The Night before Christmas (12–15) 15+
The Night before Christmas – a 1950s murder mystery party game with a Christmas setting for 12 to 15 guests.
Under the Big Top – a 1950s murder mystery party game with a circus setting for 12 to 15 guests.
"I couldn't help but think that I, as the host, was entirely unprepared for
the Under the Big Top night. It seemed to me there was far
too much to remember. Luckily, that wasn't the case at all, everyone really
took to their goals and went fully for it. I kept having people tell me
"don't end the game yet! I'm so close to achieving such and such goal." Even
my shy friends picked up on it right away. It was an incredible way to spend
my 30th birthday!"
Alyssa Stratton, United States
Recommended for ages 15+
Written by Mark Schaefer
Under the Big Top is a dinner party murder mystery game for 12 to 15 guests and a host – download the free introductory pdf file.
Join us in a thrilling evening of betrayal, deceit, treachery and circus mayhem. You will be in the middle of the action and it will be up to you to wheel and deal with the other guests. Can you achieve your goals, keep your secrets hidden and survive Under the Big Top? It's up to you.
Under the Big Top
It's 1952 and Bo Bennett's Big Top Bonanza has reached Sarasota, Florida for their final show. With a successful nine month tour behind them, the performers and staff of the Bonanza are making plans for a restful and rewarding off-season.
As the curtain falls on the final Big Top performance, a select few gather in JoJo Bones' Exotic Emporium of Enigmatica (part of the Bonanza). To celebrate the successful tour, JoJo will host a night of revelry, food, drink and, this year, what JoJo has promised to be "startling revelations". Tragically, however, JoJo was killed last night. His body was found early this morning in the lions' cage, mauled by lions Gladys and Mountjoy. Since JoJo's body reeked of alcohol, preliminary reports are that he wandered into the cage in a drunken stupor.
But, the show must go on and the post-season party will continue – and so the selected performers and staff of Bo Bennett's Big Top Bonanza assemble to remember JoJo and celebrate the successful season. This may be their last chance to seal their fates for the future…
Under the Big Top lasts for about four hours and is suited to an evening. It is often played over a meal – a finger buffet if possible to allow guests to circulate and talk in private.
"Under the Big Top was the first that any of us did a
murder mystery party and it was seriously the best party that I've ever
had!! We all had said much fun. A great time!! Everyone went all out."
Shanna Tonelli, United States
The free introductory pdf file contains an introduction to the game, a cast list of all the characters, and a copy of the Sarasota Star – plus details of how to buy the game.
These are the characters in Under the Big Top:
- Alex Marbles – Our wizard of numbers (i.e. the accountant).
- Bo Bennett – Owner and ringmaster of Bo Bennett's Big Top Bonanza.
- Burt Butler – The fearless and intrepid svengali of the beasts!
- Dana West – Floppsy the Clown, our winning, whimsical and puckish prankster.
- Dimitri Korchencko – Flyer for the Flying Korchenckos, gravity-defying, soaring hawk of the trapeze!
- Frieda Laing – Assistant manager and mistress of the rides.
- Lt. Morgan Caine – Lt. Caine joins us from the Sarasota Police Department
- Marvin Mancuso – The daring high wire performer and juggler par excellence!
- Mischa Korchencko – Astounding charmer of snakes.
- P.T. Connelly – World-renowned catering maestro.
- Quinn Bones – The human pincushion.
- Roxanne Bones – The Blind Seer will peer into your future.
- Stella Sue – Beguiling fire-eater.
- Svetlana Yuri – The human pretzel, a mind-bending contortionist beyond compare.
- Vladimir Korchencko – Dimitri's brother, and catcher for the Flying Korchenckos.
How Freeform Games Murder Mysteries Work
Under the Big Top is unlike many murder mystery games. Although the game starts with a murder, most of the characters have more important things to do than to investigate it. And the killing may not be over – it is unlikely that everyone will survive the remainder of the evening!
Under the Big Top is played just like a murder mystery game. You may be trying to solve the murder, but primarily you are (initially at least) concentrating on your own goals and objectives. Unlike most boxed murder mystery games, Under the Big Top lets you decide how to achieve your goals and thwart your enemies.
On the evening of the game the guests are met by the organizer, the Circus Hand. They then receive their detailed backgrounds – including dark secrets, objectives and money. Some are hatching schemes. Others harbor nasty and unbridled ambitions. The players can form alliances, blackmail each other, steal items and decide what they plan to do next season. Along the way they may solve some of Under the Big Top's mysteries. Who will be appointed the new Manager of JoJo Bones' Exotic Emporium of Enigmatica? What is the real story behind JoJo's death? All will be revealed Under the Big Top.
Sometimes you have too many guests and you need more characters. So we've written a free extra character for each of our games that you can add in, and some of our customers have created their own characters for their parties and are kindly willing to share them.
'Ginger' Roberts – freelance reporter in search of the Big Story.
(by Freeform Games)
Denny McFly – stagehand and prop manager. (Any)
(by Kathi Bonallo)
Hoxie Trainer – apprentice lion tamer. (Any)
(by Kathi Bonallo)
- 'Ginger' Roberts – freelance reporter in search of the Big Story. (Any)
Please note that we haven't always tested these – and they may not tie in exactly with our games.