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Cluedo ( /ˈkluːdoʊ/; Clue in North America) is a popular murder/mystery-themed deduction board game originally published by Waddingtons in Leeds, England in 1949. It was devised by Anthony E. Pratt, a solicitor’s clerk from Birmingham, England. It is now published by the United States game and toy company Hasbro, which acquired its U.S. publisher Parker Brothers as well as Waddingtons.
The object of the game is for players to strategically move around the game board (a mansion), in the guise of one of the game’s six characters, collecting clues from which to deduce which suspect murdered the game’s perpetual victim, Dr. Black (Mr. Boddy in North American versions), and with which weapon and in what room.
Several games, books, and a film have been released as part of the Cluedo franchise. The board games form an overall story whose complete chronology can be found at Cluedo chronology. Overall, several spinoffs have been released, some featuring extra characters, and for some, different game play. More recent editions have restored the name Tudor Mansion to the mansion, and say the mansion is located in Hampshire, England in the year 1926.
In 2008, Cluedo: Discover the Secrets was created (with changes to board, gameplay and characters) as a modern spin-off.
In 1944, Anthony E. Pratt, an English solicitor’s clerk, filed for a patent of his invention of a murder/mystery-themed game, originally named “Murder!” The game was originally invented as a new game to play during sometimes lengthy air raid drills in underground bunkers. Shortly thereafter, Pratt and his wife presented the game to Waddingtons’ executive, Norman Watson, who immediately purchased the game and provided its trademark name of “Cluedo” (a play on “clue” and “Ludo”, which is Latin for I play). Though the patent was granted in 1947, due to post-war shortages, the game was not officially launched until 1949, at which time the game was simultaneously licensed to Parker Brothers in the United States for publication, where it was renamed “Clue” along with other minor changes.
However, there were several differences between the original game concept and that initially published in 1949, In particular, Pratt’s original design calls for ten characters, one of whom was to be designated the victim by random drawing prior to the start of the game. These ten included the eliminated Mr. Brown, Mr. Gold, Miss Grey, and Mrs. Silver, with Nurse White, and Colonel Yellow. The game allowed for play of up to eight remaining characters, providing for nine suspects in total. Originally there were eleven rooms, including the eliminated “gun room” and cellar. In addition there were nine weapons including the unused axe, bomb, syringe, poison shillelagh (walking stick/cudgel), and fireplace poker. Some of these unused weapons and characters would appear in later spinoff versions of the game.
Some gameplay aspects were different as well. Notably, the remaining playing cards were distributed into the rooms to be retrieved, rather than dealt directly to the players. Players also had to land on another player in order to make suggestions about that player’s character through the use of special counter-tokens, and once exhausted, a player could no longer make suggestions. There were other minor differences, all of which would be updated by the game’s initial release and remain essentially unchanged in the standard classic editions of the game.
The game’s current equipment consists of a board which shows the rooms,corridors and secret passages of an English country house called Tudor Mansion, although previously named variously as Tudor Close or Tudor Hall, and in some editions Boddy Manor or Boddy Mansion. The game box also includes several coloured playing pieces to represent characters, miniature murder weapon props, one or two six-sided dice, three sets of cards, each set describing the aforementioned rooms, characters and weapons, Solution Cards envelope to contain one card from each set of cards, and a Detective’s Notes pad on which are printed lists of rooms, weapons and characters, so players can keep detailed notes during the game.
Depending on edition, the playing pieces are typically made of coloured plastic, shaped like chess pawns, or character figurines. Occasionally they are made from wood or pewter. The standard edition of Cluedo comes with six basic tokens representing the following original characters:
- Miss Scarlett (spelt Miss Scarlet in North American versions – a red piece)
- Colonel Mustard (a yellow piece)
- Mrs. White (a white piece)
- Reverend Green (named Mr. Green in pre-2002 North American versions – a green piece)
- Mrs. Peacock (a blue piece)
- Professor Plum (a purple piece)
The playing tokens are typically made out of unfinished pewter, with the exception of the Rope, which may also come in plastic or string depending on edition. Special editions have included gold plated, brass finished and Sterling silver versions, which have appeared in a variety of designs.
- Dagger (A Knife in North American editions, each represented by a respective depiction)
- Lead Pipe (called Lead Piping in earlier UK editions, the early tokens were made out of actual lead and therefore pose a risk of lead poisoning)
- Revolver (first depicted in the UK as a Dreyse M1907 semi-automatic pistol, and in North America as a Colt M1911 pistol. All current editions typically represent an Allan & Thurber Pepper-box revolver first depicted in the 1972 Clue edition)
- Rope (originally represented by a natural fibre coiled piece of string, the standard edition now consists of molded plastic or metal)
- Spanner (called Wrench in North American editions and depicted as a Monkey wrench, it may also be shown as an Open-ended spanner in some traditional UK versions)
There are nine rooms in the mansion where the murder can take place, laid out in a circular fashion on the game board, separated by pathways overlaid by playing spaces. Each of the four corner rooms contains a secret passage that leads to the room on the opposite diagonal corner of the map. The center room (often referred to as the Cellar, or Stairs) is inaccessible to the players, but contains the solution envelope, and is not otherwise used during game play. Coloured “start” spaces encircle the outer perimeter which correspond to each player’s suspect token. Each character starts at the corresponding colored space.
