That Cluedo That You Do: A Retrospective on Clue the Board Game

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As classic as they come.

As classic as they come.

Have you ever played Cluedo? I bet you have, but you might have just called it Clue. Surprised to learn that Clue isn’t originally from the US? Yup, first came from the UK and was called Cluedo, (pronounced like Clu Du). The classic murder mystery game is always a smart and sophisticated option for individuals looking for a game to play as a group. Also, it works wonders to reveal which of your friends are actually idiots.

The Original Murder

Anthony E. Pratt, (a right good Englishman), filed a patent for a murder/mystery board game called “Murder!” This took place in 1944. Pratt and his wife went ahead and had the game purchased and trademarked as “Cluedo” in 1947 but wouldn’t make it to the public until 1949 due to the war and the shortages that came along with said war. Parker Brothers distributed the game as “Clue” in the US and since then people have been investigating the murder of a one Dr. Black (Mr. Boddy for you Yanks), for years to come.

As we know it now, the game involves up to six players assuming the roles of Miss Scarlet, Colonel Mustard, Mrs. White, Mrs. Peacock, Professor Plum, and Reverend Green (or Mr. Green in some editions), and searching a mansion for clues regarding the murder. The original concept for the game involved 10 characters, one of which was the victim of the murder (which probably wouldn’t be a very fun piece to play, really), but the number was cut back to the standard six that we’ve all come to know and love and suspect (it’s always that lying Miss Scarlet though, as if you couldn’t tell by the way she acts). There were also more rooms and more weapons in the concept version but as things stand today we have just enough to be manageable.

I Suspect Everyone

So much mystery, so little time.

So much mystery, so little time.

The average game consists of first having the evidence cards shuffled and a suspect card, location card, and weapon card placed in the envelope. This combination is the solution that all players are trying to figure out. They do this by keeping track of clues they find or have been given since at the beginning of the game the remaining cards are dealt to the players. You would be wise to write down all this information on your little notepad as it’ll come in handy. This is the first sign that one of your friends is an idiot, assuming they don’t properly keep track of anything.

As the game goes on, players move into a room and then make the claim that “someone did something in this room!” Since there are six characters, six weapons, and nine rooms, there are 324 possible solutions to the murder. Once a claim is made, let’s say I accused Miss Scarlet of murdering Dr. Black in the library with the dagger (because she totally would, that liar). Players would go around the table clockwise to disprove my claim by showing me a card that contains one of the elements I mentioned since if they have the card it can’t possibly be in the envelope. Only one card is shown per accusation, otherwise the game would whip by and everyone would know clues too easily.

Becoming A Master Detective

The trick is to work within the matrix problem of the game. You mark off your three cards and anything you get from anyone else. At a certain point you can start making obvious claims, assuming you’ve been paying attention (the second aspect that points to your friends being idiots).

As with all games, cheating isn’t allowed. But that shouldn’t stop you from cheating. Players must never leave their cards unattended or in a position to be viewed by anyone else. You should constantly be scanning around the table to see if your friends are exposing their status as an idiot by leaving cards exposed. And whenever someone is having his or her suggestion refuted, always make an attempt to see the card as well. You must be sneaky, like that liar Miss Scarlet, otherwise you’ll be beaten by your much smarter friends and learn that you may, in fact, be an idiot.

I think I just love The Simpsons too much.

I think I just love The Simpsons too much.

Cluedo has multiple editions backing it as the years have gone on. It is constantly being updated with facelifts and revisions here and there since it is a classic board game. There are multiple editions based off of some of pop culture’s most noticeable franchises, such as Scooby Doo, The Twilight Zone, Harry Potter, and The Simpsons. The basic gameplay is the same but you get to do it as different characters. Isn’t that exciting?! Of course it is.

Now remember, if you make a deciding claim and open the envelope to discover that you were very much wrong, you are both out of the game and probably an idiot. But never let that stop you from your fun. How do you think I can recognize the symptoms of being an idiot? Sadly, I suffer from the same affliction. Naturally, I blame Miss Scarlet.

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About Author

Chris was the former Head Writer/Editor of Toy-TMA. He did a great job overseeing the site and getting new content published regularly. Always more than willing to respond to a comment or two, but pitiless with trolls! He has since moved on from TMA, and we wish him the best.

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