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Tabletop Game / Clue

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Five of the six suspects on the 1997 release of the American game. note 

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 their own character if they believe themselves 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 VHS game, 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 Dr. 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).

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

"Colonel Mustard, in the forums, with the trope":

  • Absent-Minded Professor: Professor Plum, in most versions.
  • Adaptational Backstory Change: A newer version of Clue gives each of the suspects a personal motive against Mr. Boddy. Mrs. White is changed from one of Boddy's maids to Boddy's scorned wife, while Colonel Mustard hates Boddy due to being Left for Dead in a South American expedition gone wrong.
  • Adaptation Name Change: The character names used in some versions of Clue Jr. are slightly different from those used in the Clue Jr. book series released a few years earlier. Specifically: Mr. Green goes from "Georgie Green" to "Johnny Green", Mrs. Peacock goes from "Polly Peacock" to "Liz Peacock", and Miss Scarlett goes from "Samantha Scarlett" to "Vivienne Scarlett".
  • Adapted Out:
    • Licensed versions that have the player characters as a separate group from the suspects must necessarily jettison the game mechanic allowing players to pull each other around the board by making suggestions.
    • The 2016 mass-market reprint, perhaps to make up for a lack of diversity in previous versions, replaced Mrs. White with the Asian "Dr. Orchid".
    • One version of Clue Jr. cut out Mrs. White and Colonel Mustard—probably because the player characters were all reimagined as children, making it difficult to fit in a maid and a military officer.
  • Alliterative Name:
    • Professor Plum.
    • Depending on the edition, Clue Jr has Mortimer Mustard, Georgie Green, Peter Plum, Wendy White, Polly Peacock and Samantha Scarlet.
  • Amnesiac Protagonist Catalyst: Given one of you is the culprit, this naturally applies.
  • Apron Matron: Mrs. White, who works as Boddy's maid in most versions. In the comic miniseries, she's a US Senator who is also the CEO of the country's largest and most successful maid service.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: the comic miniseries - and how! Upton, Mr. Boddy's butler, breaks it on the first page of the first issue with the first spoken line, addressed to the reader. He then demolishes it by telling the reader not to judge the other characters too harshly: "It's not like they know they're in a comic book. Much less a murder-mystery one!" He then crushes the rubble of the wall by repeatedly leaning outside the frame to argue with the Editor of the Comic book! In the final scenes, the remains of the Fourth Wall are atomised when as part of the grand conspiracy, Upton eliminates all witnesses including the editor, artist, letterer and writer of the comic book... and the last frame shows him coming for the reader.
  • Cool Guns: The original guns in the British edition(s), a Dreyse M1907 and a gold Walther PP.
  • Colorful Theme Naming: Every suspect is named after their token color (peacocks are blue, scarlet is a shade of red, and so on), which also applies to Dr. Black in the British version. 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 comic book adds Detectives Ochre and Amarillo.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: A North American version made Rev. Green an oil tycoon, making his name into a subtle pun on his wealth. The comic book made him 'a pharmaceutical bro':
    Dossier/Character description: Pond scum looks down upon him.
  • Designated Victim: Dr. Black / Mr. Boddy / Mr. Black / Dr. Boddy (his name changes depending on where the edition you're playing was published).
  • 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 themselves.
    • Police Sergeant/Inspector Gray is added as a character to several versions of the game. It's possible for him to be the murderer as well.
  • Digital Tabletop Game Adaptation: The game has had several over the years, including an MS-DOS version of Clue: Master Detective. A current version is available on Steam and mobile app stores. Downloadable Content is available that reskins the game into other settings such as Wild West or Sherlock Holmes, but with no actual change in gameplay.
  • Dirty Cop: Sergeant Gray from Master Detective, potentially - his card even asks which side of the law he's on.
  • 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:
    • 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.
  • Evil Old Folks:
    • Some versions depict Mrs. Peacock as a decrepit hag.
    • Also Colonel Mustard, if he's guilty.
  • Femme Fatale: Miss Scarlett
  • French Jerk: Monsieur Brunet from Master Detective. Even if he doesn't turn out to be the murderer, he's still an arrogant jerk.
  • Fortune Teller: Madame Rose. She is implied to fall into the Phony Psychic territory though.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: It is possible for a player to accuse themselves. This is obviously to prevent the game from becoming unwinnable for that player. This is lampshaded rather humorously in the Sega Genesis version.
    Rev. Green: I won! I won! I'm on my way to prison, but I won!
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: Three men (Green, Mustard, and Plum) and three women (White, Peacock, and Scarlet). Master Detective adds two men (Brunet and Gray) and two women (Rose and Peach).
  • Genteel Interbellum Setting: Most versions of the game take place here, befitting the plot and setting of a murder in a country house.
  • 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.
  • He Knows Too Much: A possible reason for Dr. Black's/Mr. Boddy's murder. The Steam version of the Marmalade videogame has associated trading cards that portray Reverend/Mr. Green and Colonel Mustard as dodgy characters (explicitily calling the former a Con Man and descriping the latter as being a man accused of treason and of dealing in the black market) who are ready to kill to keep their secrets, and who may have killed the victim to avoid being reported to the police (although Mustard's card does suggest the Colonel thought Boddy was blackmailing him). There are trading cards for three other characters (another con man, a foreign prince selling a fake mine and a Dirty Cop) who the cards say may have killed the victim to prevent him from exposing them.
