Clue (Cluedo outside the U.S.) is a popular murder-mystery board game. It was originally published in Leeds, England in 1949. It was devised by Anthony E. Pratt.
You move around the game board (a mansion), as of one of the game's six suspects, collecting clues from which to deduce which suspect murdered the game's perpetual victim: Mr. Boddy (Dr. Black, outside of U.S.), and with which weapon and in what room.
Several games, books, and a film have been released as part of the Clue franchise. The board game forms a chronology. Overall, several spin-offs have been released, some featuring extra characters, and for some, different gameplay. More recent editions have restored the name Boddy Mansion to the mansion, and say the mansion is located in Boston, Massachusetts in the year 1776 (located in Hampshire, England outside of the U.S.).
In 1944, Anthony E. Pratt, an English Musician, filed for a patent of his invention of a murder/mystery-themed game, originally named "Murder!" The game was originally invented as a new game to play during sometimes lengthy air raid drills in underground bunkers. Shortly thereafter, Pratt and his wife presented the game to Waddingtons' executive, Norman Watson, who immediately purchased the game and provided its trademark name of "Cluedo" (a play on "clue" and "Ludo", which is Latin for "I play"). Though the patent was granted in 1947, due to post-war shortages, the game was not officially launched until 1949, at which time the game was simultaneously licensed to Parker Brothers in the United States for publication, where it was re-named "Clue" along with other minor changes.
However, there were several differences between the original game concept and that initially published in 1949, In particular, Pratt's original design calls for ten characters, one of whom was to be designated the victim by random drawing prior to the start of the game. These ten suspects included the eliminated Mr. Brown, Mr. Gold, Miss Grey, Mrs. Silver, Nurse White, and Colonel Yellow. The game allowed for you to play of up to eight remaining characters, providing for nine suspects in total. Originally there were eleven rooms, including the eliminated gun room and cellar. In addition, there were nine weapons including the axe, the bomb, the syringe, the poison, the walking stick, and the fireplace poker. Some of these unused weapons and characters would appear in later spin-off versions of the booty.
Some game-play aspects were different as well. Notably, the remaining playing cards were distributed into the rooms to be retrieved, rather than dealt directly to the players. Players also had to land on another player in order to make suggestions about that player's character through the use of special counter-tokens, and once exhausted, a player could no longer make suggestions. There were other minor differences, all of which would be updated by the game's initial release and remain essentially unchanged in the standard classic editions of the game.
The game's current equipment consists of a board which shows the rooms, corridors and secret passages of an English country house called Boddy Mansion, although previously named variously as Tudor Close or Tudor Hall, and in some editions Tudor Manor or Tudor Mansion). The game box also includes several colored playing pieces to represent characters, miniature murder weapon props, one or two six-sided dice, three sets of cards, each set describing the aforementioned rooms, characters and weapons, Solution Cards envelope to contain one card from each set of cards, and a Detective's Notes pad on which are printed lists of rooms, weapons and characters, so players can keep detailed notes during the game. The pieces are typically made of colored plastic, shaped like chess pawns, or character figurines. Occasionally they are made from wood or pewter. The standard edition of Cluedo comes with six basic tokens representing the following original characters:
- Rev. Green, the conniving and religious priest of the game.
- Colonel Mustard, the militant and athletic colonel of the game.
- Mrs. Peacock, the sinister and political senator of the game.
- Professor Plum, the uptight and intelligent professor of the game.
- Miss Scarlett, the sultry and beautiful actress
- Mrs. White