clue board game rules, clue game rules, how to play clue

OBJECTIVE OF CLUE: Solve the mystery of the murder by answering these three questions. What did they use to commit the murder? Where was it done? And who could have done such a thing? 

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: For 3 to 6 players 

MATERIALS OF CLUE: A game board composed of the locations, 6 different player markers, 6 weapon figures, a deck of cards containing: 6 suspects, 6 weapons, and 9 locations, a booklet of categorized paper to record suspicions, a small envelope to hold the final answer, 2 dice, Optional red bonus card deck* 

(*Not included in all versions of Clue) 

TYPE OF GAME: Board game 

AUDIENCE: All ages 


This post contains some partner links for various products.

Hasbro Gaming Clue Game, Mystery Board Game, 2-6...
  • Features a card-revealing mirror
  • Who committed the murder in the mansion.
  • Eliminate the suspects and discover whodunit, with what and where

There has been a murder! It’s now up to you and your friends to figure out who did it! If you love murder mysteries, then this is the game for you. Whether it’s your first time playing Clue or you’re a seasoned detective, we will give you everything you need, to know exactly how to play Clue and make you the next Sherlock Holmes.


Originally dubbed Murder!, this game was created by Anthony E. Pratt, an English Musician, around 1944. Pratt and his wife Eva presented the game to Waddingtons, a board game publisher in the United Kingdom, who immediately wanted to publish the game under the name Cluedo (a conjunction of clue and the Latin word Ludo meaning “I play.”) Despite the patent being granted in 1947, due to wartime shortages, the game wasn’t released until 1949. It was simultaneously licensed to Parker Brothers for US distribution under the name Clue.

The original game included 10 characters, one designated as the victim by a random draw at the start of the game. These characters included the eliminated Mr. Brown, Miss Gray, Mr. Gold, and Mrs. Silver. Nurse White and Colonel Yellow were changed to Mrs. White and Colonel Mustard for the game release. The original game also included a gun room and a cellar as well as a plethora of weapons such as a bomb, syringe, fireplace poker, and an ax, which were eliminated for the actual game release.

The game people know today as Clue is much more straightforward but still loads of fun.



The board game Clue comes with the following items:

  • Clue game board
  • A pair of dice
  • 1 detective notepad
  • 1 confidential envelope
  • 6 character pieces
  • 6 murder weapon pieces
  • 50 cards (29 clue cards*, 6 character cards, 6 weapon cards, 9 room cards)


First, set out the Clue game board on a flat and even surface.

Then, place all the character pieces in the center of the board. The clue board game consists of a board with 9 rooms spread around the board and square tiles serving as the “corridors.” The 9 rooms on the board are:

  • The Study
  • The Hall
  • The Lounge
  • The Dining Room
  • The Kitchen
  • The Ballroom
  • The Conservatory
  • The Billiards Room
  • The Library. 

Then, each player picks a character they would like to play, and places them on their labeled starting squares. Any unpicked characters will remain on the board (they might also be the killer!)

Characters in Clue include:

  • Miss Scarlet
  • Professor Plum
  • Colonel Mustard
  • Mrs. Peacock
  • Reverand Green
  • Mrs. White (or DR. Orchid for newer game versions)

Next, you’ll take all 6 murder weapons and place them each in randomly selected rooms. The potential murder weapons in Clue are the candlestick, dagger, revolver, lead pipe, wrench, or a rope.

Separate the deck into three piles: suspects, weapons, and locations. Then, shuffle each deck and, without looking at the cards, place one card of each deck into the confidential envelope. Set the envelope in the center of the game board. This holds the location, weapon, and killer and will not be needed until someone wishes to make an accusation. 

Take the remaining cards, shuffle them together, and deal them out to all the players. It is ok if all players don’t have the same number of cards.

Every player receives a detective sheet, which they should keep secret. You may begin crossing off the clues you already have in your hand. As the game progresses, you must continue marking off things as you are shown and deducing new clues. If you are playing with the optional red bonus cards, shuffle those now and set them to the side of the board. 


First, determine the order of play. In the original game, Miss Scarlett always goes first, then the gameplay continues clockwise. You can do this, or roll for it. Have everyone roll a die, and the highest roll goes first, then continue clockwise around the table. 

On a player’s turn, they will take the 2 dice and roll them. The total of the dice you roll is how many spaces you can move. When moving, the goal is to enter rooms to gather clues and make suggestions (more on this later).


The detective sheets in Clue are used to take notes of clues collected throughout the game. They are a checklist of all the weapons, players, and locations in the game. You can use this to keep track of which cards you have seen and what is still in play. If you run out, you can write the same information on a sheet of paper and give it to each player, or you can order official ones online.


Players can move vertically and horizontally across the board but never diagonally. You may not move onto a space occupied by another player, and you may not move to the same space you were previously on in the same turn.

The rooms are all counted as one space. Exact movement is not needed to enter a room, but any leftover movement is forfeited. So if you roll a 10 and the room you want to enter is only seven spaces away, you can enter and lose the remaining three moves.

