Cardboard Children: The 4C

John Walker, in the TV parlour, with a USB hub
Hello youse.

Once again, I’ve pushed aside my planned column (a photo story of a games night in action) to do something that came to me in a dream earlier in the week. Well, no, it didn’t come to me in a dream. It came to me while I was on the toilet, but that’s not the kind of thing I would tell you on an upmarket PC gaming website.

I’ve been having great fun writing this column over the past couple of months. Mainly because I’ve been blown away by the knowledge and passion of those people making contributions in the comments section. So, I’ve been thinking about doing something that we could all get involved with. Something interesting for the tenth column. And it came to me while I was on the toilet, with my trousers at my ankles, but that’s not the kind of thing I would admit to on an upmarket PC gaming website.

This isn’t a competition. Because there’s no prize. It’s more of a challenge. And it’s the kind of thing I feel comfortable doing on a site like Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Because, y’know, you all seem kinda… kinda smart. Kinda clever. You know? I think it’s the kind of thing that might work here. I hope it does.

So let’s see what it is!

CLUEDO

Cluedo. That’s where it starts. The family board game, Cluedo. If you’re in the United States, you’ll call it Clue.

The board features the layout of a house. A grand, stately manor. Or, if you have a more modern edition of the game, a swish and cool celebrity hangout.

There are playing pieces of different colours, representing characters. The doddering old Professor Plum. The devious and sexy Miss Scarlet. It seems society has conditioned us to see the characters in this way, because the game certainly doesn’t fill in any blanks.

There are tokens that represent weapons. These are laid in rooms, as possible murder weapons. There are cards too, with pictures of the weapons on them. On these cards, you’ll also find images of the characters, and of the rooms.

All of these components come together to create what is, in my opinion, a terrible board game.

Now, this column isn’t about me hating Cluedo. It isn’t about why I hate Cluedo. It’s not even a column to get us all arguing about whether or not Cluedo is a good game. It’s all opinion, and in this column (AND THIS COLUMN ALONE) my opinion doesn’t matter. Here’s why we’re talking about Cluedo today:

CLUEDO HAS INTERESTING COMPONENTS – The layout of a house. Dice. Playing pieces. Some cards.

WE ALL PROBABLY HAVE CLUEDO – We’ve had it lying in a cupboard for years. Or someone’s bought us it as a gift recently, because they’ve heard we like board games. And we’ve forced a smile.

THE 4C – The Cardboard Children Cluedo Challenge

We’re going to remix Cluedo, is what we’re going to do.

Take your copy of Cluedo, dust that bad boy off, and throw away the rulebook. Sit with those components, and get thinking on a new board game. A brand new board game, using any Cluedo set that anyone can buy in a mainstream shop.

THE RULES

1.The new game should have its own title.
2.The new game should use some of the components of Cluedo, but need not use all of them. The board, however, MUST be used.
3.Additional components can be added to the game. However, any additional components must be made available on a print and play basis. Provide printable sheets.
4.The only exception to the print and play rule for new components is dice. Your game can use extra dice, or dice other than six-sided dice.
5.Your Cluedo remix for The 4C is to be completed by the 24th of December.

I already have my idea for a Cluedo remix. I’m going to start writing it up this week, and will unveil it after the deadline. After that deadline passes, I’ll post up links to all the best Cluedo remixes, so make sure your remixes are downloadable.

Please feel free to use the comments section here to discuss the process, and sound people out about ideas and stuff. And I’d be delighted if you would try to get the word out about this challenge to as many people as possible.

Let’s see if we can turn Cluedo into a toolset. A toy box that is an essential purchase for any board gamer. Let’s make it difficult to get the lid of our Cluedo boxes shut, because there are so many printouts of remix rulebooks in there.

I think, if we really push this, we could find out a lot about game design. And have a lot of fun while we’re doing it.

See you in the comments below!

136 Comments

  1. qrter says:

    What an excellent idea, mr. Florence. Good luck everyone!

  2. Jim Rossignol says:

    Crikey, interesting. Anyone know a source of cheap Cluedo?

    • DPenn says:

      @Jim: Yard sale (boot sale?). Your parents’ basement. Ask friends for the copy they have but never play.*

      *Requires friends.

    • clive dunn says:

      It wouldn’t surprise me if Oxfam had an entire Raiders of the Lost Ark style warehouse full of Cluedo.

    • dobber says:

      1) search google images for “cluedo board”
      2) consult wikipedia for details of included pieces.

    • TooNu says:

      Cluedo is cheap everywhere, it’s the whore of games, no that’s Mono…no I can’t say that without being sick.

    • Rosti says:

      Yup – I spotted some editions of Cluedo in charity shops yesterday. Will go and buy a copy to gut and brainstorm with.

      GO GO FLORENCE RANGERS!

    • Earl_of_Josh says:

      You can usually find cheap copies of old board games no a variety of online shops. Boardgamegeek.com consolidates a lot of the links for you: link to boardgamegeek.com

    • BenHoggEsdeviumGames says:

      Amazon.co.uk have Cluedo from £7.34 new if you are looking for a cheap source.

      Otherwise I would recommend Ebay and charity shops for used copies. Probably best to check those dusty cupboards too.

  3. Langman says:

    Harry Potter Cluedo is awesome. ¬_¬

    • Scorpi says:

      I’ve played that game 37 times and it’s ALWAYS Voldemort. What a coincidence!

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      It’s not Snape ever?

    • Skippy says:

      If this is the game I’m thinking of (based on the first movie), I do recall it being better than bog-standard Cluedo. Possibly it was the drawing cards as you go rather than being handed them at the beginning aspect, or even just having more cards and therefore more possibilities. Or maybe I was just young.

