Hunt A Killer: The Company
Hunt A Killer is a company that seeks to change the entertainment industry by delivering interactive and immersive experiences. They are the #6 fastest growing company on the Inc. 500 list. To date, they have shipped well over two million boxes of the Hunt A Killer game to people all over the world.
Their service allows you to participate as a character in a murder mystery. You play the role of a detective who is working with the Gray Investigations agency. In this role, you review all of the evidence, decide which suspects to eliminate, and track down the real killer.
Each month, you’ll receive a box with clues, and then it’s up to you to piece it all together. During each episode, you’ll use the contents of the box and the website to determine which character to eliminate. Each month, the plot thickens, and you get closer to revealing the murderer.
Ways to Experience the Mystery Game
There are a number of ways to enjoy the experience and satisfaction of solving crimes. Of course, any of the games can be worked independently. So, if you’re the type that likes to roll up your sleeves and do your own sleuthing, have at it. Or, here are a few ideas on how to make it a group effort:
- Host a mystery gaming party and invite your family, friends, or neighbors.
- Bring an episode box, or an entire season’s worth of boxes, along with you on vacation. In fact, the company recently released a “no digital components” version. So, you don’t even need an internet connection to start solving cases.
- Make it a couple’s night. Pour some wine, unpack the boxes, and snuggle in for an intimate night of case-solving. Plus, it’s the couple’s night that keeps on giving, as you can pick it up again and again until you solve the crime.
- Share the fun! Once you’re finished and ready to order another, consider gifting your boxes to someone.
- Participate in a Hunt A Killer game in person. Recently, the company opened an immersive “dinner theatre” experience in San Francisco.
The Game: Ordering and Delivery Process
I opted to purchase one of the boxed sets, the Class of ’98 Complete Season Box Set. Normally, when you purchase a subscription, they ship you one new box each month, and it usually takes six months to solve the crime. However, I’m just not that patient. When you purchase a box set, you get all six boxes at once. On average, this equates to 10 to 15 hours of gameplay, maybe longer, depending on how long it takes you to solve the crime.
How Much Does the Hunt A Killer Game Cost?
In my case, the cost of the box was $180, plus $15.95 shipping, for a total of $195.95. At this point, I consider this to be expensive. But, my wife and I were looking for something new and exciting to do during the quarantine, so I splurged. According to the website, this is one of the most popular seasons, so I thought it would be a good place to start.
Discount Codes and Coupons
The company sent me a discount code via email, but it was only good for the monthly subscription model, but not the boxed set. So, before I signed up, I ran a quick search for discount codes and coupons. I found plenty of codes but none of them work, which was a little frustrating.
After completing the payment process, I received two confirmation emails. First, I received a confirmation that my order was received. Second, I received an introductory email about the box set itself. Then, two days later I received an email confirming that the order had shipped. I ordered the box on the 22nd and received it on the 26th. Not bad, considering the postal system is under assault.
What’s In the Full Season Box?
We received one large box with six individual boxes inside, one for each episode of the season. Everything was neatly packed and the individual boxes were even stacked in order from one to six.
At this point, we had to make a decision. Do we open one box at a time and complete the episodes in order, one at a time? Or, do we open up all of the boxes and tackle the investigation as one big project. Of course, if this were a real investigation we would open all of the boxes. However, since this was our first time, we decided to complete the boxes one at a time. So, we opened up the contents of the first box and found:
What’s In Each Episode Box?
I don’t want to spoil any of the fun, so I won’t share exactly what’s in each box. Instead, I’ll explain the types of information, content, and pieces of evidence you’ll find in each. Honestly, I’m impressed not only by the amount of information and materials but the attention to detail.
- Letter from the Gray Investigations Detective Agency. Each set includes a letter from Michelle Gray, the owner of the Gray Investigations Detective Agency, which is leading the case. Primarily, the purpose of the letter is to provide you with an update on where the case stands. Additionally, the letter includes important user names and passwords for accessing content on the investigative website.
- Episode recap card. This card provides a list of the contents within each box. You’ll use this to determine if anything is missing from your package. Also, the card provides a website link and a password. You’ll use these when you’re ready to solve the episode.
- Witness interviews. You’ll use these to put together the overall story and timeline. The interviews help you gather key information about suspect whereabouts, movements, timing, and more.
- Transcripts of 911 calls. This is a written transcription of the 911 call, although some portions may be labeled as inaudible. Often, you’ll also receive an audio file of the call. This will be accessible on the detective’s website.
- Autopsy report. The autopsy report provides a wealth of information about how the victim died. Data points include the suspected cause of death and the approximate time. In addition, it contains internal and external observations of the body. These observations include information on abrasions, bruising, cuts, marking, etc.
- Photos of suspects. Use the photos of the suspect to create your own “murder board”.
- Physical evidence. In each box, there are pieces of physical evidence related to the case. In some cases, there are hidden messages or items that you must uncover.
