Dial “BOAT” for Murder is an android smartphone app that coordinates a murder mystery for 7-9 people.
One person will download the app, select the other players from their contacts, and when the whole group is assembled (in the same physical location), the phone with the app will begin to send out messages, instructions, and clues via text messaging. The app combines elements of theater, hidden-identity parlor games like Werewolf or Mafia, and escape room-style puzzles.
This particular mystery is designed for a group of 7-9 people of any collection of genders. It should take between 60-90 minutes to play. The game does require some movement but can be held in any place as large or larger than a living room. The person who downloads the app (the Gamemaster) is expected to participate fully – they can assign themselves whichever character they would like, and will not know who the murderer is.
Everyone should bring a fully charged cell phone capable of receiving SMS (aka text) messages to the game. Keep in mind that if people do not have unlimited text messaging, standard messaging and data rates will apply. A standard game will send about 1,000 text messages from the Gamemaster’s phone, and each player can expect to receive between 100-200 text messages.They will be exclusively SMS (no MMS). Additionally, it is recommended but not necessary that the Gamemaster provide nametags.
The Gamemaster will use the app to send out SMS invitations to each of the players. These invitations will include basic instructions, a venue and time the murder mystery will take place, a bio of the player’s assigned character, some director’s notes about how they might play their character, and an illustration of what their character looks like. Players are encouraged to dress up like their character, and the Gamemaster is encouraged to decorate the venue like a tech millionaire’s yacht.
Once all the participants have arrived at the venue, the Gamemaster will read some basic rules, reassign characters if necessary, and then initiate the game. All further instructs are provided through text messages.
The game progresses via timers and interacting with the Gamemaster’s phone, which will get passed around. A little into the night, one of the characters will die, and it’s up to the group to figure out who murdered the poor soul. Everyone is a suspect, and the group will need to work together to solve mini-games, contact the void, and maybe even get musical.
NOTE: the Gamemaster receives SMS instructions just like everyone else. The game is designed so that the Gamemaster can read SMS messages and use their phone normally while also hosting the game.
Here are some screenshots from the game:
The host of the party is The Millionaire, the male version of whom is shown below:
Here’s the monologue he reads to the group to introduce himself. It should give you a flavor of his character and the evening.
Everyone, if I could have your attention please. I’d like to propose a toast, but I won’t. At least not yet. I’ve gathered you all here today, on my yacht, so that we can all celebrate my birthday together. But many of you don’t know each other yet, and it is an ancient tradition among Silicon Valley startup millionaires that toasts shared between strangers lead to under-valuations in initial public offerings. So before we raise our glasses high, let’s introduce ourselves. I’m Clive Eustace, the multimillionaire founder of dog-gun.com. When I was a child, when people asked me what I wanted to do with my life, I told them the truth. I told them I wanted to make millions of dollars selling a gun that a dog could use. They laughed at me. But now, gun ownership among dogs is higher than it’s ever been, and I’ve become so wealthy that I was able to buy the childhood homes of every person that ever laughed at me and burn them to the ground. Now that I’ve become rich, I’ve begun to turn my thoughts towards my legacy. I don’t want people to forever link my name to the thousands of people who have been shot by their own dogs, I want to be remembered for something greater than that. So I have decided to turn my efforts towards building a huge concrete structures. And I want to build that structure in a tidal estuary filled with endangered species. They told me it couldn’t be done, but then I burned the naysayers’ childhood homes to the ground, and now nothing stands between me and my concrete legacy.