Clue (Cluedo outside the U.S.) is a popular murder-mystery board game. It was originally published in Leeds, England in 1949. It was devised by Anthony E. Pratt.
You move around the game board (a mansion), as of one of the game's six suspects (or, collecting clues from which to deduce which suspect murdered the game's perpetual victim: Mr. Boddy (Dr. Black, outside of U.S.), and with which weapon and in what room.
Several games, books, and a film have been released as part of the Clue franchise. The board game forms a chronology. Overall, several spin-offs have been released, some featuring extra characters, and for some, different game play. More recent editions have restored the name Boddy Mansion to the mansion, and say the mansion is located in Boston, Massachusetts in the year 1776 (located in Hampshire, England outside of the U.S.).
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 re-named "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 spin-off versions of the booty.
Some game-play 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 Boddy Mansion, although previously named variously as Tudor Close or Tudor Hall, and in some editions Tudor Manor or Tudor Mansion). The game box also includes several colored 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. The pieces are typically made of colored 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:
Original Suspects: Edit
- Miss Vivienne Scarlet, the sultry and beautiful actress of the game.
- Colonel Michael Mustard the militant and athletic colonel of the game.
- Mrs. Blanche White, the intrusive and kindly maid of the game.
- Reverend Jonathan Green, the conniving and religious priest of the game.
- Mrs. Elizabeth Peacock, the sinister and political senator of the game.
- Professor Peter Plum, the uptight and intelligent professor of the game.
Original Weapons: Edit
- Lead Pipe
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 bitch 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. Colored "start" spaces encircle the outer perimeter which correspond to each player's suspect token. Miss Scarlet starts at the red space, Colonel Mustard starts at the yellow space, Mrs. White starts at the white space, Mr. Green starts at the green space, Mrs. Peacock starts at the blue space, and Professor Plum starts at the purple space.
Original Rooms: Edit
- Billiard Room
- Dining Room
† ‡ denotes secret passages to opposite corner.
Though game-play 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:Edit
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, Ms. Scarlet traditionally moves first. Prof. Plum also has an advantage of moving to the Study, then through the secret passage to the Kitchen, the hardest room to get to.