† ‡ denotes secret passages to opposite corner
At the beginning of play, three cards — one suspect, one weapon, and one room card — are chosen at random and put into a special envelope, so that no one can see them. These cards represent the facts of the case. The remainder of the cards are distributed among the players.
Players are instructed to assume the token/suspect nearest them. Play begins with Miss Scarlet and proceeds clockwise. Players roll the dice (some versions contain one and others two) and move along the board’s corridor spaces, or into the rooms accordingly.
The aim is to deduce the details of the murder; that is, the cards in the envelope. There are six different characters, six possible murder weapons and nine different rooms, leaving the players with 324 distinct possibilities. In the course of determining the details of the murder, players announce suggestions to the other players, for example, “I suggest it was Professor Plum, in the Library, with the candlestick.” The player’s token must be in the room they suggest (in the preceding example, it must be in the Library); suggestions may not be made in the corridors. The token and weapon suggested are moved into the room, if not already present.
The player to the left of the suggesting player must then disprove the suggestion, if they can, by showing the suggesting player one (and only one) of the cards containing one of the suggestion components (either the suspect, the weapon or the room), as this proves that the card cannot be in the envelope. This is done in secret so that the other players may not see which card is being used to disprove the suggestion. If a player has more than one such card, they may select which one to show. If the first player to the left of the suggesting player does not have any of the three cards needed to disprove the suggestion, the next player clockwise must disprove the suggestion, if possible, and so on in a clockwise manner until either the suggesting player is shown a card that disproves their suggestion, or each player advises that they can not disprove the suggestion. The suggesting player’s turn then ends. The suggesting player does not advise the other players whether they themself hold any of the three cards.
Once a player has sufficiently narrowed the solution, that player can make an accusation. According to the rules, “When you think you have worked out which three cards are in the envelope, you may, on your turn, make an Accusation and name any three elements you want.” Players may name any room (unlike a Suggestion, where a player’s character pawn must be in the room the player suggests).
The accusing player checks the validity of the accusation by checking the cards, keeping them concealed from other players. If he has made an incorrect accusation, he plays no further part in the game except to reveal cards secretly to one of the remaining players when required to do so in order to disprove suggestions. Also, according to the rules, “If, after making a false Accusation, your character pawn is blocking a door, [you must] move it into that room so that other players may enter.” If the player made a correct accusation, the solution cards are shown to the other players and the game ends.
It is possible for a player to be using the piece representing the murderer. This does not affect the game play; the object of the game is still to be the first to make the correct accusation. All editions of the current version of the game are advertised as a three to six player game only. Traditionally, the UK version was advertised for two to six players. If the game is played with two people, the process of elimination diffuses the same information to both players.[clarification needed] Such a game tends to pass quickly.
Also, despite Sherlock’s beliefs, the murderer cannot also be the victim.
Though gameplay is relatively straightforward as described above, various strategies allow players to maximize their opportunities to make suggestions and therefore gain the advantage of accumulating information faster. As alluded to above, blocking the entrance to a room is one way to prevent an opponent from entering a desired room and making a suggestion.
Choice of suspect
The first opportunity is in choosing the initial playing piece. Mrs. Peacock has an immediate advantage of being one space closer to the first room than any of the other players. However, Miss Scarlet moves first. In addition, Professor Plum is able to move to the study, and then take the secret passage to the Kitchen, the hardest room to get to. Of course some people pick their suspect because they are dress in their favorite color.
Navigating the board
The next opportunity is choice of initial rooms to enter. Again Mrs. Peacock has an advantage in that she is closest to the Conservatory, a corner room with a secret passage, enabling a player on his turn to move immediately to another room and make a suggestion without rolling the dice. Miss Scarlet has a similar advantage with the Lounge. Making as many suggestions as possible gives a player an advantage to gain information. Therefore, moving into a new room as frequently as possible is one way to meet this goal. Players should make good use of the secret passages. Following the shortest path between rooms then is a good choice, even if a player already holds the card representing that room in his hand. As mentioned earlier, blocking passage of another player prevents them from attaining rooms from which to make suggestions. Various single space tracks on the board can therefore become traps, which are best avoided by a player when planning a path from room to room.
