-game or Top Secret clues, deliver them at the party when the guests arrive. Keep your paper trail to a minimum and you decrease your chances of your guest of honour discovering the secret.

When you speak with a potential guest about the party, make sure you include the word "surprise party" three times in the communication. Studies have shown that hearing a certain detail three times makes it stick in our minds, so you can be sure Aunt Gertrude, although wildly excited about the party, understands it's to be kept a secret.

In every party there are always late-comers. To combat this, advise people to arrive an hour early. Most people plan to have guests arrive 30 minutes early, but I've found this is not enough time. One hour ahead of time allows for people to be late, find parking away from the venue and catch up before the guest of honour arrives.

The hardest part of keeping a surprise party a surprise is preventing others from slipping up. If you are inviting someone who is notorious for blabbing, invite them only a few days or a week ahead of time, thereby decreasing the time they have to suffer with the secret. When you do invite them, don't give them too many details. For someone who tends to spread secrets, the devil is in the details. Keep them to a minimum, telling the guest only the time and place, and you'll ensure even the most well-intentioned chatterbox will keep your surprise party a surprise!

Leigh Clements, the Shot In The Dark Mysteries / Your Date With Death Mystery Maiden, writes murder mysteries, non-murder mysteries and custom mysteries for Shot In The Dark Mysteries, and coordinates, hosts and facilitates local events both for Shot In The Dark Mysteries and Your Date With Death Murder Mystery Speed Dating. She can be contacted at or Aside from plotting murder, she enjoys yoga, reading and hanging with her golden lab.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Things have been crazy here, but The Fundraiser Fatality at Ceili's was a great success and Murder At The Book Signing was fantastic! Thanks to everyone who attended or helped out with the event - we couldn't have done it without you! If you were part of the Facebook group for The Fundraiser Fatality, you will be able to view pictures tomorrow. If not, I will put a selection of the "best of" on this blog for everyone to peek at.

Something else terribly exciting has happened though, and I'm so pumped. Viki Vertel, AKA The Business Buddha (and my humble biz advisor) has taken on an alternate identity - and that's The Digital Buddha! With her new cape and hat, she has made me a promo video that makes my heart pound with excitement. Take a look, comment and pass it on. And may I ask that you also imbed it in your blog if you think it's as great as I do?

I hope everyone has or has had a fantastic Halloween! Leave me a comment and let me know if you dressed up, and if so, as what! Did you go to a Halloween party?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Thursday 13, Mystery Style!

What kind of business blog does a meme? This one! I'll get into the game characters and more later, but here's a good one to get going.

Thirteen Things about Shot In The Dark Mysteries

1…. We launched in January, 2007 with five games.
2. We have 13 games in the process of being written.
3. Shot In The Dark Mysteries likes to make hosts lives easier, so we offer host tips and professional articles, which can be found all over the internet and on our site in the Host Help section.
4. The Mystery Maiden (that's me!) has been writing murder mystery games and kid-friendly mystery games for five years.
5. We are based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada
6. The Mystery Maiden facilitates games dressed as the Grim Reaper - scythe included!
7. There is a Mystery Mutt, named Coburn, who also likes to run around in the reaper outfit, although it doesn't quite fit him, and he leaves hair all over it.
8. Shot In The Dark Mysteries publishes a bi-weekly ezine, called The Reaper Reader, in which we have mini-mysteries, Host Help articles, jokes and other fun stuff!
9. The Mystery Maiden spends most of her time locked in a cold, dark basement, surrounded by spiders. Spooky music is pumped into the basement, and she is only allowed to eat Snackwells Oreo cookies and drink mint tea until she comes up with a stellar mystery plot.
10. Our favourite day of the week is Friday. We're all about the party!
11. We sometimes work in conjunction with GrassRoutes Adventures, and are throwing a Halloween bash in Calgary this year.
12. Our original site was pretty crappy, but now it's awesome!
And Finally...
13. We love killing people for a living!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Friday, August 3, 2007

What is your biggest party planning concern?

Hello faithful readers! This week I'm asking you for your imput on party planning, and your answers will help us launch a fantastic new part of our website which is, at present moment, TOP SECRET! The question I'm looking to have answered is:

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST PARTY PLANNING CONCERN? Or, alternatively, what holds you back from hosting a party?

I look forward to reading your replies, and thanks for your help! Keep checking back to the Shot In The Dark Mystery Games blog for more on this exciting launch!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Wizards: Wands of Procyon launches!

Last week was an exciting time at SITD - we launched yet another mystery game, this time a kid-friendly mystery game called Wizards: The Wands of Procyon.

In the grand tradition of Harry Potter, Wizards: The Wands of Procyon takes place in a magical school called Hyades School for Wizarding. The legendary Wands of Procyon, forged from the power of Procyon's twin stars, have been stolen from their display spot in the Torchwood Room of the school. The magical logs tell of eight students who were inside the Torchwood Room around the time of the theft. Who is powerful enough to cast a memory modification spell on the security troll, get past the advanced magic and steal the wands? Everyone is a suspect!

As with all of our kid-friendly mystery games, there is a ninth optional player named Professor Pyxis, who can be played by an adult in order to make sure the game runs smoothly.

I can't decide what was more fun - writing the game, testing it out or promoting it. We launched the game the same week the final Harry Potter book launched, and I attended a Harry Potter Midnight Madness event at my favourite Chapters. With my favourite Starbucks drink in hand (Venti Skim Vanilla Green Tea Latte) I got to browse books in my Grim Reaper outfit while sucking in the excitement of the book launch.

To add to the fun, we held a contest called "Who Will Die". Subscribers to our bi-weekly ezine, The Reaper Reader, submitted their prediction for who would die in the final book of Harry Potter to win a prize pack. The winner will be announced in the next edition of The Reaper Reader. If you haven't subscribed yet, CLICK HERE.

Check out Wizards: The Wands of Procyon and dress up like a wizard to add some magic to your next kid's party, and stay tuned - we've got our LOST-themed murder mystery game, entitled MAROONED, launching quick on Wizards' heels.