    • Langman says:

      It’s basically like normal Cluedo, only the rooms rotate, altering the passages to other rooms. Plus you get house points and random events that can either take them away/build them up – if they get to 0 you’re out of the game.

      Although you can play without the house points feature and just treat it as normal Cluedo (which is nowhere as bad as some on here are making out – it can be great fun with the right people/atmosphere.

      Plus you have to move to Dumbledore’s office in the centre of the board to make the accusation – which can lead to fun times where two people think they know the answer and are racing to his office. Can be quite tense.

  4. roBurky says:

    Bums. Despite having memories of playing it a lot as a child, it seems our house no longer possesses a copy of Cluedo.

  5. Demon Beaver says:

    Cluedo is actually lots of fun when you have the German edition, and none of your friends speak the language. The suspicions and accusations start sounding like “Director Grune with the Rohrzangschmachzen in the Arbiteszima”. Fake akzent also adds to ze atmosphere….

    As for the remix challenge, I believe it to be a wonderful idea! If I get the time to think something up, I’ll join in!
    I was only wondering, where do we submit our remixes?

    • Auspex says:

      Presumably to rab@rockpapershotgun.com? Assuming that’s a real email address that is.

      Nice idea but I’m creatively bankrupt so doubt I’ll come up with anything. Also I’m not sure I actually own Cluedo.

    • The Tupper says:

      Well y’see the Germans ALL did it. They just don’t like to admit it….

  6. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    This could come in handy, I’m spending a week in a house on the Isle of Lundy with a bunch of mates in february, and I reckon board games will go down very well indeed. (i.e. once we get board of drinking)
    Only trouble is, most ‘classic’ board games that you’re likely to find in a guest house are a bit rubbish (eg Cluedo, Monopoly, Ludo), so I’ve got my fingers crossed that someone comes up with a good remix.
    Ideally something involving forming ad-hoc alliances and back stabbing, ala Risk would be good. Or something along the lines of Bloody Good Time might work with a Cluedo set, where you have to manoeuvre your target into a specific room, with a specific weapon.

    • Archonsod says:

      I was just thinking something riffing on The Ship or BGT would work. You could use a die based combat system. Only question is whether giving everyone a weapon at the start would play better than randomly placing them as usual and allowing players to pick up and use (perhaps a different modifier to the combat roll for each weapon, so some would encourage more grabbing than others?).

      Hmmm. Wouldn’t be too hard to knock up some rules for that quite quickly to be honest. If only I had a copy of the game.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Rab’s email address should work. I don’t know if he checks it, however.

  7. Chris D says:

    Great idea. Here are some random thoughts to get the ball rolling.

    So, that board. The thing about Cluedo is that the heart of the game is asking the right questions to get the information you need. The problem is that the board only exists to get in the way of that process. It would be a far purer process to remove the board entirely and just take turns asking questions. (Although then you’re left with something not entirely unlike happy families.)

    The problem we have in trying to rehabilitate it is that it’s original purpose wasn’t good and it won’t necessarily fit neatly into anything else. The corridors are broken up into squares but the rooms are just rooms. Position is everything in one and nothing in the other.

    I’m assuming that nobody particularly wants to keep the existing roll and move mechanic, at least not without tweaking it to allow for some sort of player choice.

    You could maybe use the corridors for some kind of tactical board game remix where you club your target over the head with candlesticks, but then the rooms don’t really work. (Although I guess you could use them as safe zones.)

    The other way might be to ignore the corridor squares and just allow direct movement between the rooms although I think ideally I’d want to redesign the board and make it clear which rooms were adjacent or break up the corridors into four or five distinct sections like the streets in Arkham Horror. You could just allow free movement to anywhere on the board but that raises the question of why have a board at all.

    Alternatively we could try and turn the weaknesses into a strength and come up with a mechanic to make use of the layout as it is. Could be tricky though.

    Thoughts?

    • Archonsod says:

      Going on The Ship rip off, combat can only occur in rooms because the corridors all have CCTV coverage. The tricky part is giving players an incentive to be in those rooms beyond acquiring a weapon.

    • Chris D says:

      @Archonsod

      Interesting. You’d need something else for them to do beyond killing their target otherwise there’s no motivation to go into a room unless your target is already there.

      Maybe some kind of alternative victory condition? Pick up a token from each room to win? That would then probably make combat a secondary thing rather than the main focus, a way to gain an advantage or stop an opponent rather than an aim in itself.

      Also maybe have a reason why you might want to be in the same place as another player rather than killing them to keep the tension. Allow trading possibly, or some other form of cooperation. So you don’t know if someone is an ally or an enemy as soon as they turn up.

      Alternatively you could only allow combat in corridors but you have to go through the corridors to get to the rooms you need to win.

    • D says:

      Re: Archonsod. Need meters? Ala The Ship. Would add some fairly boring accounting of numbers going up on a sheet of stats, or maybe you would have special draw cards: “Oh boy, you really need to pee after that last glass of wine.” I really have no idea of the board layout having never played Cluedo, but it’s a fairly big part of The Ship.

    • Clayton Hughes says:

      @Archonsod @phuzz (anyone else notice the reply doesn’t seem to work at all in Chrome?)

      After reading your thoughts, an assassin-inspired game also seemed useful.

      Here’s the setup: you’re a bond-type assassin with a big ego, a target, and a dinner party to attend–with your target. You’ll need to be alone in a room with your target and a weapon to take them out

      As incentive to get into the rooms, the characters have needs they must manage. Something like this:

      Each turn, roll a two distinct d6, we’ll call them red and blue.

