How To Play Clue (Cluedo) Plus Tips On Winning

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Clue, the quintessential mystery game. Whether you are going on a nostalgia trip or playing it for the first time, this game doesn’t disappoint.

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What’s The Goal?

In Clue players are invitees to a mansion, presumably some sort of swanky party. Your host, one Mr. John Boddy, is found dead in his mansion.

Naturally, this group decides to play detective instead of calling police. Your goal is to figure out who killed Mr. Boddy, with what weapon, and where.

There are only so 6 people at the party, 6 weapons which could have been used, and 9 rooms. So a little deductive reasoning can be used to figure out who killed the host.

Setting Up Clue

Setup for Clue is pretty simple. Game setup is broken down into 5 steps:

  1. Choose A Character

    Take whatever character is physically the closest to you on the board. So if you sit near Mr. Green, for instance, grab him. The rule book also says to place unused characters on the board, this is mostly so they’re not forgotten about during the investigation.

  2. Place The Weapon Tokens

    Place the 6 weapons in the rooms. 1 weapon per room. There’s only 6 weapons so there will be 3 empty rooms.

  3. Shuffle The Cards

    Sort the weapons, people, and rooms piles separately shuffle them, and place them face down on the table.

  4. Pick The Murder Scenario

    Take the top card of each stack and put them in the “Confidential” envelope without looking at them. So there should be 1 person, with 1 weapon, and 1 room in the envelope. This is the information on who killed Mr. Boddy.

    Place the envelope in the center of the board.

  5. Combine The Decks

    Shuffle the weapons, people, and rooms piles together and deal them all around the table as evenly as possible.

  6. Give A Notecard To Each Person

    Take a notecard and mark off the cards in your hand since they’re obviously not involved in the crime.

  7. Start The Game

    Whoever is Mrs. Scarlet goes first and then it goes clockwise around the table. Each person takes turns rolling the dice, moving to rooms, and making suggestions as to what the murder scenario is.

Image Credit: “Cluedo” by somersetman

So that’s a pretty simple setup for Clue. It’s definitely easier than most modern board games and should only take a couple of minutes to get ready.

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How To Play Clue

Now we’re getting into the meat of the game. Clue isn’t a very complex game. Just like the setup, figuring out how to play should take all of 3 minutes.

Let’s start with movement, here is how characters can move:

  • Move your character by rolling the dice or going through a secret passage in one of the corner rooms.
  • Move your character the amount of spaces that you roll on the dice without hitting the same space twice or stepping on a space with another character on it.
  • Going through secret passages doesn’t require a dice roll, just move your character to the room on the other side of the passage.
  • People can block doorways, so you’ll have to wait if your in a room where the exits are blocked.

So movement is pretty simple. That isn’t really the core gameplay mechanic though. Guessing the murderer, weapon, and room is really the fun part. Luckily, it’s equally as easy as the rest of the game.

In order to get clues on who killed Mr. Boddy, here’s what you do:

  • When you enter a room, make a suggestion. A suggestion is just a guess at the murder weapon, suspect, and room.
  • The room your in has to be a part of the suggestion. The character and weapon are also moved into the room when the suggestion is made.
  • Other players must offer a clue if they have information that proves the suggestion false. For instance, if you guess the knife as a murder weapon and someone has it in their hand, they show you it.
  • Only 1 clue has to be shown in order to prove a suggestion false, go in clockwise order to determine who proves it false. Only the player making the suggestion gets to see the clue.

Again, pretty simple stuff. If your suggestion isn’t proven false, you might have figured out the scenario and can decide to make an accusation.

In order to make an accusation, you announce what cards you think are in the envelope. You look at the cards in the envelope without anyone else seeing and either you win the game or you’re mistaken and you essentially lose.

If your suggestion is wrong you return the cards to the envelope and you’re essentially eliminated from the game. You still have to sit ready to prove other people’s suggestions wrong which is kind of worse than being thrown out completely.

This is the worst part of the game, since it can get kind of boring after being eliminated. This is just more motivation to make sure you are confident before making an accusation.

Tips & Tricks For Clue

Playing Clue is pretty simple, winning at Clue is slightly more complex. Still, we’re not playing a very heavy game here. So the strategies for this game are pretty basic but it’s worth knowing them to get an edge on your opponents.

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1: Go Into Every Room

Since suggestions are your main source of information and you can only make a suggestion when you enter a room, your best bet in this game is to enter as many rooms as possible. So there are a few things that you can do to increase the amount of suggestions your able to throw out:

  • Make a suggestion every time you enter a room
  • Use secret passages whenever possible, this gives you 2 suggestions in a row without having to roll dice.
  • Make a suggestion whenever your character is dragged into a new room due to a suggestion from someone else.

If you do those things, you should have quite a few chances to suggest scenarios before your opponents start honing in on the murderer.

2: Make Sneaky Suggestions

So this strategy is actually one of my favorites in the game. Making smart suggestions is a great way to get ahead but if you feel like your opponents are starting to get closer to the killer than you, throw out a suggestion with a card that you hold that no one else has seen. This will definitely throw people off the track.

On top of this, making sure you’re using your clue card as much as possible is important. Make sure you cross out every piece of information that you get. You can even dive a little deeper and start using advanced notation which is where the real strategy in this game starts to take place.

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3: Using Advanced Notation

What is advanced notation? Well, when someone else makes a suggestion and is shown a card you can use that to your advantage.

For instance, if a suggestion is made that Mr. Green had the wrench in the conservatory and a card is shown, you know that player must have one of those three cards. Marking your clue card with that information can lead you to figuring out which cards that player holds without ever seeing them.

This strategy is probably the hardest to nail down for this simple game but can make every bit of difference by the end of it.

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