Think back to the best Halloween parties you’ve attended- most likely than not, they’ve included some kind of guessing game, or something even more spooky- a murder mystery!
The best murder mystery games are about more than just solving a crime- they take you into the world of the killer, the victim(s) and their surroundings! You’ll learn how to navigate city streets, nab criminals and solve murders using nothing more than your wits. Isn’t that how detectives get ahead in murder mysteries, after all?
If you grew up thinking that the best murder mystery party wasn’t complete without a “How to Host a Murder” game, rethink your whole existence. Things have changed! There are so many delicious murder mystery board games out there.
Here are the best murder mystery board games you need to know about whether you’re planning a date night in, girl’s weekend out or birthday party in the park!
Our Top Picks – Best Murder Mystery Games
Best Murder Mystery Party Game: Deception: Murder in Hong Kong
Accuse your other investigators of being secret killers in this murder mystery game made for larger groups!
Best Murder Mystery Game for Date Night: Hunt a Killer: Death at the Dive Bar
The owner of a local bar dies after falling off a cliff. There’s no question foul play was involved. But who did it? Piece together the clues and find out- pronto!
Best Murder Mystery Game for Families: Mysterium Park
Piece together a series of beautifully illustrated cards you receive from a ghost, and divine the answers. Will you figure out who the murderer is before the carnival leaves town?
Best Murder Mystery Game for True Crime Fans: Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game
Use your high-tech Agency resources to work with your fellow detectives. Apprehend the criminal in five cases. They’re all connected- but how?
Best Murder Mystery Game for Horror Fans: Mansions of Madness: Second Edition
Locked in a mansion full of changing rooms, you’ve got to solve the crime- before a monster gets you! Your team of accidental paranormal investigators all need to work together to put an end to the evil goings-on in a haunted manor.
Our Top 10 Murder Mystery Games
Players: 1-4 // Game time: 45-90 minutes // Age: 12+ // Difficulty: Medium
The Exit series includes many games with mysterious circumstances, but not all of them focus on a murder mystery!
Everyone knows about Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express,” but here’s a new take on the classic murder mystery game of cat-and-mouse! EXIT: Dead Man on the Orient Express casts you aboard a speeding train, acting as a Poirot look-alike detective. You’ll need to assemble all of the clues together as you race against time to solve a murder mystery. It’s difficult to solve the murder in two hours, but we were able to whittle down our list of eight suspects to just one in an hour and a half.
You’ll need to write on, fold and cut the materials that come with each Exit game, making each play-through a one-time experience. If you enjoy EXIT: Dead Man on the Orient Express, it’s likely you’ll also enjoy other games in the series.
Who This Game is For
EXIT: Dead Man on the Orient Express is a terrific low-cost entry into cooperative mystery-solving games for anywhere between 1 and 4 players. If you enjoy working with others to solve mysteries or love escape room puzzles, you’ll likely enjoy the tension here. Families or casual gamers may enjoy playing through EXIT: The Sunken Treasure first, and EXIT: The Enchanted Forest was designed with kids in mind!
- Clever world-building and writing
- Components are easy to use
- Recommended time limit increases tension
- No idea is a bad idea- new players can try as many things as they like
- High difficulty level compared to other Exit games
- One-time experience, so you can’t play again
- Can be stressful for new players
- Final puzzle may stump players
Players: 1-4 // Game time: 15-45 minutes // Age: 10+ // Difficulty: Easy
Publisher: Pegasus Spiele
Everyone knows the recognizable Waldo (in the U.S.) or Wally (everywhere else), from the “Where’s Waldo / Wally?” series of books. He has that recognizable striped sweater and red and white bobble hat (yes, that’s a thing), right? But what if he looked like one of the characters you find in MicroMacro: Crime City?
In MicroMacro: Crime City, you set out to solve a heinous murder in one of the best murder mystery games out there. The scene is frenetic and there are hundreds of clues and potential dead-ends to uncover! You explore a scene like this one:
Put your deerstalker hat on (that’s the one Sherlock Holmes wore) and look for clues that might help you solve the case! You can play this game solo, or with up to four players, so your search will definitely go faster- or slower, depending on how you choose to play. We enjoyed working in tandem as we searched the landscape of MicroMacro: Crime City, which is actually not as easy as it seems. Thankfully, there’s a magnifying glass included in the game, which helps you cover more area on the map.
