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The murder game

The murder game is been provided by and has been used by the group leaders for many years. Where this game originated can no longer be found out but there are many different types of murder games and different variations of this game. The interesting thing about this murder game is that it can be played over a number of days.

Beginning the game

This game should usually be played with a maximum of 20 players. At the beginning, the murderer must be chosen. As no-one is allowed to know who the murderer is, 20 pieces of paper are handed out to the 20 players and only one of the pieces of paper is marked with an X which represents the murderer. Obviously the murderer is not allowed to show that he has the paper with the X. The others are also not allowed to say anything because in the worst case scenario, everyone says that they do not have the X and then there is only one left over (who obviously also says that he does not have the X).

The murder weapon

After a murderer has been secretly allocated, a murder weapon must be found. This should not be larger than a lighter so that it can be easily transported everywhere. At the beginning of the game, the murder weapon is placed in a public place. The game begins when the murderer takes the weapon (without the others noticing or when they are not there).

The game rules:

Safe area:

An area is chosen and marked out as safety zone. This might be a community hall or the communal tent. No-one is allowed to be murdered in this area. The memorial and the box with the suggestions should be kept in this area.


The murder takes place in that the murder weapon is revealed to one of the group leaders/players. The person then dies without any comment and has the opportunity to write the murder, time of death and a few other tips (circumstances, the last words) on the memorial. They are obviously not allowed to name the murderer.

Memorial plaque:

The memorial plaque should help the other group leaders / group members to find the murderer. As the place, time, cause of death and circumstances involved are recorded conclusions can be made. The murderer is quickly found if there were only two people were in one place at a certain time and one of them suddenly dies


As long as a player is not dead, he can make is suspicions known. A little box is placed in the room where suggestions (including reasons) can be posted on a piece of paper. The date, time and your own name should also be recorded so that it can proved that the person was right with his suspicion.

The suggestions can be combined so that a specific person is identified. It might also come to a quick identification of the murderer if someone witnesses a murder. In this case it is not the aim to present the murderer straight away, otherwise the game is over very quickly.

Once a person has been murdered (and written on the memorial plaque) they are no longer allowed to make a suggestion, especially straight after a murder, and the person no longer takes an active part in the game. The game can be very funny even if you simply observe the game. The murderer himself can also make a suggestion to take the onus away from himself. The number of suggestions can be restricted to avoid people giving numerous, unqualified suggestions and suggestions with any reasons.

Whether the box is emptied once after, after the first half of the players have been murdered or on the last day is your own choice. The murderer must not confirm if a suspicion was correct or not.

Catching the murderer:

Option 1:

A murderer counts as caught when all of the suggestions in the box point to one specific person. Of course the murderer himself can also make some suggestion to take the focus away from himself but these will not be counted. As the name must be written on the suggestion papers, everything can simply be checked.

Option 2:

The suggestion boy is only opened at the end. Whoever named the murderer correctly first, is the best detective.


The murder game is a great strategy game which can be played over a few days alongside the normal camp life. It is particularly interesting if all of the kids in the camp are involved and have to be convinced not to reveal the identity of the murderer. Once the murderer has been caught, the game is over and can started from the beginning again.

Another couple of notes:

  • The game can only work of the group leader/group members do not reveal who the murderer is, even if they have seen them. The suggestions should only follow in written form with justified reasons.
  • No-one who has already been murdered is allowed to make an accusation to give a tip to anyone still in the game.
  • Wild accusations without any reasoning also wreck the game (the accusation must be justified).
  • The murderer is also allowed to make accusations to take the heat off himself, but he must give his real name and not make an accusation under a false name.

Game option – everyone can murder

This is a game option sent in by Yves. In this version of the game, everyone is allowed to be the murderer. How, where and who has to be “done over” is drawn out of a hat. These versions are slightly more complicated, but everyone can take over the role of the murderer.

Game preparations

You will need twice as many pieces of paper as players and two containers. Then the name of each player is written on the pieces of paper (1 name per sheet). On the other pieces of paper, the tasks are written down e.g. “shake hands”, “hug” or “throw water over the head” or ... anything really! If possible, only one note should be written so that not too many people know about the different possible tasks!

The actual game

The notes with the names are all placed in one container and the tasks in the other. Everyone pulls a name and task out of the container (if someone picks their own name out, they can pout it back and choose again). No-one is allowed to show their note to anyone else. The evening proceeds quite normally as if nothing is wrong and everyone must try to “murder” the person who they have chosen. How does that work? Quite simply: you must get the person on your note with the task given. The tricky thing is: No-one (apart from the person who wrote the note) knows what the tasks are and no-one knows who will be murdered by who! Warning: this game can lead to complete paranoia - Everyone has a complex because anyone can be the potential "murderer" and no-one knows ho he might be “murdered”! Whoever manages to "murder" somebody, wins the "dead person's" piece of paper and can play on with the "dead person's" sheet; the "dead person" is out of the game (which isn't tragic because the game only runs alongside other activities...)


  • You will have a complex and the game can be addictive.
  • If you do not agree in advance how long the game will go on, you might be surprised days later with some stupid action and "murdered"! (this happened to me when I was on holiday for a week with friends and on the day after the game, I had a glass of milk poured over my head!)


A third group of notes are written on which a place is written (a place which is within the playing area e.g. under the kitchen table). Everyone picks 3 pieces of paper out of the containers and must now "murder" the chosen person, in the right way and in the right place.

All the ants are dead…

This variation is similar to the murder game and is therefore included in this section, but it is somehow different and not actually a group/camp game.

Pieces of paper are prepared for the number of players or number of group members. "King Ant" is written on one sheet and simply "Ants" on all of the others. The notes are handed out and everyone must note what they are and keep it to themselves.

Now the ant king has 24 hours to say (once or several times) "all ants are dead!!" Once this sentence is shouted out, all ants who heard him must lie on their backs (and it doesn't matter where they are - in the town, in the park, in a restaurant) and must wiggle their arms and legs around like dead ants.

This obviously provides the passers-by with great amusement and is also lots of fun for the king ant who can watch as everyone else makes a fool of themselves. The pieces of paper are then handed out once again and the game starts from the beginning.

In this version of the game, it is not the aim of the game to try and find out who the king ant is but to try and avoid yourself being dragged into an embarrassing situation. The ant king has the task of making sure that as many funny scenes as possible take place and that all players are in an embarrassing position. Maybe you can also think of some ideas or game rules.

This game was sent in by Julia.

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