Ms Scarlet, in the library, using the candlestick!
If you don’t know what I am talking about, then you have probably never played “Clue” before. Also known as “Cluedo” this board game is a completely different experience; an interactive murder mystery game, suitable for the whole family.
Clue perhaps had a more unusual start to life than many board games. It was invented by a British solicitors clerk named Anthony E. Pratt in 1944, as a murder mystery game called “Murder”. It was originally played in underground bunkers in the war, during lengthy air raids.
It was officially released as “Cluedo” by Waddingtons in 1949, and simultaneously as “Clue” by Parker Brothers in the US.
Now the game enjoys immense popularity, and a cult like following. It has been re-released in several collector type editions, and has many spin-offs to it’s name. “Clue” has also enjoyed success across a huge range of consoles and platforms, old and new, from the age-old Commodore and Atari, to the Xbox 360, PC, and iphones.
We do recommend, for the full experience, playing the board game!
The Classic Murder Mystery Game
Before the game begins three cards are selected from the separate decks, which are included in the box; one weapon, one character, and one room card. These cards are placed in an envelope in the “cellar” in the middle of the board. They now represent the murderer, the weapon of choice, and the room the victim was murdered in; and so the mystery begins!
It is the task of each player to try to be the first to solve the murder case by correctly guessing which cards are in the envelope. The rest of the cards are dealt out to players. The murder is solved using a sharp-witted process of deduction, and note-taking; like real detectives!
When a player lands on a room, of which there are 9 contained on the board, they can make an accusation, such as “I suggest it was Mr Green, in the Library, with a revolver”. The accusing player challenges the other players to falsify the accusations by displaying one card (privately) to prove them wrong. Notes can then be taken as to who holds which cards, and the process of elimination begins.
When a player thinks they have figured it all out, they can take a stab at the murder, and open the envelope after declaring their ultimate accusation. Careful though, you only get one guess at the envelope, and if it’s wrong, you are out of the game!
Advanced Note-taking and Other Tactics
One of the ways to get ahead of opponents is to move between rooms quickly, enabling the most accusations to be made. Whoever gets the most clues, is likely to deduct the right answer quickly. The rooms are joined by a corridors, and the corner rooms have secret passages! Choose a quick route around the board to beat the other detectives, and solve the case.
Here is a bit of a naughty tactic; but by no means against the rules, or spirit of the game. When making accusations it is possible to include suspects that you know already, or have in your hand. For example if you hold the knife, and the Conservatory cards, you could say; “I suggest it was Mr Green, with the knife, in the Conservatory.”. If no other detective can show the Mr Green card, then it must be in the envelope! Smart accusations like this, can help solve the mystery quicker, and can also throw opponents off the scent.
For the most part, Clue is a game of note-taking. The children might only record cards that they have been shown. More advanced players can keep track of everything that goes on; who asks what questions, and why, who has got what cards, and who hasn’t been able to show. Eat your heart out Sherlock Holmes!
For the Family, and for The Friends
“Clue” can be played on many different levels, depending on the players. For a family game, the children will enjoy moving their colorful characters around the board, and playing little-detectives trying to solve the murder.
For groups of friends the game can jump a level of intensity; clever interrogation manoeuvres and a more competitive atmosphere turn this into a totally different game! In fact, we wouldn’t put it past groups of adults to dress up as characters and play this game candlelit in the dark; it really is that versatile.
For any occasion, a thrilling, and satisfyingly cheap board game night always does the job; and what better board game experience than solving a murder mystery!