Lies, more lies, and bad behavior, that’s what it’s all about.
First, lies, in my games, are cool. Players don’t have to be truthful about some clue on a slip of paper. They can make it up as they go. Murder Happens celebrates the human tendency to lie, to get caught in a lie. Tall tales and subterfuge form the color, texture and downright fun of the whole game. What is more fun than catching someone in a lie? I have yet to make sense of a rule that says the actual murderer must tell the truth. Or anyone for that matter.
There are no “scenes”, or envelopes that are to be opened at certain points in the game as a way to pace the game. Murder Happens games are paced using human nature. The way we gather and process information is my pacing tool.
People aren’t just a murderer or a good guy. We all have skeletons in our closets. Some uglier than others. Some skeletons outrank murder on the scale of unacceptability. Now that kind of secret is fun!
Finally, I like to shape the way players will react to the other characters, situations, accusations, and implications. If you manipulate the story elements the right way you can get players to play their part, without trying or reading lines. The ultimate subtlety is when every other character in the room finally realizes something about one of the characters that the character them self doesn’t yet realize. That’s neat.
Ultimately, it’s a fun story, and a fun time getting to the bottom of it that really counts.