      On red 1 or 2, subtract blue many points from your hunger score. If it ever reaches zero, you can do nothing but immediately head towards the closest of the Kitchen, Dining Room, or Hall.

      Similarly, for red 3 or 4, subtract blue many points from your alibi factor. If that ever reaches zero, you need to proceed to one of the rooms where you can be seen by (the non-present-on-the-board) other party-goers: lounge, ballroom, billiard room.

      On red 5 and 6, subtract blue many points from your bond factor. If that ever reaches zero, head to a room to make you feel awesome and suave (I guess?): conservatory, study, library.

      Upon reaching one of the rooms (even if your score isn’t zero), you gain 5 points at the beginning of each turn you start in a room, for the need that room fills represents, with a max of 25 points per category. Let’s say everyone only starts with 10, to get things rolling.

      Some caveats: don’t decrease scores below zero; if you’ve already got one score at zero, you have to go meet that need first (you may opt to raise it as high as 10 before continuing onto the next need) before you go do something else if it falls to zero. Do them in the order they fall below zero.

      Probably want to roll 2d6 when moving then, because a standard deviation around 7 is much nicer than the random 1-6 bullshit, and gives people time to move around sort of quickly, since people will have to stay in rooms for a turn or two, but not very long.

      Another big caveat: this is of course untested and probably total rubbish.

    • Torgen says:

      Every weapon has a room it “belongs” in, and starts the game there.

      Every X turns, all players have to attend dinner in the Dining Room, and while everyone is there, the maids tidy the mansion, returning all weapons to their rightful place.

      Then it’s a race to regain the needed weapon (going on the above suggestion that you’re assigned a specified weapon you HAVE to use to commit murder) and resume the chase.

      This can lead to the situation where players need to make deals with others to travel together to retrieve their weapons (the murderer can only strike when there are no witnesses, of course,) AND you will know which room your target must visit to retrieve their own weapon, and can lay an ambush.

    • Little Tohya says:

      Rather than the blue/red dice, a D6 with sides reading Sleep / Food / Toilet / Blank / Blank / Blank; each turn you roll the dice and that meter goes down one step (Maybe have “need tokens”, colour-coded, in front of the player). Put a Need Replenisher in each room (Bed or Meal or Toilet), and an appropriate penalty for lacking in tokens.

  8. mandrill says:

    I thought to myself: Awesome.

    Then I thought: Where can I get a Cluedo set in English around here.

    Then I thought: But hang on I don’t need the rules and not having the rules might help open my mind to new possibilities.

    So I’m going to go look for somewhere to get Cluedo on Monday :D

    • Zogtee says:

      I immediately thought of something involving Cthulhu (I pretty much always do) and maybe turn it into something that would work with Arkham Horror, but fuck me, I don’t have Cluedo and no friends either! I’ll see if I can get hold of a copy somewhere…

  9. Biggles says:

    Ooooh, are we allowed to draw on the board? Mark special squares, divide the rooms into squares, break the corridors into segments, that sort of thing?

  10. Skippy says:

    For God’s sake, Rab, I have to entertain the in-laws next week and prevent a war between them and my parents, I don’t need to be obsessing over Cluedo.

    Definitely going to be doing some obsessing over Cluedo, though. There’s a germ of a good game in there the first time you play it, but it’s gone by the second time. The temptation to just turn it into mostly-melee Frag is certainly there, but I think we can do better.

  11. Panther says:

    Hmm have a few ideas rolling around, will come back to this

  12. RadioactiveMan says:

    Cluedo-Spacehulk mashup?

    “Colonel Mustard reports a genestealer infestation in the Conservatory! Space Marines- ready your Candlesticks and assemble in the Lounge! Purge the abominations, for the Emperor!

    Or, Cluedo-HeroQuest. That’s all I came up with, really.

  13. Tadhg says:

    An initial ideas to get started:

    A Zombie attack game. Needs tokens for zombies and dice and a combat system. A bit like Space Hulk in a Haunted House.

    I predict at least 50% of all ideas will start there :)

  14. Max says:

    In the states they released a spinoff of Clue called Clue: Museum Caper, where a single invisible thief attempts to steal paintings while the rest of the players try to stop them. In middle school, a friend and I made up new rules – turning it into a deathmatch game with rocket launchers, machine guns, etc. It wasn’t terribly original, but it was good fun.

    • MrEvilGuy says:

      Actually, after reading this article I decided to work on my own little board game like clue. I used a slightly different board and changed some game mechanics. I then realized it would not bring me any cash if I released it in these comments, so I borrowed my friend’s time machine, and released it about 20 years ago.
      This project is exactly what Max is referring to.
      It didn’t make me rich or anything but close enough.
      Here’s a link to it:
      link to boardgamegeek.com

    • K says:

      You’ve written Museum Carper? Seriously? Rant incoming!

      As a kid I got that for christmas. I loved the pieces, I loved the idea and immediately got my friends together to play it. But you know what? That game is completely impossible to win for the thief. The detectives are usually fast enough to catch you easily, they are more and on top of that, they have cameras and sensors (which they rarely need, as they can cover 90% of the board by choosing good spots to stand in). We played about three rounds, re-read the rules, played another two rounds and then put the game back into the cupboard, where it stayed for 5 years until it got trashed when I moved house.

      It is a horrible, horrible game. Or we messed up the rules. Either way, I am traumatized.

