Directions for Playing a Live Game of Clue

By Shea Laverty
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Live-action games of Clue blend the classic board game and murder mystery parties, giving both a familiar but different spin. So long as the game adheres to the general rules of Clue, there's no end to the variables and twists you can add to your game. The following directions are more of a guideline to get your whodunit off to a good start -- the rest is up to your imagination.

Number of Players

You'll need a minimum of seven players: one each to play the game's suspects and one game master to control the flow of the game and guard the game's solution. For larger parties, you can divide everyone into teams corresponding to the suspects, like "Team Mustard" or "Team Green." You may need multiple game masters, depending on the number of people playing.

Required Equipment and Locations

Your Clue game will also need locations. You'll need a building with at least nine rooms representing the locations in the classic game. You'll also need a full set of Clue cards detailing suspects, weapons and locations, notepads and pens for keeping information gleaned from suggestions, and props or items representing the murder weapons. An envelope for hiding the game's solution is also a necessity.

Game Preparation

The teams or suspects should be distinguished from one another by some means such as costumes, pins or color-coded name tags. The game master breaks the Clue cards into three individually shuffled decks: suspects, weapons and locations. Selecting one card from each deck, the cards are put into an envelope and sealed until the end of the game. The remaining cards are shuffled together and divided evenly between the players or teams. Game masters should be well-versed in the rules and ready to guide players through gameplay, especially if any special rules are in play.

Game Flow

Game flow depends on the number of players: small games with one person per suspect can be free-form, while larger gatherings will require a turn-based structure, wherein each team starts in one location and rotates through the others during the game.

Miss Scarlet's player or team picks a room first, followed in order by Colonel Mustard, Mrs. White, Mr. Green, Mrs. Peacock and Professor Plum. As each player/team gets a turn in a room, they make suggestions as to the crime's solution, consisting of a suspect, weapon and location. If one of the other players/teams has a Clue card contradicting their suggestion, they should raise their hand. The suggesting player selects one of the others to present one of their contradicting Clue cards as evidence, ideally by whispering it into their ear to protect the secret from others. The turn then passes to the next player in order.

The game is won when someone's suggestion or accusation can't be contradicted. Incorrect accusations end the game for the player, who from then on can only contradict suggestions with their Clue cards. Correct accusations end the game for everyone, as the mystery's solution has been revealed.

Fun Embellishments

Live-action games of Clue lend themselves to dramatic embellishments for flair. For example, every suspect can be assigned a secret or back story the others can discover via clues. All players can come dressed as their respective suspect, while game masters can dress up as butlers and maids. You can also invent new characters, add locations and weapons, and come up with extra objectives and plots.