My whole life I would always hear about Clue the board game but never played it as a child. I honestly think it had to do with the fact that the only version in my house was the original from the 1960’s; next to the hip new editions of other classic board games available to me, the ‘old school’ appearance never seemed to appeal to me.
I had some friends over and upon deciding we wanted to play a board game, they almost unanimously requested we play Clue. I was one of the only people who had no idea what it entailed or how to play but it didn’t take too long before I found myself very into it.
How to play
Clue is a classic detective/murder mystery board game featuring nine different rooms, six weapons and six fictitious characters: Miss Scarlett, Mrs. White, Mrs. Peacock, Mr. Green, Professor Plum, and Colonel Mustard. Each player chooses a character- and though the rules say your character is based on the ‘starting position’ closest to you- my friends and I just chose who we wanted to be.
Before the game starts, the ‘Clue cards’ must be divided into three piles based on their category- person, weapon, room. Once properly shuffled, one card from the top of each pile must be removed and placed into an envelope that will sit in the middle of the board throughout the game. The remaining cards are then shuffled together into one pile, which is then divided up among the players. All players must ensure nobody sees the cards in the envelope, or their own cards. Along with the cards, players are given a ‘detective notecard’ – which is also to be kept out of view from the other opponents. This helps any one player use the process of elimination when trying to reach a conclusion, or in this case, accusation.
One by one, each player rolls the die in hopes of landing in one of the rooms. Once they are inside a room, they can form a ‘suggestion’ as to who they think may have done what, with what- in that location. For example: “Mrs. Peacock, with the rope- in the library”. The person sitting to the left of them must look at their cards to see if they have a Clue card that would prove or disprove said suggestion. If the player to the left has the rope card, which would disprove the suggestion, they subtly reveal that card (so no other players see it) to the person who made the suggestion. If the player does not have a card to help disprove it, the next one to the left will review their cards to see if they can help. This process will continue until enough suggestions have been made for the player(s) to come up with a formal accusation.
To accuse a fellow player/character of murder is a risky move when not completely certain. Once a player makes an accusation, they must open the envelope in the middle of the board and find out if it’s correct. If it is, they have won the game- but if it’s wrong- they must refrain from making any more moves on the board or forming any new suggestions. They simply hang out, and reveal their cards to the other opponents as they have their turns. Eventually, someone will make a correct accusation based on the information they have collected, and will win.
Strategy is key
It may take a couple turns, but eventually I started to realize that this game was all about manipulating your opponents. For example, I had Colonel Mustard as one of my cards- therefore I knew he didn’t commit the murder- but since they didn’t know that, I made sure I mentioned him a lot in my suggestions. Doing so made them believe I didn’t have his card- forcing them to wonder if perhaps he was the killer after all. I used this strategy with rooms and weapons as well. Intentionally suggesting bogus scenarios naturally raises questions among your opponents and may throw them and their detective notes off.
Not to mention, by mixing your suggestions with people/items you know couldn’t be involved, with items you’re unsure about- each turn can give you the chance to narrow down your list of possibilities. For example, I had Colonel Mustard, the ballroom, and 3 weapon cards… so in my suggestion I may say “Colonel Mustard with the lead pipe (which I didn’t have)- in the ballroom”. I set it up so I was about to find out who had the lead pipe, if anyone, allowing me to rule it out or consider it a serious contender.
A real people pleaser
I’ve got to say as someone who has never played the game before – it was a ton of fun. To see my friends, who were all Clue veterans, enjoy themselves just as much as me, speaks volumes to the quality of this game. It is interactive, intriguing, addictive and timeless. You find yourself studying your opponents every move, facial expression, reaction. If you’re playing with a clever and witty bunch, I guarantee laughter and tons of suspense – even more so if you bring some alcohol into the mix 😉 I can also see this being a great game to play with family.
Clue brought out the best in each opponent – personalities were shining, brains were calculating every potential outcome, and
In the end, I decided that I regret never playing the 1960’s original edition when I was younger. The old phrase “never judge a book by its cover” came back to haunt me – because I judged Clue based on its looks as a child and missed out on a really fun murder mystery experience. I will not only play this again, but will probably even go so far as to check out the film too. Based on what I know now, how could it be bad?
1-4 Too Much Awful
5-7.5- Not So Awesome
7.6-8.5 Almost Awesome
8.6-9.4 – Awesome!
9.5-10- Too Much Awesome!
Clue veterans and first timers alike will find this murder mystery full of intrigue. There are so many variables to the game that each round is unique and inviting. It is a simple concept that is well received by all and can be easily executed by all ages. Clue is a great board game that has something for everyone.