Who Killed Mr. Boddy?
The final solution to one of the most popular board games ever created. Cluedo – or Clue as it’s known in North America – adds to that, also searching for the where and what. Everyone loves a good mystery, and this game delivers it in spades. When you’re in the mood for some good, family whodunit fun, look no further. Taking a little detour from literary fiction, I’m taking this opportunity to pay homage to the game inspired by all of the famous detective fiction that I – along with many others – have enjoyed for years.
Clue Game Design
Designed in typical murder mystery fashion, the classic “Detective Game” format lets players follow the literal “clues” to figure out which character killed Mr. Boddy (Miss Scarlett, Mr. Green, Colonel Mustard, Professor Plum, Mrs. Peacock & Mrs. White) in which room (kitchen, ballroom, conservatory, dining room, billiard room, library, lounge hall or study), and using what weapon (candlestick, dagger, lead pipe, rope, revolver or wrench). Many different versions, adaptations and spinoffs have followed due to the game’s clever format, engaging storyline and the fact that we all love a good mystery.
History of Clue Board Game
Cluedo was first created back in 1943 by Anthony E. Pratt. Pratt first thought up the idea for the game during World War II. While working as a musician, he performed in hotels which also incorporated murder mystery role playing games into their evening entertainment. These sorts of events can still be found at country inns and B&B’s – murder mystery weekends where actors, staff and guests each play a role, and work together to solve the caper.
Pratt was already a fan of Agatha Christie (who’s groundbreaking novel And Then There Were None was exceedingly popular), and he devised the plan for a board game where a body was found during a party, and all guests in attendance fell under suspicion as the murderer.
The original game was simply called “Murder!” and the board itself was designed by Pratt’s wife.
A friend introduced him to Norman Watson, manufacturing director of Waddingtons, who immediately saw the potential behind the murder mystery format in a game. Waddingtons renamed the game Cluedo, combining the words Clue and Ludo, a latin word meaning “I play”. Due to material shortages, the game didn’t get to the manufacturing level until 1949, and was simultaneously licensed to Parker Brothers, who in turn changed the name to simply “Clue”.
Legacy of Clue
Over the years, the Clue board game has had many iterations and adaptations. From game variations (character changes, mobile games etc.) to novels and a widely popular 1985 film featuring the sensational Tim Curry, the concept has lasted decades. It’s become – for me at least – one of the quintessential closed room mysteries. It’s legacy is even apparent in more modern adaptations, such as last year’s critically acclaimed film Knives Out, and many others like it. The distinguished old mansion, clues being unraveled, quirky characters who each have a motive; it all goes to show that all we really want is to find a body and solve a grizzly murder. Just kidding…sort of.
To many more years of Clue, and all of the mystery solving that you can handle!