Midnight Murderers

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A game introduced by one of our Scouts which has become really popular. You ideally need 6+ players - the more the better. We've played it indoors but could be played anywhere with reasonable space. We also play it in the light but you could try and adapt for the dark.


Paper, pen & scissors (for the set up).
Large foam ball (or equivalent)


Set up:
You need to cut up as many pieces of paper as you have players.
On each piece of paper you need to write a letter:
1 x D = detective
2 x M = murderer
all the rest should have an I = innocent

Objectives of the game:
- The detective is to try and identify and 'catch' the murderers before being killed, or before all the innocents have been killed. If the detective does this then the detective & innocents win.
- The detective can catch a murderer by hitting a murderer below the shoulder with the ball (either by throwing or tagging).
- If a murderer is caught they have to sit out.
- If the detective is killed (tagged) by a murderer before they catch the murderer then they have to drop the ball and sit out.
- If the detective throws a ball and hits an innocent, the innocent has to sit out as well as the detective
- In these last two cases only an innocent can pick up the ball and continue the detectives work

- The murderers are to try and kill (tag) all the innocents and the detective before being caught. If they do this they they win.
- If a murderer is hit by the ball they are out.

- The innocents are to try and stay alive. I.e. avoid any murderers if they work out who they are.
- If the detective is out, an innocent can pick up the ball and use it to catch the murderers.

Starting the game:

Deciding who is what role:
All the scouts sit in a circle with their eyes closed and hands out.
The ball is placed in the centre of the circle.
A leader hands out a piece of paper to each scout who can read it but not show anyone.
The detective can now pick up the ball.
Therefore everyone knows who the detective is, but no-one knows who the murderers are.
The scouts all stand up in the circle for the 'reveal'.

The reveal:
Standing in the circle, the scouts lower their heads and close their eyes (if anyone cheats here, it spoils the game...)
The leader says "murderers, heads up and eyes open" - the murderers oblige so they can see who the other murderer is.
The leader says "heads down again" so everyone is heads down with eyes closed.
The game is then ready to begin - everyone can open their eyes and get going.

Playing the game:
As long as everyone has understood the above, then the game can start and you let the situation play out.
It's interesting to see the different tactics different people take in different roles.
Note that only the murderers can tag someone to kill them. When they do so (innocent or detective) we always play it that the tagged person makes some dramatic death throes so everyone knows they're out of the game - they then sit out.
The game is over once either the detectives & innocents are all killed, or the murderers are all caught.


  • Game, energetic

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