Clue Master Detective Board Game Review

How to Play | My Thoughts | Final Verdict | Comments

How to Play

Since Clue Master Detective is very similar to the original Clue, if you are familiar with how to play Clue the two main differences with Clue Master Detective can be found in the “Snoop Spaces” and “Making A Suggestion” sections.

Set Up

To begin the game sort all of the cards into their corresponding group (people, weapons, rooms). Shuffle each group separately and take one card from each group and place it into the case file folder. Then shuffle all of the remaining cards together and deal all of them out to the players.

The object of Clue Master Detective is to determine who killed Mr. Body with what weapon and in which room. This information corresponds to the three cards put into the case file folder.

When each player gets their cards they cross off the corresponding spots on their detective note sheet since if they have the card it can not be in the case file folder. After everyone has crossed off their cards, the game begins. All of the pawns are placed into the cloakroom space and each player rolls the dice to determine who goes first.

Movement

On a player’s turn they roll the dice to determine how many spaces they may move their pawn. When moving you can only move vertically or horizontally (not diagonally). You may never move onto the same space twice during a turn and you may not land on a space occupied by another player. When in a room with a secret passage, you may use one of your movement spaces to move to the room on the other side of the secret passage. Players can move through a room towards another room if they don’t make a suggestion. Moving through a room counts as one movement space.

Snoop Spaces

One of the new features in Clue Master Detective are “Snoop Spaces”. On the game board there is a magnifying glass on some of the spaces. These spaces are called snoop spaces. If a player lands on or moves through a snoop space they get to look at one of the other players’ cards. The player randomly draws a card and looks at it and then returns it after making any desired notation on their detective sheet. If the player still has spaces to move they can continue to move their piece after “snooping”.

Clue Master Detective Snoop Space

The green player has landed on a snoop space. The green player is able to look at one card from another player.

Making A Suggestion

When you enter a room you have to opportunity to make a suggestion. You use suggestions to get information out of the other players. When you make a suggestion you need to use the room that you are in for the room element. You can pick any weapon and person. The token for the weapon you chose and the pawn for the person you chose are moved to the room that you are in. The pawn and weapon remain in the room after your suggestion is resolved.

Once you have made your suggestion (Ex. Mr. Green with the revolver in the Dining Room) the other players need to look through their cards to see if they have a card that corresponds to one of the items you suggested. Beginning with the player to the left, the player needs to show the suggesting player a card if it is one of the items mentioned. If the player has more than one of the cards asked for, they get to decide which card they want to show the player. If the player doesn’t have any of the cards, they don’t show any to the current player. Unlike the original Clue, even if the first player showed a card to the current player all of the other players must show a card to the current player if they have one of the cards suggested.

Clue Master Detective Gameplay

The green player has entered the dining room. The green player has chosen Professor Plum in the dining room with the revolver.

If none of the players give the current player a card, they have the option to immediately make an accusation during the same turn.

On the player’s next turn they may not make a suggestion in the same room that they did on the previous turn.

Making An Accusation

When you think you know which cards are in the case file folder, you may make an accusation. In Clue Master Detective you do not need to be in any particular room to make an accusation. When making an accusation you tell the other players your guess and then look at the cards in the case file folder (only the player who made the accusation looks at the cards). If the player guessed correctly they reveal the cards to the other players and they win the game. If they are wrong they put the cards back into the case file folder without telling anyone what cards were in it. The player can no longer win the game but they still show cards to the other players during suggestions.

Clue Master Detective Accusation

The green player made the suggestion of Professor Plum in the dining room with the revolver. It turns out that was the correct answer so the green player won the game.

My Thoughts

The classic game of Clue has seen many versions over the years. The original Clue is always being re-released. In addition there have been quite a few re-skins of the game for different themes, and there have even been spinoffs of the series. Clue Master Detective would most likely be considered a spin-off of Clue. Created in 1988, Clue Master Detective actually improves on the original version of Clue.

Clue Master Detective, like the original, is a pretty basic deduction game. By making suggestions, you gather information from the other players which eliminates people, weapons and rooms that were part of the crime. Players roll the dice, move around the board making suggestions as they narrow down the suspect list. Eventually one player will have narrowed down the list of possibilities enough that they can make a correct accusation and win the game.

With Clue being a classic game that pretty much everyone has played at least once, most people already have a strong opinion of the game. A lot of people love the game while others don’t like it because it relies too heavily on luck and is not strategic enough. I would consider myself a fan of the game but I can also see its’ flaws. What I like about the game is that it is easy to learn but also contains a decent amount of strategy. Anyone can play Clue but good deduction skills and a good strategy will help you play the game better. First when making suggestions players need to take advantage of using some of their own cards when making suggestions. If you always just guess cards that you don’t have, you may be able to check things off quickly but you are also giving valuable information to your opponents. You need to suggest some of your own cards in order to throw off your opponents. With some of the new rules (that I will get to later) this is even more important than in the original clue.

You also need to be observant of your opponents. Based on the suggestions and cards that your opponents get, you can make some good observations of what cards other players have without actually even seeing them. This could either lead you towards or away from suspects.

While I have always liked Clue, I will admit that there is quite a bit of luck in the game. Obviously the dice rolling will always add luck to the game. If you roll better than the other players you will get to move to more rooms. This will allow you to make more suggestions which will likely get you more information than the other players. If you roll worse you will get less opportunities to make suggestions and you have to rely more on making a lucky guess at some point.

