SPY Games: Clue Secrets and Spies

The game we know today as “Clue” in America began in England in 1944 as “Cluedo” in England. Invented by Anthony Pratt, a solicitor’s clerk and part-time clown. The object was to solve the mystery of the death of one of ten house guests at an English manor house.  The victim found himself dispatched in those early days by the far more gruesome or sophisticated means of axe, walking stick, fireplace poker, poison, syringe, or bomb!  You also had the possibility of the murder occurring in eleven different rooms with the inclusion on a cellar and “gun room.”  However, a gun must have seemed too obvious to Mr. Pratt in those days with the far bloodier options available.  The list of house guests included old stand-byes’ Professor Plum and Miss Scarlett with some character adjustments to Mr. Green (formerly the Rev. Mr. Green), Mrs. White (Nurse White), Colonel Mustard (Colonel Yellow), and Dr. Black.  Four characters were eliminated entirely, Mr. Brown, Mr. Gold, Miss Grey, and Mrs. Silver, with Miss Peacock being the only newly introduced character. Aside from disgrace of complete dismissal of the four characters, the demotion of Mr. Green. Dr. Black suffered perhaps the greatest injustice- in America, he became the more aptly named Mr. Boddy.   Yet, despite all these cosmetic changes, the game play remained much the same when widely released in 1949.

Today, Clue remains widely reproduced in this original format with an unlimited variety of addition spinoffs.   You can play “the Office Clue,” “Clue Harry Potter,””Scooby Doo Clue,” the potential options are unlimited.  Clue has also grown far beyond the board game origins to include several electronic formats and even a spoof movie.  Now Clue tackles the Spy Game.  “Clue 24” arrived in stores last year allowing die-hard 24 fans to work with Jack Bauer and prevent an imminent attack on the U.S.  In this instance, you work to prevent the act form happening by “uncovering the ‘WHO’ the Traitor is, ‘WHAT’ kind of attack is planned and ‘WHERE’ inside CTU will it happen.

The newest offering is “CLUE: Secrets and Spies.”  This genre busting board game was launched at the Spy Museum.  In this incarnation of Clue, now ‘Agent Black’ has his revenge.   He is the master spy the former suspects, now agents themselves, must work to thwart.  Through completing missions and attending secret meetings, you gain the intelligence necessary to stop Agent Black.  The game employs little of the original Clue game play but the spirit of the game remains.  Invisible messages and anonymity of character add layers of mystery familiar to the spy game.  The game even has the capability of enabling text messaging.  This wild card aspect can infuse the game with a entirely new level of unpredictability.  This is not your grandfathers Clue, although the bombs are back.

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