Nobody’s safe and everyone’s a suspect in Wink Murder, an easy to play game that requires absolutely no preparation or equipment. Each round of Wink Murder is a mystery as the entire group attempts to identify the “Killer,” who dispatches other players with little more than the wink of an eye.
Preparing the Playing Area and Equipment
Any space large enough for everyone to stand together will work as a playing area. A deck of cards that contains the number of cards that is the same amount as the number of players should be prepared ahead of time. Additionally, one card in that deck is to be chosen as “The Killer Card,” such as the Ace of Spades or a Joker card. For example, if you have 10 players, prepare a deck of cards that has 9 cards, plus the chosen “Killer Card.”
Group Instructions (Read Aloud)
We’re going to play a game called “Wink Murder!” In this game, we will join in a circle and as a group attempt to identify the secret player who is “The Killer” in each round. A deck of cards has been prepared that has one card in it that is “The Killer Card” (Announce the “Killer Card” at this time – Decide ahead of time on a card to be “The Killer Card). The cards will be passed out to each person every round. Do not show your card to anyone, or reveal what card you have.
The player who received the “Killer Card” is “The Killer” for that round. As the game begins, each player should look other players in the eye, saying nothing. The group is attempting to uncover who “The Killer” is by looking to see if “The Killer” is winking at anyone. If “The Killer” winks at a player, the player must count to 5 silently and then “die” by laying on the ground.
If any player thinks they know who “The Killer” is, they should raise their hand and gameplay stops momentarily. With their hand raised, the accusing player must have a second player join with them to attempt to identify “The Killer.” At the count of 3, each player should point to who they think “The Killer” is. If both players identify the correct person as “The Killer,” the round ends. However, if they each point to a different person, both are out. “The Killer” must identify themselves immediately if both accusers point to them. However, “the Killer” should not react at all if the accusers point to someone other than themselves.
The game continues until the “Killer” is identified. To play further rounds, the card swill be collected, shuffled, and passed out again.
Wink Murder Detailed Instructions
- Before gameplay begins, decide upon a playing card that will be the “Killer Card.” For example, the Ace of Diamonds or a Joker Card.
- Including the “Killer Card”, reduce the number of cards in the deck to the number of players in the game. For example, if there are 10 players, include 9 cards + the “Killer Card” in your deck.
- Gather everyone in a circle.
- Shuffle and pass out the cards, face down. No player should reveal their card.
- Players hold onto their card until the end of the round, careful to not show it to anyone.
- Instruct the group about which card is the “Killer Card.”
- Ask the group to discreetly check their cards.
- Players should not speak or make any indications about what their card is.
- Gameplay begins as each player looks one another in the eye, searching for “The Killer.”
- “The Killer’s” job is to attempt to take out as many players as possible by winking at a player.
- “The Killer” should avoid being detected as much as possible and wink discreetly at other players.
- “The Killer” does not have to wink at a player every time they look at them and can wait for the right opportunity to do so.
- If “The Killer” looks at a player and winks, that player must silently count to 5 before “Dying,” either by pretending to pass out or stepping away from the group.
- If any player suspects that they know “The Killer,” they must raise their hand, at which point gameplay stops.
- After raising their hand, that player says, “I accuse” and waits for another player to also raise their hand to join them in accusation.
- After both have raised their hand, both players immediately point at how they believe to be “The Killer.”
- If each player points to different people, both are eliminated from that round.
- If both players point to the same person as “The Killer,” that person must immediately admit or deny honestly that they are the Killer, or reveal that they are holding the “Killer Card.”
- The game continues as long as possible, until “The Killer” is identified. In the unlikely event that “The Killer” manages to eliminate all but one player, the round also ends and “The Killer” is revealed.
No Equipment/Social Distancing Rules
If you don’t have a deck of cards, or in order to avoid passing out cards handled by each player, you can also privately assign each player a random number before gameplay begins. Have each player privately approach a leader who gives each a secret, easily remembered small number.
Avoid assigning numbers in order, so as to confuse players.
As each round begins, a youth leader calls out a number by saying, “The Killer” this round is #10! Since each player knows their number privately, it will be the same effect as having received a “Killer Card” under normal rules.
The rest of the game commences as normal.
The only problem with this method is that no player can be the killer again until new numbers are assigned, so you may need to reassign numbers after a few rounds if you decide to continue playing.