Tabletop Game / Clue
aka: Cluedo

I think Professor Plum Described Clue Here, in the office, with the laptop!

Created in 1949 in Britain, Cluedo (Clue in North America) is the iconic mystery board game. Dr. Black (Mr. Boddy in North America) has been murdered in his own mansion and the six people that were present are now considered suspects. Players take the role of any of the six suspects and receive cards containing illustrations of the suspects, the rooms or the weapons. One card of each category is placed in an envelope. To play, the suspects must enter a room in the mansion and make a suggestion such as, "It was Mrs. Peacock in the kitchen with the candlestick!" A different player can reveal a card that matches the suggestion to disprove it. To win the game, a player must make an accusation that matches all three cards contained in the envelope. If the accusation is wrong, the player must sit out for the rest of the game. Note that a player can accuse his own character if he believes himself to be the murderer. It doesn't make much sense if you think about it, though they could have had amnesia. Another way to look at it is they actually get away with the murder and escape.

The popularity of the game has caused it to be remade into a plethora of different locations and decades over the years. See Themed Stock Board Game. It was popular enough to have its own film, book series (each chapter therein involves Mr. Reginald Boddy and his color-coded guests participating in some activity or another, which would form the basis of a puzzle for the reader to solve, and the final story always involves Mr. Boddy's murder), video game adaptations, a game show, and a Teen Drama miniseries on The Hub. The film itself (starring Tim Curry) is considered a cult classic. There is even an unofficial inversion of the game, Kill Doctor Lucky. Most recently, a comic book adaptation was announced for June 2017 from Hasbro partner IDW Publishing (though like fellow game-based comic Dungeons & Dragons, it's not part of the Hasbro Comic Universe).

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     Book series titles 
  • 1. Who Killed Mr. Boddy?
  • 2. The Secret Secret Passage
  • 3. The Case of the Invisible Cat
  • 4. Mystery at the Masked Ball
  • 5. Midnight Phone Calls
  • 6. Booby Trapped!
  • 7. The Picture-Perfect Crime
  • 8. The Clue in the Shadows
  • 9. Mystery in the Moonlight
  • 10. The Screaming Skeleton
  • 11. Death by Candle-Light
  • 12. The Haunted Gargoyle
  • 13. Revenge of the Mummy
  • 14. The Dangerous Diamond
  • 15. The Vanishing Vampire
  • 16. Danger After Dark
  • 17. The Clue in the Crystal Ball
  • 18. Footprints in the Fog

Compare Ten Little Murder Victims, And Then There Were None.
     Board game tropes 

This board game contains examples of:

