Game Rating System
Our games do not contain highly-inappropriate content, such as foul language, sexual content, alcohol abuse, or illegal drug references. The games are rated by difficulty level, and approximate minimum ages are assessed accordingly.
This is a subjective rating system based upon the author's experience, the game's content, beta-testing, and host feedback. Games may fluctuate in difficulty over time, but established games (~ 3 years post publication), are pretty much set in stone.
There are far too many variables with the games and groups of players to put a definite difficulty level on each experience, but the ratings are there to give you an idea for comparison. You could play a level 8 game and deem it to be a level 5 or vice versa, but if you do - please let us know!
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In the levels below, we say for adults that have investigated properly. The rankings are based upon a group of adult players, as it is too variable to consider mixed groups with age. Here are some things that can affect your challenge level:
A player who doesn't try to solve whodunit and is only there to party. No worries - most players will do their best to investigate. These parties bring out the competitive side in most people!
Having cocktails during the party. We don't suggest doing a level 8 with an open bar - but experienced groups could probably pull it off!
If you have a required player who withholds evidence. To avoid this: go over the guest instructions (as the host instructions tell you to do) and make the players aware they must share the information they are told to share. They can only hide their clues marked as 'conceal.' Don't worry, these snafus are rare, but we must mention them.
Level two difficulty means that you can expect ~ 80% of adult guests to get the correct answer if investigated properly. These games are primarily for kids. Since kids are all over the place developmentally, we can't rank our games based upon kid groups. These games have scavenger hunts incorporated into the game for these energetic players - to divert short attention spans and use energy. The games are not heavy into story lines or character development. The players will not role-play other than improvisation based upon their character description. The clues are more simple. These games will start at minimum ages 6-9+.
Level three difficulty means that you can expect ~ 70% of adult guests to get the correct answer if investigated properly. These games are straightforward with evidence, and will typically have an 11 or 12 year minimum age to adult. If played with all minimum age players, you might expect less players to guess the solution correct - but that's expected! If you are wanting a light sleuth for adults - this difficulty level is perfect - especially if there will be cocktails involved or other distracting events going on, such as live music, etc.
Some of these games may have scavenger hunts included. These games typically have minimal story lines driving the game, and minimal character development. However, the guests will role-play using clues on their clue cards. There are more repetitive clues in these games to ensure the needed information gets out. There may be a forensic report, but it's typically one analysis (usually fingerprints) and straightforward.
Level four difficulty means that you can expect ~ 60% of your adult guests to get the correct answer if investigated properly.
The difficulty of riddles/codes/puzzles (when applicable) is slightly higher than level 3. The forensic report (when available) may have more analyses included, such as fingerprints, trace evidence, and shoe prints, etc. These games are usually listed from 12-14 years to adult and would be considered slightly more relaxed than the norm for mystery party games (level 5). Storylines are a bit more involved in directing the game than level three.
The normal difficulty for mystery parties.
Level five difficulty means that you can expect ~ 50% of your adult guests to get the correct answer if investigated properly. This is the gold standard mystery game. If you have adult first-timers, or large groups, we recommend sticking with a 5 or 6 level game. Most of our games will fall into the five-star category, as these work for most groups and keep everyone happy. There is enough of a challenge to keep the super sleuths happy, but it's not too complicated to make the light sleuths check out on your party. Most of these games will be 13-15 years minimum age.
Storylines drive the game but are not too intense on backstory. Forensic reports (when available) become more detailed, and you might find a few tricky scenarios within the evidence, but it's all within reach.
Rating for murder mystery parties.
Level six difficulty means that you can expect ~ 40% of your adult guests to get the correct answer if investigated properly. This is only slightly more challenging than the norm. If you have adult first-timers, or large groups, we recommend sticking with a 5 or 6 level game. Most of these games are set at a minimum of 14-15 years.
You can expect another layer of evidence or a more challenging-to-find clue that ties everything together. Forensic reports (when available) are detailed with multiple points of analysis. Storylines typically become more involved in the case, and character backstories might be more detailed (especially where the free guest website is concerned). Some of these games may have a surprise twist that nobody saw coming.
Level seven difficulty means that you can expect ~ 30% of your adult guests to get the correct answer if investigated properly. These are more challenging than the standard, but still a reasonable challenge level. We do not suggest this level (or above) for first-time groups or groups above 15 players. These are best for smaller groups who have played a mystery game before. Most of these games are 15-16 to adult.
You can expect multiple layers of evidence and hidden clues that tie everything together. There might be more than one murderer &/or more than one victim. The information is there to solve whodunit, but you have to be sharp and pay attention. Forensic reports (when available) may have tricky information and will likely contain multiple analyses. Storylines drive the game and character backgrounds may be more detailed (especially where the free guest website at YourMysteryParty.com is concerned). We highly suggest engaging in all of the pre-game activities, or confusion the night of the party could come into play. Your players will need time to digest the information before the party.
Level eight difficulty means that you can expect ~ 20% of your adult guests to get the correct answer if investigated properly. These games are not for novices, and best played in smaller groups. We highly suggest engaging in all of the pre-game activities, or confusion the night of the party could come into play. Your players will need time to digest the information before the party. Most of these games are listed at 16 years minimum.
You can expect multiple layers of evidence and hidden clues that tie everything together. Studying the pre-game guest site will help you to solve the case - but is not mandatory. The pre-game guest site benefits super sleuths. The information is there within the clues and evidence to solve whodunit during gameplay, but you have to be sharp and pay attention. Do not play a Sherlock game if you are having a cocktail party with live music - especially if your guests are competitive. If you've got an experienced group in a controlled environment where you're only focused on the game - this might be the most rewarding game your group can experience. Again, we can't say it enough - we highly suggest engaging in the pre-game with these mystery parties. Those that guess whodunit will be boasting for years! This level, however, is not impossible. This is still a fun level of challenge.