  15. Voidkraken says:

    Although I probably won’t get round to participating in the challenge, I’ve got a few ideas to throw out for free to anyone wanting to use them :)

    1) Take a look at West End Games’ old boardgame “Junta”, where you have a banana republic country as your “house”, and a goal of making yourself as rich as possible while stopping the other players from doing the same, by any means from assassination to backstabbing alliances and shady deals. There’s bound to be ideas that can be lifted straight from this game and used (especially if you have a Bloody Good Time style game in mind)

    2) It doesn’t have to be about murder – hunting clues for hidden treasure and chasing ghosts are some non-fatal goals you can play with too, and can keep elements of the original mechanics in place to boot

    3) It doesn’t have to be competetive – One of my favourite boardgames is Red November, which is all about cooperation in order to survive. Imagine if the players have to ally in order to “beat” an NPC murderer who has them all trapped in the house. (Another idea in this vein is that they must gang up to beat the murderer, but only one player can actually “escape”, requiring alliances but adding inevitable backstabbing and paranoia…actually, I think I used this one in a group at a game design conference once…)

    Erm…that’s all I’ve got at the mo, sounds like this should be fun :)

  16. BG says:

    I like the murder-mystery theme of it. So maybe some kind of co-op/traitor mechanic, with the same basic story as Cluedo.

  17. Stu says:

    So it is just me who voluntarily owns a Cluedo set? And not just any Cluedo set, but the wooden box nostalgia edition?

  18. Nighthood says:

    I had to do this for a philosophy class once, with a bunch of other people. I basically made the rules so we played cluedo as normal, but I, and only I, could see every card on the deck, and everyone else could only see their own. Needless to say, I won. I can’t even remember what the point of that exercise was.

    On a side note, can I request a review? I found an old “Escape From Colditz” set in someone’s loft a little while ago and I LOVED it, even though the Germans are hideously OP. I suppose it would be a retro review given its age, but it would still be lovely.

  19. Tacroy says:

    One time, I was teaching my friends how to play D&D (I believe it was 3.5). We all rolled up characters, and then they wanted to try them out; I didn’t have anything ready, but I did have a copy of Kill Doctor Lucky in my backpack for some reason – it’s got a map similar to the Clue one, I believe.

    So I ran a little mini D&D adventure on the Kill Doctor Lucky board, picking monsters out of the Monster Manual essentially at random (though I did put like winter wolves in the ice house and some plant beasties in the arboretum). It was pretty fun!

  20. albatrocity says:

    does it need to be a board game? I have an idea for a short form tabletop RPG using the Cluedo board and most of its plastic goodies.

  21. justinpickard says:

    Some kind of antiques-’em-up, inspired by The Sims, where you compete to block in your opponents as you fill the corridor squares with 17th-century French cabinets and suits of samurai armour?

    • Warduke says:

      I’ll play!!

    • Alabaster Crippens says:

      There’s definitely mileage in some kind of tetris-y blockading of the corridors as a mechanic. So you’ve got a resource of blocks of antiques of varying size and shapes that you can block people in with. Some kind of goal to get people stuck together?

      Hmmm.

  22. Tomm says:

    Does anyone remember 13 Dead End Drive? The game that would be spawned if Cluedo and Mouse Trap had a love child. The aim is to kill off all the other characters using devious traps set up on the board, without revealing who your character is.

    link to boardgamegeek.com

  23. Matzerath says:

    Someone mentioned ‘Kill Dr. Lucky’ above, and I will reiterate: If you guys settle on a game where you murder another player while no one else is ‘looking’, based on the set-up of Clue(do), it’s already been done.
    We have to go DEEPER.

    • Bret says:

      A game where you enter the other players’s dreams?

      And then enter dreams within those dreams?

      And so on?

    • Devenger says:

      ‘It was Col. Mustard in the dream-dream-conservatory with the dream-dream-candlestick! Then when Lady Scarlet was kicked up to dream-1 level, it was…’ etc.

    • Jack says:

      What a coincidence, I was just thinking up a subterfuge-based board game! Name: MASQUERADE. Basic idea is, everyone’s in a mask and each player controls multiple characters with different abilites – play revolves around figuring out who’s who and then stabbing them in the back when no-one’s looking. I’ll have to twist it around Cluedo and see about making it work.

    • Jack says:

      AAAAAAAAAAAAAH false reply.

  24. Decimae says:

    This sounds very cool. I will be trying.

    I was thinking about giving everyone a weapon, person and location(without revealing it), and requiring to get those people with the weapons at that location. But there’s a spin, everyone is able to move every character(perhaps I won’t allow people to move their own weapon with their character). This is more of a game of psychology, how can you manipulate your opponents for your benefit, or just convince them of other objectives.Not played yet, though thinking about it.

    Also, if you want one, I got mine, an old used one though, for a few euros at a recycle store/thrift(google translate)/I have no clue how it’s called in English but it’s a place where you drop stuff and they fix it and then sell it.

    • Decimae says:

      Played a 1 vs 1 game of that idea with my sister yesterday, was fun. Well, I liked; not sure if my sis did. Was a close game. Anyway, it isn’t exactly the point of the competition. I may come up with another variant which is more roleplay-like.

      Edit: I’m thinking about a machiavelli(citadels, as it’s called in all most parts of the world)-like mechanism, with special roles that can be picked each turn.

  25. Wulf says:

    I’m trying to get my mind to work out a board game version of The Ship, set in a mansion, using Cluedo’s resources, but it’s not quite coming together. Still, I figured the idea might be worth sharing, where the point point is to get six players together, where they have designated assassination targets, and they have to use various things to kill their opponents in secret in ways that won’t get them detected.