  • Absent-Minded Professor: Professor Plum, in most versions.
  • An Axe to Grind: Several versions feature an axe as a weapon.
  • Apron Matron: Mrs. White.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The sequel for the VCR game, starting in pointing to the title screen to know their location.
  • Cool Gun: The original guns in the British edition(s), a Dreyse M1907 and a gold Walther PP.
  • Colorful Theme Naming: Every suspect is named for the color of his or her token.
  • Corrupt Church: Reverend Green (the implications of this don't sit well for American audiences, supposedly, which is why he's turned into a Corrupt Corporate Executive "Mr. Green").
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The North American version made Mr. Green an oil tycoon, making his name into a subtle pun on his wealth.
  • Designated Victim: Dr. Black / Mr. Boddy.
  • Detective Mole: It's possible for one of the players to be the murderer. Strangely, they won't know it and still win by finding evidence to convict themself.
  • Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe: A few of the male characters (Mustard and Plum in particular) have been seen smoking pipes in some versions.
  • Dub Name Change: Well, more like "Localization Name Change." A few different characters and other elements had their names changed between different versions, particularly between the UK and US version(s): Murder victim Dr. Black became Mr. Boddy; his home, Tudor House, became Boddy Manor; Reverend Green became Mr. Green; the Spanner and Dagger became the Wrench and Knife, etc.
    • And, of course, there's the name of the game itself. The UK name, Cluedo, is a portmanteau of the words "clue" and "ludo" (Latin for "I play"). Ludo is also a cross-and-circles type board game in the UK. However, due to that game's obscurity in the US, Parker Brothers opted to go with the simpler Clue.
  • Eagle-Eye Detection: A necessary tool to weed out the killer, especially in the SNES video game version (you'll need pen and paper for that one).
  • Economy Cast: Supplementary material and adaptations in other media will frequently try to explain why there are six and only six suspects in a Big Fancy House where only one man lives that should have multiple servants at any given time. The most common is something to the effect of: Mr. Boddy was an eccentric millionaire who inherited the house from his parents but has no surviving family. One weekend, while the rest of the servants had the weekend off (with the exception of live-in maid Ms. White), he decides to throw a private party for his closest friends. While there, they become trapped in the house by a thunderstorm knocking trees over the road, blizzard, etc. While they're isolated on Boddy's estate, only then does one decide to kill him.
  • Femme Fatale: Miss Scarlett
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: It is possible for a player to accuse themself; this is obviously to prevent the game from becoming unwinnable for that player. This is lampshaded rather humorously in the Sega Genesis version.
    Miss Scarlett: I win! I win! I'm going to jail... but I won!
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: Three men (Green, Mustard, and Plum) and three women (White, Peacock, and Scarlet).
  • Ghostly Goals: The early 2000's computer version (distributed in boxes of cereal) had the Murderer, Location, and Weapon cards secreted away by Mr. Boddy's ghost (a pair of hands glowing with blue fire).
  • Grande Dame: Most versions of Mrs. Peacock.
  • Great White Hunter: Colonel Mustard.
  • Harder Than Hard: The Detective difficulty setting in the SNES/Genesis video game adaptations. In lesser difficulties, when you make a suggestion, it tells you a fact about the person, weapon, or room you guessed (e.g. if you guess "Mrs. Peacock with the knife in the Ballroom", you'll get something like "The knife was in the Library"). In Detective difficulty, it just basically tells you that your guess was wrong (e.g. that same guess would get you something like "Mrs. Peacock was NOT in the Ballroom"). Expect to tear your hair out trying to solve the murder with hints like that.
  • High-Class Glass: Some editions depict Colonel Mustard wearing a monocle.
  • Hotter and Sexier: In recent editions, Mrs. White is depicted as a young woman. Granted, she doesn't look exactly "sexy", but considering that her older incarnation was an overweight Apron Matron...
  • Improbable Weapon User: Lead Pipes, Candlesticks, and wrenches don't exactly come to mind as murder weapons.
    • Improvised Weapon: However, in a pinch, they can inflict enough blunt force trauma to kill a person.
  • The Killer in Me: Your character has a one in six chance of this trope.
  • Knife Nut: Possibly. It is one of the ways Mr. Boddy could be killed off.
  • Lady in Red: Miss Scarlett, who's characterized as a beautiful seductress.
  • Meaningful Name: The six suspects have their last names associated with the color they're wearing (peacocks are blue, scarlet is a shade of red, and so on). And of course, there's Mr. Boddy. The British victim, Dr. Black, is sometimes illustrated as wearing black. Depending on what version you're playing, there may be various characters added in besides the main six, such as Emily Peach or Graham Slate-Grey.
  • The Movie: Clue is a screwball comedy based on the American version of the game.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Miss Scarlett.