Each player begins the game with a minimum of 3 cards in their hands and a maximum of 6. Keeping track of which cards are shown to each player is important in deducing the solution. Detective Notes are supplied with the game to help make this task easier. The pads can keep not only a history of which cards are in a players hand, but also which cards have been shown by another player. It can also be useful in deducing which cards the other players have shown one another. A player makes a suggestion to learn which cards may be eliminated from suspicion. However, in some cases it may be advantageous for a player to include one of his own cards in a suggestion. This technique can be used for both forcing a player to reveal a different card as well as misleading other players into believing a specific card is suspect. Therefore, moving into a room already held in a player’s hand may work to his advantage. Suggestions may also be used to thwart a player’s opponent. Since every suggestion results in a suspect token being re-located to the suggested room, a suggestion may be used to prevent another player from achieving their intended destination, preventing them from suggesting a particular room, especially if that player appears to be getting close to a solution.
Parker Brothers and Waddingtons each produced their own unique editions between 1949 and 1992. Hasbro purchased both companies in the early ’90s and continued to produce unique editions for each market until 2002/2003 when the current edition of Clue/Cluedo was first released. At this time, Hasbro produced a unified product across markets. The game was then localized with regional differences in spelling and naming conventions.
During Cluedo’s long history, eight unique Clue editions were published in North America (1949, ’56/60, ’60/63, ’72, ’86, ’92, ’96, & 2002). However, only three distinct editions of Cluedo were released in the UK – the longest of which lasted 47 years from its introduction in 1949 until its first successor in 1996. The eighth North America and fourth UK editions constitute the current shared game design. International versions occasionally developed their own unique designs for specific editions. However, most drew on the designs and art from either the US or UK editions, and in some cases mixing elements from both, while localizing others – specifically suspect portraits.
While the suspects’ appearance and interior design of Dr. Black’s/Mr. Boddy’s mansion changed with each edition, the weapons underwent relatively minor changes, the only major redesign occurring in the fourth 1972 US edition, which was adopted by the second 1996 UK edition and remains the standard configuration across all basic versions since. The artwork for the previous US editions tended to reflect the current popular style at the time they were released. The earlier UK editions were more artistically stylized themes. From 1972 on, the US editions presented lush box cover art depicting the six suspects in various candid poses within a room of the mansion. The UK would finally adopt this style only in its third release in 2000, prior to which Cluedo boxes depicted basic representations of the contents. Such lavish box art illustrations have become a hallmark of the game, since copied for the numerous licensed variants which pay homage to Clue.
- Cluedo: 50th Anniversary (1999), also released as Clue: 50th Anniversary, this standard edition came in a “deluxe” format with the option to play with an extra murder weapon, a bottle of poison. This edition was also issued in a miniaturized Cluedo European travel version. Drew Struzan provided artwork for the game, which was originally created for the US 1996 edition and additionally used for The Limited Gift Edition and the US Clue Card Game (he did not create the Rev. Green portrait used in the Cluedo editions).
- Clue “Nostalgia Edition” (2003, 2007) Hasbro began offering a retro Nostalgia edition of the game, essentially a re-issue of the 1963 design in a wooden box. In the UK it was released under the Cluedo brand, and was an official re-issue of the original 1949 Waddingtons’ design.
- Clue “Vintage Edition” (2005, 2009), also released as Cluedo “Vintage Edition”, Hasbro re-formatted the nostalgia edition into a “vintage” bookshelf collection along with a series of other popular boardgames. In the Cluedo version, they continued to use the 1963 design and adapted it for the UK market for the first time with localized characters and naming conventions.
- Clue Classic (2010),this game is the relaunched classic version under its new name Clue Classic or Clue: The Classic Edition.
Waddingtons, Parker Brothers and Hasbro have created many spin-off versions of the game. Spin-off games consist of alternative rule variations of the original game, which are not to be confused with themed “variants” which utilize the same rules and game configuration. In addition, commencing in 1985, the brand expanded to include feature films, television series, a musical, as well as numerous books.
In addition to revising the rules of gameplay, many of the games also introduced new characters, rooms and locations, weapons and/or alternative objectives.
- Clue VCR Mystery Game (1985) released as Cluedo: The Great Video Detective Game in the UK. It uses an hour-long VHS tape containing humorous scenes of the suspects interacting at Boddy Mansion shortly after Mr. Boddy’s death instead of a board. Players uncover details of several murders per game by matching clues given on cards to the action on the video. Only five weapons (candlestick, knife, revolver, rope, and poison) and five rooms (Dining Room, Kitchen, Hall, Conservatory, and Library) are featured but there are a total of ten suspects (the original six plus M. Brunette, Madam Rose, Sgt. Gray, and Miss Peach).
