Originally released back in 1949 Clue/Cluedo is generally considered a board game classic. Most people have probably played some version of the game at least once in their life. The game has been a hit for the company for decades after all. Because of this, it is not surprising that there have been a number of spinoff games based around Clue released over the years. Among these are a number of card games including Clue Suspect which was released back in 2010. In theory the idea of a Clue Card Game makes a lot of sense. Eliminating the board and roll and move mechanics to focus on the deduction mechanics is a good idea. The Clue Card Game streamlines and improves upon the original Clue in some ways, while making the game worse in others.
At its core the Clue Card Game is basically the same as the original game. You are still tasked with figuring out who committed the crime, with what weapon, and where. It does differ from the original game by eliminating the gameboard and roll and move mechanics. You just have to focus on the deduction mechanics. Players still take turns asking questions about suspects, weapons and locations. If a player has a card corresponding to what was asked, they will show it to the other player. The one main difference is that you can only ask about two things instead of three like in the original game. Basically all of the players are competing to be the first to figure out the solution to the case.
If you would like to see the complete rules/instructions for the game, check out our Clue Card Game (2018) how to play guide.
I don’t know how to describe my feelings towards the original Clue. In theory the game deserves a lot of credit. It likely was the first ever mass produced deduction game. Thus most deduction games of today owe a debt to Clue for defining the genre over 70 years ago. For a game that old there are still good elements in place. Games have improved upon the formula since, but at its most basic level there is a good foundation for a deduction game. It is fun trying to piece together the solution from asking the other players questions. The game has its share of issues though. One of the main ones being the roll and move mechanics dictating how you move around the board. This mostly just adds luck to the game while making the game take longer than it needed to.
This is one of the things that intrigued me the most about a Clue Card Game. Instead of wasting time on moving around a board, you could focus on figuring out the mystery. This is in essence what Clue is supposed to be about. There have been a number of Clue card games released over the years. One of these was Clue Suspect which I mentioned earlier. Outside of utilizing different suspects, weapons, and locations; the Clue Card Game released in 2018 is basically the same game as Clue Suspect.
The Clue Card Game successfully streamlines the original game into what is most important. You just ask questions to receive information about the solution to the case. In many ways this plays a lot like the original game. The Clue Card Game does simplify the mystery as there aren’t as many options. Otherwise there is no significant difference to this element of the game.
If you enjoy the deduction element of the original game, I see no reason why this would differ in the card game. It is still fun trying to figure out the mystery. There is luck involved as asking the right question can be the difference between winning and losing. The game eliminates all of the luck from the original game that came with rolling and moving though. There is strategy as well since there are ways to increase your odds of winning the game. It is not the deepest deduction game, but it is fun enough if you want a simpler game from the genre.
With streamlining the game to just the deduction mechanics, it is not surprising that the game plays quite a bit quicker. While the original game could take 30 minutes to an hour, the Clue Card Game will likely only around 10-20 minutes. I generally think this is a good thing for the game as it doesn’t overstay its welcome. The game is fast enough that it can work well as a filler game. You can quickly play a game when you don’t have much time, or you can play a quick rematch without it taking too long. The game serves this role especially with its considerably smaller package than the original game.
I appreciate the shorter length, but it comes at a cost. The mystery in the Clue Card Game is actually smaller/simpler than the original game. In the original game there is six suspects, six weapons, and nine locations. In the card game there are six suspects, four weapons, and five locations. One of the weapons and two of the locations are even reserved for the advanced game. With there not being nearly as many options, the mystery is smaller in scope. You will naturally solve it quicker and there is less deduction in the game. I am not entirely sure why the game had to streamline the case itself. I think the game would have been fine utilizing as many options as the original game.
To make up for having less options, the game does make one small tweak to the original gameplay. In the original game you are able to ask about one suspect, weapon, and location each turn. In the Clue Card Game you only get to ask about two things, but you can ask about two things of the same type. You wouldn’t think this would change the gameplay all that much. It does occasionally lead you to receiving more information from other players’ clues than you normally would though. For example another player asks about two cards. Another player before you shows them one of their cards. If you have the other card that the player asked about, you now know that the other player has the other card that the player asked about. This is kind of interesting as you can use this to your advantage.
There are things that I liked about the Clue Card Game. It does improve upon the original game in some areas. The game has its own issues though.
Outside of the mystery being simpler, the other big problem that I had with the game had to deal with the Case File cards. Basically the game gets rid of the detective sheets and replaces them with cards. To note that you have eliminated an option, you discard that card from your hand. This makes sense, but I think it makes the game more complicated than it needed to be.
You basically have to juggle two sets of cards at the same time. This can lead to players sometimes making a mistake if they mix the two types of cards up. On top of that I kind of liked the detective sheets from the original game. Having the detective sheets allowed you to write down notes. This allowed you to gather more information from other players’ turns and sometimes your own. With the cards this isn’t really an option. In a way it feels like the game relies on a little more luck due to this. I kind of wish the game just kept the detective sheets instead of the Case File cards.
As for the components you basically get what you would expect. You get a set of Evidence cards, and each player gets their own set of Case File cards. The card quality is pretty typical. The artwork is nice but nothing special. Basically the components do their job, but not much more.
I honestly have mixed feelings about the Clue Card Game. I don’t know if I would say it is better or worse than the original game. The elimination of the gameboard/roll and move mechanics is an improvement as it get rid of some luck from the game. The streamlined gameplay also makes the game play quicker. This for the most part is an improvement. It does lead to the mystery being simpler though. There just aren’t as many options which allows you to solve the case quicker. Replacing the detective sheets with cards can sometimes add some confusion to the game while also preventing you from taking notes. Ultimately I don’t know if the benefits outweigh the negatives.
As for recommendations, your feelings towards the game will depend heavily on your feelings towards the original Clue. The gameplay is in essence the same after all. If you have never cared for Clue, I see no reason why the card game would change that. As for fans of the original game, it really depends on if you want to play a more streamlined Clue. If that sounds interesting to you, I think it might be worth picking up the Clue Card Game.
Clue Card Game
Year: 2018 | Publisher: Hasbro | Designer: NA | Artist: NA
Genres: Card, Deduction
Ages: 8+ | Number of Players: 3-4 | Length of Game: 10-20 minutes
Difficulty: Light | Strategy: Light | Luck: Moderate
Components: 1 Crime card, 15 Evidence cards, 4 sets of Case File cards, 2 Reminder cards, 6 Character Profile Cards
- Eliminates the gameboard which gets rid of the luck from the roll and move mechanic.
- Streamlines and speeds up the original game.
- Simplifies the mystery too much where it is too easy to solve.
- The game would have been better if it just kept the detective sheets instead of the Case File cards.
Recommendation: For fans of the original Clue that want a more streamlined version of the game.