  • My Card: Parodied in the VCR Mystery Game. Mr. Green hands Professor Plum a card that says "Lyman Green, business."
  • Never Say "Die": Several of the Themed Stock Board Game adaptions of the game mentioned below replace the murder aspect with other mysteries. The weapons are replaced with evidence of some sort. Some versions have the "suspect" be the actual victim of the crime while the "weapon" is a representation of the criminal or some important object.
  • Non-Indicative Name: In many editions, the weapon referred to as the Revolver is actually a semi-automatic. The original "Revolver" in the game's 1949 edition was a Dreyse M1907 (in the UK) and a Colt M1911 (in the US). It has been an actual revolver in some versions, however (particularly Passport to Murder and the 50th Anniversary Edition).
  • Non Standard Game Over: If all players accuse incorrectly, the game ends with no winner. Therefore, the last player standing must collect all the evidence before accusing to avert this.
  • Novelization: There's a series of books based on the game. All of them give clues in the story and invite the reader to try to guess who did whatever crime occurred in the story. The crimes ranged from figuring out who stole something, to figuring out who ate a piece of pie, to (at least once per book as the Grand Finale) trying to find out who murdered Mr. Boddy. Status Quo Is God in these stories, so Mr. Boddy would always somehow survive and the criminal would either be forgiven or undiscovered entirely.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: All the characters in the VCR Mystery Game, ranging from the crime they committed prior to the events of the game, using Madame Rose as a battering ram to escape from a time bomb, to surviving 14 days from Tangiers to Burma in poverty.
  • Old, Dark House: Mr. Boddy's mansion.
  • Pretty in Mink: Miss Peach (an expanded character in some versions), wears a white fox wrap in the VCR Mystery Game.
  • Poisoned Chalice Switcheroo: During the dinner scene in the Clue VCR Mystery Game.
  • Poison Ring: In the Clue VCR Mystery Game.
  • Pun-Based Title: "Cluedo" is a pun on "Ludo" (an abbreviation of the Latin for "game"), the British name for the game known to most of the rest of the world as Pachisi (or Parcheesi, or Sorry!).
  • Punny Name:
    • Mr. Boddy - Body.
      • In the US Spanish editions/rules, he's Señor Cadáver!
    • In the editions where Green is a banker instead of a priest: Green/greenback.
  • Race Lift:
    • For a while in the '90s Miss Scarlett looked Asian.
      • Actually some editions of the American version did make Miss Scarlet an Asian Dragon Lady and she was known as "The Mercenary of Macao". This in turn led to her casting in the VCR game as Asian.
    • In some recent editions, Mr. Green is black.
  • Red Herring: Sometimes wily players will suggest one of their own cards in their investigation in an attempt to mislead the other players into thinking he/she doesn't have it, and/or decrease their chances of being shown a card they've already seen.
  • Re Tool: Every few years, there is a new attempt to modernize the setting. It rarely ever lasts long, and it inevitably reverts to the Genteel Interbellum Setting.
  • Secret Underground Passage: There are two connecting diagonally the rooms in each corner. How they don't intersect is anyone guess.
  • Sequel Hook: In the miniseries.
  • She's a Man in Japan: A few characters change sex in foreign versions. A particularly major example is Chile's. Colonel Mustard and Professor Plum are female, and Mrs. White and Miss Peacock are males.
  • Sinister Minister: Reverend Green in the original version.
  • Southern Belle: Miss Peach (an expanded character in some versions) is portrayed as this in the VCR Mystery Game. A Meaningful Name, since Georgia (the state, not the country) is famous for its peaches.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: The VCR Mystery Game includes a dinner scene in Boddy mansion where almost all of the guests end up poisoning something that is served at dinner.
  • Themed Stock Board Game: Many iterations of Clue were made based on popular franchises, including The Office (US), 24, Harry Potter, The Big Bang Theory, The Simpsons, Sponge Bob Squarepants, Scooby-Doo, Alfred Hitchcock, Sherlock Holmes, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and The Haunted Mansion.
    • For April Fool's Day 2015, ThinkGeek created a mock-up for a fake Game of Thrones version, with 35 possible suspects and weapons.
      • Defictionalization: Game of Thrones did eventually receive an actual Clue adaption. The game components are less ridiculous with a double sided board and twelve suspects. The game is two to six players however.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: When the winning player realizes that they were the actual culprit.
  • Tontine: In the VCR Mystery Game version, Mr. Boddy does a variant in his latest will where the last surviving person among those who attended the reading would claim the entire inheritance. Naturally, all sorts of attempted murders occur.
  • Updated Re Release: 1988's Clue: Master Detective, which gives background information on the game and characters (both in the game and around the world), as well as new characters (all of whom show up in the VCR game), new weapons and new rooms.