- Super Cluedo Challenge (1986) is an advanced version of the Cluedo rules, introducing three new characters (Captain Brown, Miss Peach and Mr. Slate-Grey) and three more weapons (the blunderbuss, poison and axe). The rules are greatly expanded, with each card having coloured and numbered squares in each corner, which are uncovered by special card holders. These allowed ‘clues’ to be given by uncovering a small segment of the card, showing only a colour/number. Rather than the remaining cards being dealt out at the start of the game, they had to be ‘discovered’ by reaching one of the many blue counters scattered on the board.
- Clue VCR II: Murder in Disguise (1987) Sequel to Clue VCR Mystery Game; more scenarios with the same 10 characters from the first VCR game. The rooms this time around are the Dining Room, Lounge, Hall, Billiard Room, and Hotel Room.
- Cluedo Master Detective (1988, released as Super Cluedo in France, Germany and UK) is an expanded version of the original game. In addition to the original characters, weapons and rooms, the game adds four characters (Madam Rose, Sgt. Grey, M. Brunette and Miss Peach—the same four new characters from the VCR games), two weapons (poison and horseshoe), and seven rooms (courtyard, gazebo, drawing room, carriage house, trophy room, studio and fountain) to the mansion. This version was also made into a video game.
- Clue Jr.: Case of the Missing Pet (1989) This game was a clue variant aimed for kids. The player played as one of the old six suspects, who are kids, and try to find out who took the missing pet and where they hid it.
- Travel Clue (1990) More than just a miniaturized version of the standard game as offered for the UK Cluedo editions, the first US travel edition is played somewhat differently. Instead of rolling dice, players simply choose a room to visit on their turn. Once there, they can see any cards in the room and question other players.
- Clue: The Great Museum Caper (1991) is rather different from the original. One player is a thief whose goal is to steal paintings while the other players attempt to apprehend the thief. The thief keeps track of his or her position secretly on paper and is thus not seen by the detectives, until the thief is spotted by a detective or the museum’s security system. Ideally, multiple rounds are played, with each player getting to be the thief once. The winner of the match is then the thief who stole the most paintings without getting caught.
- Cluedo Card Game (1992) is a shedding-type card game, where players attempt to match cards featuring the locations, weapons, and characters from the original game with a central pile of cards.
- Clue Little Detective (1992) Perhaps in one of the biggest departures from the standard game, the object of this game is to be the first to reach the front gate from the attic after hearing a scary noise.
- Junior Cluedo (1993) is the first Junior game for Cluedo. Instead of finding the murder, the players need to find the ghost of their ancestors and remember where they are.
- Travel Clue Jr. (1994) Like the regular Travel Clue game, it is not merely a miniaturized version of the Clue Jr. series, but a unique format with its own set of rules. Instead of rolling dice, a spinner is used, to move around the board for an opportunity to open a door and obtain a clue.
- Cluedo Super Sleuth (1995) is another advanced version of the Cluedo rules, though in a different manner. There is no set board to this game, instead the board is made up of twelve tiles which are laid out randomly as players enter new rooms, to create a 4×3 grid. The murder cards remain unchanged to the basic edition, but are not dealt to each player, instead there are ‘clue’ squares on the board marked by small plastic magnifying glasses, which players collect to get clues. In addition to the “clue” counters there are also item counters, which allow the player to pick a card from an item deck. These item cards allow such things as making more than one suggestion per turn, or moving an extra character. Extra characters in the game include a Black Dog, Inspector Grey and Hogarth the Butler. They can serve as help or hindrance and are controlled through the item and event cards. Event cards are drawn from a deck upon a certain roll of the die and can have varying impact on a game.
- Clue Jr.: The Case of the Hidden Toys (1998) is themed for children. Instead of solving a murder, the children search for clues for the whereabouts of some lost toys. The rules are significantly different from those for the regular board game. The characters, which look like the original game’s suspects as children, are named Mortimer Mustard, Georgie Green, Peter Plum, Wendy White, Polly Peacock and Samantha Scarlet.
- Cluedo: Passport to Murder (2000) was an update of Super Cluedo Challenge with the setting changed to an Orient Express style train in Istanbul station. There is very little change to the mechanics of the game (except each player can only play the six original characters), with mainly cosmetic changes and updates to the characters.
- Cluedo Card Game (2002) is a different card game from the previous game, this time the user has to deduct the Dr. Black’s killer, their escape vehicle and their destination.
- Cluedo SFX (2003) released as Clue FX in the US, (2004), and Super Cluedo Interactif in France, (2004) is another departure from the original rules. Each player plays as one of four new characters (Lord Grey, Lady Lavender, Miss Peach and Prince Azure), adding the first non-Caucasian character since the early Asian Miss Scarlet, none of whom are suspected in the crime. The murder is not of Dr. Black (Mr. Boddy) but of his attorney Miles Meadow-Brook. The usual suspects are in place, this time bolstered by two new people Mrs. Meadow-Brook and Rusty the Gardener. The game play is completely different though, with the introduction of the electronic section announcing moves and clues and no die rolling. Instead players move from location to location to track down each of the suspects to gain their clues, before finding Inspector Brown to make an accusation.