  • High-Class Glass: Some editions depict Colonel Mustard wearing a monocle.
  • Hotter and Sexier: In later 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...
    • Fully embraced with the 2022 edition, which makes the whole cast more attractive and more diverse, with Chef White in particular catching the attention of the internet.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Lead Pipes, Candlesticks, and wrenches don't exactly come to mind as murder weapons.
  • Improvised Weapon: In a pinch, a pipe, candlestick or wrench can inflict enough blunt force trauma to kill a person.
  • Junior Variant: Clue Junior moves over the murder mystery theme to mysteries like The Case of the Missing Cake to The Case of the Broken Toy. This is achieved by the bases (replacing the clue cards) you snap onto the characters which have times on the bottom, and also furniture that details what they had.
  • The Killer in Me: Your character has a one in six chance of this trope.
  • Lady in Red: Miss Scarlett, who's characterized as a beautiful seductress.
  • The Movie: Clue is a screwball comedy based on the American version of the game.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Miss Scarlett.
  • 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.
    • The Big Bang Theory: Who betrayed Sheldon in some nerd-related way and where?
    • The Haunted Mansion: Which Mickey Mouse character was spooked by which Haunted Mansion ghost and where?
    • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror: Which Mickey Mouse character disappeared in the Hollywood Tower Hotel with which prop and in which room?
    • Scooby-Doo: Which member of the Scooby-Doo cast (and Mrs. White)note  was kidnapped by a Scooby-Doo monster and where?
    • The Golden Girls: Who ate the cheesecake, where, and what evidence did they leave? (Two faceless males, identified as Stan and Miles, are used along with the four title characters.)
  • 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.
  • Old, Dark House: Mr. Boddy's mansion.
  • Player Elimination:
    • If you make an incorrect accusation, you're out. This happens because you have to look at the correct answer after making an accusation, so if you got to keep playing, you'd get a free win on your next turn.
    • The 2008 edition Clue: Discover the Secrets features an Intrigue deck that contains Clock Cards. If you're unlucky enough to draw the 8th Clock Card, you become the murderer's next victim and are out of the game.
    • The Harry Potter version of the game eliminates players if they run out of House Points.
  • 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.
    • Many editions have Miss Scarlett/Scarlet in a seductive pose or expression, playing off of the phrase "scarlet woman".
  • Race Lift:
    • For a while in the '90s, some editions of the American version portrayed Miss Scarlett as an Asian Dragon Lady known as "The Mercenary of Macao".
    • In some later editions, Rev. Green is black.
    • In the comic mini-series, Mr Boddy is black, as is Colonel Mustard. Professor Plum is Pakistani and the now Senator White is Cuban.
    • The 2023 release of the game make Prof. Plum and Miss Scarlett 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.
  • Retool: 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.
  • Roll-and-Move: You roll a die to move around in the hallway and try to reach a room so that you can ask a "clue" question regarding that room to gain information. You can also go for a Red Bonus space. In either case, you don't need an exact roll as long as the result is large enough to let you reach the room.
  • Secret Underground Passage: There are two connecting diagonally the rooms in each corner. How they don't intersect is anyone's 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 (the implications of this don't sit well for American audiences, supposedly, which is why he's turned into a Corrupt Corporate Executive "Rev. Green").
  • Southern Belle: Miss Peach from Master Detective - she's an heiress from Georgia.
  • Spiritual Antithesis: To Kill Dr. Lucky. In Clue, you solve a murder mystery with no witnesses. In KDL, you cause one.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: In Master Detective, one of the possible weapons is poison.
  • Themed Stock Board Game:
  • Tomato in the Mirror: When the winning player realizes that they were the actual culprit.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: Done in a weird way with the SNES and Genesis adaptations, which have quite a few crucial differences from the physical game. Instead of deducing the killer, weapon, and location through other players' cards, you instead do it through clues given to you about who did or didn't have each weapon, or where each of them was or wasn't. Other players' cards don't come into play unless one makes an Interrogation, of which each player has a limited amount and are more intended as a safe means of testing out possible hypotheses once a firm person/weapon/room relationship has been established, since like in the normal game, a single wrong accusation instantly knocks you out. The harder difficulty settings don't even change the AI and/or luck of the computer players, but rather the vagueness of the clues the game provides.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: An incorrect accusation takes a player out of the game. This trope comes into play if every participant except one does this at which point a botched accusation must be avoided at all costs.
  • Uniqueness Rule: The Discover the Secrets release gives each character a one-time power that needs to be used carefully.
  • 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.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?:
    • Clue: Lost in Vegas is a tongue-in-cheek version of the game that swaps out a murder mystery with an attempt to track down a missing friend after a wild night in Las Vegas.
    • In the basic game, if a player realizes they are the culprit, it's an unpleasant answer to the question.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: In the Simpsons version of the game, Mrs. White is played by Smithers in a maid's outfit.
  • Wrench Whack: One of the traditional six weapons, usually portrayed as an open-ended spanner in the U.K. versions and a monkey wrench in the U.S. versions.

Alternative Title(s): Cluedo