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The 11 Best Murder Mystery Boxes to Play with a Group in 2022

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Got anyone in your extended family or friend group who is all about playing word games, watching true crime docs and gearing up to see Renée Zellweger play a sneaky serial killer? Then you’ve got a candidate to join you in opening one of the new murder mystery boxes (and murder mystery subscription boxes) that are bringing people together in game sessions.

What is a Murder Mystery Box?

Imagine watching an episode of Law & Order, except you (and maybe your date night guests) are doing the investigating. Oh, and you’re experiencing it all at home, maybe with takeout and a glass of wine, sorting through actual physical objects and documents that have been delivered to your door. That’s the murder mystery box experience, with single boxes constituting “episodes” in an ongoing drama that might last over several sessions, or just begin and end with what's inside one

Who Plays in Murder Mystery Box Sessions?

Adults and older kids (each box has a suggested age) will enjoy playing, since it’s an active entertainment that is a refreshing change from watching television or listening to a podcast. They’re fun to play in a group when the challenge becomes more like an escape room experience, in which each player’s accumulated life knowledge, powers of deduction and plain-old determination help organize information such that it points to the best suspect or suspects. But if you loathe team projects, they're also totally great for solo play as well.

What Equipment Do You Need?

Everything required to solve a case comes in the box, or boxes if you are playing a multi-episode game like the six-installment Hunt a Killer. Some players like to devote a basement table to keeping clues assembled between sleuthing sessions, but everything can be stored right in the box. And if you’ve always longed to have thumb-tacked notecards connected by yarn covering a wall, conspiracy-style, well your time has come to hit Staples and stock up.

Best Murder Mystery Games At a Glance

• Best Multi-Box Story: Hunt a Killer

• Best for Large Groups: Masters of Mystery Masquerade Ball

• Best for Design: Talking Tables At Home Murder Mystery Night

• Best Detective Concept: Sleuth Kings Master Detective

• Best for Mystery Box Newbies: Sleuth Kings Rookie Detective

• Best for Gifting: Murder & Co.

• Most Realistic: Killer at Large

murder mystery boxes hunt a killer

1. Hunt A Killer

Best Multi-Box Story

What Comes in the Box:

• Six sessions per mystery

• Physical objects are included as clues

The latest “season” of Hunt a Killer has players representing the crusading sister of the deceased Beth Hendricks. You’re acting as a private investigator, poring over documents and resident profiles from the small New England town of Mallory Rock, where the official report doesn’t even deem the death a murder, much less punish a suspect. Told in six monthly installments, the game was dreamed up by crime buffs and artists to keep you guessing for months.

murder mystery boxes masquerade
Masters of Mystery

2. Masters Of Mystery Masquerade Ball

Best for Large Groups

What Comes in the Box:

• Single session play

• Ages 13 and Up

• Accessed via download

At a masked Carnival ball in 1755 Venice, there’s been a murder. And it’s your job as one of the party guests to find out not only who the victim was, but who killed them. This game has a tight storyline, as well as flexibility in group sizes—you can play in a groups of four to eight, 14 or even 20 guests. Since masked guests are known by their costume identities, this game gives a fun opportunity to make masks corresponding to their character (the Sparrow, the Tiger, the Dove, etc.). Game play lasts between 1.5 and 3.5 hours.

murder mystery boxes design
Uncommon Goods

3. Talking Tables At Home Murder Mystery Night

Best for Design

What Comes in the Box:

• 3 alternate endings

• Single session

Between five and 12 players are involved in solving the mystery of a murder in the Jazz Age at the Full House theatre. Cards detail players’ traits, occupations, and there are murder weapon props (a ball-peen hammer, a lady’s kitten-heel shoe, a vial of poison). Users rave about the Art Deco style graphics. And with a few changes, the second and third time you play the game, players wind up with a completely different perp.

murder mystery boxes jigsaw
Uncommon Goods

4. Murder Mystery Jigsaw Puzzle

Best for Puzzlers

What Comes in the Box:

• Set of two puzzles and clues

• Suitable for all ages

This innovative puzzle-murder box hybrid has two puzzles, each with a short story of the inciting incident. In one, someone’s been strangled at a clairvoyant’s convention, and in the other there’s a dead man’s safe, sans password. After reading each narrative’s backstory, you assemble the puzzles, which show…not the killer, but all the clues you need to deduce the crime’s solution.