- Cluedo Junior: The Case of the Missing Cake (2003) is another children’s variation where the players have to find out who ate a piece of chocolate cake and with what drink.
- Cluedo Mysteries (2005), released in the US as Clue Mysteries (2006) This is another change of rules, and this time the game play is based heavily on another board game called “Mysteries of Old Peking”.
- Cluedo DVD Game (2005) This edition of the game has different rules based on DVD interaction. Instead of a murder, Dr. Black has had an item stolen and, in addition to guessing the criminal, location (room) and stolen object, the time of day when the crime took place also has to be discovered. In each turn players guess three of these four unknowns; and from time to time Inspector Brown and the butler, Ashe, show up via the DVD with helpful information.
- Clue Suspects (2007) A single-player logic puzzle version of the game. Players are given a set of clues and must deduce the location of the murder and the murderer.
- Cluedo: Discover the Secrets (2008) This game was created in an effort to update what Hasbro considered to be an old-fashioned game, however, the traditional version of the game will remain on sale as well. The game features new, up-to-date weapons, rooms, and suspects as well as changes to the rules of gameplay (see below).
- Clue: Secrets In Paris (2009) This variant of the game features the same weapons (and rules) as Discover the Secrets (see above). However, the location has been changed to Paris, and the suspects are now youthful, teenage versions of their adult counterparts, on a class field trip, who must discover which of their classmates has stolen a piece of art from the Louvre.
- Clue: The Classic Mystery Game (2012) The first standard English language Cluedo game to feature a bedroom and bathroom (as well as an upstairs), it marks a return to the classic formula of 6 traditional weapons, and classic locations, albeit with a younger cast of characters. However, most notably absent are the clock cards introduced with Discover the Secrets in 2008, which could result in the eventual elimination of a player during the game. The game also features 2 player rules, which is also a first in the standard edition US game.
Computer and Video games
Various versions of the game were developed for Commodore 64, Atari ST, PC, Game Boy Advance, ZX Spectrum, Nintendo DS, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, CD-i, Sega Genesis, PC, Mac, Xbox 360 and Apple iPhone / iPod Touch. Clue: Murder at Boddy Mansion, was released in 1998 for Microsoft Windows. In 1999 Cluedo/Clue Chronicles: Fatal Illusion was released, which was not based directly upon the board game, but instead uses the familiar characters in a new mystery.
An arcade version of the game was released on an itbox terminal which involves answering questions with a chance to win money. It is available in many pubs throughout the UK.
In 1994–1996, there were 6 mysteries: “The Hooded Madonna,” “Happy Ever After”, “Deadly Patent”, “Blackmail”, “The Road to Damascus”, and “Not in my Backyard”, with actors.
Clue Classic was released on June 3, 2008 developed by Games Cafe for Hasbro. It is a single player interactive game based on the latest 2002/2003 boardgame artwork featuring the original 6 characters, weapons and 9 original rooms.
In May 2009 Electronic Arts released a version of Clue for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch on the Apple iTunes Music Store. This version is an entirely new game, based on the most recent spin-off game of Clue: Discover the Secrets. Additionally, EA’s games site Pogo has a hidden-object game called “Cluedo: Secrets and Spies” (or “Clue” depending on market), where each game is a 60-minute “episode” (the object being to complete the game overall within this time limit). “Episodes” are usually grouped into “series” of two or more.
On the iWin website, there is a Hidden Object Game called “Clue: Accusations & Alibis.”
A comedic film Clue, based on the American version of the game, was released in 1985. In this version, the person murdered was Mr. Boddy. The film, which featured different endings released to different theatres, failed at the box office, but has subsequently attracted a cult following. All three endings released to theatres are available on the VHS and DVD versions of the film, to watch one after the other (VHS), or to select playing one or all three endings (DVD).
In 2008, Universal Pictures reported that Hasbro, the makers of Cluedo, had licensed several of its board games to the film company for feature film adaptations; among these was Clue. Gore Verbinski was announced as director.
There have been several television game shows based upon this game. To date, there have been four seasons of the British version of Cluedo (and a Christmas version that in fact shows some similarity to the North American movie), and there have been other versions in Germany, France, Italy, Australia, Portugal and Scandinavia. The format for each puts two teams (each usually containing one celebrity and one person with law enforcement/research experience) against six in-character actors as the famed colour-coded suspects. There is a new murder victim every episode, who usually has it coming to them for one reason or another.