     Book series tropes 

The book series provides examples of the following:

  • Absent-Minded Professor: Professor Plum, who is so bad that he once forgot he was talking to someone in the middle of a sentence. In one book, he explains this by stating that he suffers memory loss if he gets less than twenty-five hours of sleep a day.
  • Amusement Park of Doom: Subverted. Mr. Boddy installs what seems to be one of these in his Ball Room in one chapter, but the dangers, which appear to kill five of the six suspects, are in fact all Hollywood special effects, and nobody is actually harmed (in fact, the five who "died" willingly go through the ride a second time afterward and love it). Except for Mrs. Peacock, who was the last one left in the car (besides Mr. Boddy) the first time around and was so distressed by the incident that she spent the rest of the weekend in bed.
  • April Fools' Plot: The first book has a chapter set on April Fool's Day, in which Mr. Boddy and the guests all play pranks on each other. Most of which involve pretending someone's dead.
  • Backwards-Firing Gun: "Midnight Phone Calls" has a chapter titled "The Guest Who Couldn't Shoot Straight". While hunting an escaped rhinoceros, the six guests are armed with revolvers, two that only shoot to the left, two that only shoot to the right, and two that work normally. At the end, one of the first four revolvers is pointed directly at the rhino, but apparently hits one of the other guests instead. (As usual, it turns out the "victim" isn't really dead - the bullet hit his own revolver's handle, and he fainted from fear.)
  • Bedsheet Ghost: The opening mystery of book 7 features an ancient ghost rising to terrorize the house, but while Mr. Boddy flees to a hotel for the night, the guests stay on hearing there's a treasure he's protecting. Later, to scare each other, they all disguise themselves as ghosts. When they find themselves all together and all wearing their bedsheets, they're left to feel very silly - until they notice there are *seven* ghosts standing around, and one of them doesn't have feet...
  • Bookcase Passage: The second book features one in the study. It's also linked to one behind the fireplace and one behind the red chair, but doesn't say if it's linked to the one leading to the Kitchen.
  • Catch-Phrase
    • Colonel Mustard: I challenge you to a duel!
    • Mrs. Peacock: How rude!
    • Professor Plum: I forgot.
  • Chicken Joke: In the last chapter of book #7, The Picture-Perfect Crime, Mr. Boddy has been telling several jokes, including one of these. His guests are not amused.
    Boddy: "Why did the chicken cross the playground?" ... "To get to the other slide!"
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Everybody in their own way, but especially Colonel Mustard and Professor Plum.
  • Concealing Canvas: Mr. Boddy's safe in the Study is hidden behind a duck painting.
  • The Ditz: Professor Plum.
  • Easily Forgiven: Everyone, all the time.
  • Femme Fatale: Miss Scarlett, to the point where Mr. Boddy uses the trope name to describe her in one introduction, adding that "she takes it as a compliment".
  • Gossip Evolution: A variant happens in the last chapter of book 4; one character whispers "Would Boddy be mad if we all left and went into town? Pass it on!" to the person next to them; they spoke too quietly to be heard accurately though, and the next person "passes on" a different phrase. By the time it's gone around the table and started a second round, the last person hears "Boddy is afraid someone will steal his solid gold crown." Later that night, they go after Boddy and demand the nonexistent crown; when he won't hand it over, they kill him. As luck would have it, they fail twice - first by accidentally using a starter pistol instead of the real Revolver; when they realize their mistake and get the real weapon, they fire that at him and miss.
  • Grande Dame: Mrs. Peacock.
  • Halloween Episode: Books 2 and 10 each have a chapter set on Halloween.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Oh so many, in practically every chapter.
  • Jackass Genie: The last chapter of book 17 reveals that Mr. Boddy owns a crystal ball with one of these in it. The genie hates the guests, and is always rude to them and gives them scrambled answers when they ask (such as anagrams of "Get lost" and "Fooled you"). When they smash the crystal in retaliation, the genie gets loose and goes around knocking out most of them.