    Sort of like a turn-based version of The Ship, then. On a grid. Perhaps with a few custom cards. And the only safe area being the ball room, but when you slip off to take care of your needs, someone could slip off after you. And depending on whose move it is, you could be screwed! So we’d need to cook up some custom needs cards or something, maybe some custom weapons, but otherwise? Just use the characters, the board, the dice…

    It’s not quite coming together in my head, though. But a board game version of The Ship strikes me as something that would be awesome. Perhaps borrowing from old Werewolf/Assassin rules would help make this work.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I think you should be able to move other people’s characters. Possibly the goal could be to kill another real life player but you don’t know who their in game character is, but I can’t figure out how it would work. The Really Nasty Horse Racing Game let you move different players pieces and was a bit similar in that you didn’t know what the other players real goals were.

  26. 3lbFlax says:

    That board is a Resident Evil game waiting to happen.

  27. Brumisator says:

    The cluedo board could probably be used, and probably has been used, as a DnD battle board.
    With all those squares for movement, and walls and stuff.

  28. Phydaux says:

    It doesn’t fit Robert’s rules, but as a child me and some friends used the Cluedo board, a set of warhammer 40K figurines, and a stack of paper “cards” that I crafted, to be like space crusade / HeroQuest / Space Hulk.

    I designed it so that the GM could play too, without knowing what was happening.

    Each player controls one character (a terminator figurine), and they move around the board each turn using a D6 for movement. (1 = move one square.) You had to clear the house, going around upgrading your terminator and destroying the hostile creatures; Hoping you could upgrade your character before coming across something tough. We mostly played it co-op, but sometimes we’d compete for most kills, or fist person to get from one room to another.

    The cards were cut out of A4 paper, 2×3 Cluedo squares in size. They are shuffled and placed face down in the corridors, and rooms. When a player’s character moves in line of sight of one of the squares the card covered, the card is revealed. The cards are either: 0-6 “bad guys” (chaos marine figures, with bolters); 1-3 “tough guys” (Chaos terminators or a customised figure, they had grenade launchers/las-cannons, etc); A Dreadnought; An armour upgrade; Or a weapon upgrade.

    I can’t quite remember the combat rules. I think it was roughly based off the 40k rules at the time (early 90’s). But with some modifications to make it feel a bit cooler when you were on a streak. Good rolls would mean you could clear out a whole room in one turn, not just the 1 on 1 combat each turn usually was. (e.g. going mental with a chaingun or your character spinning around with a chainsword cutting EVERYTHING in an adjacent square in half). The rules got tweeked like this because it’s much more fun to spend the day killing things, and killing multiple things at once, than to spend many turns parrying or having armour saves.

    I wish I could reclaim some of the old days as a child. Being poor and having an active imagination meant that we created loads of games like this. (the 40k stuff was given to me by a rich friend who was bored with space marines/chaos and wanted to start up an Imperial Guard army.) I remember making landscapes out of duvets and cereal boxes… simple times :)

  29. Gary W says:

    After you’ve all finished your designs for Cluedo, I want a detailed 100,000 word thesis on a Monopoly remix.

    I’ll unveil mine on Boxing Day (I’m currently 20000 words in), but not until each and every one of you have uploaded yours to my personal RapidShare account.

    GO!

  30. Ballisticsfood says:

    I haven’t got the time (or the cluedo set) to work out a full ruleset on my own, but a game with each player trying to gain superiority over the house by unleashing various asymmetrical creatures/monsters would be quite cool.

    Professor Plum has unleashed a Poltergeist in the library. Colonel Mustard’s werewolf is now being pelted to death by books moving at ballistic speeds. Wait… Who put Cthulhu in the kitchen? That’s just unhygienic!

    • Wulf says:

      Bah. Books fired at ballistic speeds wouldn’t hurt any werewolf worth their salt, and my WoD wolves should know with all they’ve had to endure, which is far, far worse.

      It’d take something much less to be hurt by ballistic books. A wereshrew, maybe.

      Regardless, this completely useless comment is all I have to add to this thread, barring The Ship-based idea that I mumbled on about earlier.

  31. DJ Phantoon says:

    Obviously, the game should be attempting to murder the guy yours- oh wait that’s Kill Doctor Lucky.

  32. TooNu says:

    Oh and yea, this is a great idea :) Most great ideas come from Glasgow.

  33. Premium User Badge

    Andy_Panthro says:

    Already done this.

    It was science-based, and involved a university building, equipment and staff.

    Hand made no less!

    Only played it once though, I don’t think anyone else in my group of friends was quite as enthusiastic as I was about it.

  34. Ben says:

    I think it would be incredibly hilarious to develop a Rocky Horror Picture Show themed spinoff, where you’re either trying to retain your virginity (for the most possible points) or else score as many notches as possible (where the max would still be less than a virgin score). Seduction rolls vs chastity roles, and the weapons would just be single use for warding off a lustful suitor.

    I’m just not sure what sort of message that would send though :-p It’s all a bit too Freudian, but it could be funny if played for camp.

  35. Michael says:

    You should check out this site:

    link to rm7guy.co.uk

    which shows designs of all variants of the game. Any new rule set should be compatible with all versions.

  36. Paul Clarke says:

    If you want stream-lined Cluedo, just throw away the board (against the rules, I know) and the pawns, weapon tokens, and take turns guessing – you’d get all of the best parts of Cluedo in a fraction of the time. But that’s still not a game that I’d want to play.

    I really like hidden traitor games i.e. each player has a loyalty card and this could be integrated well with Cluedo. The Battlestar skill check mechanic (also seen in ‘The Resitance’) is IMO a very interesting mechanic because it allows sabotage, framing other players and uncertainty over who played what, who had access to certain card types (compared to what is needed). Who is the Cylon?

