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clue master detective

Board Game Review: ‘Clue Master Detective’ from Winning Moves Games

Clue Master Detective from Winning Moves Games takes the classic sleuthing game to the next level, with more players, more weapons, and more sites for the perfect crime. The expansion celebrates its 20th anniversary this year – originally from 1988, it capitalized on the immortal popularity of the game as well as the cult film – while Cluedo itself turns 70 years old in 2019. Like Monopoly: The Mega Edition, Clue Master Detective brings in a bigger board and more action while maintaining the heart and soul of the original.

The most dramatic change in the upgrade to Clue Master Detective is the expanded board. Many of the rooms will be familiar to longtime players, such as the Kitchen, Dining Room, Billiard Room, and Conservatory. Now the Boddy manor includes outdoor areas like a Gazebo, Fountain, and Courtyard as well as a Carriage House that may only be entered through the Trophy Room. With a more complex layout as well as a new secret passage through the Cloak Room to outside, players will have to plan their routes carefully.

Along with the bigger map with more rooms for investigating, there are more characters and murder weapons. While the expansion does not alter the mechanics much, other than allowing for a whopping 10 players when the earlier versions capped out at six, the expanded flavor gives even more value to the mysterious setting. The old-time favorite characters, like Colonel Mustard and Mrs. White, are joined by crooked cop Sgt. Gray, man-of-mystery M. Brunette, self-proclaimed psychic Mme. Rose, and Southern belle Miss Peach. Backstories and puzzling thoughts fill each card and run throughout the rulebook, setting up hint after hint that there is much more to everything than meets the eye.

Gameplay in Clue Master Detective is much the same as in the original. One card from each of the three decks – Location, Suspect, and Weapons – is pulled and tucked away in the Confidential envelope. The rest of the cards are dealt to players, giving them the opportunity to make notes on what is not in the envelope. Players roll to move their tokens around the board, asking questions about the cards others players have, gradually piecing together the details of the hidden cards. The first player to make the correct Accusation about the three cards wins.

The major change-up in Clue Master Detective is the addition of nine Snoop squares on the board. When landing or passing through these squares, a player may draw a card from an opponent’s hand, look it over secretly, and then return it with new information that no other player will have received. This speeds up the game as players may see a card and then ask to see cards in the same round.

Clue Master Detective is a deduction game for three to 10 players aged 10 and up. It is a moderately long game, usually lasting just under an hour. The rulebook comes with historical notes about the impact of Clue through the years, along with hints for strategy, like using one’s own cards when asking to ensure what cards are not present or calling an opponent’s token to another room, interrupting their intended path. There are dozens more strategies, and every player will have his or her favorite character. It’s a solid mix of gameplay and aesthetic that will live on for generations to come.

About Jeff Provine

Jeff Provine is a Composition professor, novelist, cartoonist, and traveler of three continents. His latest book is a collection of local ghost legends, Campus Ghosts of Norman, Oklahoma.

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