Just because Bingo is typically a light hearted game doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun with it in a murder mystery setting! There’s SO much one can do with this theme that even implementing just a few of the ideas will create a true sense of mystery and suspense.
Let’s begin by changing up the rules a little…There’s a killer on the loose and Bingo spaces aren’t safe in this version of the classic game. To play, call out five game spaces as you would in a traditional game of Bingo. However, on the sixth call, explain to your players that a space was just murdered and is considered DEAD. The space cannot be covered nor will it be called again. Whoever has that particular space on their boards will know that it cannot be covered/used during the course of that game. Repeat this process with every six spaces being ‘killed.’
To bring to life (or should we say ‘death’?) this particular theme, you’ll likely want to focus mainly on WHERE you actually play. Although we list below some fun ideas for your playing table, keep in mind that you don’t have to play indoors! A night cemetery at night might be the perfect place to go (assuming there’s a cemetery with public access in the evening – some cities have very old cemeteries with easy access.) If you’re planning on playing at home, consider taking a few minutes to utilize some of the ideas below to make it special:
- DEFINITELY consider what you’ll do for lighting (and the lack thereof.) Do what you can to play in the dark – each person having access to a single votive candle they can personally use to light their boards. For added safety, you can put them on small saucer plates (so they can be easily moved and the wax won’t get on the table.) This alone will make it a LOT more fun!
- Play some music in the background. Depending on the age of the participants, consider either playing some old 30’s music (the classic era of the murder mystery genre) or something spookier. Dig out some of those Halloween CD’s you might have. Personally, we suggest the soundtrack to the Bella Lugosi version of Dracula – pull up the Youtube video and let it play – you won’t be disappointed! Play it low so that it won’t impede the game or conversations. Just this component alone (along with the lights be out) will create a memorable activity!
- Change up the game boards. Consider using Bingo boards within the murder mystery theme (these can either be downloaded online or made yourself.) Just be sure that if you create your own, you have MORE items to be called than just what’s on every board. For example, if you have a 4×4 grid (with 16 spaces), make sure that you have more than 16 possible things to call out so that different boards have some different items in the boxes. We’ve created a set where not only the spaces are all murder mystery themed with extra possible call spaces (as just described) but they are also all tested so that you won’t get two winners in the same game. Consider supporting our site by downloading the set HERE.
- Consider setting a formal place setting (think wealthy mansion and reading of a will) if you’d like to incorporate a dinner with the activity. This looks especially neat once the lights are out and only candles flicker the way.
- Got any of that spider webbing left over from Halloween? Strew some of that around the table, on the candlesticks, etc. for an added touch.
- (Age appropriate) Consider adding a few weapons from the classic board game CLUE to the table centerpiece (the wrench, lead pipe, revolver, rope, gun, knife.) Of course, they would need to be displayed safely and out of reach of children. However, some of us have rather large tables where that wouldn’t be an issue. For preteens – it can be the perfect addition!
- When someone finally gets Bingo, instead of having them call out “BINGO!” in the traditional way, consider having them call out “I’ve solved the case!”