    Another thing to note about BSG is that it has a ‘map’, but the movement between locations is fairly easy. What matters is which destination you end up at and thus which actions you may perform. It is also important if that location gets damaged.

    I suggest integrating a deck of playing cards into the allowed components. These are a resource used to move around and also used for skill checks/sabotage. Each character draws from different suit decks.

    Wait, am I just designing an inferior version of Battlestar Galactica here?

    • Xercies says:

      Yes you’ve given me an idea now, basically the mansion is crumbling around you and you have to do various things around the board to stop it from happening, unfortunately a few of you are evil and want the mansion to fall on your head. You have to stop the mansion from crumbling by doing various jobs, maybe with a skill check machanic like Battlestar galactica, or I was thinking something to do with items.

      The tems are the key, some of them help and some of them hinder. You don’t know which ones help or hinder until you go to the actual location. So basically the “cylons” have to mask there going to a differnt location then the others. I think that would be very interesting actually.

  37. Devenger says:

    Toying with an idea… The players each have one character, and try to fufill their character’s various objectives, (three objective cards a player, or more if necessary) from stealing the host’s vintage wine to setting the host’s dress on fire to wrenching open the hidden safe in the conservatory – but notably, only one objective card actually involves murder. In a turn, characters can move a certain distance (double the distance if they don’t do anything but move and witness), do one thing (pick up a knife, or shred a precious painting with it), witness one event (what one character did as an action in the room they are in; each player gets a notebook for this), and trade witness notes with any other characters (any amount of their list of witnessed events at once) in the same room (casual chitter-chatter, obviously). Move and act might need to be different rounds but whatever.

    Once the host NPC is murdered, everyone is summoned to the hall to bear witness (though they’ll want to clean fingerprints off equipment on the way, not doing so bolsters the suspicion value of a crime). Players then claim their characters witnessed other character’s crimes (they can only claim they’ve witnessed things that their character either actually saw, or was told about face-to-face – anything they’ve been able to write down within the rules), and characters accrue ‘suspicion points’ for any claim that doesn’t have a counter-claim (you can counter-claim if you wrote down they were in a totally different room that turn, and thus transfer suspicion onto the accuser). More (supposed) witnesses mean more points for the crime witnessed.

    The winner is the character with the least suspicion points once everyone’s expended their witnessed events lists as far as they want to. (Win condition needs work methinks, integrate the assassin better, or just entirely remove them?) But I think there’s something intriguing about a whodunnit where the players know exactly who really did it, but are actually just trying to save their own skin anyway, and can’t use any information beyond the scope of their character’s knowledge. Perhaps the best players would trade convenient forgetfulness amongst each other.

    Okay, sorry for wall of text. This has just really captured my imagination. Critique/insults welcome. Thanks Robert for the classy challenge :D

    • Octacon100 says:

      I dig it, It’s like “Spyparty” meets “Host a Murder” or somesuch. People have to act out their parts, while proving they didn’t kill someone.

    • sinister agent says:

      I started from a similar point, with each player having a role to fulfill. It makes sense, particularly given the fairly iconic character pieces that serve no functional purpose in game. I like the ‘gathering in the study for accusation time’ part – I didn’t think of that.

    • Chris D says:

      Great idea. Presumably you’d also want to integrate whether you achieve your objectives or not into the win condition, otherwise you’d just play it safe and not do anything. That would also allow you to balance risk/reward for actions which could be useful for the player who has to carry out the murder.

      Definitely worth taking this one further.

  38. Octacon100 says:

    I think I just realised why it’s so easy for video game companies to just churn out sequels. Board games don’t even churn out sequels, they just re-brand the board. Most families just buy the standard boardgames too (monopoly, cluedo, etc) it’s just human nature to choose something similar. The reason complicated board games don’t strike it big is that people need to learn the game. Anyone have a board game that made them cry? Because of the game, and not because someone stabbed you in the back battlestar galactica styles?

    • Devenger says:

      Not personally. I’m interested by the idea that some boardgames may be able to, though. A slightly unusual example is the very high-concept experiment, Brenda Brathwaite’s Train., that caused a whole spectrum of reactions in players (link to destructoid.com is a good article on it, but there are many more articles around). I’m quite surprised that it was possible to have a game tap into those sorts of feelings at all; in a way, it gives me a lot of hope for the future of game design, even though I’m not in the league of designers who can achieve such unusual and extreme results with games.

  39. Gap Gen says:

    Rainbow Six, obviously.

  40. Chris D says:

    Random Thoughts Part 2

    I mentioned this to a friend this evening and she asked “If Cluedo’s not very good how come it’s so popular?”

    This seemed a fair point so I figured it was worth thinking about what works and what doesn’t.

    The baby:

    1. Theme. This, in my opinion is what accounts for it’s popularity. Boardgame reviews are few and far between, people who read them? Possibly fewer, but “There’s been a murder, you have to find out whodunnit.” is familiar to almost everyone and quite intriguing.

    2. Mechanics that reflect the theme. You do actually have to put the clues together and analyze the evidence. To an extent you are actually being a detective when you play Cluedo.

    3. Roleplaying. While the concept of playing a character is one that I’d guess all of us here are familiar with it’s still unusual in mainstream boardgames. In Cluedo you’re not just red or purple, you’re Miss Scarlet or Professor Plum, and maybe you did it. Admittedly this is as minimal as roleplaying gets but it still puts you on the board rather than above it, watching the action.

    The bathwater

    1. Redundancy. The central idea is good but in trying to capture the feeling of actually being there they added a bunch of elements which just obscure the central part of the game. As I mentioned before, moving around the board doesn’t really serve any purpose other than dragging things out. There’s also no point in the weapon pieces, they don’t actually have any function in the game at all.

