Who remembers playing board games? Along with video games and playing outdoors with my neighborhood friends, playing board games was a major highlight of my childhood. I loved going to other people’s houses and seeing their board game closets or shelves. Most folks had the same stuff, but there was always a game or two one family had that differed from the others. Of course there were the staples: Monopoly, Sorry, Battleship, The Game of Life, Chutes and Ladders, and Candyland. There were card games like Uno, Rack-O, and Memory. Connect Four was fun too. I’m sure there were others I’m not thinking of at the moment, or were games I never played. Of all the games I played back then, the one I fell in love with the most was Clue.
This was the version I grew up playing. We had two versions in our house. The other was the very uninspiring 1972 version. The worst Clue edition ever. Take a look:
No detail. Very plain. Brutal. Regardless of the edition, what I fell for was the gameplay. Think back. You remember. Six suspects. Six weapons. Nine rooms. One murder. Whodunit? The strategy was the best part. The deception, the concealing, the “educated” guessing. In addition to the other seemingly million things I could thank my late-mother Rita for, her teaching me to play Clue was yet another one I’m forever grateful for. You needed three to six people to play, so sometimes Mom and I would recruit my brother Keith, other times we’d get my buddies to play with us. Cousins, Aunts, whoever. Anytime I could round up someone to join me and Mom I was down for some Clue!
In 1985 a beautiful thing happened. Paramount Pictures released Clue, The Movie. Backed by a legit Hollywood-sized budget and written by John Landis, the film boasted a great cast including Christopher Lloyd, Martin Mull, Michael McKeon, Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, and others. The film was obviously a comedy, and a damn funny one at that. Though it bombed at the box office, its popularity has continued to grow over the years. I know a huge reason I love it is because it’s Clue, but I think anyone could enjoy this hilarious little comedy, even if they had no prior knowledge of the board game.
The high school years came, then college, and Clue got tucked away with the rest of my childhood. Years later, after moving back home after graduation, a nice surprise happened. By now my friend Dominic had bought his first house, and my friend Kevin got married and he and Heather bought a house too. I moved back in with my folks for a couple of years after college, so I spent as much time at Dom & Kev’s as possible. One night while we were all hanging out, Dom brought over this:
None of us had played Clue in years. We quickly discovered it was just as much fun as when we were kids. (Ok, maybe more fun because now we were old enough to drink beers while playing)
What we started that night would grow and continue for the next 15 years. Clue night became a big deal. Once or twice a month we would gather a collection of friends together to contest a good two or three games of Clue. Some matches ended in controversy. Some shouting and finger-pointing. Others in laughter. Yet the camaraderie was always present, and we kept the tradition going for a long time. One time, fellow Clue participant Jim Matz even organized a Clue tournament at his house. We had three boards going at once. Awesome! We were so into playing Clue that we even started bringing a board to Between the Buns Bar & Grill. The employees went nuts. In a good way. First we had servers sticking around after their shifts to play. Then we had servers wanting to play while they were still on the clock! haha. I remember their reactions being the same as ours. “Wow! I forgot how much fun this is!”
Dom and I became somewhat collectors over the years if you will. I have somewhere around 8 or 9 versions in my collection. Dom is up to about 15 I believe. My personal favorite is the 1998 “50th Anniversary” Edition.
Pewter game tokens…characters & weapons. Golden-outlined board. It’s a beautiful edition. I have two. One that’s been very well-played over the years, and one that’s brand new. I’m saving that one for my sons to have one day.
Well, sadly, in the past three years I think Dom, Jim, and I have played Clue about three nights. When we started this thing back in our 20’s we had zero wives or children among us. Now we combine for seven children of varying ages, and seven wives….just kidding….one wife each! Point being, whether it be family or work obligations, life just doesn’t afford the kind of time it once did for board games.
I still find ways to get my occasional fix.
This is a Clue App I got through iTunes store. Cost me three bucks I think. I play it on my phone here and there. Usually takes about 20 minutes to complete a game. The graphics and detail are actually great. Its fun, but it’s not the same as sitting around a table with your friends, sharing laughs, talking smack, and enjoying the moment.
If you think about it, whether it’s Clue or some other game, that’s the real beauty of board games……friends sitting around a table, in the same room, enjoying each others’ company, enjoying the conversations……enjoying the moment.