How to Play Clue (Rules, Tips, and Strategies)

Clue Game Set Up

Separate the cards into three piles – suspects, rooms, and weapons.  Shuffle all three piles separately and then randomly remove one card from each pile. 

These three cards are then secretly placed into the case file.  These three cards represent the winning solution to Clue game.

After the three solution cards have been separated and filed away all of the other cards are mixed and shuffled together into one deck.  These cards are then dealt to the players.

Object of the Game

The object to the game of Clue is to be the first player to successfully solve the case.  The player does this by correctly identifying who the suspect is, what weapon they used, and which room it was it.

A correct solution may sound something like this, “It was Colonel Mustard, in the Library, with the candlestick.”

Order of Play

After the board is set up, the case file has been secured, and the cards are dealt it is time to start the game.

Have all players roll the dices and the person with the highest roll will go first.  If there is a tie continue to “roll off” until one player is identified to go first. 

This player will start and the order of play will continue clockwise.

Moving Your Player

Roll the dice at the beginning of your turn.  Then move your player piece the number of spots equal to the number on the dice.  If you cannot enter a room then your turn is over. 

If you can enter a room then you are allowed to make a guess.

Making a Guess

The first part of your guess is the room (it will always be the room that you are currently in.  The other components of your guess include weapons and suspects.

Rooms Suspects Weapons
Kitchen Colonel Mustard Candlestick
Conservatory Miss Scarlett Knife
Dining Room Mrs. Peacock Lead Pipe
Ballroom Mrs. White Revolver
Study Professor Plum Rope
Hall Mr. Green Wrench
Billiard Room    

After You Make a Guess

After your guess has been made you will go around the table and ask your opponents if they have any cards to show you.  If your opponent does have a card that matches a component of your guess then they will show you this card.

You will go around the table until all of your opponents have either showed you a card or confirmed that they do not have a card to show you.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  If a player has more than one card in the guess they will only show you one of those two cards.  Your opponent will choose which card that they want to show you.

PRO TIP:  When making a guess it is a best practice to include at least one clue that you own (a card that you possess).  This means that you will only see a maximum of two cards. 

Doing this prevents everyone else from knowing exactly what you are learning.  If you were able to see three cards then all of your opponents will automatically know they can eliminate every component of your guess without having to guess themselves.

Keep Good Notes

Keeping notes is part of the game.  These notes will allow you to keep track of the cards that you have seen throughout the game.  By virtue of elimination these notes will lead you to the correct conclusion.

PRO TIP:  I recommend not only keeping track of the cards that you see, but also note who showed you that card.  By doing this you will be able to use your opponent’s guesses to your personal advantage.

Here’s an example of how this works:

Let’s say your opponent Susan moves her game piece into the kitchen and guesses that it was Colonel Mustard in the Kitchen with the Candlestick.

Two other opponents, Michael and James, show Susan their cards.

If you kept good notes that indicate that Susan has the Kitchen Card, and Michael has the Colonel Mustard Card, then you can correctly note that James has the Candlestick Card. 

This technique will allow you to come to correct solution more quickly – and Win the Game.

End of Game

The game ends when someone makes an accusation, looks at the case file, and reveals the cards that match their accusation.

If a player makes an accusation they look at the cards in the case file, and if they guess incorrectly then they lose and the other players continue playing.

PRO TIP:  Pay careful attention to your opponents.  Someone may say, “I know what it is.”  When this happens if you are 90% sure of the solution then I would recommend taking a guess before they get a chance to place their guess.

Sometimes in Clue you just don’t have the luxury of being 100% sure if you want to go for the win.

Another Clue Strategy

Previously we discussed how keeping good notes gives you a better chance of winning.  Another note keeping strategy is to track who you showed your cards to.

This is especially important when you have players guessing multiple elements that you own.

For example: if someone is guessing that it happened in the Billiard Room by Mr. Green with the Wrench and it just so happens that you have the Mr. Green Card and the Wrench Card.  You now have the option of showing that player ONE card of your choice.

If you choose to show them the Mr. Green Card then make a note of this so that if someone else makes a similar guess you can be consistent in showing only the Mr. Green Card.

Eventually someone may make a guess that will require you to reveal the Wrench Card, but the longer you can keep it secret the better it is for your game.

The Clue Problem

Players usually have to keep track of three to five cards.  All players have a responsibility of revealing these cards to other players throughout the game.

However, if one player fails to properly show their cards with someone else then they have inadvertently gave bad information and it is unlikely that this player will win.

Clue requires that all players stay completely engaged in order for the game to come to a fair conclusion.  This means that cell phones should not be at the table and other board game etiquette should be followed.

Clue Master Detective

Another version of Clue is Clue Master Detective.

It is a larger version of Clue which is great for larger groups.  This game version has more rooms, more weapons, and more suspects.

Rooms Suspects Weapons
Kitchen Colonel Mustard Candlestick
Conservatory Miss Scarlett Knife
Dining Room Mrs. Peacock Lead Pipe
Drawing Room Mrs. White Revolver
Trophy Room Professor Plum Rope
Cloak Room Mr. Green Wrench
Studio Sergeant Gray Poison
Library Monsieur Brunette Horseshoe
Billiard Room Miss Peach  
Carriage House Madame Rose  

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