Skip to Content

Clue (Board Game): How To Play & Rules – 14 Things You Need To Know

Last Updated on January 25, 2024 by Gamesver Team and JC Franco

Anthony E. Pratt dreamed up the original concept of Clue, and in 1944 he applied for a patent for his murder/mystery-themed board game. He then sold the patent to Waddingtons’, who renamed the game from Murder! to Cluedo, launching the game in 1949. At the same time, a United States company owned by the Parker Brothers licensed the game and published it as Clue.

The game Clue is best played with 3 – 6 players ages 8 and up. The board game’s design is that of a mansion, and the game requires its players to strategize, reason, and think to solve the mystery of who murdered the host, Dr. Black (UK) or Mr. Boddy (USA), and in which room and with what weapon.

Murder, mystery, and intrigue are the names of the game. If you wish to play this game correctly to solve the case properly, you must follow some basic but essential rules. Let’s look at 14 things you need to know before undertaking a game of Clue.

1. The Clue Board And Equipment

The Clue game consists of the board, made up of nine different rooms. Six weapons and six characters: Miss Scarlett, Mrs. White, Mrs. Peacock, Mr. Green (Rev. Green in the UK), Professor Plum, and Colonel Mustard. 

There are also 21 cards, and each card represents one of the game’s components, one for each room (9 rooms), six characters, six murder weapons, a set of dice, a special envelope, and a detectives pad.

2. The Objective Of Clue

The game’s ultimate objective is correctly guessing the three cards located in the special envelope that give you the details of the murder of Mr. Boddy. Namely who the murderer is, which weapon they used, and in which room they committed the murder. 

3. Setting Up The Game

Shuffle the cards into their corresponding groups: rooms, suspects, and weapons. You can pick a card randomly from each group or select the card on top of the recently shuffled piles. Place your three chosen cards, one for each group, into the special envelope, ensuring that none of the players, yourself included, see which cards they are. Place the envelope where the spot is marked with an X.

Place your character pawns on their starting squares, matching the pieces to the squares marked with their names. You must place each character on the board even if there are not enough players for each. Randomly place each of the weapons in one of the rooms. It does not matter which room.

You can shuffle the rest of the cards together and deal them out clockwise to all the players until none remain. The number of cards each player has does not matter for this game. It will not affect the outcome. Ensure that none of the players see each other’s cards.

4. How To Move Around The Clue Board

Traditionally the person who is using Miss. Scarlett’s token gets to roll the dice first. The gameplay then passes to the person sitting to their left. Once you have rolled the dice, you can move your pawn as many times as is reflected. 

In one turn, you have the option to advance your pawn forwards, backward, horizontally, and vertically, although you may not move diagonally. You can change the direction of your pawn as many times as your throw will allow you, but you may not return to the same square twice in one turn, and you may not enter or occupy the same square as another player.

5. How To Enter And Exit A Room 

Roll the dice and use the number of moves acquired as a way to enter through a door. You do not count the door as a space when entering a room. Stop moving once you have entered the room, even if you still have moves left for your turn. You may not leave a room and then try to re-enter that same room in a single turn. 

You cannot enter a room if one of your opponents blocks the doorway. Your opponents might also trap you in a room. If this happens, you will have to wait until they move their pawn before being able to leave. 

6. Corner Room Secret Passages

You can also enter a room using a secret passage allocated in one of the corner rooms. These passages connect the rooms in opposite corners, and if you find yourself in one of these rooms at the beginning of your turn, you may opt to use this passageway instead of rolling the dice. Before moving through a passageway, announce your intention and move your pawn.

7. Making A Suggestion

Once you are in a room, you can suggest who you think has committed the murder and with what weapon. Making suggestions are an essential part of the game, allowing you to use the process of elimination to try to piece together which cards are in the special envelope. 

When making a suggestion, you will need to move your suspect and weapon into the room you are in. Then, you can go ahead and suggest a room, a suspect, and a weapon where you think the murder was committed.

8. Things To Remember When Making A Suggestion

There are four main things to remember when making a suggestion.

  • You need to be in the room you suggest the murder took place.
  • Consider all relevant information and all the pieces on the board as involved, including yourself and any characters not in active play.
  • No limit exists to the number of characters and weapons allowed in one room simultaneously.
  • Only one suggestion is allowed when entering a room. If you want to make another, you will need to go into a different room or have at least two turns before suggesting that room again.

9. Proving Your Suggestion Is Right Or Wrong

Once a suggestion has been made, it is up to the other players to disprove it. The player on the left-hand side of the accuser must look to see if they have one of the cards included in the suggestion. If they have one or more cards, they only need to show the accuser one card. If they do not have one of the suggested cards, the person to their left can attempt to prove the accuser wrong. 

You should indicate all cards that prove not to be in the special envelope on the detective pad. Once a player has demonstrated the accusation is incorrect, the next person in line may take their turn. If no one has disproved the suggestion, the player who made it may choose to make an accusation or pass their turn.

10. Making An Accusation

Once you believe you know which three cards are in the special envelope, you can make an accusation. On your next turn, say, “I accuse (Suspect) of committing the crime using (weapon) in the (room).” Once you have said this, you can open the envelope, ensuring no one else sees what is inside, and take a look at the cards. You do not need to be in the room in question to make an accusation. 

11. If Your Accusation Is Incorrect

If you are incorrect in your accusation, replace the cards in the special envelope. You will no longer be able to actively participate in the game except for showing your cards when another player makes a suggestion. Essentially you have now lost the game. If your pawn is blocking a doorway, you can move it out of the way and into a room.

12. If Your Accusation Is Correct

If you find that you are correct in your accusation and you have named each of the cards in the special envelope, you have won the game. Lay the cards on the board to show the rest of the payers.

13. Using Your Detectives Notepad

Using your notepad is a great way to track which cards are not in the special envelope. Many players find it beneficial to jot down the person’s initials who holds the card, enabling you to keep track of who has which cards.

14. Other Handy Information

Some other handy information:

  • You may not forfeit a turn. All players must throw the dice and take their turn.
  • If your pawn is moved into a room by another player while making a suggestion, you can opt not to throw the dice and instead make a suggestion when it is your turn.
  • You can include one of your cards when suggesting to confuse the other players.

In Closing

The board game Clue is a great way to use your detective skills and offers hours of fun. Perfect for friends and family groups to work the mind, with simple rules, this game enables the players to strategize, record, and make deductions while enjoying themselves.

+ posts

This article was co-authored by our team of in-house and freelance writers, and reviewed by our editors, who enjoy sharing their knowledge about their favorite games with others!

JC Franco
Editor | + posts

JC Franco serves as a New York-based editor for Gamesver. His interest for board games centers around chess, a pursuit he began in elementary school at the age of 9. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Mercyhurst University, JC brings a blend of business acumen and creative insight to his role. Beyond his editorial endeavors, he is a certified USPTA professional, imparting his knowledge in tennis to enthusiasts across the New York City Metropolitan area.