On August 6, 2010, The Hub announced that an original five-part miniseries based on Clue was in pre-production. The miniseries premiered on November 14, 2011 and featured a youthful, ensemble cast loosely based on the characters of the board game, working together to unravel a mystery.
The Clue title and theme were used in the 1986 US documentary Clue: Movies, Murders and Mystery which took a look at mystery-related pieces of media including Murder on the Orient Express; Murder, She Wrote; Sherlock Holmes and other television series and movies, as well as a look at the board game itself. The one-hour special was hosted by Martin Mull, who had starred in the feature film adaptation the previous year; clips from the movie are seen intertwined with the footage.
A comedic musical of Clue, based on the American version of the game, ran Off Broadway in 1997, closing in 1999. At the start of each performance, three audience members each select one card from over-sized versions of the traditional game decks and place them in an envelope. The chosen cards determine the ending of the show, with 216 possible conclusions.
Penned by Robert Duncan with the cooperation of Waddingtons, the first official theatrical adaptation of Cluedo was presented by the amateur theatre group: The Thame Players in Oxfordshire in July 1985. The play was subsequently picked up by Hiss & Boo productions and began a successful tour of the UK. A second tour was undertaken in 1990. Like the musical, the play involved the audience’s random selection of three solution cards which were revealed towards the end of the play, whereupon the actors would then conclude the play by performing one of the 216 endings possible. Presently the play is not available for performance due to a restriction by Hasbro, since Hasbro has been planning to make a new movie. It is unclear whether the restriction applies to the musical as well.
A series of 18 humorous children’s books/teen books were published in the United States by Scholastic Press between 1992 and 1997 based on the Clue concept and created by A.E. Parker. The books featured the US Clue characters in short, comedic vignettes and asked the reader to follow along and solve a crime at the end of each. The answers are printed Upside down with an explanation on the following page following each chapter to see if the reader was able to guess correctly or not. The crime would usually be the murder of another guest besides Mr. Boddy, a robbery of some sort, or a simple contest, in which case they must figure out who won. The tenth and final vignette would always be the murder of Mr. Boddy. Somehow, Mr. Boddy would always manage to cheat death, such as fainting before the shot was fired or being shot with trick bullets. However, at the end of the 18th book, Mrs. Peacock kills Mr. Boddy out of starvation and Mr. Boddy stays dead. The books feature mysterious-sounding titles such as “Midnight phone calls” “Footprints in the fog” or “The secret, secret passage”.
These books are now out of print but can still be bought from various online retailers in both new and used conditions.
In 2003, Canadian mystery writer Vicki Cameron wrote a new set of mini-mysteries, called the Clue Mysteries books. The series is geared toward a more adult audience while still retaining some comic absurdity as did the 1990s series. Only two were published. Both books feature more complex storylines and vocabulary, as well as fifteen mysteries apiece. The first book contains the more modern looking clue game cover by Drew Struzan.
Another book called “CLUE Code-Breaking Puzzles” was released in December 2008 written by Helene Hovanec. The book contains a whopping 60 mysteries.
A similar series of books featuring the Clue Jr. characters was also published. The first book, unlike the others, features thirteen mysteries, not ten, and is titled simply enough Who Killed Mr Boddy?. The name of the book is usually the name of the tenth mystery in which Boddy is killed.
The books notably depart from the film. Mr Boddy is a trillionaire, and the guests are his friends. But since Boddy has his will made out to his friends, they each try to kill him at one point with the intent on cashing in on his will. The guests are all given some sort of defining characteristic for comic effect, as well as to help the reader discern the culprit. Colonel Mustard constantly challenges other guests to duels, Professor Plum often forgets things, even what he is doing or his own name, and Mr. Green is notoriously greedy. Mrs. Peacock is highly proper and will not stand for any lack of manners, the maid Mrs. White hates her employer and all the guests, and Miss Scarlet is beautiful and seductive. The traits all help the reader identify the guests. For example, if a mystery thief suddenly forgets what he is doing, and another guest scolds him for his bad manners, the reader can safely assume the two guests are Plum and Peacock. Mr. Boddy himself is ludicrously naive, to the point where he accepts any attempt to kill him as an accident or a misunderstanding (such as a dropped wrench flying all the way across the Mansion and hitting him in the head), and invites the guests back to the mansion. This explains why he never seeks any legal action against his “friends,” and invited them back despite repeated attempts to kill him. However, after a few books, he wises up enough to be suspicious of them, but continues to invite them over against better judgment.
The Clue Jr. series originally had all six characters, but suddenly, some of the characters were taken out, leaving only four. The mysteries usually only included cases similar to the theft of a toy, but sometimes the cases were more serious. They are usually solved when the culprit traps himself in his own lies.
A series of jigsaw puzzles (500 piece Clue/750 piece Cluedo/200 Jr. ed.), based on the game was introduced in 1991. The jigsaw puzzles presented detailed stories with a biography for each of the standard suspects. The object was to assemble the jigsaw puzzles and then deduce the solutions presented in the mystery stories from the clues provided within the completed pictures.
