Alternative Rules for playing Clue

I love board games. In my family it is basically a tradition to play a variety of board games during family gatherings.

However playing the same game the same way eventually gets boring which is why it is sometimes fun to change the rules.

In the examples below we take the classic game of Clue and make some changes.

Alternative Rules for Playing Clue

1. You don't start with any Clue cards in your hand. You have to find them by visiting rooms. When setting up the board and placing the three unknown murder cards in the envelope, take the 18 remaining cards, shuffle them, and then place two cards in each of the 9 rooms. Whoever gets to those rooms first gets the cards. This means the start of the game is more of a race.and that some people may only get 2 cards while others get 4 or 6 cards.

2. You can trade 1 random card during your turn when you are in the hallway. You can only use this rule while in a hallway and other players don't have to agree to the trade. What you do is ask if anyone wants a random trade, and then the person to your left gets to respond first and if they say No the option to trade goes to the next person to the left, and so forth around the circle. When doing the trade you hold out your cards face down and they choose one randomly, and repeat the process with their cards. Each player thus gets one random card. This alternative rule has the effect of making it more difficult to determine who has what cards and players need to pay more attention.

3. You don't have to show the card which was called. When someone calls a set of three cards and you have one of them, instead of showing one of those three you can show them a completely different card. They still know you have one of those three cards, but they don't know which one. On the plus side you showed them a different card, which may have been one they have already seen.

4. Hitman and Ghosts - The game has a time limit before the murderer strikes again. For every full round during which each player gets a turn, roll a six sided die to determine randomly which player takes a hit. If they get hit they get a hit point. If any player takes two hits, they "die" in the game and are now Ghosts. Ghosts no longer have turns during the rounds, but they can still show other players cards if asked. Ghosts can still attempt to win the game, but they have to use deductive reasoning based on what other players are doing to try and figure out who the murderer is.

5. The Murderer(s) - One or more players is playing a murderer. The murderer is chosen randomly by passing out people cards to each player. If a player receives their own card then they are a murderer, eg. If the person playing Mr Green receives the Mr Green card, then they are one of the murderers. That player then chooses a weapon and a room and writes down their name, the chosen weapon and their room of choice on a slip of paper and turns it face down so other people cannot see it. Next take all the people cards back and set them in a separate pile off to the side. Now distribute the weapon and room cards as you normally would. The goal of the murderers is to find their weapon and room of choice and which players have possession of those two cards. Once they find both they need to get back to their starting point in the board without other people calling the correct combination. They should try to be sneaky / misleading about this process so other players will be confused about which cards the murderer has been asking for and thus call the wrong cards. When calling players still call all three items, even though only the room and weapon cards are available. If the murderer's name and two chosen items are ever called then they are caught red-handed and captured, the player is honour-bound to give up and reveal that they are one of the murderers.


Clue, also known as Cluedo, is a classic murder mystery board game where players must solve the murder of Mr. Boddy by identifying the murderer, the murder weapon, and the location of the crime. While the game traditionally follows a set of standard rules, you can introduce alternative rules to add variety or customize the gameplay experience. Here are a few alternative rules you can try:

  1. Time Limit: Set a time limit for players to solve the murder. If they fail to solve the mystery within the allotted time, the murderer wins the game. This rule adds a sense of urgency and keeps the gameplay fast-paced.

  2. Multiple Murderers: Instead of having just one murderer, assign multiple murderers to increase the complexity of the game. Each murderer will have their own set of cards, and players must identify all the murderers, murder weapons, and locations correctly to win the game.

  3. Hidden Roles: Assign secret roles to each player, such as detective, accomplice, or informant. Each role will have specific objectives or abilities that influence the game. The detectives aim to solve the murder, while the others may have unique win conditions or actions they can take during the game.

  4. Custom Characters: Create your own characters with unique abilities or traits. Each character could possess a special ability that grants them an advantage when investigating or making accusations. This adds a new layer of strategy and differentiation among the players.

  5. Dynamic Board: Introduce changes to the game board during play. For example, you could have secret passages open and close, or rooms may become temporarily inaccessible due to an "incident." This rule keeps players on their toes and requires them to adapt their strategies accordingly.

  6. Cooperative Mode: Instead of competing against each other, players can work together as a team to solve the murder. The players collectively try to identify the murderer, weapon, and location before the murderer can escape or commit another crime.

  7. Custom Card Decks: Modify the card decks to include additional murder weapons, locations, or events. You can create themed decks or mix and match cards from different editions of the game to add more variety and surprise elements.

Remember, when introducing alternative rules, it's important to ensure that they are agreed upon and understood by all players before the game begins. Experimenting with new rules can enhance the gameplay experience and make each session of Clue feel fresh and exciting.

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