How to Stage a Murder: Chicago Caper Review (2023)

Last night we had some couples to eat and kill.

Well, no one was murdered at our house last night, but we had a great time playing How to Host a Murder: The Chicago Caper.

How to Host a Murder games are a series of games that burst onto the gaming scene in the 1980s. They are crime role-playing games in which players take on the role of potential murder suspects. Everyone comes dressed and in character for a fun night of intrigue and accusation.

The few times we've played the How to Host a Murder game, we've had a blast. And last night was no exception.

How to Play How to Host a Killing Game
How to Host a Murder games are fairly easy to pick up and play. However, being essentially an RPG, there tends to be some apprehension about the immersion, for both hosts and players.

The set includes virtually everything you need to set the stage for the night. Includes a host manual, character biographies, character player manuals, secret clues (such as evidence and/or maps), invitations, name tags, a cassette tape (yes, it's an old game), and even a map of menu with examples. I say "almost" everything just because it leaves the food and clothing in the hands of the players.

That's right, it's up to all players to empathize with the character. And that starts with the costume.

Brief biographies for each character provide suggestions on the type of costume for that character. When you send out invites to guests, include the bio so they can properly prepare for the evening.

As soon as all the guests have arrived, the game begins.

They all take out their badge and the character's player's manual and turn them to the first page. Then the presenter reads the brief rules of the game (how not to lie) and the scene to set the stage.

Players then turn the page to read their personal file, which contains information they may not wish to reveal, and take turns introducing themselves to the group.

The moderator then plays the tape (or CD if it's a newer version of the game) containing the details of the case at hand, and the first round begins.

For each of the 4 rounds, players go to the next page and read 2 sets of information. The first sentence is the information they are trying to hide. The second set of information contains things that you must reveal during the round.

After the fourth round, everyone names the character they think is the killer and how they did it.

After all guesses are made, players pass their playbook to the person to their left. Everyone then turns to the last page, the solution, and takes turns reading that character's solution aloud, starting with solution #1. (Players don't reveal their number until the corresponding round.)

And of course, with all the nice/telling/accusing talk, the dishes are served and eaten.

to the chicago mischief

When I received a copy of How to Host a Murder: The Chicago Caper earlier this yearSaltCon, I wanted it to be a game that our teenagers could play on a date with friends. However, with Halloween right around the corner and no couples game night in a while, we figured now was the best time to play it yourself.

So we confirmed the dates, cast the role for each guest, sent out the invites, and went costume shopping.

And as with so many other costume needs, visiting a thrift/gift center is a great option.

Chicago Caper's roles include district attorney, club singer, club owner, bootlegger, driver, pitcher, reporter, and business runner, all with something shady to hide.

Not living near Chicago, Chicago deep dish pizza isn't easy to come by, so we went as close as we could with stuffed pizza for the main course and sparkling apple cider.

Without spoiling the plot, let's just say that, as in other How to Host a Murder games, everyone is a suspect, has a motive, and gets a chance (or two). And while we have our own dossier and character background information, we learn a lot about ourselves from other players.

It's fun to see the shocked expressions on their faces when accusations are thrown around and players have to come up with answers they may not already know in detail.

Fun things.

The whole family can participate in How to organize a murder? delight.
While the murder theme may not sound wonderful, the joy of the game and dressing up with friends make it a lot of fun.

When we told our kids what our friends' dinner was, they said, 'Oh, like a live game ofAbove.“

And that's a very good description.

Clue is a very popular family board game and it also has a murder theme. However, have you ever considered it a morbid game? We are not.

Instead, we think ofAboveas a fun family deduction game.

But with the name "Murder" in the game's actual title, How to Host a Murder can seem daunting. And we totally get it.

And you're right that the How to Host a Murder games are not for the whole family.

Our first concern with The Chicago Caper was content. Is there any risqué content that we don't want our teens and their friends to be exposed to? Playing with other pairs gave us a great opportunity to find out exactly what was at stake.

This particular game focuses on rival Chicago bootlegger gangs, gamblers, and nightclub owners. So you can imagine why we might be taking a break.

I am happy to report that the game can be played without delving into those paths.

No one in our group drinks alcohol or acts (or is a lounge singer), but we have a great time with lots of laughs as we play our various roles.

The game offers some information about what happens between the characters, but the rest is up to the players. So you can embellish it however you want, going in any direction you want.

What we like about hosting killing games
We are not big RPG players. But we certainly enjoy getting together with friends for some character fun from The Chicago Caper.

Playing on Halloween is amazing. Costume ideas are already in the air as parents and kids plan what they will be for Halloween. Now I don't have to worry anymore because I have a new costume with my argyle socks, sweater and hat.

All the character names are very creative and go well with the theme. For example, District Attorney S. Treighton Harrow, Molly M. Awbster, and Ernie G. Ambler were part of the fun.

The hardest part of the game is trying to think for yourself with creative answers. With the big rule of the game, "don't lie," sometimes it's hard to figure out something you're stuck on because you may not know the true answer yet. Of course, it's also a lot of fun to see what someone comes up with and then take it and squirm.

The only major drawback to the How to Host a Murder games is the single game limit. Once you know the result, the tie simply doesn't exist to play again.

Of course, you could play it with another group of friends, but if you already know the solution, you're missing out on a lot of fun.

Which makes a How to Host a Murder game a great game sharing game. That's how I got our copy of The Chicago Caper. And I'll probably trade that for another game at SaltCon next year.

final thoughts
If you haven't tried the How to Host a Murder game yet, we recommend that you give it a try.

Even if the thought of acting or performing scares you, it can be a lot of fun with friends.

Who knows which one or when, but we'll definitely be playing another game of How to Set Up a Murder if the opportunity arises.

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