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1:40pm on Wednesday, 22nd June, 2022:



Cluedo (or Clue as it's known in countries that haven't got one) is one of my favourite board games. It's replayable, it involves deduction, there's a bit of luck and it has good interaction. My only complaint about the set that we had when I was growing up is that Mrs Peacock could get into a room with a roll of one less than all the other characters needed to roll to get into a room.

A few years ago, Waddington brought out a new version of the game called Super Cluedo Challenge. It's an abomination. The beauty of the original gameplay is swamped by some half-baked idea of having colour-coded corners on the cards and a more-is-better attitude to characters and weapons. The extra information available means much less thinking is needed to win and luck plays a much greater role. Some secondary system involving numbered tokens and a list of "super clues" add to the misery. The whole thing has a feel of imagination-paucity about it, as if the publisher went with the least-bad ideas that the revision committee concocted.

The rooms have movement within them and there are secret passages everywhere. There's an outside, with associated items of garden furniture (sundial, birdbath, that kind of thing). It's as if the developers made changes that sounded as if they might be good therefore must be good; any kind of earnest playtesting would have exposed the problem.

I suppose Waddington could claim the strategy worked, in that people like me did actually buy Super Cluedo Challenge, but it put me off the idea of buying any other "improvements" to games from the same company.

The pieces for the characters are quite nice, at least at a distance; I'll concede that. The only thing that has stopped me from donating the game to a charity shop, though, is the fact that it could conceivably be used to play original Cluedo. Even that may not save it.

It's a classic game ruined in a classic way: gameplay-design ignorance.

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