Working on Steampunk art

Lilly’s Hotel is the working title for the steampunk, seance, murder mystery party game. One of the five that I will be offering when I start my Kickstarter campaign.

Currently I am working on the art for the game. When I write these I usually create some core illustrations and graphics for the play testing. Now I need to refine and expand on the art.

This is a Cornucopia3D image of one of their 3D models they sell – Here’s their page

In Lilly’s Hotel story there is a steampunk style hot air balloon tethered to the roof. I am currently working on the illustration of the hotel and have done some research on steampunk airship visuals. The whole category is so fascinating that I decided to share some with you here on this post.

Here is a link to some images I have found –

Cowboys on the loose

I am currently working on the final art for “Done in out of Prescott Junction”

There is a group of play testers forming up right now. I’ll get some video and keep you posted on that game. This particular group is a lot of fun. There might be a place or two available so text me if you are interested.

This murder mystery party game takes place in the old west on a train that is traveling from Chicago to San Diego. It’s a long trip, the passengers are bored and restless, and for cowboys, that is a bad combination.

Although the characters in this story don’t know each other, they are connected in ways that you will soon discover when you play this rollicking fun game by “Murder Happens”.

Sit with friends and enjoy yourself

Someone thought these murder mystery games would be downloaded and printed out at home. I have a particular vision for each one, nice art work printed on quality paper. Something that would be a pleasure not only to read and share, but also to hold and appreciate visually.

There is a wide variety of murder mystery party games out there, from corporate productions requiring professional actors, to write it yourself guidelines. My games can not be all things to all people, so here are a few goals I have when designing them.

What I write

I build a game so that a close group of people can solve an intriguing and entertaining mystery. They can act out the characters with a flourish, including lavish costumes, or sit together with just the story and the art of the game to draw them into the mystery, like the world of “The Lilly Hotel”.

Humor is required, and people laugh a lot playing “The beatnik who wasn’t beat, but was shot”, or “Done in out of Prescott Junction”. The fun is in the comedy of human foibles, the crazy things we animals will do to each other.

When the murder victim’s narrative is finally read out loud at the end of the game, and all the players are listening with rapt attention, that is my goal. A story and a world that draws you in completely.

You looked to the south where there was a lone rider and screamed… he reached the caboose and was climbing on.

A player’s experience

One particular player had a lot of fun laughing and goofing around during her first Murder Happens mystery party game. Afterwards though, while listening to the other players discuss the intriguing details, the shocking revelations, and their successful deductions, she realized that there was a whole world she had missed out on. She vowed to really dig seriously into the next game, which she in fact did, resulting in a rich, fun filled, time playing “A night to remember, the prom murder”.

Do this

So take a look at the game descriptions here “About the games”, remember to LIKE and FOLLOW the Facebook page “Murder Happens”, and be prepared to take part in the Kickstarter campaign when it gets started, which you will be notified of when you join this page by signing up here.

Thank you,

Carrying water, chopping wood.

Clue card, front and back for “Done in out of Prescott Junction”. While I am busy promoting this web site and my future Kickstarter campaign, I am also busy developing the final art for the murder mystery games that I will be marketing.

I have here the front and back of a clue card. The idea was to make the cards look like old fashioned railroad tickets.

Everyone listen

A request to all of you who have been interested in the progress of this little Murder Happens mystery party game venture.

Email, text, or IM ten of your friends and get them on board. Tell them to visit and sign up here at Help me get these fun games to market so I can get down to writing more.

Thank you,

Meanwhile, enjoy this little bit of Beatnik poetry, courtesy of “The Beatnik who was not beat, but shot”

Ruby and Eva create the Satepa costume

Ruby and Eva go thrift shopping to find what they need to make a costume for the Satepa character in the Murder Happens mystery party game called “Nefru’s Last Night on the Nile”.

They chose this character because he is one of the most interesting in the Murder Happens series. Satepa is actually a woman, but due to palace intrigues, she was forced to pose as a man to be appointed to the position of the Chemnis palace priest.

It is a time during which Egypt was subject to the waning power of outsiders, the Sea Peoples, or Hyskos. Politics, power, influence, and trade were all subject to chaos in this transitional period. Everyone was scrambling to gain new power, or regain old power. In the midst of this turmoil, a promising young princess is found by her ambitious prince, face down in the Chemnis palace pool.


Join this site as a member. There is no newsletter or junk mail. Membership gets you access to all the website material and I will also notify you when the Kickstarter campaign is started. At that time you can support our efforts to bring our games to market by buying one, plus get additional goodies to go along with it. Join, like, comment, here, at the website, and on the Murder Happens Facebook page.

Thank you signups!!!

People are signing up! Thank you.

