Was it Colonel Mustard in the Conservatory with the candlestick? This is just one of the potential outcomes in the classic murder mystery game of Clue. Released in the United States by Parker Brothers in 1949, the game was also simultaneously launched in England by board games publisher, Waddingtons, under the name of “Cluedo” – a mashup of the word “clue” and ludo, Latin for “I play”. The UK tie-in is apropos because the basic parameters and patent for the game were formulated in the mid-1940s by Anthony Pratt, an English musician.
The object of the game is to correctly name the murderer, murder weapon, and murder location of the game’s victim, Mr. Boddy (Dr. Black in the UK version). Each player assumes the role of one of the six suspects (Miss Scarlet, the aforementioned Colonel Mustard, Mrs. White, Mr. Green, Mrs. Peacock, and Professor Plum.) The “colorful” names of each character are intentional, as each is also represented by a coloured game token.
At the start of the game, three to six players are each dealt cards that determine their character, weapon, and location. A single card of each type is also filed into a “confidential case file” envelope and placed in the middle of the board. The game board depicts a mansion consisting of nine rooms: Hall, Lounge, Dining Room, Kitchen, Ball Room (not the same kind you’d find at IKEA), Conservatory, Billiard Room, Library, and Study.
Last, but not least, there are weapons! Mr. Boddy can meet his untimely demise via knife, candlestick, revolver, rope, lead pipe, or wrench.
Each player attempts to solve the crime by strategically moving from room to room and jotting down clues from other players in one’s detective notebook. Eventually, through the process of elimination, a successful accusation is made and the player who discovers the truth declared the winner.
Since its initial release over 65 years ago, more than a dozen versions of Clue have been released. This does not include the various special editions tied to television shows and movies, travel editions, spin-offs, and VCR games. The popularity of the game shows no signs of waning, and current versions are marketed by Hasbro.
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