Cluedo: A History

Cluedo, known as Clue in North America, is a popular board game that has been entertaining families and friends since it was first introduced in 1949. With its intriguing plot, diverse cast of characters, and engaging gameplay, Cluedo has remained a classic favorite for generations. In this essay, we will explore the fascinating history of Cluedo, from its origins as a parlor game to its modern-day iterations.

The Origins of Cluedo

Cluedo was invented in England in the late 1940s by Anthony E. Pratt, a musician and amateur detective who was inspired by the popular murder mystery novels of the time. Pratt initially created the game as a parlor game that he could play with his friends and family, using a board he had made at home. The game was initially called “Murder!” and featured a much simpler plot than the version we know today.

Pratt’s original game had ten characters, each with their own unique background, motive, and means of committing the murder. The game also featured nine rooms and six weapons, with players tasked with finding out which character had committed the murder, in which room, and with which weapon. The game proved to be a hit with Pratt’s friends and family, and he eventually patented the game under the name “Cluedo” in 1947.

The Rise of Cluedo

Cluedo was first published by Waddingtons Games in 1949 and quickly became a hit with board game enthusiasts. The game was initially released in England, but it quickly spread to other countries, including the United States, where it was marketed under the name “Clue.” The game’s popularity only continued to grow, with new editions and variations of the game released over the years.

One of the reasons for Cluedo’s enduring success is its classic whodunit formula. The game challenges players to use their detective skills to solve a murder mystery, piecing together clues and evidence to identify the culprit. The game’s diverse cast of characters and intriguing backstory add to the fun, allowing players to immerse themselves in the world of the game and feel like they are part of the story.

The Evolution of Cluedo

Over the years, Cluedo has undergone several changes and updates to keep it fresh and engaging for new generations of players. One of the most significant changes to the game was the introduction of new characters and weapons, as well as the expansion of the game’s backstory. The game’s original ten characters were expanded to twelve, and new weapons, such as a poison or a trophy, were added to the mix.

Another significant update to Cluedo was the introduction of themed editions of the game, which added new twists to the gameplay. These themed editions included versions of the game set in different eras, such as the 1920s or the 1950s, as well as editions based on popular TV shows, such as The Simpsons and Star Wars.

In addition to themed editions, Cluedo has also been adapted for different platforms, such as video games, mobile apps, and even live-action theater productions. These adaptations have allowed Cluedo to reach new audiences and introduced the game to new generations of players.


Cluedo has remained a beloved classic for over 70 years, captivating players with its intricate plot, diverse cast of characters, and engaging gameplay. The game’s origins as a parlor game and the vision of its inventor, Anthony E. Pratt, have given rise to an enduring legacy that has stood the test of time. With its numerous adaptations and updates, Cluedo continues to capture the imaginations of players young and old, making it a timeless classic that is sure to remain a favorite for generations to come.


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