The following games are licensed thematic variations of the original Cluedo game, which follow the basic rules and configuration of the original edition or its spinoffs.
- Clue The Collector’s Edition (1996) After the success of the first “collector’s tin anniversary edition” of Monopoly (for the 50th anniversary), a “luxury” edition of the game was produced by the Franklin Mint, the first edition to be published outside Parker Brothers. It is a three-dimensional representation of the gameboard encased in glass and wood with 24K gold-plated playing pieces and gameboard accents. Drew Struzan provided Victorian-themed artwork for the game. It was also sold as Cluedo, however it used the North American localizations. Though only sold for a brief time, the edition was re-issued in 2007 by Restoration Hardware as the Premiere edition, however it is a smaller, scaled-down version with gold-coloured plastic pieces and accents which sold for significantly less.
- Clue: Limited Gift Edition (1997), this edition from Winning Moves, came in a deluxe format with the option to play with an extra murder weapon, a Poison Chalice. It also utilized the 1996 US edition artwork by Drew Struzan.
- Alfred Hitchcock Edition Clue (1999) is set on the sound stage where a number of Alfred Hitchcock’s films are being shot.
- The Simpsons Clue (2000), also released as The Simpsons Cluedo, has players trying to find out who killed Mr. Burns and where in Springfield it happened. The first edition features Homer as Mr. Green (Reverend Green in the UK), Bart as Prof. Plum, Lisa as Miss Scarlet, Marge as Mrs. Peacock, Krusty as Col. Mustard, and Mr. Smithers as Mrs. White. Early promotional material had Maggie as Mrs. White and Grandpa as Col. Mustard. Later editions were published exclusively by Hasbro. The third edition (2007) has players determine who killed Mr. Burns in the Springfield Museum and reassigns the characters with Homer as Prof. Plum, Bart as Col. Mustard, Fat Tony as Mr. Green (Reverend Green in the UK), Lisa as Mrs. Peacock, Edna Krabappel as Miss Scarlet, and Marge as Mrs. White.
- Clue Dungeons & Dragons (2001) was produced by Hasbro shortly after their purchase of Wizards of the Coast, owners of the Dungeons & Dragons license. The characters are D&D character types (such as Monk, Rogue, Wizard, etc.). The rooms depicted on the board are fantasy-themed (Dungeon, Dragon’s Lair, Lost Crypt, etc.), and the weapons also draw inspiration from the popular role-playing game (Mace of Disruption, Flaming Axe, etc.). Game play is identical to standard Clue unless the optional Wandering Monsters deck is used. Using this deck, players must battle monsters when landing on special spaces on the board. The players must battle monsters via dice rolls and are rewarded with magic items that confer special powers.
- Clue – The Haunted Mansion (2002) This Disney Theme Park Edition is based on the Haunted Mansion at Disney theme parks. One of the six guests in the house (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, and Pluto) was scared by one of the six ghosts (The Traveller, The Skeleton, The Prisoner, Emily the Bleeding Bride, The Opera Singer, and the Mariner) in one of the nine rooms (Foyer, Portrait Gallery, Library, Conservatory, Seance Room, Ballroom, Attic, Graveyard, and Crypt.) The detail on the board draws from the scenes depicted in the Haunted Mansion attraction and contains Hidden Mickeys.
- Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! Clue (2002) features Fred as Mr. Green, Shaggy as Prof. Plum, Scooby as Col. Mustard, Velma as Mrs. Peacock, Daphne as Miss Scarlet, and Mrs. White as their host. This edition takes place in a run-down version of the mansion with a cemetery.
- Clue: First Edition 1949 Classic Reproduction. (2003) Winning Moves released a re-issue reproduction of the original 1949 US Clue edition. Accurate in every way, notable features include wooden pawns and the original string rope, as well as a pewter version of the traditional plastic rope.
- Dunhill Cluedo (2003) Following in the vein of “luxury” editions of family boardgames, Dunhill released a custom edition of Cluedo designed by British game maker Geoffrey Parker. The game consisted of a hand-inlaid leather clad box, with Sterling silver playing pieces. The design won a British Interior Design Association award in 2008.
- Clue – The Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror (2007) This Disney Theme Park Edition is based on The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park. Players try to discover who disappeared, where, and with which prop. The details, of the characters, props, and rooms draw from the scenes depicted in the Tower of Terror attraction. This version also contains Hidden Mickeys much like the Haunted Mansion version.