The cards you get at the beginning of the game could also have a big effect on your game. Based on how the game is set up some players may get less cards to start the game. The distribution of cards that you get at the beginning of the game can also have an impact on the game. Generally I want to get as many room cards as I can since rooms are always the hardest to cross off your list for two reasons. First there are more rooms than the other elements. You also can guess any person or any weapon in any room but you can only guess the room that you are currently in. Therefore your ability to cross off rooms is dependent on the roll of the die.

Finally luck can have an impact on a player based on other players always picking their character during a suggestion. Since the player’s pawn moves to the room where the suggestion is made, a player that everyone suspects will be moved all over the board. This could really mess up a players’ game since they may have no choice on what rooms they can make suggestions in. Since the room element is the hardest to determine this makes the situation even worse for the player.

Clue can also run a little long at times. Unless someone makes a lucky guess, games will generally take at least an hour. This makes the game drag on at times. I have never played the game with more than four players but I wonder how long a ten player game would last.

The biggest problem with Clue though is that the game was a potential fatal flaw. Clue can be totally ruined if a player makes a mistake. If a player either lies and doesn’t show a card when they have it or if a player just messes up and doesn’t show a card when they are supposed to, it will ruin the game since a player will then be sent down the wrong path and it will mess up their entire game. Unfortunately there is no way to fix this problem.

Clue Master Detective has a couple new additions to the classic version of Clue. These differences include:

  • There are more rooms, people, and weapons in the game. Three rooms, four people, and two weapons have been added to the game.
  • The snoop spaces have been added to the game.
  • When making a suggestion, all players that have one of the cards that you are asking for must show you a card.
  • You can move through rooms (counting them as one space) while moving towards another room.

The most obvious difference between Master Detective and the original Clue is the additional people, rooms and weapons in the game. Having more rooms, people and weapons makes the game longer and a little harder since you need to work through more possible scenarios before finding the final solution. It also changes the dynamics of the game since the percentage of cards that are rooms has decreased slightly. I like this change mostly because it makes the game more strategic.

I found the snoop spaces to be okay. Personally I don’t think they have much impact on the outcome of the game. Most likely you will either randomly draw a card you already know about or the benefit gained will be lost when the card is revealed again during a suggestion. While they don’t really help a lot, I like the inclusion of snoop spaces since they help limit the penalty for rolling a low number. Since the snoop spaces are spread out, with almost any number that you roll you can either reach a room or a snoop space so on every turn you have at least a chance of getting some information.

The additional rules regarding movement through rooms were needed additions due to the game board being larger. These rules were necessary in order to keep the game to a decent length.

The most controversial rule change regards making suggestions. Over at Board Game Geek some people like the new rules while others hate them. For the most part I like the new rules. Making all players reveal a card that matches the suggestion has a much larger implication on the game than you would think. For example if three cards are shown during a suggestion, all of the players now know that those three cards can be crossed off. In this situation the player making the suggestion gains no additional information over the other players. A lot of people don’t like this situation since it helps out the other players too much.

My counterargument to this is that this new rule makes it even more important that you include some of your own cards in your suggestions. If you include one of your own cards in your suggestion, this situation can never occur. This new rule was likely added in order to speed up the game since with more cards the game was going to take longer to play. I also think the rule makes the game more strategic. You need to think through your suggestions in order to maximize how much information you gain while minimizing how much information your opponents receive on your turn. I think this adds a unique element to the game that wasn’t present in the original Clue.

Overall I liked the components of Clue Master Detective. I liked the larger board which has very nice artwork. The metal weapon pieces look nice even though I question their importance to the game. The wood pawns are nice. With ten different people though some of the pawns’ colors tend to blend together. There are a couple pawns in particular that look very similar.

Since almost everyone has played the game Clue at some point in their lives, most people already have their own opinion on the game. If you like Clue, you will like Clue Master Detective. If you don’t like Clue you won’t like Clue Master Detective.

Final Verdict

I have always liked the game Clue and in my opinion Clue Master Detective is better in almost every way over the original game. Clue Master Detective doesn’t make drastic changes to the original but adds some additional mechanics that make the game better. Since the game is so similar to the original, your opinion of Clue Master Detective will likely depend on your opinion of the original. If you are not a fan of the original you won’t be a fan of Master Detective. If you really liked the original Clue, you are likely to really like Master Detective. Since it is not a lot different than the original game though, I would maybe consider waiting for a good deal on the game since at the time of this post the game is somewhat expensive.

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  1. We have altered the Master Detective version of Clue to virtually eliminate luck from the equation. A} We put two extra cards (unknown as to whether person, room, or weapon) into the Mr. Body envelope. Another card of unknown type goes into an envelope we have labeled “Secret Room”. A player may make his way into this room (we use the cloakroom) and examine this card only after visiting at least two other “rooms” on the board. In addition, to help reduce “luck” even more, we place facedown three unknown cards. These can be examined (only one at a time) on a turn when a player gets “stuck” between rooms. So the accuser must properly identify FIVE cards, rather than three; and the two extra could be either people, rooms, or weapons. Playing “Clue:Master Detective” this way never gets old

    • Those sound like really interesting house rules. The next time I play Clue/Clue Master Detective I think I will try them out.

      Eric