You use cards throughout the game for helpful pointers or clue categories. More often than not, you’ll find yourself barking up the wrong tree as you piece together clues that are actually from other crimes! There are several cases you’ll set out to solve, one after another- may the best detective win!
Who This Game is For
MicroMacro: Crime City is a great game to play with two players, as you both have the opportunity to go through the map without crowding each other. Due to the somewhat adult content included in the map, you’ll likely want to play this game with older kids. If you love the idea of this game, but are afraid it’ll be too light, try the “advanced mode,” which encourages you to solve the case without the card prompts!
- Visual search is a great twist
- The sheer number of clues is impressive
- Huge map = lots of ground to cover
- Simple game with very few rules
- Limited replayability as you’ll know how to solve it next time!
- Huge map = takes up tons of table space
- Difficulty may be too light for some
- Not suited for larger player counts
Players: 1-6 // Game time: 30-180 minutes // Age: 14+ // Difficulty: Easy
Publisher: Hunt a Killer
A game for true-crime fans, Hunt a Killer: Death at the Dive Bar is a murder mystery board game that’s for all the Veronica Mars wannabes out there.
Along with a team of equally talented (let’s hope) investigators, you work together to uncover the suspicious circumstances of a murder. The owner of a popular dive bar fell off a cliff. Of course, you aren’t buying that story!
Sniff around and you’ll soon discover people with likely motives (suspects), mysterious loose ends (clues), pieces that don’t add up (evidence) and nearly unbreakable codes (that only you can decipher). You need to bring this cold-blooded killer to justice before they wreak havoc! Well, they’ve already… hm. That’s true… but we digress!
The box includes some very thematic high-quality components designed for an in-depth sort of investigation. We’ve played some games before where the clues make absolutely no sense, but in Death at the Dive Bar, you get the whole package- well thought-out clues, believable motives and interesting personalities and codes that are actually fun to decipher!
Hunt a Killer: Death at the Dive Bar is different from other murder mystery games because it clearly sells itself as an immersive, one-time-only experience designed similarly to escape room games. Once you’ve completed this one, you’re likely to not hang on to it, but that’s part of the fun!
Who This Game is For
It took the two of us two hours to play through this game, largely because we were taking small snack breaks and discussing the progression of the game while prepping our platters. This is a fun game that works surprisingly well at smaller player counts and we can see how this would be a fun game to break out at a party!
- High quality but not cheap
- Clues and story mesh well- they’re logical
- Solving the crime will make you yell for joy
- Solo mode is actually good
- Components are hard to read from a distance
- Included hints are nice, but sometimes help too much
- Difficulty may be a bit light for experienced sleuthers
- Not all loose ends are explained at the end
Players: 2-6 // Game time: 90 minutes // Age: 14+ // Difficulty: Medium
Publisher: Giochi Uniti, Asmodee
Is there a city that’s as fun to explore in a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse as London? We don’t think so!
In Letters from Whitechapel, you assume the persona of Jack the Ripper, one of London’s most notorious killers, or you choose to engage Jack as one of the upstanding detectives of Scotland Yard.
Whitechapel is an area in London that Jack the Ripper often moved stealthily through as he racked up his victim count. This murder mystery board game takes on an “one vs. many” approach, with one player attempting to murder five people as Jack, and the rest of the players working together to apprehend him.
You have almost 200 locations to explore as a card-carrying member of either good or evil. While the subject matter is rather dark, working together with other detectives provides a spot o’ bright light. We didn’t have a larger group to play this one with, so we played a competitive game of one-on-one, full of cloak-and-dagger behavior.
Just playing with two players was so much fun- the game is smooth, well-balanced and has heaps of tension. Just make sure you set aside as much as two hours for one playthrough, because the chase takes time!