If your roll did not get you to a room, you may have ended up in the corridor. Simply stay there and wait for your next turn.

If you are playing with the optional red cards, you may aim for any space marked with a question mark and pull the top card of the red deck. Read it and put it in the discard pile. 


During the game, you will try to enter rooms and gather clues. However, there are a few things to remember about the rooms. 

  • You can only enter or exit rooms via the doors or secret passages.
  • If another player is in the space before a door, you can’t use that door. As you can not go onto a space occupied by another player.
  • There is no limit to the number of players in a room simultaneously.
  • You make a suggestion once you are in a room.


There are a few ways to exit rooms in Clue. First, if it’s your turn, then go ahead and roll as normal. After you roll, you can exit via an open doorway and continue counting spaces as usual. However, you may not re-enter a room you left on the same turn. Another way to exit a room is to use a secret passage. After you roll, you will use the secret passage to take you to the noted room, ending your movement. You can still make a suggestion once in the new room.

Finally, you can leave a room if someone has suggested your piece. They will move your piece to the room they are currently in, and play will continue from there.

Something to remember is that if you are in a room, you can roll on your turn and decide to stay rather than leave. This is especially useful for making suggestions.


So, what exactly is making a suggestion in Clue? When you reach a room, you can say, “I suggest…” followed by any person, weapon, and the room you are currently in. You must bring the person you are inquiring about and the weapon into the room, and you can only suggest the room you are in.  

For example, if you are in the library, you can suggest that “Ms. Scarlett committed the crime with the dagger in the library”. You then bring Miss Scarlett into the library along with the dagger. 

Starting with the player to your left, they will try to prove you wrong by showing you one clue that contradicts your proposal. If they have multiple clues to disprove you, they still only show one, and if they cannot, it goes to the next person in line until you receive one clue. When one player shows you a disproving card, you stop going around the table, and the play continues.

If no one can show you a contradicting clue, then congratulations! You should have the correct answers as long as you weren’t asking about any of the characters, weapons, or locations already marked on your sheet. 

End your turn by marking off clues you received or deductions you made. Characters and weapons that were moved remain in that room until moved again. 


You are ready to accuse once you believe you have solved the crime, meaning there is only one person, place, and weapon left unmarked on your sheet. On your turn, say “I accuse…” followed by any character, weapon, and any room, even one you are not currently in.

When you’ve made an accusation, you get to look secretly at the cards in the envelope. If you were correct with everything, excellent, then you have won! Show the cards to the rest of the players and end the game. 

If somehow you made a mistake on the way, too bad. You are out of the game. You will continue showing cards when needed but no longer move your piece or make suggestions or accusations.

If nobody is able to make a correct accusation, then the game is over, and the murderer gets away. Reveal the cards and end the game.


Win the game by being the first person to solve the murder by finding the correct murderer, weapon, and location. 


Let’s go over a few of the strategies you can use to make your game of Clue much more interesting!


Your detective notepad is your most powerful tool in Clue. You should use it to write down any and all information you can. This includes suggestions made, who shows cards to opponents, who showed cards to you, and even which cards you showed. The rules say you only have to show one card to an opponent to disprove them. This means you can show them the same card on a different suggestion and avoid giving them more clues!


One way to make the game more exciting and to throw people off is to ask about things you already know. A great way to do this is to ask players about cards in your hand so none of them can disprove you. This will confuse them and throw off their theories.


You should spend time in the rooms you have in your hand because this allows you to get more information about weapons and players. If you see someone heading for a particular destination, accusing them in a faraway room you are in can deter them. If they use their turn to make a suggestion, you can just show them your room card.


There are multiple adjoined rooms and secret passageways to help you get across the board, so keep an eye out for these. Once you are in the adjoined room, you can make another suggestion. You can keep going back and forth between the rooms until someone shows you one of those room cards. This is a great way to gather more information.


You can also find a TON of fantastic variations of Clue. Some versions are played only with cards or only with dice! While the classic game is one of the absolute best, you should also check out the arsenal of different Clue games. Here are some of our favorites.


How Do You Use a Secret Passage in Clue?

To use the secret passages, you must start your turn in a room containing one. Then, you can forgo rolling and use the passage. This will take you to another room, which will end your movement and have you make a suggestion.

What Is the Difference between a Suggestion and an Accusation in Clue?

A suggestion is only a potential answer for who, with what, and where. An accusation is to end the game and is what you, as a player, believe to be the true answer.

How Do You Make an Accusation in Clue?

To make an accusation, you must wait for your turn and declare who you believe committed the murder, what room they were in, and what they used to kill the victim.

How Do You Win Clue?

Once you’ve made the accusation, you will either win or lose. You will secretly look at the cards, and if your accusation is correct, you reveal the cards to the other players and win the game. If you are wrong, you quietly put the cards back into the envelope and no longer move in the game but continue to show your cards when prompted.

Alan Lemus
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