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[GR] Clue: the DVD Game

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  • Tom Vasel
    I ve never been a big fan of Clue, thinking that it is entirely too simple, with unnecessary luck (dice movement). I know that it s become a cultural icon,
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 7 7:12 AM
      I've never been a big fan of Clue, thinking that it is entirely too
      simple, with unnecessary luck (dice movement). I know that it's
      become a cultural icon, but I've found games such as Mystery of the
      Abbey better. Recently I tried the Clue card game, which was closer
      to what I was looking for, but I still found lacking. When I received
      Clue: the DVD (Hasbro/Parker Brothers, 2006 - designers uncredited)
      game, I was slightly wary at the mixing of electronics and board game
      - and as I said, I really wasn't fond of Clue to begin with. Upon
      reading the rules, however, I was hopeful, because the game sounded
      rather well done.

      And I must say that Clue: the DVD game is, in my opinion, the
      definitive form of Clue. It's much more enjoyable, giving me a
      challenge when playing. There is a "random" game that can be played,
      which is rather enjoyable; but it's the ten specific cases that are
      included on the DVD that make the game great. All of my problems with
      the original Clue game have been solved, and the DVD enhances the
      experience, rather than overwhelming it.

      In this version, there are ten suspects (with Prince Azure, Rusty,
      Mrs. Meadow-Brook, and Lady Lavender added to the original six),
      eleven locations (adding new ones like the Rose Garden), ten times
      (such as Dawn, Early Afternoon, and Dinner). No longer is poor Mr.
      Boddy murdered, but rather an item of his has been stolen. In the ten
      DVD cases, there are also ten items (spyglass, gold pen, medal, etc.)
      that can possibly be stolen. Each player is given a clue sheet that
      has all the possibilities listed thereon, and a pencil.

      The following rules all apply to the preset games on the DVD:

      The DVD is played and gives specific instructions on how to set up
      that particular game. One of each of the four categories (suspect,
      location, time, and item) is placed in an envelope, using a red
      "reader" and locating symbols on the backsides of the cards. This way
      no player knows what cards are in the envelope, but the DVD does. The
      remainder of the item cards are placed in a pile near the board, while
      the other three categories are shuffled into one large deck and dealt
      out to all the other players evenly (extra cards are placed face up in
      the middle of the table for all to see). Each player controls one
      character that starts in the middle of the board in the Evidence Room.
      The other eleven rooms on the board are attached to this room and
      each other via paths. One player goes first, with play passing
      clockwise around the table.

      On a player's turn, they first move to an adjacent location, then
      take one of five options. When moving, a player simply follows a
      walkway that connects two rooms. If a player is in a room containing
      a secret passageway, they may attempt to traverse to the corresponding
      room. The player clicks the secret passageway option on the DVD, and
      they are told if they are successful or not, and/or if anything else
      happens.

      After moving, a player may make a suggestion. They simply name three
      of the four things that they think make up the solution to the robbery
      (i.e. Rusty in the Conservatory at Noon). A player may name any three
      things; but if they name a location, they must actually be at that
      location. The first player to their right must attempt to prove that
      the suggestion is false by secretly showing one of the cards in the
      suggestion to the player. If the player doesn't have any of the
      cards, then the next player must attempt this, and so on. Once a
      player shows a single card to the suggesting player, that player's
      turn is over.

      At an early point in the game, the Butler becomes available (noted on
      the DVD). A player may click the button to summon him on their turn.
      The Butler will give a clue about who has done the deed, but all
      players can watch this clue. The Butler will also give the top card
      on the item deck toe the summoning butler.

      A player can also read a note in the rules booklet left by the
      Inspector, given as a clue for that specific scenario. The Inspector
      will also show up at odd times during the game and cause specific
      events to happen - such as laying an as-of-yet-unrevealed card face
      down in a room. A player can attempt to look at one of these face
      down cards on their turn if in that room, and a simple observation
      test is done via the DVD to see if they can.

      Finally, a player, if in the evidence room, can make an accusation,
      naming all four things by inputting them into the DVD. If they are
      correct, they win the game; otherwise, they must surrender some cards
      to the evidence room.

      When playing the "General Case" game, there is no butler, and players
      only seek to find the "who", "when", and "where", but not the item.
      This game still utilizes the DVD for secret passageways and general
      events by the Inspector. When making an accusation in this game, a
      player simply looks in the envelope to see if they are correct.