Who This Game is For
Fans of hidden-movement games will rank this one among their best murder mystery games on their shelves. Letters from Whitechapel mixes equal parts of strategy, deduction and mystery together to create a delicious concoction that’s likely best served for two to four clever players.
- Dynamic moving puzzle that keeps you guessing
- Tension ramps up as you approach the last night
- Clever system of cordoning off certain areas, trying to trap Jack
- Two player experience is terrific
- Mixed experience levels can result in a runaway game
- Map is thematic, but nothing extraordinary
- Downtime increases with higher player counts
- Unpredictable game lengths
If you’re looking for Letters from Whitechapel, you’ll find that there are tons of different publishers and a couple different versions out there. We’re fans of the Letters from Whitechapel Revised Edition, what with its revised rulebook, better components and larger map. Look for a version from either Giochi Uniti, Asmodee or Fantasy Flight Games.
Players: 2-6 // Game time: 30-45 minutes // Age: 8+ // Difficulty: Easy
Oooooo, who let the ghooooooooosts out?!
Mysterium was one of the best murder mystery games you could get… until now.
Welcome to the sèance-party, Mysterium Park! Grab a ticket to the spookiest circus out there…
You arrive on the scene at a random American fairground that looks like it’s stuck in the fifties. Of course, the park’s director has disappeared. A ghost now haunts the premises.
As part of a group of paranormal psychics, you decipher the truth from the visions the ghost gives you in the form of illustrated cards. One player acts out the role of the recently departed, while the others try to solve the murder mystery. You only have six nights to figure out how the ghost died… or the carnival leaves you in its’ dust!
Setup is straightforward in Mysterium Park. You choose nine suspect cards at the beginning of the game. The game now includes a codex card, which is the key to the entire game- it’s a visual map that tells you which player will need to guess which card.
Just like Mysterium, you work together to figure out what the ghost’s vision cards are telling you. You need to find the precise location of the murder and correctly identify the suspect.
The artwork in Mysterium Park is brighter, more vibrant and more intentional. It’s harder to get a really off-the-wall guess here, as you sift through the cards for meaning and intention. What is the ghost trying to communicate with you?
Bottom line: Mysterium Park is one of the best murder mystery board games, bar none.
Who This Game is For
Playing with a family? Mysterium Park.
Playing with folks who prefer Halloween-y murder mysteries? Go with Mysterium, which does classic Halloween well. The spooky Halloween theme has been subtly streamlined into a haunted carnival vibe in Mysterium Park, allowing players to play it year-round for absolutely no reason.
- Short playtime makes this great for game hangouts
- Illustrated cards are gorgeous
- Psychics feel great tension as you work together
- If you’re the ghost, it’s fun to toss out bread crumbs
- Shorter playtime = less involved experience
- Not enough expansion content available yet
- Less Halloween, more general mysticism
- Higher degree of difficulty may turn off younger kids
As one of the best murder mystery games, Deception: Murder in Hong Kong has a lot of tricks up its sleeve.
Play as a seasoned Hong Kong investigator trying to piece together a murder case. You’re pretty oblivious, though, because the killer is a member of your ace crew!
Deception is the name of the game for a reason- each player’s role is randomly assigned by the Forensic Scientist, a game master of sorts.
What makes Deception so enjoyable is the variety of required or optional roles players can assume. Most games have a completely silent Forensic Scientist, who can only dole out key evidence, the means of the murder, or confirm the final guess. You can be the aforementioned Forensic Scientist (a required role) or a Witness to the murder (optional). You could be a plain ol’ Investigator (required), or you could be the accomplice of the killer (optional)- or even the killer (definitely required)!
You’ve gotta figure out right from wrong by making correct assumptions that identify the key evidence, means of murder and the murderer!
If you guess incorrectly, you could lose your detective badge- and the murderer could go free! The result is a chaotic game full of incendiary accusations sure to enrage your fellow investigators! This playthrough of Deception: Murder in Hong Kong is a great example of how crazy the game can get.
Deception is one of the most outlandish murder mystery games you can play. It works best when you play it like we did, in a large group- anywhere between six and eight players is the sweet spot. Any more than that, and the entire thing devolves into utter chaos!
