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As a child, I loved board games of all shapes and sizes. Particularly the old favourites Monopoly and Cluedo. Every year I would put one or both on my Christmas or Birthday lists, and eventually I was lucky enough to get one of each.
A few years on, different versions of the games came out, and I didn't ask for them as I was happy with my two board games, but I was lucky again as my family bought me these as well.
The second version of Cluedo I was lucky enough to own was this - Cluedo Super Challenge Edition: Passport to Murder.
Published by Waddingtons in 2000, the story behind the game is that it is June 1926, and anthropologist Dr. Black is on his way to visit Cairo. Joining him on the Trans-Continental Express from London are a number of friends rounded up by Mrs Peacock in order to celebrate his birthday.
The celebrations, like the journey are cut short soon after the train pulls into Istanbul's Sirkeci Station , as three days later, Dr. Black is found murdered.
As per usual, the main characters provided as suspects are Colonel Mustard, Professor Plum, Reverend Green, Mrs Peacock, Miss Scarlett, and Mrs White. These are also the playable characters on the board game, and they are represented by a grey model of themselves standing on a coloured disk that represents the colour in their surname.
However in this game, there is also Mr Brown, Earl Grey and Miss Peach. This makes it a little bit harder than normal because not only are there more suspects than usual, but because they are less recognisable they are not always to first to come to mind when you are accusing someone of the murder.
There are also four station attendants that are cardboard cut outs on disks, but they are not suspects in Dr. Black's murder.
As ever, the weapons are represented by little metal models of various items that could have been used to murder Dr. Black. The items are a dagger, a candlestick, a bottle of poison, a spanner, a blunderbuss, some lead piping, a rope, an axe and a revolver.
There's no Miss Scarlett in the dining room with the candlestick in this version of Cluedo, as of course you are in a train station. The possible locations for the murder are as follows: the cocktail lounge, the engine room, the kiosk, the waiting room, the dining car, the barber's shop, left luggage, lost property and the ticket office.
Murder Card Holders
In this version of the game, instead of sliding the cards representing the murderer, the weapon and the location into a card wallet, you have three murder card holders in different colours that hold the cards. There is a burgundy case, a silver case and a cream case. Each of these has four sliding corners, and when you pick up a clue card these corners reveal a colour or a number, and by looking at the list provided and via process of elimination you can work out the card that the colour or number relates to.
There are several blue cases that are to be placed on 'sleuth' spaces - i.e. where there is a magnifying glass on the board. On the bottom of these cases is a picture, which matches a picture on the key inside each player's passport. They allow you to do things like look under the murder card holder's shutters, take a murder card from another player or speak to a station attendant for a clue.
Playing the Game
Each player is in charge of a suspect, and as usual Miss Scarlett always goes first. When it is your turn, you have to throw both dice and move the token - the example given in the instructions is that if you throw 6 and 3 you can either move 9, 6 or 3 spaces. If you throw a double you can either move the amount of spaces given, or ignore it and roll again. If you roll a double 6, all the used clues can go back on the game board and back in play.
During the game you move through the different rooms in the station and train, and the idea is to try and land on the clue cases - you don't have to land on it exactly, and when you do get one you pick it up and read the corresponding clue. After you have used a clue from a clue case or station attendant you should place them face down by the side of the game board, out of play.
You keep a record of the evidence you uncover by crossing things off on your detectives note sheet, or writing the colour or number of the corner you find from the cards under the murder card holder shutters.
Winning the Game
In a game with more than two players, you have to read out your accusation by saying:
I accuse (insert name here) of committing the crime in the (room) with the (weapon).
You then take a look at the murder cards making sure no one else can see, and if you are correct, of course you win! If you are wrong in any way, you are out of the game and you have to put all the cards back in the right holders. Any murder cards have to go back in the deck and the other players carry on until the murder is solved.
In a two player game, obviously if you are wrong, there is only one person left to guess, so rather than them playing on their own the other player automatically wins the game.
Playability Compared to the Original
With a name like "Super Challenge Edition", it's no surprise that this game is more difficult than the original. When I was younger I did struggle to get my head around it all, and needed to ask my parents or revert back to the instruction manual to remember what certain things meant. I vaguely remember this being a bit frustrating, but over time and through playing it several times I mastered the rules and came to enjoy it a lot, both with my peers and with my family.
Now I am older, and haven't played it in a while, it did at first present itself as being a bit complicated, but after reading the instruction manual again it all came flooding back and I would now have no problem explaining to someone younger how to play the game.
As this was brought out in 2000, I can only imagine I had it near to the time it was brought out as I would have started secondary school the year after and it's unlikely that I would have been bought a board game after that sort of time.
So assuming I had it the year it came out, and it's now 2011, the game is now 11 years old. Frightening!
However the reason I bring this up is because aside from scuffs on the corners of the box from being stored in a cupboard with all our other games, the game is in excellent condition. As I've mentioned on previous reviews I am always very careful to keep my things pristine, but I think it is really impressive that a game of this age is not showing any real signs of wear. The box is made of sturdy cardboard, and the game board is even sturdier cardboard. The cards are made of card (obviously), and have a coating on them which I think would help keep them from getting wet and destroyed, and the game items are all made from strong plastic.
I thought it was worth pointing out it's durability as with kids you need things to be able to take a bit of a hit as things can get rough, particularly if things aren't going someone's way!
This game is aimed at children aged 8+, and I think this is about right, because as I have mentioned already this game does take a little bit to get your head around it all.
Having said that, it entertained me and my family many times over when I was younger, and though we don't play it now it is really down to the fact that I'm older now, and we all lead busy lives and don't tend to sit down to do board games anymore. We are more likely to play a quick game on the Xbox than bring out a board game, which is a bit sad really but it's a sign of the times and things do change.
I don't think it is worthy of completely replacing the original Cluedo - the game is a total classic and I don't think it would appeal to as wide an audience if it were to be quite as complicated as this edition of the game is. But it doesn't mean to say that it is not good in it's own right because it has another dimension to this murder mystery game.
As I have also stated before the quality of the game in terms of its durability really impresses me, as it really should have taken more of a battering in all these years.
I would recommend this to people who enjoy family friendly board games, are interested in murder mystery and like a good challenge.
I don't know how much was paid for my copy of the game as it was given to me as a present, but I can tell you that it is available online for a ridiculous amount of money now! The cheapest I can find it is for £39.99 on eBay, with others on eBay and Amazon asking for a whopping £99.99! Unbelievable!
Also published on Ciao