      Some comments on the gameā€¦

      1.) Components: The game comes in a typical sized Hasbro box with a
      nice plastic insert to hold all the pieces correctly. The playing
      pieces are pre-painted sculpted plastic, which look rather nice on the
      board, and a very nice notepad (each sheet useful for five games)
      included in the setup. The cards as well as the board have some very
      nice artwork, and the board itself is really rather well done. The
      back of each card has six symbols secretly printed on it that can only
      be read by the red magnifying glass included with the game. A mission
      might use the four cards that have a fingerprint symbol in the top
      left corner, for example. This is easy and actually works rather well
      to pick the four cards for the symbols. Less easy is using the glass
      for secret numbers on the screen - which works, but is a bit more
      unwieldy.

      2.) DVD Components: The DVD works rather well, both with a remote
      controller and with a mouse, although I had a little bit of trouble
      making the actual accusations at first. The music is very well done,
      although I suppose for some people it might be repetitive - I never
      noticed it after a while. The graphics and cut scenes are exactly at
      the point where they are interesting but not so annoying as to take up
      too much of your time. Overall, I thought it a quality presentation.

      3.) Rules: The rulebook has nineteen pages, although some of them
      contain clues for the specific cases and the Inspector's notebook.
      They are very well done with tips for those who have played "vanilla"
      Clue before, so that they can recognize the differences. There is
      even a tutorial on the DVD to help first time players, although I
      found it for myself to be completely unnecessary. Everyone that I've
      taught the game to has picked it up easily - whether it be a teenager
      or adult, and the explanation of how to set up the cases is crystal
      clear.

      4.) DVD: As I said, I was very wary of using a DVD in combination
      with a board game, as I find that one of the wonderful things about
      board games is that they draw a person AWAY from the TV. Yet I think
      that Clue DVD has the combination down rather well. The DVD is
      present and rather important, yet it doesn't detract from the board
      game but is rather an enhancer. It adds mood with the music, options,
      such as the butler that wouldn't be available with the basic game and
      just a bit of variety AND is a big way to attract people into playing
      the game. Besides, playing on a huge screen is rather impressive.

      5.) Cases: One of the first comments of those I taught the game to
      was the fact that there are only ten arranged cases in the game.
      While that certainly is true, it is mitigated by the fact that there
      is a random general case that can be played. This random case is by
      no means as interesting as the ten set cases, but it does allow the
      game to have long replayability, and the basic game is STILL better
      than Clue. And even then, ten good games are still very impressive to
      me and certainly worth the money for the game.

      6.) Better than Clue: One of the biggest improvements in the game is
      the movement system, in which players simply move from room to room,
      rather than rolling dice and hoping for high rolls. This greatly
      reduces the luck in the original game, eliminating a mechanic I found
      simply unworkable. Secret passageways have a bit of luck when using
      them, but players have the choice of whether or not they want to take
      that risk. Some games start with locks on doors, limiting their
      movement, an addition I found interesting but not entirely compelling.
      I also thought that the game was superior to Clue simply because the
      option pool was that much greater. Adding four new characters,
      several new locations, and a slew of times and items makes the game
      that much better and certainly higher on my deduction list. I'll
      never play Clue again, simply because this version is that much
      better.

      7.) Fun Factor: The enjoyment of the game is summed up in the whole
      package. I love the little mini-games of observation that a player
      must do to look at certain item cards. I think the thrill of taking a
      secret tunnel is interesting. I enjoy how the Butler's and
      Inspector's clues can be used to solve the case but in a different
      fashion than the old method of making suggestions (which isn't a bad
      idea either). I've always liked the theme of Clue. Finally, the
      mechanics match up, and it's an excellent game.

      If you have a DVD player (and most folk do), then I highly recommend
      that you pick up this version of Clue. It's very entertaining, yet
      offers some excellent deduction games, with streamlined yet advanced
      mechanics, and some bells and whistles - although not so many as to
      overwhelm the game. I'm curious to see if other board games will
      incorporate DVDs into their systems. If they can do it as well as
      Clue DVD game did, then we're certainly in for a treat!

      Tom Vasel
      "Real men play board games"
      www.tomvasel.com
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