Wizard in the Dark

A relaxed night no prep game for large groups

Also known as: Murder in the Dark

How To Play Wizard in the Dark

14 Jan 2022 - This is an updated version of "Murder in the Dark"

This game is very simple. Perfect for a sleepover party or a late night camp gamer.

Make a room be able to go from pitch black to full light with the flick of a switch, and I'm serious pitch black. Cover up emergency lights and exit signs, unless it's illegal in your area.

Shuffle and pass out a deck of cards. Make sure that there is only one Ace and one King in the stack. The student who draws the Ace is the wizard, and the student who draws the King is the police officer. When everyone has drawn cards, turn off the lights. The job of the wizard is to walk around amongst the students and put people to sleep by tapping both of their shoulders. Once a player is asleep, they must fall to the ground. If a player "runs into" a sleeping person they yell out "SLEEPER IN THE DARK." At this time the lights need to be turned on. If the person sleeping was the police officer, the game ends. Everyone should guess who the wizard is, and if the police officer chooses to reveal him/herself they can make one person show their card. They do not have to reveal their identity. If the guess is correct, the game is over. If not, the lights turn back off. The police officer only gets one chance per round. This repeats until all people are asleep, the officer is put to sleep, or the wizard is identified. When this is over, take up the cards, shuffle, and play again.

Evidently there is no way to win. The game is incredible fun, and students usually end up playing for hours.


spiritual warfare

Added by
on 19 February 2008


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Played this tonight for HOURS. If you have a group of high schoolers and know that their hearts are in the right place, then i think you’d be good to go. In order to kill a player, you have to just though their shoulder. No vulgar throat slicing.

If you want, change it to vampire or something. It TONS OF FUN.

Posted by Stevo 4 years ago

I find it hard to get a totally dark space, as a little light makes it difficult for the murderer to make his move. It can be obvious

Posted by Jeremy 4 years ago

This is the best game ever. Some of you are so overprotective.

Posted by me 4 years ago

A good version to play is wink murder (less likely to stand on someone)

first you pick a detective, and send them out of the room.
Then you pick a murderer, everyone knows who the murderer is except the detective. Next you let the Detective back into the room and they have to try and figure out who the murderer is,meanwhile the murderer 'kills' people by winking at them, more difficult to figure out when you can be killed by a wink from the other side of the room :) plus the detective only gets 3 guesses or they are consequently killed by the murderer also, good laugh.

Posted by Sam 5 years ago

i think it is actually kind of funny because you yell MURDER IN THE DARK . LOL
my friends are laughing and peeing their pants.but i see how it can be violent.

Posted by hi 6 years ago

We've played this without the cards. A leader taps a child on the shoulder, that child is the murderer. They walk around in the dark, shaking hands with each other. The murderer takes their index finger and lightly tickles the palm of hands as they greet each other. They're dead when they shake hands with the murderer. They fall or sit down immediately.

They can yell "I know the murderer! " if they're alive and they think they know, but they die if they're wrong. It's a lot of fun, just need to be careful because when they die they are supposed to fall and lie/sit. Some kids are over dramatic and fall hard, and some aren't careful with bodies lying around.

It's a lot of fun, but you need to caution the kids to be mindful. Definitely not for wild kids who won't use their heads and watch out for kids they feel lying on the floor. You need a group who wants to have fun, but is caring and will listen.

Posted by Lorax 6 years ago

Hi guys this game is certa inky not violent in any way only some odd people think it is! Extremely fun highly recommend

Posted by Hhhhh 7 years ago

I would guess the "dead" person either sits or lies down (though they might get accidentally kicked or stepped on if they lie down)

Posted by Jason 7 years ago

This sounds like an awesome game and I'm excited to try it in an upcoming sleepover in having soon, I just hope no one gets hurt in the dark and how well you be able to tell when someone dies?????

Posted by Awesome 7 years ago

How will you know if a person is dead because the room will be pitch black??

Posted by Caitlin Jayne Fallon 7 years ago

Our kids absolutely love this game. We have a designated area, we tell them no touching, and there are plenty of adults supervising. They never want to stop playing this at retreats and overnighters.