- Clue: Harry Potter Edition (2008), also released as Cluedo: Harry Potter Edition, involves a student disappearing from the school. Players use the characters Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Luna or Neville to find how, when and what spell was used to attack the student. This variant, while loosely based on the reinvention makeover, is a major departure from traditional gameplay and constitutes a spin-off in its own right, as it includes along with the standard complement of equipment, Help cards, Dark cards, Mystery cards, house point tokens (the loss of which can eliminate a player from a game), and a variable configuration game board which changes during the course of play.
- Clue: 24 Edition (2009) has players attempt to find out which character is about to launch one of nine attacks (weapons) from within CTU.
- Clue: The Office Edition (2009) Players at the Dunder Mifflin office are instructed by their boss Michael Scott to find out who “killed” HR rep Toby Flenderson.
- Clue: Seinfeld Collector’s Edition (2009) has players attempt to determine who bonked Newman on the head and hid his scandalous tabloid exposing the suspects’ secrets.
- Clue: Juicy Couture (2009) was produced as part of USAopoly custom corporate games service for US clothing designer Juicy Couture. Players take on the role of one of six characters as they attempt to determine who stole what couture item in the fashion line was stolen, who took it, and where the item is hidden before the fashion show begins the next day.
- Clue: The Classic Edition. (2010) Another standard edition produced by Winning Moves, combines design elements from its Limited Gift Edition and its 1949 re-issue edition, to produce a new traditional edition of the game using the original 6 suspects, weapons and 9 rooms – the first of its kind released since the introduction of the Discover The Secrets spin-off game in 2008.
- Clue: Family Guy Collector’s Edition (2010) has players attempt to determine who killed the Giant Chicken.
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: Mystery at Hogwarts Game.(2000) This variant of Cluedo has the players trying to find out which student cast which forbidden spell in which room in Hogwarts School. One of the small rules changes is that players must go to an extra room to make their final accusations. The suspects are Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Draco Malfoy, Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle.
- Mystery Museum: The Biblical Artifacts Detective Game (2000). A version of Cluedo but with Evangelical Christian elements to it. In the game, six people of different professions visit a Bible-history museum and steal one of the artifacts. It must be determined who is the thief, which artifact they stole, and where they hid it. Throughout the game, players learn about the Bible.
- Whodunit (1972) A similar game in which 6 players move around the board as investigators, obtaining opportunities to view other player’s “alibi” tokens and collecting other “clues” to the identify of the murderer, weapon used, room in which committed, and a new category: motive. Whodunit draws on a similar setting and character types, including a colonel and maid, but in which the suspects are not the players.
Cluedo: Discover the Secrets
On August 8, 2008, Hasbro redesigned and updated the board, characters, weapons, and rooms. Changes to the rules of game play were made, some to accommodate the new features.
The suspects have new given names and backgrounds, as well as differing abilities that may be used during the game. The revolver is now a pistol, the lead pipe has been removed, and a bat, axe, and trophy have been added. The nine rooms have changed to (in clockwise order): Hall, Guest House, Dining Room, Kitchen, Patio, Spa, Theater, Living Room, and Observatory.
There is also a second deck of cards—the Intrigue cards. In this deck, there are two types of cards, Keepers and Clocks. Keepers are special abilities; for example, “You can see the card”. There are eight clocks—the first seven drawn do nothing—whoever draws the eighth is killed by the murderer and out of the game.
The player must move to the indoor swimming pool in the center of the board to make an accusation. This adds some challenge versus the ability to make accusations from anywhere in the original game.
The most significant change to game play is that once the suspect cards have been taken, the remaining cards are dealt so that all players have an even number of cards (rather than dealt out so that “one player may have a slight advantage”). This means that depending on the number of players a number of cards are left over. These cards are placed face down in the middle and are not seen unless a player takes a turn in the pool room to look at them.
The changes to the game have been criticized in the media for unnecessarily altering classic cultural icons. The game ‘has also been criticized by lovers of the original game.
Besides some rule differences listed above, some versions label differently the names of characters, weapons, rooms and in some instances the actual game itself.
In Canada and the U.S., the game is known as Clue. It was retitled because the traditional British board game Ludo, on which the name is based, was less well known there than its American variant Parcheesi.
The North American versions of Clue also replace the character “Reverend Green” from the original Cluedo with “Mr. Green.” This is the only region to continue to make such a change. Minor changes include “Miss Scarlett” with her name being spelt with one ‘t’, the spanner being called a wrench, and the dagger renamed a knife. And until 2003, the lead piping was known as the lead pipe only in the North American edition.
In some international versions of the game (mostly the Spanish-language ones) the colours of some pieces are different, so as to correspond with the changes to each suspect’s unique foreign name variations. In some cases, rooms and weapons are changed in addition to other regional variances.
In South America it is licensed and sold under several different names. In particular, it is notably marketed as “Detetive” in Brazil.
The Clue and Cluedo brands are well-merchandised through umbrellas, books, toys, clothing and other miscellaneous items
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