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A Classic: Solving Murders For 50 Years
on October 24, 2010
Clue is one of those transcendent games that's maintained it's viability for over 50 years. Why? It still feels fresh and is flat-out fun to play.
Here's a quick synopsis for the unfamiliar: There's been a murder at the mansion and you're a character in a race to figure out who did it, what weapon they used, and which room the murder occurred in. Be the first to get your accusation right and you win the game.
The suspect, weapon, and room combo changes every game through a brilliantly simple process involving cards and a CONFIDENTIAL case file envelope. It takes about 5 minutes to set up and usually between 20 - 40 minutes to play. Clue can be played with as few as 2 people, but 3 - 6 is ideal as it adds layers to uncovering clues (without increasing the complexity). The game states it's appropriate for ages 8 and up, and my 8-year-old understands the concepts well enough to have lots of fun and often be competitive (if I leave my cut-throat self at the door). The learning curve for this game is really quick, especially if you have a seasoned player helping explain the rules. If not, don't worry. You'll be solving murders in no time.
The "Classic Edition" bills itself as having the "Original Suspects, Rooms, & Weapons". (There have been a few updated editions released that included extra weapons and rooms.) If you grew up on Clue or are familiar with editions released prior to 1990, this will very likely be the format you're familiar with. The character pawns are stained wood and all weapons are metallic. The only difference I detected from my 1980s edition was the artwork on the cards. It looks as though the manufacturer resurrected the original 1949 artwork as well, giving the game a very classic, whodunit-y feel. All in all, the stellar gameplay remains the same.
In addition to rating fun and durability at 5-stars, I gave Clue's educational value a 4-star rating. Why? This game effortlessly teaches logic and deductive reasoning. It may seem funny to be wholeheartedly recommending a game that centers around a murder as a wholesome family-friendly activity, but oddly enough, it is. The "murder" aspect of the game is very downplayed, almost an afterthought. The entire fun and point of the game comes from the discoveries of the "who", the "where", and the "what" details.
If you're looking for a fun board game to add to the collection, or relive some fond game-playing memories, I can't recommend Clue highly enough. And take it from me: Clue is best played on a dark and stormy night...