murder mystery boxes serial killer game
Hunt A Killer

5. The Melancholy Killer: Serial Killer Game

Best for Expert Sleuths

What Comes in the Box:

• Includes codes to decipher

• Props to analyze

This single-case mystery has the player getting the sole possessions of a convicted serial killer who spent ten years in prison after being convicted of a murder in the late ‘90s, and being the prime suspect in a number of other women’s murders. The grungy-cute deceased was a poet, and players analyze the poetry he…or someone…left at the scene of the crimes. You’re following up on the belief of thousands of people who thought the deceased was innocent, and maybe you will, too, after puzzling through this story written by an alum of America’s Most Wanted.

murder mystery boxes subscription
Cratejoy

6. The Deadbolt Mystery Society Monthly Box

Best Subscription

What Comes in the Box:

• Standalone mysteries

• 1 to 4 players

• Includes online components

A box of clues, a QR code to scan for audio input and photos—these and more are coming to you once a month with this subscription series, which sets you off on a new adventure every month. You can sign up for the latest box—in February, for example, it was Down the Rabbit Hole, a series of deaths at the Abernathy Retirement Community where your grandfather contacts you to help him solve the murders. Or you can get a subscription for three, six or 12-month periods, with a new box being sent to you each month. And if you’re really into it, you can order one of a dozen boxes from previous months.

murder mystery boxes fairytales
Uncommon Goods

7. The Fairytale Files Interactive Murder Mysteries

Best for Tweens

What Comes in the Box:

• Two mystery murder set

• 1 to 2 hours each

• Includes online help if needed

In these two games, traditional fairy tales have been tweaked to involve murder, and players can find the evildoers with suspect cards, an evidence pack and best of all, and AI-powered online help desk to assist in guiding players toward the killer. Written with ages 12 and up in mind, this is a fun way to trick your middle schoolers that you’re a detective genius.

murder mystery boxes detective concept
Cratejoy

8. Sleuth Kings Master Detective

Best Detective Concept

What Comes in the Box:

• All-ages storylines

• Email interactive play

• Dual skill levels (master and rookie) available

This series send participants a new box of clues every month, and participants can collaborate or work on it singly. The unique elements include quirky storylines (for example, a group of criminals that are self-described zombies and vampires or a stalker dressed as a giant animal team mascot) that sometimes but don’t always involve murder. What they do involve is being on the team of Lead Detective Sullivan King, who responds to you via email. A master detective case takes up to three hours to solve, while rookie mysteries can be solved in an hour.

murder mystery boxes newbies
Cratejoy

9. Sleuth King Rookie Detective

Best for Mystery Box Newbies

What Comes in the Box:

• All-ages storylines

• Email interactive play

• Solvable in one hour

Suitable for all ages, this box offers the full mystery box experience (a box of clues, emails between players and the lead detective) without full fatality (crimes can include werewolf bites and jewelry mega-theft). What’s nice is that these carefully crafted tales are interesting, but not so complex as to take days of sleuthing to figure out. Try this box as a great way to get teens who may be on the fence about putting down their video game controller enthused about a new after-dinner family pursuit.

murder mystery boxes gifting
Cratejoy

10. Murder & Co.

Best for Gifting

What Comes in the Box:

• Six monthly boxes per mystery cycle

• Lifestyle gifts that double as clues

Maybe you love true crime podcasts, or a best girlfriend of yours does? Then this genius mashup of curated gifting and mystery is just the gift they’ll love. Each month, you’ll get a new set of clues to help you expand then eliminate suspects in a murder mystery, and the clues might include cool house items (like a magnifying glass worthy of coffee table display), fashion items and more.

murder mystery boxes realistic
Cratejoy

11. Killer At Large

Most Realistic

What Comes in the Box:

• Delivered every other month

• For 1 to 8 players

No special bells and whistles come in this box, but just good meat ‘n’ potatoes murder mystery. Every two months you receive a murder scenario—such as “Death at the Resort” in which six friends go skiing in Colorado and one winds up dead—and a rundown of the suspects, along with other printed evidence. Suitable for ages 14 and up, this isn’t too fantastical, too gory or too long (each box takes an estimated one to 2.5 hours to complete).