Hunt A Killer (link opens in a new window) is a very interesting and unique product, quite unlike anything else I’d tried before. As a stay at home mom and a bit of a TV addict, I’ve always loved watching murder-mystery type shows and CSI: Miami, and would always find it fun trying to guess what was going to happen. Now the folks at Hunt A Killer have created a service to entertain people like myself: it’s a game where you have to solve a mystery and find a killer, hence the name Hunt A Killer. And it’s much more than a simple book or board game – rather, it’s better to think of it as an experience.
To help you learn about Hunt A Killer and decide whether you should try it, I’ve put together this brief FAQ.
What Hunt A Killer is
With Hunt A Killer, you get all kinds of stuff shipped to your door: archival documents, letters, newspaper clippings, personal belongings from characters in the story and more, and it’s your job to use these clues to try to piece together what’s going on. An intriguing concept indeed!
This company was founded in early 2016 by co-founders Ryan Hogan and Derrick Smith, who participated in an event where teams would try to solve a murder mystery. They had a lot of fun with it and realized that there would be a demand for a product where anyone could engage in something like this. Now, it’s grown a lot in popularity, and employs 40 people and has shipped over a million products.
How do you play Hunt A Killer?
You get a bunch of stuff shipped to your door that gives you clues on who the killer is and what’s going on, and then it’s 100% up to you to try to piece everything together, just like a real-life detective. There is no guidance whatsoever, no steps, and no instructions. You’ll just get something like this…
… And then it’s up to you to make sense of it. It’s most fun to play this with your partner or significant other, but you can also get through it on your own. Note that this is not a trivial exercise! Like a jigsaw puzzle of many thousands of pieces, any Hunt A Killer box you look through is going to take you many hours of analysis to make good progress. You’ll often be reading and re-reading different documents trying to tie it all together as you come up with theories and ideas about what’s happening. And there is no feedback, so you have no idea if you’re going down a ridiculous rabbit hole that won’t lead anywhere, or if you’re really getting closer to solving the mystery. So you have to be tenacious. I think a certain type of person would absolutely love this kind of thing, and many people have. But there’s also the type of person who would find it a pain and quit quickly.
How much does Hunt A Killer cost?
There are two types of Hunt A Killer products: the subscription membership costs between $25/month and $30/month (depending on if you commit to 1 month, 6 months or 12 months), and some individual boxes that can be solved in one night cost between $99 and $199 at the time of writing (see our section below on the different products they offer).
Is there a discount code for Hunt A Killer?
Not a working one that I could find. There are a few coupon sites listing coupons like FLASH25 (25% off) and CUSSES, but they didn’t work for me.
If there are any special deals and discounts on Hunt A Killer, they should be listed when you go to the website here.
What similar products are there to Hunt A Killer – are there good alternatives?
There are actually a few competitors to Hunt A Killer that have got a lot of praise:
- The Mysterious Package Company (mysteriouspackage.com): The price-point of these is similar to Hunt A Killer, with products between $100 and $300 – definitely on the expensive side, but it’s a quality product and a bucket-load of fun. The best package they had, in my opinion, was Curios and Conundrums which has unfortunately been discontinued,
- The Black Watchmen on Steam: This is currently available at a complete bargain at $9.99 on Steam. It’s a computer game, so really only an indirect competitor to Hunt A Killer. If you like the idea of the Hunt A Killer game but don’t want to spend a significant amount of money, and you like computer games, then you should get this. Very nicely made and with great Steam reviews.
- Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective: There is loads of high praise for this and many people recommend it over Hunt A Killer – it’s cheaper and gives a reasonably similar experience, and there’s loads of gameplay in it (tens of hours). The price of that is just one month of Hunt A Killer, and it differs in that there are 6 mysteries to solve instead of just 1 as with Hunt A Killer. I personally like getting engrossed in one big case though.
What criticisms are there for Hunt A Killer?
The main criticism is the price, as Hunt A Killer is not a cheap product if you get the monthly subscription and go through with it. The main criticisms beyond that, though, are that it’s too drawn out (though others like that) or that there are too many irrelevant items, and you never know if you’re on the right track or not (though again, not everyone takes an issue with that).
What different products does Hunt A Killer offer?
The flagship product is the membership product where you solve one big mystery over the course of several months, but there’s also these one-off, all-in-one experiences that can be solved in one session:
- The Melancholy Killer ($199): https://shop.huntakiller.com/collections/premium-cases/products/the-melancholy-killer
- Baker’s Dozen ($119): https://shop.huntakiller.com/collections/premium-cases/products/bakers-dozen-premium-case
- Hawthorn Junction ($99): https://shop.huntakiller.com/collections/premium-cases/products/hunt-a-killer-hawthorn-junction
- 1973 ($199): https://shop.huntakiller.com/collections/premium-cases/products/hunt-a-killer-1973
Note that the pricing of these is subject to change, and may be different from what I listed above when you look at them.
UPDATE AUGUST 2020: The popular Hunt A Killer “class of 98” is back now, available on the website here for $180 at the time of writing.
Do I recommend Hunt A Killer?
If you’re the type of person who really likes digging into mysteries, then yes, you’ll probably have a lot of fun with Hunt A Killer, and I recommend you try it out for a month. Get the monthly subscription at $25/month and see if you enjoy the first shipment – if not, just cancel (and don’t forget to cancel if you don’t like it!). You’ll probably know if you’re the type of person who’ll enjoy it. It’s still worth having a look through the alternatives I listed above before making an order though, especially Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective as there’s excellent feedback on that and it’s far cheaper than Hunt A Killer (I haven’t tried it personally).
What do other people say about Hunt A Killer?
Hunt A Killer is a bit of a love-or-hate-it product, as you’ll find many people love playing it and many people just get bored of it quickly. It really seems to me like for everyone who loves it there’s someone who hates it. We’d like to hear what you think, so if you’re a customer of Hunt A Killer, please comment below! We’ll also be submitting a request for reviews and will update this post with them shortly.
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