Who This Game is For
Deception: Murder in Hong Kong is deceptive- the box art looks gritty and dark. The clues are occasionally macabre, more often than not entirely absurd when combined. The amount of combinations are endless. This is one of the best murder mystery games your money can buy for larger groups, if you’re into raucous accusations and defensive outbursts!
- Defending yourself is so, so much fun
- The killer and accomplice work together to derail the whole thing
- Great player interaction- you have to interact with others
- Hidden roles make for terrific deception
- Content is definitely for mature audiences
- Role-playing can be too aggressive
- Clues can be too difficult to guess
- Forensic Scientist is silent throughout the game
Players: 1-4 // Game time: 60-90 minutes // Age: 12+ // Difficulty: Easy
Publisher: Lucky Duck Games
London, present-day. The police chief shows you out the door, grumbling. There’s a body in Hyde Park that you need to find some answers for.
A bad feeling spreads throughout your hunched shoulders. You know this murder is different than all the others you’ve investigated before, but how?
Welcome to Chronicles of Crime, a creative murder mystery game for the best detectives out there. Using a mix of old-school sleuthing and newfangled technology, you’ll get to the bottom of this!
The police chief gives you access to an app full of various scenarios full of heinous crimes. You choose the scenario you’d like to tackle, and follow your nose- there’s more than one killer out there! Each location, character or item has a QR code you can use to find even more clues or story fragments.
Chronicles of Crime also offers a novel way to view crime scenes- you can control your point of view as you actually look around the crime scene within the app, allowing you to see things from a different angle. We picked up on a couple of obscure clues this way- and that made all the difference. There’s even a “simple VR glasses” option that allows you to use your mobile device to explore the crime scene in VR. Gimmicky? Maybe, but it works!
The game developer continues to release new stories via the app and there are numerous expansions available for Chronicles of Crime, giving it an extremely high replayability score.
If you love the idea of investigating crimes as part of an elite squad of British investigators, you’ll understand why Chronicles is one of the best murder mystery games on our list!
Who This Game is For
Chronicles of Crime is great for smaller player groups, as you can play this game with anywhere between one and four players. We love the intimate setting, as you’re really looking for ways to contribute to the investigation as opposed to an all-out talking-over-each-other riot.
- Clever app integration
- Fun group interaction
- Cases are satisfying to solve
- Works great as a solo challenge
- Not enough scenarios included
- Not for players who are uncomfortable with tech
- Not as structured as some other murder mysteries
- Artwork isn't very realistic
Here are some great expansions for Chronicles of Crime:
Chronicles of Crime: Welcome to Redview – Riverdale meets Teen Wolf. It’s summer in 1985. Anything could happen… and it does!
Chronicles of Crime: Noir – Set in 1950’s Los Angeles, this one serves up a healthy dollop of noir!
And you might come across some stand-alone Chronicles of Crime games that work great on their own:
Chronicles of Crime: Millennium 1400 – Work your way through medieval Paris, as a noble knight who is also an investigator by night!
Chronicles of Crime: Millennium 1900 – It’s the 1900’s, and everyone’s working their way up. You’ve gotta use all your wits to figure out who’s working the system!
Players: 1-5 // Game time: 120-180 minutes // Age: 16+ // Difficulty: Advanced
Publisher: Portal Games
Welcome to the Antares National Investigation Agency!
You, my friend, have been recruited by the elite detective agency of the future. You now have the resources of the entire high-tech agency at your disposal.
As one of the best mystery board games, Detective stands apart from its counterparts in a few notable ways. It’s up to you and your fellow detectives to leverage cutting-tech agency accomplishments in computer science, forensics and psychology in order to solve unusual cases!
In Detective, you use the Time marker to mark the passage of time, and you manipulate time by drawing lead cards. All of the cases have a time limit in which you must find the solution! There are cool elements like Overtime and Stress that add to your time, but also add to your stress level. The delicate balance between the two is something you’ll have to watch.
