How to Play Clue
How to Play Clue
The classic board game Clue was invented in 1944 by an Englishman. Then called “Murder!” the game was designed to be played during air raids, hours-long periods where many English families waited for long boring hours in bomb shelters with nothing to do. Eventually, the game would be published as “Cluedo” and finally simply “Clue.” The game appeared in America in 1949.
Clue is a detective game, where players are presented with clues to try to figure out who “the murderer” is. Played on a board that is a layout of a mansion, containing rooms with clues and secret passageways, Clue is really just a guessing and logic game in which players role dice to walk around the mansion and inspect it for clues before finally making a judgement call about the murder itself.
To start the game, three cards (one suspect, one weapon, and one room) are chosen at random and put into a secret envelope so that no one can see them. These cards are “the facts” of the murder. The rest of the game cards are handed out equally to the other players.
Players roll the dice and move along the Clue board, entering rooms to make accusations of murderer, weapon, and room.
Since Clue has six characters, six potential murder weapons, and nine different rooms, there are 324 possible outcomes. Guessing isn’t the best course of action.
Players make accusations by saying “Professor Plum, in the Library, with the candlestick.” Other players then show their own evidence to disprove the accusation. Players show cards (or “evidence”) to the person who made the accusation to disprove it.
Setting up the Clue board is easy.
Shuffle the 21 game cards in their different groups. Randomly pick one card from each group. Put these cards into the envelope marked “Solution Cards” and place them in the cellar where there’s an “X.” Shuffle the rest of the cards and deal them out clockwise one at a time to each player.
Place the character pieces on the starting squares marked with their names. Place each “weapon” token randomly in the different rooms.
Most of the real strategy behind Clue involves tricking your opponents when it comes time to make accusations. A common trick is to guess three cards you’re holding in your own hand, to confuse the other players into thinking that you must have guessed something right. Altering your opponent’s perceptions of how the game is going by making them think you’ve made a correct guess is the best way to throw them off your lead.
A little known rule of Clue is that no character may enter a door if another character is in that space on the board. This is the best way to “block” an opponent from entering a room and winning the game.
What Is “Cluedo?”
The original name for Clue as it was marketed in England in the 40s was “Cluedo”, a play on the word “Clue” and the word “Ludo”, which is Latin for “I play.” Cluedo isn’t just a different name, though.
The game Cluedo includes many more characters, weapons, and even rooms in the mansion. That game was meant to be played by nine players over a period of a few hours. Since there were more characters and weapons, there were over 1,000 possible combinations so that each game was vastly different from the one before.
Other than that, the main differences between Cluedo and Clue as we know it today were aesthetic. Different names, different weapons, and a different name for the mansion that the game takes place in.