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Clue (Board Game): 14 Drawbacks (Cons of This Classic Game)

Last Updated on January 25, 2024 by Gamesver Team and JC Franco

At least once, most of us have played Clue, the “who-dun-it” mystery murder game. The Clue game is often touted for its entertainment value and the benefits playing the game provides. However, not many people mention the drawbacks of Clue. Is that because there are none? Unlikely! Below we investigate some of the potential downsides of this classic board game.

Clue has several disadvantages and drawbacks, including the hybrid gameplay, the number of players required, the age of the players, the theme of the game, the skill and luck levels involved in the game, and the quality of the various editions released.

Officially released in 1949, Clue took the world by storm. Although much of the game remains the same, many people still love this classic board game, even with some tweaks and changes. However, what are the other disadvantages of playing Clue? What are the financial implications? And what drawbacks are there because of the player restrictions?

1. Clue Is Not A Short Game

Many of us remember spending hours pitted against friends, family, and previous loved ones (depending on who won) enraptured in our favorite board games. But that, unfortunately, is a significant drawback. 

Most board games are not a “quick” endeavor; they take time to play through. The Clue board game is a prime example of this. The average amount of time to finish a game of Clue is about 45 minutes to 1 hour. 

Although some editions and play-through rules are quicker, most of these games take longer to play.

2. Clue Is A Luck-Based Game

Certain aspects of Clue are chance-based. Dice rolling, the right place at the right time, and the random cards you’re dealt at the beginning of the game all play a significant role in how much information you have to work with.

Sometimes you lose because you have terrible roles while others move through rooms with ease.

3. Clue Is Also A Skill-Based Game

No matter how lucky you are, skill is a tremendous factor in Clue. A skilled player is generally an experienced player, and they have an advantage. 

A skilled player makes better and quicker deductions from less evidence, eavesdrop on other players’ deductions/accusations, and knows the game’s “shortcuts.” 

4. Clue Requires The Correct Components

While it is possible to play some games without any components, you’ll need the correct equipment to play Clue. If you’re missing pieces (especially from inherited sets), you’ll need to purchase replacement pieces or become creative and make new pieces. 

Anything that is not the original usually detracts from the gameplay.

5. Some Of The Gameplay Is Redundant/Not Fun

While the detective aspect of Clue is amazing (making deductions based on the evidence you’ve discovered), the “tile crawling” from room to room is tedious for many people. 

Clue works by rolling a dice and then moving the appropriate number of tiles along with the board. If you’re not having a great day rolling high numbers, this aspect of the gameplay is often aggravating.

6. Clue Has A Minimum And Maximum Number Of Players

The Clue board game is not a single-player type of game. The minimum number of players is (3) three (Some versions are two players minimum). 

Clue also has a maximum of six (6) players. These restrictions are unfortunate if you’re a big group that wants to play or if you’re on your own.

7. Clue Is Not For Smaller Children

The recommended minimum age to play Clue is eight (8) and upwards. The reasons for a minimum age include smaller pieces that children can choke on/lose, children having a limited concentration, and understanding how the game works.

Understanding how the game works is the essential restricting factor. Younger children will not “get the point” of it and get bored.

8. There Is A Darker Element To Clue (A Murder)

The other factor counting against children, and some more sensitive players, is that this is a “murder-mystery.” Although you never see any signs of violence, you use your imagination and clues to piece together the crime scene. 

This imagining of a brutal murder might not be appealing to some people.

9. Clue Has Only One Winner, So Competitiveness Is High

There can only be one winner in Clue. Competitive people might become “caught-up” and start fights with other players. Or they might feel disappointed/upset if they lose.

10. Players Might Need To Be Physically In The Same Room

Although the world is modernizing and distance is no longer an issue, playing the Clue board game is better in person. Unfortunately, this restricts playability when your fellow clue players are away.

11. Clue Is Not Enjoyable For Everyone 

Clue won’t appeal to everyone. Some people don’t enjoy playing this board game, whether it’s the detective part, the dice part, needing other players, or the game’s theme. 

This partiality makes it challenging to find a game for everyone to play.

12. You Can Become Addicted To Playing Clue

Playing Clue (and other board games) often becomes addictive for some people. The stress, the high of success, and the triumph of beating other players can cause you to neglect the needs of family and friends to play another round of Clue.

The worst-case scenario is that you begin to ostracize people by your desire to play Clue. 

13. Getting (and Keeping) the Physical Game Can Be An Issue

Although this game was originally released in 1949, the price of Clue has increased (and will continue to increase) over the years.

If you’ve lost your pieces, moved out and left your beloved board game behind, or needed to part ways with the set for whatever reasons, you’ll need to purchase a new set. 

14. Newer Versions Of The Game Are Not Always Well Made

Between 1949 and 2002, manufacturers produced eight (8) different versions of the Clue board game

According to some reviews on Amazon, some editions are not well made and contain too many “gimmicks.” In some editions, the cards are quite thin and damage easily, while in other editions, the box does not contain cardholders, which scatter across the box.

Depending on which edition you played, you might have a few issues with changing to newer ones. Clue has also seen a boom in different “themes.”  

Not content with sticking to the original party guests, Clue manufacturers branched out into various pop-culture themes to attract diverse demographics.

With so much variety, it becomes challenging to pick one, and that can put some people off. Often, if you played one version, you might be against trying a different version.

In Closing

Although Clue is a tremendously fun game for many fans, it is not without some drawbacks. The most significant downsides to this board game include gameplay issues, player-related issues, and purchasing (and keeping) the board game. A large contingent does not enjoy playing the game either, resulting in you getting stuck without additional players.

JC Franco

JC Franco serves as a New York-based editor for Gamesver. His interest for board games centers around chess, a pursuit he began in elementary school at the age of 9. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Mercyhurst University, JC brings a blend of business acumen and creative insight to his role. Beyond his editorial endeavors, he is a certified USPTA professional, imparting his knowledge in tennis to enthusiasts across the New York City Metropolitan area.