Thoughts on… Cluedo

And now i’d like to take a brief moment, if I may, to talk to you about Cluedo. If you don’t know – and you really should – Cluedo is a board game popular among families at Christmas 20 years ago. But for now i’m going to assume you know what Cluedo is (if you don’t then skip this page and go buy Cluedo!).

Because the thing i’ve noticed about Cluedo is this: they’ve got a ball room, conservatory, billiard room, library, study, hall, lounge, dining room and kitchen. But what I want to know is this… Where’s the bedroom? And the toilets? What were they thinking when they built this mansion? “Oh I say dear, should we build a bedroom?” “No no, let’s have a library instead.” “Forget the bathroom, let’s have a billiard room. Instead of washing we can play billiards.”. Surely if you’re building a house then a bathroom and bedroom would be the very minimum you would expect. That’s the one piece of advice you should take from Cluedo; if you’re invited to a posh party at a mansion, check first if it has a bathroom and a bedroom.

Next is weapons. But less weapons and more ‘random objects’. One time we were playing, and it turned out to be Professor Plum in the kitchen with the candlesticks. And I thought ‘who keeps candlesticks in a kitchen?’. Surely if he’s going to murder someone in the kitchen he’d use the knife. I mean he’s a smart guy, he’s a professor, so what, did he just happen to have a candlestick on him? “I say, come into the kitchen so I can show you my candlestick collection… WHACK!” Sometimes I like to try and sneak objects into the game while nobody is looking. Add a toothpick and laugh as it turns out to be Miss Scarlett with the javelin.

And that’s another thing, the whole point of the game is to try and find out who killed him, where and with what. But to be honest, two out of three should be blindingly obvious. Where? Wherever you found him! If he’s lying in the living room then it’s a fair assumption he wasn’t killed in the billiard room the other side of the mansion. And the weapon should be obvious too. If you found him with a bullet wound in the chest, it’s unlikely he was killed with the rope or candlestick. Unless that was part of a previous injury, but how many people do you know who after getting shot like to go to a party at a mansion? Very few I suspect. So really, the detective doesn’t need to be a genius to work most of this out. “He was found hanging from the neck in the conservatory, so my conclusion is he was stabbed to death in the kitchen.” Although, the killer might have shot him and then whacked him with a candlestick and then hung him with the rope and stabbed him with the knife. But then surely that means he was killed with more than one weapon.

And the final point I would like to make about Cluedo is the naming system. All the characters are named after a colour, such as Miss Scarlett, Mrs White, Reverend Green and so on. Which is all very well having a guest list that resembles a Homebase swatch book, but what about colourblind people? I remember playing it with a colourblind person once and he didn’t have a clue what was going on. He kept moving everybody else’s pieces and in the end was so confused he confessed to the murder himself. Personally I think they should update it and do one with pop stars. because think about it, pop stars are named after colours too. You could have Professor Green, James Brown, Barry White… Pink!… Black Sabbath… Simply Red. And instead of in a mansion it’s at a concert. They’re all doing a big benefit concert and someone’s killed a roadie. Mind you, that’d be some benefit concert. Imagine Pink sharing a stage with Black Sabbath and Barry White.

But my favourite bit about playing Cluedo is when you have to make a guess. Because I like to question the rules and say things like “Maybe he committed suicide” or “Maybe two people did it. I mean to kill someone then hide the evidence so well, must have been a two man job.”

… We don’t play Cluedo very often.

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