Strategies for How to Win at Clue (Cluedo)

illustration of how to win at Clue

The Spruce / Alison Czinkota

Clue (also known as Cluedo) is a board game about crime sleuthing deduction. The game is highly thematic with flowery characters, including Miss Peacock and Colonel Mustard. It takes place in different rooms of a mansion with deadly weapons, such as a knife or candlestick. By the end of the game, the goal is 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 factors don't matter. Your attention should just be on getting information. Here are some basic strategies for how to determine the culprit.

Figure Out Your Opponents' Cards

Clue has 21 cards: six suspects, nine rooms, and six weapons. Thus, there are many possible combinations for "whodunnit," where, and with what. Before play begins, one person takes a suspect, room, and weapon card without looking at them and slides the three cards into the secret envelope. These cards are the solution to the crime. The remaining cards are divided as evenly as possible among the players. That means the cards you and your opponents hold are not the killing cards.

By process of elimination, you should mark off your opponents' cards. When you make a suggestion about the killing cards, your goal is to get more information. Don't ask about cards you already know your opponents are holding. The only cards you already have marked off that you should still ask about are your cards because nobody else will be able to disprove them. That strategy can confuse the other players and give you an advantage.

Eliminate One Possibility Every Turn

Eliminating options for the killing cards on each turn won't always happen. But given that narrowing down the possibilities is your ultimate goal, the person 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 don't make a suggestion is essentially a waste.

Focus on Rooms

You can suggest any character or weapon from anywhere on the board. But your room suggestions are limited by your location. For this reason, rooms can be the hardest factor to figure out, so you should prioritize learning about them. 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

Secret passages allow you to move from one room to another without having to risk rolling the dice. Thus, you'll get to make suggestions on consecutive turns, rather than an unlucky dice roll stranding you on the squares outside the rooms and stealing your opportunity. If you still haven't eliminated those two rooms, you can keep going back and forth between the rooms until someone shows you one of the cards. Until they do, it is the most efficient way to gather information.

Spend Time in Rooms You Have

Not only will spending time in the rooms you have 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, such as what you think is the likely murder room, you can make a suggestion about that player's character, which will drag them back to your room. And if that player takes their next turn to make a suggestion in your room, you can simply show your room card.

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Take Notes and Avoid Sharing New Information

If you put in the effort to take notes throughout the game, you can play even more strategically. Write down every suggestion made, who showed a card to each opponent, who showed you each card, and which cards you have shown to each player. If you know which cards you have revealed to a player, you can show them the same cards repeatedly to avoid giving away extra information. Never share a new card when you don't have to.

Pay Attention to Opponent Suggestions

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

Furthermore, say you're certain one opponent has the wrench card and you have the Colonel Mustard card. Then, someone else shows a card to disprove the suggestion of "Colonel Mustard in the library with the wrench." Given what you know, that card must be the library. This is why it's helpful to take notes on suggestions.