  • Killer Robot: In one story, Mr. Boddy gets a robot butler. One guest uses it to their advantage by ordering it to kill another guest.
  • Lethal Chef: Book 3's chapter "Bad Taste" has the guests deciding to make lunch for Mrs. White and Mr. Boddy, and while all their creations are horrible, one of them is nearly fatal. Fortunately, Mr. Boddy had bottles of stomach medicine on hand.
  • Malaproper: Mr. Boddy suffers from a blow to the head in the chapter "Dressed To Kill" of the book The Case of the Invisible Cat. The next day, he's having a great deal of trouble using the right words.
  • Mirror Scare: The Picture-Perfect Crime opens with the chapter Be My Ghost, in which the six guests each disguise themselves as Bedsheet Ghosts to try and scare their fellows. Later, one of them is carrying the Revolver when they spot another "ghost" across the room with the same weapon and immediately try to shoot it. Per the trope, the second ghost turns out to be the first's own reflection in a mirror, and the explosion of glass causes the shooter to faint from the shock.
  • Not Quite Dead: EVERYONE who "dies" in this series turns out to be this. Except for poor Pitty-Pat, Mr. Boddy's pet bird who died in the first chapter of the first book.
  • Over-the-top Christmas Decorations: Variant in book 5 - the lights and decorations on Mr. Boddy's house don't look too extravagant, but then it turns out he spent a million dollars on the Christmas tree ornaments.
  • The Password is Always "Swordfish": One of the mysteries revolved around the guests trying to figure out the password to the display case that held Mr. Boddy's latest treasure. It turned out to be, of course, "swordfish."
  • Plot Allergy: Comes into play in book 9, Mystery in the Moonlight. In the title chapter, the six guests identify their allergies, and the three men's prove to be key to solving the mystery. Mrs. Peacock shuts herself up in her room so she won't see the full moon, claiming to be allergic to it; Mrs. White claims to be allergic to dust (which Boddy doesn't believe, assuming she's just trying to get out of dusting a room like he asked her), and Miss Scarlet says she's allergic to mold. Of the men, Mr. Green is allergic to chalk dust, Colonel Mustard to flowers, and Professor Plum to feathers, which gives him away as the culprit - he starts having a sneezing fit brought on by trying to rob Miss Scarlett, who was wearing a feather boa.
  • Punny Name: Mr. Boddy's relatives, when they're mentioned, usually have these, such as his aunt Annie Boddy and his cousin Noah Boddy.
  • The Scrooge: Mr. Green.
  • Secret Path: Mr. Boddy has multiple secret passages in his mansion, most prominently the two that between the Kitchen and the Study, and the Conservatory and the Lounge, also featured in the board game. Others are discussed throughout the series, though they're usually only used in one chapter and forgotten about.
  • Something Completely Different: Most of the chapters revolved around a murder or theft, but a few would present the reader with a non-criminal mystery—for example, the guests play a game or have a contest, and you have to figure out who won.
  • Swiper, No Swiping!: Mrs. Peacock's "Stop It!" technique, taught in her self-defense class in Midnight Phone Calls, is based on this - if the criminal attacking the practitioner is polite, the practitioner merely has to order them to "Stop it" to make them back down.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: Mr. Boddy is killed in the final chapter of each book, then explains how he survived in the introduction of the next book.
  • 13 Is Unlucky: Mr. Boddy was born on Friday the 13th. One story, set on Friday the 13th, involved the guests developing various phobias.
  • Two Men, One Dress: The book The Secret Secret Passage includes the chapter "Trick or Treat", set on Halloween, with seven characters in six costumes. The last to arrive at the mansion is a two-headed man with a knife in each head, who turns out to be two guests sharing one outfit.
  • With Friends Like These...: In the books Boddy is fully aware that his friends regularly try to kill him on multiple occasions. The problem is he's too terrified to not be friends with them if this is how they treat him on friendly terms.

Alternative Title(s): Cluedo