What is Clue?

Mary McMahon

Clue is a mystery board game designed for a group of players who individually attempt to solve a murder. Outside the United States, this game is known as Cluedo. Many game stores carry Clue, and the game has become part of popular culture in some regions of the world, thanks to the fact that it is so well known.

Players of Clue attempt to solve a murder.
Players of Clue attempt to solve a murder.

Clue was introduced to the world in 1949 by Waddingtons, a British game producer; the game was invented by Anthony Pratt. Waddingtons licensed the game to Parker Brothers for sale in the United States, and both companies were later absorbed by Hasbro, which continues to sell Clue along with its numerous spinoffs, which include themed versions of the game, films, books, and computerized versions.

The premise in Clue is fairly simple. The players are informed that they are guests at a mansion, but the owner of the mansion has been killed. They must figure out who killed the owner of the mansion, where he was killed, and which weapon is used. Each guest is considered a suspect, adding to the tensions of the game, and the players roll dice to move pawns representing their characters around on a board which represents the mansion in an attempt to solve the murder.

In addition to the board and player pieces, Clue also includes a set of miniature weapons which represent the weapons which could have been used in the crime. Clue also comes with three sets of cards representing suspects, rooms, and weapons. At the beginning of the game, a card is pulled from each stack and placed in a secret envelope, while the rest of the cards are dealt to the players, who must figure out which cards are in the envelope by using logical deduction.

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Players can make suggestions or accusations. In a suggestion, a player attempts to get more information about the cards in the envelope by moving into a room and suggesting that the crime was committed in that room with a weapon of choice. If another player has a card which disproves the suggestion, he or she will privately show the card to the player who made the suggestion; only one disproving card need be shown, so if multiple cards disprove the suggestion, the player only gets to see one.

In an accusation, a player thinks that he or she has solved the crime. An accusation can be made anywhere on the board, including between rooms. After making the accusation, the player opens the secret envelope; if he or she is right, the game ends. If not, the game continues, and the player is considered to be out of the game, except that he or she must show cards which disprove suggestions. The process continues until someone makes an accurate accusation.

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