- Copies of emails between suspects. Get further insight into communications between the victim and/or suspects.
- Blacklight to check for hidden messages. Our mystery game came with a small black light. We used it to uncover some hidden text on one of the pieces of evidence. We may need to use it later in the game.
- Handwritten notes. Some episodes include handwritten notes, love letters, reminders, etc.
- Map of the town. The map helps you understand the location of certain events and the distance between locations.
- Newspaper articles. Articles in the local newspaper can add background to the overall story. And, they can help you make connections between events and suspects.
- Other materials relevant to the case
Additional Evidence, Resources, and Tools
In addition to the materials in the box, there is a website available with each case that is run by the detective agency. The investigator’s website has a wealth of password-protected information such as:
- Images, photos, screenshots
- Evidence checklists
- Case documents
- Audio files such as 911 calls
- Video files
- To-do lists to help you keep organized
- Decryption tools to decode ciphers
How to Sign Up and Get Your Own Hunt A Killer Game
Currently, there are two methods to sign up, via the company website or purchase the game at Target. I recommend signing up via the website. There, you’ll have access to a much larger variety of mystery games. Note: These prices may change, so please visit the website for the most recent prices.
- Website Method – If you’re ready to sign up and get started solving your first mystery, use this link and get 30% off your first month’s subscription. If you sign up via the website, there are three different subscription plans:
- Monthly Plan – With this plan, you receive one of the six episodes each month. Therefore, you solve the murder over a six-month period. Currently, the price of this plan is $30.00 per month, plus shipping.
- Season Pass (6-Month Plan) – With this plan, you pay for the entire six-month season upfront, which saves you money compared to the monthly approach. Currently priced at $27.50 per month, you’ll pay $165 upfront, but the shipping is free. Paying this way saves you $38.
- Double Season Pass (12-Month Plan) – If you purchase this plan, you’ll be paying for two seasons. Currently, the price is $25 per month, or $300, with free shipping, which saves you $100.
Occasionally, bundled packages with multiple seasons are available at a discount. In some cases, HAK will include a free gift with your order. Gifts include such items as notebooks, recipe books, drink mugs, etc.
- Buy the Hunt A Killer game at Target. Recently, the company began distributing the murder mystery boxes via Target stores. However, the last time I checked, they only had one version of the game available in stores. The full line of seasons and episodes is only available via the Huntakiller.com website.
Please note: Pricing may change so please refer to the Hunt A Killer website for the latest rates. The rates shown above are accurate as of the date I wrote this article.
List of Seasons
Solve the mystery of Darryl Fanton’s murder. Darryl was the lead singer of a ’70s rock band who was brutally murdered. The police say that they have already solved the case, but their suspect doesn’t make sense. Can you figure out who the real killer is?
This game is different than the others. In Baker’s Dozen, someone is planning to poison one of the judges on a popular baking show. It’s your responsibility to follow the clues, decode ciphers, and solve puzzles to stop the murder before it happens. Do you have what it takes?
HAK Horror and Lionsgate Games teamed up to offer a tabletop horror game set in the Blair Witch universe. In this immersive and terrifying game, it’s your responsibility as a detective to find a boy who was lost in the Black Hills Forest. Rosemary Kent’s son Liam disappeared months ago, and the police aren’t doing much to help find him. To solve this mystery, you’ll have to review maps, police reports, letters, solve supernatural puzzles, and more. Can you survive the curse and uncover the truth? Now available as a boxed set that provides 10-15 hours of gameplay.Can you survive The Woods?
A new Hunt A Killer game! The remains of a counselor are discovered in the fire pit of a summer camp. Initially, the authorities ruled his death an accident. However, new evidence suggests something otherwise. The camp owner’s daughter asks you to help investigate the murder and find out how he died. Head to camp today.
Class of 98
This is one of the most popular Hunt-A-Killer seasons. On the night of their class reunion, the Class of 1998 in the small town of Chestnut Falls loses one of their most popular students in a tragic murder. Luckily, a local private investigator asks for your help with the investigation.
This one can be tricky. Early on, it seems like everyone is a potential suspect. Eventually, you’ll be able to make connections and begin to narrow the list.
This game offers 12-18 hours of exciting gameplay.
Dead on the Vine
Dead on the Vine is a vineyard-theme mystery, which will pair perfectly with your favorite wine. Notably, this game doesn’t have any digital components. So, you can play with friends and family while on vacation, even if you’re off-the-grid.
In this story, the Llewyn family celebrates a birthday with a party a the family vineyard. After the party, the grandmother is found dead. Initially, it appears to be an accident. However, the autopsy report reveals that she died with poison in her system. After a tumultuous night full of arguments and a big factory malfunction, the clan matriarch, Gail, is found dead in her bed. Now, it is your responsibility to help the family uncover the truth and find out who committed this terrible crime.
