Clue – Old Game, Modern Fun

Cluedo game board
Clue / Cluedo has become much more than just a board game.
(cc) Eljay

Do you like riddles? Do you enjoy solving mysteries? Then Clue may well be one of your favorite games. And now there’s a whole new Clue—or Cluedo in the UK—to keep you guessing, based on the hit British television series, Sherlock.

Clue was first devised way back in 1944 as a way to pass the time while hiding out in underground bunkers during World War II. Perhaps that dismal setting accounts for the rather gruesome overtones of the game. One of the players is, after all, a violent murderer who has dispatched his or her victim by shooting, stabbing, bludgeoning, or strangling. And this is recommended for children as young as 8 years!

In the basic version of the game you move pieces around a board in the form of the floor plan of a mansion. In each room you locate clues leading to the identity of the murderer, enabling you to determine who committed the murder, using what weapon, in what room. It’s a game of simple logic, easily adapted to different settings.

Besides the new edition based on the Sherlock television series, there are versions set in the worlds of Harry Potter, The Simpsons, Alfred Hitchcock, Scooby-Doo, and Dungeons & Dragons. Ramp up the tension with The Twilight Zone version, or with the 24 edition set in the world of Jack Bauer’s Counter Terrorist Unit. Want to lighten the mood instead? Try including some comedy with The Office or Seinfeld versions.

Don’t have room to layout a board? Then you’ll want the playing card version. Have a lot of room? Try the Elimination version played with dart guns. Play the DVD edition to see clues on your television. Or try the PC and iPhone versions for greater interactivity. Have little kids and don’t want to expose them to murder and mayhem? Then the Junior editions may be right for them; it’s all about the theft of carnival prizes and missing pets.

Clue was also the basis for a stage play and an off-broadway musical, as well as jigsaw puzzels and books. It has even become the foundation for murder mystery dinner parties where players dress up as the characters in the game.

Not to be missed was the 1985 movie based on the game, starring Tim Curry and Eileen Brennan. Besides Curry’s madcap enthusiasm, what made the movie especially appealing—and confusing—was that it had three different endings, each equally plausible or implausible. Which one you saw depended on which theater you visited. (The Blu-ray version of the movie you can find with the link below includes all three endings.)

Few other games have enjoyed the endurance and versatility of Clue/Cluedo. One is Monopoly, but we’ll save that for another rainy day.

Watch “Clue: The Movie” starring Tim Curry and Eileen Brennan on Blu-ray