Unlike Chronicles of Crime, Detective is much more realistic. The artwork is more like Law and Order, with photographs used for mugshots and locations. The five included cases (which take about 2-3 hours to solve individually) are all tied together by a narrative arc, so there are benefits to filing away a potential clue that doesn’t seem to fit a particular case you’re trying to solve- maybe it’ll come in handy later!
You hop between the lab, Richmond Police Department, Antares N.I.A. Headquarters, the Courthouse and various Fieldwork locations, gathering clues along the way. We enjoyed the online website functionality, which allows you to log onto the Antares database and interact with the futuristic-looking user interface to access information relevant to your case.
There’s another thing that Detective does that is refreshing- it’s blunt about what it is and what it is not.
The straightforward rulebook states: Detective is not a “choose your own adventure game…” instead, it’s a “game night experience.”
Detective just happens to be one of the best murder mystery game experiences your money can buy.
Who This Game is For
Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game is a murder mystery game, whodunit caper game and sophisticated deduction game all rolled up in one. It’s perfect for Law and Order fans, true-crime readers and Murder, She Wrote fans. It’s more realistic, so this is better for mature audiences and smaller groups, where there is less quarterbacking and more detective teamwork. We played it with two players and enjoyed our adventure!
The Game of the Year Edition of Detective includes light tweaks, an additional component and a set of 30 character photos- we have this edition, and while it’s helpful, it’s not necessary.
Detective: Season One is a completely stand alone murder mystery board game that’s much shorter and easier for new players to try out for a murder mystery party! The artwork and content is A-OK for players as young as twelve.
If you’re a fan of the 80s and love California dreamin’, check out the sun-drenched Detective: L.A. Crimes. It’s a fun campaign expansion with a three-case story arc that allows you to explore your morality as a Los Angeles detective.
Detective: Petty Officers, the latest Antares Agency expansion, sends you on an adventure with five animal assistants! Save a tiger from being executed for a mauling they likely didn’t commit. This expansion isn’t out yet, but we’ll add more info when it’s released!
Players: 1-5 // Game time: 120-180 minutes // Age: // Difficulty: Medium
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
The streets of Innsmouth are eerily deserted. You pull up the collar of your pea coat closer to your exposed neck and shield your eyes against the lugubrious wind.
You soon realize you are standing in front of a seemingly deserted mansion, your only option for shelter. An unshakeable feeling of utter dread rises within you…
Welcome to Mansions of Madness – 2nd Edition. You’re stuck in the walls of an ever-changing mansion, complete with a companion app for Steam, iOS or Android. The app helps you hobble through the maddening rooms of the mansion.
Mansions of Madness sprang forth from the mind of Nikki Valens, a talented game designer with a penchant for detailed description, role-playing and sumptuous world-building. This is a game about exploration, discovery and insanity with plenty of dice-rolling thrown in! Because things constantly change in this world, you’ll find yourself coming back and back again.
Navigate four scenarios in the cinematically inclined haunted manor, picking up dangerous weapons, ingenious tools and valuable information as you and up to four other adventurers fight monsters, combat insanity and possible eventual death. Every card you uncover contains a surprise, and you just might howl with laughter… or die laughing!
Is it possible that the next murder you’ll have to solve is yours?
Who This Game is For
This is the game to get if you’re into spooky murder mystery games, H.P. Lovecraft stuff or horror movies. Working cooperatively with other players, it’s best for larger groups who are all on the same page horror-wise. We’re not fans of horror in general, but the immersive experience we had playing Mansions of Madness added up to an undeniable gravitational pull that had us playing again… and again.
- Play as an elderly woman with brass knuckles!
- App is integrated well within the game
- Thematically on point
- Tense fun in larger groups
- Not as much replayability as we’d like
- Theme can get a bit grating after several plays
- Horror-inspired atmosphere will turn off some
- Less detective work than other murder mystery games
Here are the top two best official expansions for Mansions of Madness– they sell like hotcakes:
Beyond the Threshold – Introduces two new investigators, a new creature, and a number of additional components.
Sanctum of Twilight – Introduces two new investigators and two exciting scenarios. Includes new spells, items, mechanics, and a monster.