I have been explaining it in my thank you emails but I will reiterate it here.

The goal is to get a huge list of emails of the people signing up. Then, when I start my Kickstarter campaign, I will send out an email to everyone on the list asking them to visit the Kickstarter page. Just by having rush of viewers in the first days causes the campaign to be featured which will bring thousands more viewers and will give a heads up to those people interested in murder mystery party games. Plus, if you would like to support the Kickstarter campaign by contributing in exchange for games and gifts, that’s even better.

That will be the only email you will get, except possibly one or two if something of major importance happens in the meantime.

Games on the back burner:
Renegade motorcycle club – Find the guilty party in a group of cut throat criminals who would probably like to take credit in the first place.
Water Park – Someone drowns at a waterpark, but wait! It wasn’t an accident.
Shipwreck – In the midst of a storm and the ship wrecking on the rocky coast someone takes advantage of the chaos to do the evil deed.
Pirate Murder mystery – In the case of pirates a murder isn’t much of a mystery, but who did it is. Really fun and easy costuming.
Halloween murder mystery – Everyone was in costume so that kind of makes it hard.
The island murder – A special one that I have been working on.

Got any other ideas…? Games you have wanted to see? Share!!!!!

Here is a good description of how the Kickstarter campaign works.


Who wants to playtest now?

Getting together a playtest group

There are people who have play tested some of the Murder Happens games, but not all of them, and would like to play another. There also are some people who have never played, but are early joiners of the web site, that are interested in playing a Murder Happens game.

I’m thinking about getting together people from the two main play test groups, along with a new comer or two, for one of the games they all have not played yet. That would probably be “Done in at Prescott”, but could also be “Nefru’s last night on the Nile”, or “The Beatnik Who Was Not Beat, but Shot”.

We will find a central location in Santa Barbara County when we get the group together and plan a cool game.

If you are interested then please post on the website, Facebook page, email me, or send us a text. Let me know which of the above listed games that you haven’t played yet. We can work out a date after getting the group together. We are looking at eight to twelve players. This is a hosted game so there is no cost to join, other than a dish for the potluck, and your own costume.

Clever Steampunk costume idea

The people who have played the Murder Happens mystery games never cease to amaze me with their costumes. The following is a great example of ingenuity.

The Lilly Hotel has a Steampunk theme. Joanna needed a final touch to her costume but had little time create it in. Here is what she did.

She had a black top hat from a previous party. Using a black elastic band she fastened a partly opened compass that was made of metal. It was a simple idea but looks great as you can see from the picture.

Do you have some equally clever ideas for costumes? Let us know.


The murder mystery party game experience

This is a player’s point of view as to what it is like to play a Murder Happens mystery party game. Your game experience will vary depending on your personality and that of the other players.

The eight characters all arrive, some in costumes that are extravagant, others more plain, some with none at all. We all greet each other, it’s good to see your friends, it’s been too long, we should do this more often.

We snack and chat, catching up, laughing, and we talk about our character and what we know about them from the invitation. Some players really get into their character, we all laugh and have fun with that.

The room settles down and the detective reads the police report detailing the interesting facts of the murder. The photos, maps and other evidence are laid out on the table for inspection, and more information is passed out to each character, some to be kept close to their vest. Some pieces are given to the non-character players, having extra players works just fine.

Everybody grabs a plate full of food and then sits down to digest the story and all the clues. After several minutes of quiet reading, the characters begin to gasp, or giggle, then glare at other players accusingly. Everyone has suspicions but realizes that they won’t get to the bottom of the mystery until they start asking some questions and clarifying facts.

Players interact at will, there are denials, suspects caught in embarrassing lies, clues are revealed and accusations fly. Some characters fight back with passion, others break down in remorseful tears, players gasp in shock. The group relentlessly works their way towards the truth. Meanwhile, the murderer must develop a strategy. They must derail the focus, present distracting evidence, make up facts, and portray others as the killer, what ever it takes.

Finally, time has run out. We must decide who is the guilty party. Some players want to keep working at it, they feel so close, but are just not certain. Others are sure they know who the killer is and want to convince the others, but the murderer wants it over NOW, for them, victory is in sight.

The detective calls time and asks everyone to point at who they think the murderer is. All hands fly up pointing at various players. Then the murderer stands up to present themself amidst laughter, surprise, and exclamations of “I knew it” and “I was so darn close!” or they accept defeat. Then all listen with rapt attention to the murder victim’s story as it is read and all is revealed.

The end of the evening has come, guests are reluctant to leave. They have their stories to tell, the little details about their character. Everyone has played a good game, they compliment the coolest costume, the most extravagantly played characters, the delicious food. And their parting question is, “Which Murder Happens mystery party game should we play next?”