    2. Too passive. The central part of the game is putting the clues together and making deductions. While you get to ask some questions most of the time it’s somebody else doing it. It’s like doing a logic puzzle, which I think work better as actual puzzles rather than a game mechanic.

    3. Too much luck. Roll low for a couple of turns and you’re playing with less information than everyone else. Pick up the critical clues at the start and you have an advantage. Luck is fine in moderation but there should be a way to overcome it with good play.

    So it might be for our Cluedo remix that we could keep the theme and allow players to still actually play detective but make what happens on the board more relevant to the action, giving the players meaningful choices there rather than just in what to ask next.

    You might want a stronger movement system and more reason to be in a specific room rather than just making an accusation. Perhaps more use of the weapon pieces. For me personally the different characters are just crying out for special abilities.

    You could keep the deduction element but you might want to make it less of a puzzle and more of a game.

    Alternatively you could do something completely different.

    • Vinraith says:

      Ensuring #3 is the purpose of #1. That is, ensuring that the game is heavily weighted towards random outcomes it the entire purpose of the game board. This is a family game, the skill levels of the various players are going to vary wildly. The luck element is there to ensure that everyone wins now and again, not just the players that are actually good at the deductive reasoning part of the game. For those of us that are good at the deductive end of things, and enjoy that element, this can be very frustrating. Conversely, that everyone has a chance to win is part of the reason that the game is so popular.

      Games like this aren’t really about winning or losing, and they’re certainly not about the most skilled player winning the day, they’re an excuse to sit down together and do something together as a family that everyone will enjoy to a reasonable degree. This overall aim of the game design is rather alien to those of us that play games as a hobby.

    • Chris D says:

      @Vinraith

      Interesting. You’re saying that as far as the original designers were concerned the luck’s not a bug, it’s a feature?

      I see the logic in that, in the same way that if you’re with the right people you don’t need a fancy meal you can have a good time sharing frozen pizza. On the other hand it seems that even if you just want an excuse to get the family together it seems a shame to play a mediocre game when you could be playing a good one.

      My assumption was that we were approaching this as designing a game that we’d like to play as more serious gamers but it might also be an interesting exercise to come up with a game that the whole family could enjoy and each have a chance of winning but still be based on a reasonable degree of skill.

      I also think that designing a game with a high degree of luck underestimates children. Most kids are competitive and will get bored by a game if they feel they have no control over whether they win or lose.

    • sinister agent says:

      Vinraith makes an excellent point, which I’m sorry to say I hadn’t even considered. It’s easy to forget that most people who come here are likely to take games in most forms quite seriously, whereas the idea of light-hearted games like this is somewhat at odds with that attitude.

      It’s certainly something I will take on board (oho!) when looking over my ideas later. Cheers!

    • Vinraith says:

      I also think that designing a game with a high degree of luck underestimates children. Most kids are competitive and will get bored by a game if they feel they have no control over whether they win or lose.

      Two things about that. First, clearly the trick is to make it LOOK like skill is a major element of the game, or almost everyone’s liable to get bored. In the case of clue, there’s a certain satisfaction to be had in having solved the mystery, even if you lose the race to be able to actually make the winning statement. There’s value in that, as the more skilled players at least “lose” knowing they could have won if not for that pesky die roll.

      Second, it’s not just kids that motivate this kind of design. Family games get played with the elderly, kids, and a wide variety of adults. Some people just aren’t good at games, some people aren’t remotely competitive and don’t invest themselves, going to some lengths to level the playing field so that grandma, junior, and your less-than-clever cousin Fred all feel like they have a chance has to be the central goal of any family game designer. Most games that you and I would consider “good” will never meet that design goal, so I think a different definition of what “good” is might be in order for this particular genre.

      Ultimately, I find Clue enjoyable enough as such things go. There are few family games that hold my attention for long, and among that particular genre I’d actually argue Clue’s one of the more entertaining. As mentioned, even if the die screw me over, I can at least have a bit of fun trying to figure things out without worrying whether I technically “won” or not.

    • Chris D says:

      @Vinraith

      I take your point about not everyone not being competitive, although I wonder if in that case we should be seeing more games with a cooperative mechanic. There’s still something for the more thoughtful players to think about and the less competitive ones can still contribute to the team effort even if their tasks are simpler. Also if you’re primarily looking for something as a bonding experience then working together for a common goal seems more appropriate than a half hearted competition.

      I also wonder if designing board games for people who don’t want to play is a productive route to go down. I can accept accessibilty as important, and also that everyone has a good time, but presumably that should mean there should be something for the people who actually want to play a game as well. Another approach is to make losing as much fun as winning. One of the games that goes down well with non gamers is Robo-Rally. Because going off in the opposite direction and crashing into a pit is hilarious and you can still be a part of things, but there’s also enough of a game there to keep more serious players interested.

      I guess I’m not trying to say “You’re wrong” so much as “You may well be right but we can still do better.”

    • Vinraith says:

      @Chris

      I guess I’m not trying to say “You’re wrong” so much as “You may well be right but we can still do better.”

      It was not my intention to suggest otherwise. I agree that, for the kind of game we’re talking about, cooperative mechanics make more sense. I certainly agree that the whole thing can be done better, and result in better games. I was simply trying to explain what I think the philosophy behind games like Clue is.

      And yeah, I also agree there are games out there right now that are better for this sort of purpose. Quite a few Euro games embrace the “cooperative” aspect as discussed, largely solving the problem of varying skill levels while leaving a meaningful game to be played. And yeah, Robo Rally is great, in part because it’s one of those games that’s as much fun to watch as it is to play.