There are a number of unofficial expansions fans have made using the “Valkyrie” app and quest-making resource and they’re even better than the official expansions! Available on Windows, Android, MacOS, Linux and Fire OS devices (and yes, even iOS devices using a workaround), the Valkyrie expansions are also super fun to play. In fact, you can even write and play your own Mansions of Madness scenario! Our favorite Valkyrie scenarios are:
Disturbance at the Docks – Stuffed from dinner one evening, you walk through the streets of Arkham, unaware of what awaits you at the docks!
Stress and Strain – On a dark night, the full moon rises. Will your journey change for the better- or worse?
Players: 1-8 // Game time: 90 minutes // Age: // Difficulty: Easy
Publisher: Space Cowboys
We swing back to London for the best murder mystery game ever made. Grab your deerstalker hat and let’s go!
Explore the smoke-filled streets of London as an associate of Sherlock Holmes himself. As a Baker Street urchin, you’re part of a powerful alliance in Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Baker Street Irregulars.
As per usual, a crime has been committed and a killer must be caught. Instead of traipsing across London, you must be methodical. As you seek clue after clue, you must bring them back to Mr. Holmes to seek his approval. Deductive reasoning is the order of the day!
The Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective series consistently lands near the top of every murder mystery game list you’ll find, but what makes The Baker Street Irregulars so special?
For one thing, the entire murder mystery was written by Dave Neale, a bona-fide Sherlock Holmes historian. His writing brings the bustling marketplaces of London to life with a full color map, ten individual case booklets., a telephone directory (remember those?) and newspapers that would look perfectly in place on a console table in the 1880s.
The artwork you’ll find in Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Baker Street Irregulars is outstanding, the descriptive writing jumps off the page, and the scenery is beyond eye-catching. You’ll find yourself completely immersed in this world of Sherlock Holmes- and this game exudes a coolness all of its own. Work with your fellow street urchins (ahem, investigators) to solve a murder, along with a few other super mysterious cases, before Sherlock figures it all out.
Your goal is to outwit Sherlock Holmes- to beat a master murder mystery investigator at his own game, as it would be.
Good luck with that.
Who This Game is For
Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Baker Street Irregulars is not a party game. It’s the best murder mystery game experience for a reason- you work together as detectives to deduce solutions, put two and two together and generally feel exceedingly smart. It’s the perfect game for all audiences and smaller groups that are into detective work!
- Palpable tension and stress
- Terrific thematic immersion
- Cooperative detective work is satisfying
- Cat-and-mouse race ramps up the difficulty
- Sherlock Holmes can easily outwit you
- Not easy to replay the cases- you’ll remember solutions
- Requires a love for descriptive text
- May induce obsession
Fans of The Baker Street Irregulars will likely enjoy all of the other games in the series, which include Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases, Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: Jack the Ripper & West End Adventures and Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: Carlton House & Queen’s Park. They’re all excellent, although The Baker Street Irregulars is the best game of the pack.
That’s a Wrap!
Before pulling the trigger (ha) on any murder mystery board games for couples date night or your next group hangout, think of a couple of important elements:
- Time. Do you have enough time to commit to a longer series of games, or do you want a murder mystery you can quickly solve after you’ve put the baby/dog/cat/fish to bed?
- Player Count. Are you looking for a murder mystery for two, a double date or a large group of your favorite people?
- Story. Is it important for the game to tell a detailed, immersive story?
- Level of Difficulty. Do you want to start out easy with some easier-to-solve murder mysteries, or are you planning a murder mystery party for a team of seasoned detectives?
- Horror Range. Think about what kind of experience you want. Do you want to be so creeped out you can’t sleep at night? Or do you prefer to experience the pride of successfully solving a difficult case without the blood and gore?
Jot down the answers to those questions in your personal “mind-map” and you’ll know which games you need to add to your best murder mystery board games!
One last thing: be sure to enjoy the experience. Don’t rush through to the end, or you’ll likely come away feeling unsatisfied. The best murder mystery board games, after all, are about immersion.