What it is: A group game where one player, the murderer, squeezes people’s hands to “kill” them, trying to kill as many as he can before his identity is discovered. So, whereas the other murder game is all about your eyes, in this one you use your hands.

Best for: A group of about 10, though a little more or less is fine.

What you need

  • A way to pick a murderer: either a deck of cards or slips of blank paper (or something else you come up with).

How to play: This is another fun variation on the murder game theme (in time for Halloween!). To start, you need to choose a murderer. If you have a deck of cards, pull out one card for each player. Make them all non-face cards, except for one. Shuffle and have each player pick a card, face down. Whichever player draws the face card will be the Murderer. You can do the same thing with slips of paper. Just draw an X on one and fold them all up.

So now one player should be the Murderer, but only he or she knows. To everyone else it’s a secret. Now have all your players sit in a circle on the ground, cross-legged. Then players all hold hands to form a circle, but it’s important that players hide their hands, to the best of their ability, behind backs or under legs. You don’t want your hands just sitting on laps where everyone can see them.

Then announce the start of the game, at which point the Murderer can start in with the dirty work, mua-ha-ha.

The Murderer “kills” people by squeezing the hands of the players next to him. So let’s say Aaron is the Murderer. To his left is Kate, and to his right is Juliet. Aaron, after waiting several seconds, might start by squeezing Kate’s hand three times. Then Kate would “pass” the squeeze to the player on her other side by squeezing his hand two times. That player would pass it on by squeezing only one time. And the player who receives one squeeze…is dead.

Which brings us to: optional dramatic deaths. The game gets extra fun if, whenever you “die,” you die a dramatic death: fall on the floor, gasp, shout out your famous last words, etc. Adds in an element of humor and drama. :) At the minimum, just announce you’re dead and leave the circle.

That’s basically the only game play. The Murderer squeezes hands of the people next to him, both to his right and to his left, and the squeezes get passed around the circle, going both directions, and any player who receives only one hand squeeze dies and leaves the circle. So the circle keeps getting smaller and smaller. The Murderer can kill as quickly or as slowly as he wants.

As for the other players, their objective is to guess who the Murderer is before they all end up dead. Players do this with a simple accusation: “Kate, are you the Murderer?” Since Kate’s not the Murderer in this game, she shakes her head no, and then the player who made the false accusation has to leave the circle. Figuring out the Murderer is trickier than you might think, because players have no idea where the hand-squeezes originate from, and when you watch a player die on the other side of the circle, you might not even know from which direction the killing strike came.

The game ends when someone correctly accuses Aaron as the Murderer, or when Aaron kills everyone else. Whew!

Variations: Have you tried the winks version of murder? There’s also mafia, a game with a similar theme.


  1. I don’t understand this game. Wouldn’t Kate immediately know that Aaron is the murderer and call him out on it? I’m confused…

    1. Great question, LR. I should have clarified that. So after someone says “go” and the game officially starts, Aaron should wait several seconds before squeezing anyone’s hand. If he waits just a little bit, Kate won’t be able to tell if Aaron is starting the squeeze or just passing it on. Does that make more sense?

      1. So, is squeezing 3 times just an example, then? The starting squeeze could be 4 or 5..whatever “It’ decides? That is why the waiting is important? Just want to make sure I understand. Otherwise, whoever, has their hand squeezed 3 times would automatically know, right? Also, can the player that is “it” start one on the right side and then the left side back to back or do you have to wait til someone “Dies” to start the next pass around? Thanks! This sounds fun!

        1. Great questions, EJ! Yes, 3 is just an example. It could be 2, 4, 5, etc. The number of squeezes is totally up to “it,” as is the direction and how frequently “It” squeezes hands. And that’s why the waiting is important; if It squeezed the hand of the person to his left immediately after someone said “go,” that other player would have a pretty good idea who It was. “It” can even start a hand squeeze chain on the left and on the right at the same time (though he should be careful and count ahead to make sure his chains won’t run into each other or confuse other players if they overlap). Does all that make sense?

  2. Are the rest of the players allowed to discuss before accusing a murderer? If they can then would it be very easy to identify the murderer?

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