Lady Amanda Cudham, Chairwoman and Benefactress of Cudham Riding Club, died tragically last week, following a fall from her horse. The police suspect Lady Cudham’s death was no accident, but their investigation can’t stop the club’s members getting on with other important business: electing a new Chairwoman, buying and selling horses, and trying to prevent anyone finding out what they are really up to. Bets are being taken, too, on the Isle of Man Handicap: a race in which all the club members' horses are competing.
Cudham Riding Club can be purchased at http://www.murdermysterygames.net/index.html
- Number of players: 14 to 40, and 22 horses(!)
- Setting: Extraordinary General Meeting of the Cudham Riding Club after death of chairwoman, timeless rural England
Cast of "Cudham Riding Club"
- Club Committee Members, Ordinary Club Members including horse traders, bookmakers and stable hands, Police
- Reviewer: Petter Olsen, additional comments by Michaela Aschan
- GM: Petter Olsen
- Michaela's role in game: Agatha Collingsdale
- Venue: Fairly big private house in Tromsoe, Norway (our regular venue)
- Game played: February 26th 2005
- Participants: 27
- Michaela's rating: 5- (of 5)
- Petter's rating: 4- (of 5)
- Our experience: Quite a good game, enjoyable for some, but too mechanics-heavy for our group (or at least for me as GM). In this game there was almost too much going on. In addition to the obligatory police investigation of the suspicious death involving also a coroner's report, there were bribes and threats connected to the election of the new chairperson, horses were continually being bought and sold during the evening (and then a veterinary report appeared), people placed bets on the Isle of Man Handicap which was then run, with subsequent pay-outs and shift in values of the horses in the race, there was a lot of money changing hands for various reasons (drugs, blackmail), etc. We always convene people at 19.00, we start the game immediately after the last person has arrived, and we end at midnight when we start the debriefing. Sometimes people 'run out of plot' before midnight; in this game the opposite was true, many players had not finished at midnight, and we had to extend the game time quite a bit. Also, the progress of the game is dependent on some key players doing their administrative duties (and this also means not getting too drunk), so we had to improvise some last minute fixes. It was still fun though, especially for those involved in the election process. The first-timer who played the murderer also did a fantastic job, having decided that the way not to get caught was to generate as many completely unsubstantiated rumors (some of which incidentally happened to be true) as possible so that confusion wrt. to what was going on was widespread. Michaela loved her role, and the fact that so many open arenas, activities and plots were available, and that you could talk to anyone and get involved in anything. She points out that this was the game that felt most like the bigger week-end long larps we have played in the UK (Pyrates and 1897), and that the feeling was that there was so much to do that even the peripheral roles were quite 'fat', and that gamewise we could easily have accomodated at least another 10 players. For Michaela, this is one of the few larps that we have played that she wouldn't mind playing again, which shows that the game must have been more fun to play in than to run. My feeling is that if you have a group of boardgamers who want a gradual transition to larp, and some of them won't mind some administrative duties (recording which horses were bought and sold for which amount, acting as bookmaker, etc.) this could be a suitable game. Michaela thinks I'm far too negative, and that if we only we had used 2 GMs instead of 1 this game would have been excellent for all involved.