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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

NEWSPAPER INTERVIEW


A CLASSIC "WHODUNNIT?'

Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Chalan Harper, Superior Observer
After Mari Battreall and her husband bought a 'Host Your Own Murder Mystery' game three years ago and got it home, they quickly realized one thing- that they could do it better.
'It just wasn't flexible enough,' Battreall said this week. For the past three years, the couple have operated www.host-party.com, a site that features games for every age range and are flexible enough to work for corporate parties or intimate gatherings among friends.
Here's how it works: a interested party host can surf to the Web site and look through a variety of games by age, appropriateness (as some games are for adults only) and description.
Once a customer finds the game perfect for them they can pay online and the game is right there waiting for them.
'There's no shipping, it's all just right there,' Battreall said.
Some games are clue-driven and therefore its up to the actors to fill out characters and come up with lines.
For someone who may be a bit less adventurous, Host-Party.com also offers fully scripted games.
On the site, customers can print the scripts, upload friends' pictures and assign them to characters, send out clues to build anticipation, look for costumes and print invitations.
Mari said she and her husband have a track record of 25,000 games sold with about 100 games currently active.
Each game description provides information on age-appropriateness- detailed by ratings similar to television ratings such as 'M' for mature- and how many players can participate.
Adults can choose party  themes such as Roaring 20's, 'Horror in the Haunted House' and 'Beauty Shop of Horrors'.
The site provides costume, decoration and prop tips, as well as links to sites to buy online.
'People really get into it,' Battreall said, 'it does get crazy.'
Kids and teens are not, however, left out of the fun, as Battreall said there are plenty of games appropriate for children's birthday parties or school events.
'We never have any murders in the children's games,' Battreall said.
Children's games often involve mysteries and scavenger hunts, Battreall said, and run along several kid friendly themes like pirates, the zoo and vampires.
Battreall has contracted with about 20-30 authors to write the story lines and scripts.
Authors receive parameters for each story plot and write within the requirements.
Once written, the stories are shipped off for a run through the copy editing process.
Approved games are then posted on the site for purchase.
Additionally, the site offers custom games in which the customer can contact the author and review the specifics of what they want in the game.
The author then sets to work writing and designing the plot and characters.
After the party is over, guests and party hosts can post pictures to the site for viewing and comments on the party.
Thought only in its first three years of existence, the business has already received some national recognition.
Last year, Battreall and her family flew to New York to meet with the staff of Discovery Home Channel's show 'Party Girl', a show that covers how to host different types of parties.
The show contracted with Host-Party.com to throw an intensely entertaining murder mystery party, which was a complete success.
Currently, Battreall said her busiest time of year is right around Halloween, though there are Christmas games available and many are that are good for any time.
For now, Battreall and her family have a plan in the works to thrown their own Halloween party this year.
To learn more, visit www.host-party.com

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