Cluedo, also known as Clue in North America, is a murder mystery game for three to six players. It was created by British board game designer Anthony E. Pratt in 1943. Waddingtons introduced the game in the United Kingdom in 1949. It has been relaunched and updated several times since then, and it is now owned and published by the American game and toy company Hasbro. But did you know how its inventor, Anthony Pratt, came up with it?
Clue, the board game, was invented by Anthony Pratt, a musician who had the idea while watching rich people play murder parlor games at their mansions while he entertained them by playing the piano.
How Did the Game Evolve and Still Remain True to Its Original Patent?
Anthony Pratt’s original patent had ten characters and eleven rooms. In addition to the revolver, dagger, rope, lead pipe, candlestick, and wrench also contained a shillelagh, a hypodermic syringe, a new bomb, fireplace poker, and an ax and poison. The game was eventually reduced to six characters, nine rooms, and six weapons.
According to Nicholas Ricketts, the curator of table games at the Strong Museum of Play in Rochester, New York, introducing a rare new character was one of the most significant changes to Clue in the last 70 years. In 2016, Hasbro’s Clue killed off Mrs. White’s housekeeper, replacing her with the more accomplished Dr. Orchid, the mansion’s adopted daughter. (Source: History)
Did Anthony Pratt Receive a Fortune for Inventing the Game?
Despite Clue’s massive success, it was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2017, but neither Anthony Pratt nor his family received a sizable financial reward. Pratt sold the game’s foreign rights to Waddington’s in 1953 after the game manufacturer informed him that it was not selling well. He was compensated with only 5,000 pounds. Unlike the Monopoly creator, who became immensely wealthy, Pratt died impoverished and unknown in an older people’s home. (Source: History)
The Variations of Clue
Some versions label the names of characters, weapons, rooms, and, in some cases, the game itself differently. The game is known as Clue in Canada and the United States. It was renamed because the traditional British board game Ludo, on which the name is based, was less prevalent in the United Kingdom than its American counterpart Parcheesi.
The character Reverend Green from the original Cluedo is replaced with Mr. Green in the North American versions of Clue. This is the only region that continues to do so. Minor changes include Miss Scarlett having her name spelled with a single letter t. The spanner was renamed a wrench, and the dagger was renamed a knife. The knife was replaced with a dagger in the 2016 U.S. edition. Until 2003, the lead piping was only known as the lead pipe in North America.
Some pieces in some international versions of the game are colored differently to correspond with changes to each suspect’s unique foreign name variations. Rooms and weapons are changed in some cases and other regional variations.
It is licensed and sold under several different names in South America. In particular, in Brazil, it is marketed as Detective. (Source: Hasbro)