    • Michael says:

      There was a documentary series about British games on BBC4 recently. In that, someone suggested that in an ideal game, the winner should feel like they won through skill while the looser should feel like they lost through bad luck. That’s a property that vanilla Cluedo definitely possesses and one I think we should aim to preserve.

  41. Jacka says:

    My memory of Cluedo and knowledge of boardgames in general are both a little limited, but I have a vague, half formed idea that may be of some value to someone with the smarts to actually attempt this comp.

    My game is a treasure hunt of sorts. There’s treasure hidden in a random room in the Manor. There’s a hiding spot in each of the rooms that’ll require the use of a particular item to open. The specifics don’t really mater, but perhaps the revovlver can be used to shoot open a specific lock or some such. The game may even work better if the players are required to use a couple of the items on each hiding place.

    At the beginning of the game the weapons are situated around the board as they are as usual. Movement probably works as it does in regular Cluedo. Players move to a room to pick up an item. If another player is able to meet them in the room they may battle, resulting in the loser being briefly knocked unconscious. The winner is able to loot whatever items the loser is carrying.

    The game continues with players breaking into the hiding places until the one with the treasure is discovered.

    How’s that sound?

    • Chris D says:

      It has potential. You might want to look at ways of implementing the treasure so it’s less of a lucky dip. With one treasure you could theoretically win on the first turn, or a player might break into ten hiding places and get nothing while another finds it after three.

      One way might be to have a treasure in each room and each room requires a different weapon to unlock it but you don’t know which. You’d need a certain number to win. That might make it more likely that the person who opens the most hiding places will win.

      There’s also the possibilty of it turning into one huge scrap but that might not necessarily be a bad thing, depending on your point of view.

      If you’re interested in doing it you should run with it. I think learning as we go is kind of the point.

    • sinister agent says:

      If you’re interested in doing it you should run with it. I think learning as we go is kind of the point.

      I second this. Earlier I read this and had a vague idea, but thought I wouldn’t bother as I don’t know what I’m doing. Now, I’ve been drawing up ideas for it for ages, and I think I could really be onto something. I’ve certainly enough to at least contribute a lot to someone else’s game, and I’m sure you’ll find yourself in the same position if you go for it.

  42. James Wallis says:

    I hate to bring this up, Rob, but are you aware of the Boardgame Remix Kit, a book/ebook/iphone app of new, alternate, variant and madcap rules-sets for Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble and Cluedo? Announced this Wednesday just gone by London games developers Hide & Seek, for release in early December? You do use the word ‘remix’ six times in the article, and it seems like one hell of a coincidence.

    • James says:

      Rob, you naughty boy. You’re supposed to tell people when you get an idea from somewhere, there’s no shame in that.

      Naughty!

    • Robert Florence says:

      Hadn’t heard of that. Sounds good though! I’d imagine there’s no print and play aspect to that app, though, which will be a limitation.

  43. Martha Stuart says:

    I don’t mean to be a Negitive Nancy here but WTF is Cluedo. I might be a dumb yank but in english Cluedo isn’t even a word. i have played the game CLUE and its called CLUE because you find CLUES but whats is, and how do you find a CLUEDO?

    • Vinraith says:

      I assume it’s a pun off of “Ludo.”

    • Tore says:

      I believe that in non-english speaking countries, it’s called Cluedo. At least that’s the case here in Sweden. Hell, we even had a game show on TV game show version of Cluedo where people were allowed to call in who they thought were guilty, and then a cast enacted it all. Oh Martin Timell, how you have fallen.

      Versions of Cluedo, for reference:

    • MrEvilGuy says:

      That’s a shitlaod of them

    • Nick says:

      Its calld Cluedo because thats what the creater named it.

  44. sigma83 says:

    I made a remixed Battleship last year. Each class of ship had abilities, and you had actions per turn, including movement. Dunno if it were any good no one would play it with me

  45. thebigJ_A says:

    I’ve got an Idea for a new version of Cluedo!

    First rule, you can only play it in America.

    Second rule, take of the “do”!

    WTF does it have a “D” and an “O” at the end for, Euros?? How do you even pronounce that? “Cloo-doh”? “Cloo-doo”? What on earth is a cloodoo?\

    It’s called Clue. And it’s a shit game for 8 year olds.

    My point is, I’m mad because I fairly recently threw my beat up old copy out because it wasted space for 15 years. Now an actual use for it comes along, great.

    • Shadowcat says:

      AFAIK, the game is called Cluedo as a riff on Ludo. I believe that they changed the name when they marketed it in the US, because not very many Americans have heard of Ludo.

    • dobber says:

    • Nick says:

      ludo being latin.

  46. spinks says:

    Not sure if anyone has seen this, but this is a link to a Zombie Mansion reworking of Cluedo.

  47. pkt-zer0 says:

    Hmm, the setup of The Thing could make for an interesting murder-mystery type game. Never played Cluedo though, so that’s all I’ve got.

  48. James Hutchings says:

    Some ideas for themes:

    A haunted house – ghost-hunters vs ghosts, or rival ghosts.

    A Diplomacy-style game set in a share house. Get and hold the good bedroom to win.

    A reality TV show. Diplomacy as above, plus standing in front of the cameras to get more screen time. Perhaps screen time is points, but makes you more likely to be noticed by the audience and therefore voted out. There could be a mechanism where un-noticed players do well in the early rounds, but less well as there are less people.

    A swingers’ party, where the object is to get into groups which fit your particular needs. For example a heterosexual man in a room with lots of heterosexual women, and few heterosexual men, might get a lot of points. One room might allow you to get a snack and replenish your energy.