Posted by Just me 8 years ago

If it too violent change the actions a bit. The killer taps the head of the victims instead or something. Its pretty simple to change an action, have fun and don't take stuff so literal.

Posted by Ethan Wilson 10 years ago

I played this at my youth group and we thought that the finger slicing part was too violent so we just put a hand over the persons mouth and whispered in there ear your dead.I played it at a sleepover yesterday too. :)

Posted by Kennedy 12 years ago

Who said these games had to be tailored for church groups? not that its inappropriate to play this in a christian youth group...

Posted by Matt 12 years ago

I tried to play this with a couple of friends and two of their little sisters....not a good game for all ages like I was told...LIARS!!!!

Posted by You don't need to know who I am 12 years ago

rip off of mafia.

Posted by ian 12 years ago

I learned to play this a different way, but this version is good too! I found it on ehow...just sayin if anyone wants to see that version...have a great day everyone!

Posted by Akc 12 years ago

its moves arawnd and its dark

Posted by wil 13 years ago

This game is awesome.Also its not at all violent.... :3

Posted by HI 13 years ago

well, like some of the people said, it doesn't have to be violent.... just use your imagination... It doesn't have to be "Murder" it could be... the cookie monster and the people are cookies. and they got eaten or something. anyways fun game i played it a while back inside a gym with foldable walls. we made a "maze" type of struction with the walls and everyone had a blast :D

Posted by N/A 13 years ago

same way but little different to my game ok so turn of the light make it dark then chose who is the murder when the murder tap some one they have to scream then murder have to guest their name if wrong another round if right the persin that got tap become the murder

Posted by Jake 13 years ago

I used this game in a series about spiritual warfare. We talked about how hard it is to fight an enemy you cannot see. Then we played it again with the lights on. The murderer was discovered instantly! This gave a great picture of what the light of Christ can do for us in our fight against the evil one. I made sure that a "mature" student was the murderer and encouraged my adult volunteers to be engaged in order to "keep the peace."

It was a good experience!

Posted by Student Minister 13 years ago

who play murder in the dark with a deck of cards???????

Posted by sarah 13 years ago

If this is supposed to be a church youth group why are we playing games that refer to murdering? and cutting throats?? ok a little too much for me

Posted by Ashley 13 years ago

You could always play it in a lit room with good blindfolds on all of the youth. That way adults can observe to make sure that no one is touching others inappropriately.

Posted by YouthPastor/GameModifier 14 years ago

thanks i was looking for how to play this. i used to play this at youth group. Its fun :)

Posted by JEss 14 years ago

This is a amazing game but we banned it in our youth group as well because of the touching factor. We had no problems with it but some of the kids got touched and didn't mean to. But the kids liked it alot. We also banned hide and go seek in the dark.

Posted by Malory 14 years ago

tried this one today - a good variation from Mafia which we are getting a wee bit bored of now. I agree... empty room works best and we got everyone to lose their shoes cause of a painful first run in :) Not violent from a game stand point... but dark enough room and you get bloodshed!

Posted by carla 14 years ago

I don't think this game is violent at all, but I see how some people can interpret it that way, but you can always modify these sorts of games to suit your youth group, their maturity and age. You can always get the killer to touch people on the head rather than slicing their throat. The possibilities are endless, surely you are all youth leaders so use your imagination and modify the game, this is only an example, and it's not set in concrete to the point that you have to play the game the way it has been written.

Posted by A different perspective! 14 years ago

This sort of game has been banned at our youth group...too many kids getting a little too "close" in the darkness if you get my drift. Awkward moments aplenty haha.

Posted by anon 15 years ago

I think this game must be played by the youth not the children. actually, it sounds a little bit violent because of the killing factor :) for those who are matured enough, it's ok, but for the children, I think the implication of the game is not that good..

Posted by I say 15 years ago

this is so fun and definatley NOT violent

Posted by anon 15 years ago

i play this game all the time it is not violent if you move stuff out of the way like glass or tables. and i use a hole house to play it a lot more fun!

Posted by TOWNHERO 15 years ago

oh please this is not violent..reality check

Posted by anonamous 15 years ago

it is interesting actually

Posted by anonamous 16 years ago

This is a little bit too violent

Posted by Rachael 16 years ago
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