In this game, you’ll review witness statements from everyone who was at the Llewyn Estate Vineyard that night. Then, you’ll put together a timeline of events, eliminate suspects, and narrow down the list.
Death at the Dive Bar
An excellent choice for date night! In this game, someone gets murdered at a local bar. One of the bar’s employees suspects that foul play was involved. It’s up to you to use your investigative skills to find out who did it. Use your deductive reasoning skills to solve puzzles, crack ciphers, and put the pieces together to find the culprit.
Death at the Dive Bar comes as a one-time purchase, rather than a monthly subscription. Currently, this is the only game available through Amazon.com. Order yours today.
Fine Art Foul Play
Billed as a premium experience, this story will put your investigative skills to the test. The mother of a family of artists, Dolores Dahl Davenport, is murdered in her art gallery. Tragically, her daughter is charged with the crime and the trial is fast approaching. It’s up to you to determine who the real killer is and bring them to justice.
In this story, you’re a member of a ghost hunting team called in to investigate a haunting. Here, you’ll need specialized skills to interact with ghosts. Then, you’ll need to solve puzzles to help expel them from the haunted manor.
This Hunt A Killer game is a bit different. Here, you’ll interact with the incarcerated killer, rather than a private investigator. You’ll have to use your investigative skills to determine whether he should be set free.
The boxed set version of Initiation is about to be retired.
The Moon Summit Mystery
It’s up to you to solve puzzles and ciphers to figure out if Toby Mendia’s death was a freak accident or a murder. Toby was a graduate student who was found dead during a wildlife expedition in Alaska. Initially, his death was blamed on the dangerous wildlife. However, information comes to light that suggests otherwise. Put your critical thinking skills to work to solve the crime.
Just before a long-anticipated reunion concert, the lead singer of the boy band Starstruck dies in a tragic on-stage accident. However, one superfan doesn’t believe it was an accident. Now, it’s up to you to use your detective skills to find out what really happened.
Available as a box set.
The Melancholy Killer
Edgar Lee Dwyer, a convicted serial killer, dies in prison. Then, all of his personal belongings are sent to you in a briefcase. Now, it is up to you to find out if he is innocent or guilty.
- Body of the Boardwalk – New! – An employee at an amusement park dies on a popular ride.
- Hawthorn Junction – This series is about to be retired.
- Just Desserts –
- Main Street Murder –
- Space Madness – Space Madness is positioned as a “family-friendly” version of the game. Actually, it feels more like an “escape-the-room” type of game, rather than a murder mystery. In this season, you and you’re team are stuck on Mars and you have to figure out how to get home.
List of Complete Season Boxed Sets
Hunt A Killer game boxed sets allow you to get all of the season’s episodes at one time, rather than via a monthly subscription. Currently, here is a list of the available murder mystery sets:
- Earth Break: Omega Protocol – Complete Season Box Set – A sci-fi adventure.
- Earth Break: Frequency – A post-apocalyptic, sci-fi adventure. Playable as its own story or as the continuation of Earth Break: Omega Protocol.
- Empty Faces: The Mine – In this series, supernatural forces are haunting the town of Cooper’s Rock. It’s up to you to use your skills and expertise to solve this paranormal case.
- Empty Faces: The Mountain
- Empty Faces: The Woods – Deep in the West Virginia forest, a young woman falls ill. In this experience, you’ll review her personal items and review correspondence. You’ll have to tap into your best research skills and deductive reasoning to piece together a timeline. Can you reconstruct her life and determine how she became so sick?
List of games that don’t require an internet connection
Sometimes, you really want to disconnect. However, do you ever really disconnect when you are constantly looking at your phone, tablet, or computer? For those times when you travel to a place without an internet connection, Hunt A Killer has you covered. Here is a list of games that you can solve without needing an internet connection (see episode descriptions above):
- Dead on the Vine
- Agatha Christie
- Body on the Boardwalk
- Death at the Dive Bar
- Ghastly Manor
- Fine Art of Foul Play
Get Help and Connect with other Players via Facebook Groups
There are numerous official Facebook groups available to help game players learn more about the company, the various murder mystery games, and even individual Hunt A Killer game episodes. For example, there is a group associated with all six episodes included in the Class of ’98 Complete Season Box Set that I purchased. To be honest, we checked out the groups but didn’t participate because we wanted to solve the mystery on our own. However, I do think they are a great companion resource, especially if you are stuck. The group’s moderators ensure there are no spoilers.
Visit the main HAK Facebook group.
Things to note
- Due to the subject matter, most of the games are definitely not for children. While there are no gory photos or videos, the descriptions can sometimes be disturbing. The website states, “Due to the graphic nature of some of the content, the game is not for the faint of heart.” However, I haven’t seen anything that is over the top. They recommend ages 14 and up to play the game. If you’re looking for a family-friendly version, try Space Madness.
- Do I recommend this for private investigators? Actually, yes I do. Not only is it fun to play, but it also mimics a real case in a number of ways. It makes for good practice.