How to Win at Clue (Cluedo)

Basic Strategies for the Board Game Clue

illustration of how to win at clue

Illustration: Alison Czinkota. © The Spruce, 2018 

Clue (also known as Cluedo) is a board game about crime sleuthing deduction. The game is highly thematic with flowery characters like Miss Peacock and Colonel Mustard in different rooms in a mansion with tiny deadly weapons like a knife or candlestick. By the end of the game, you want to deduce who killed the victim, where, and how.

However, if you're just focused on how to win at Clue, most of the thematic stuff does not really matter. The weapon minis are irrelevant, and your attention should just be on getting information. These are some basic strategies on how to figure out the culprit.

Figure Out Your Opponents Cards

Clue has 21 cards, six suspects, nine rooms, and six weapons. That means there are many possible combinations for "whodunnit," where, and with what. The cards you and your opponents hold are not the killing cards. So, by process of elimination, you will want to mark off your cards and your opponents' cards.

When you make a suggestion as to the killing cards, your goal is to get more information. If your opponents can show you the same card you have already seen, then you get no new information, and your turn has failed. The only cards that you have already marked off on your list that you should still ask about are your own cards since nobody else will be able to disprove them. Do not ask about cards you know your opponents are holding.

Eliminate One Possibility Every Turn

This is, of course, not always possible. But given that eliminating all false possibilities is your ultimate goal, the player who does this fastest has a huge advantage over the other players. To this end, you should ideally be making a suggestion every turn. Any turn where you do not make a suggestion is, essentially, a wasted turn.

Spend Your Time in Rooms

You can only make suggestions in rooms, so traveling on a roll of the dice should be seen as a last resort. When you enter a room, make a suggestion. If someone suggests you and drags you to a new room, make a suggestion there on your next turn.

Use the Secret Passages

This lets you move from one room to another room, guaranteed, without having to risk rolling the dice. That is two suggestions in a row that you get to make without having to worry about bad luck stealing your opportunity.

If you have not eliminated those two rooms after that, you can keep going back and forth between those two rooms until someone shows you one of those cards. Until they do, it is the most efficient way to gather information.

Focus on Room Information

You can suggest any character or any weapon from anywhere on the board, but your room suggestions are limited by your location. For this reason, rooms can be the hardest thing to figure out, so you should learn about them whenever possible.

Spend Time in Rooms You Have

Not only will this let you learn more about the weapons and people, but you can use the unfair summons trick. If another player is about to reach a good room to make a suggestion like a corner room or the likely murder room, you can make a suggestion about that player's character, which will drag their pawn back to your room. And if that player takes his next turn to make a suggestion in your room, you can simply show your room card.

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Copious Notes Can Help Immensely

Clue can be played as a simple deduction game with the above tips, but if you are willing to write everything down and put in a lot of effort, you can gain additional information.

If you are desperate to win, you can write down each suggestion made, who showed a card to each opponent, who showed you each card, and which cards you have shown to each player. Doing this will be a lot of extra work. But it can give you a lot of benefits.

Do Not Give Away New Information

If you know which cards you have shown to each player, you can show them the same cards repeatedly to avoid giving away extra information. Never reveal a new card when you do not have to.

How to Learn Opponent Information

If an opponent repeatedly uses the same item in suggestions, whether it is a location, weapon, or character, it probably means nobody else can disprove that item. If an opponent makes three suggestions in a row about the revolver, chances are very good that the revolver is either the murder weapon or in that opponent's hand.

Make Deductions Based on Opponent Information

If you know that one opponent has the wrench card, and you have the Colonel Mustard card, and someone else shows a card to disprove the suggestion of "Colonel Mustard in the library with the wrench," you know that card must be the library.