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The History of Clue

Between World War I and World War II, pianist Anthony Pratt enjoyed the murder mystery party games he saw being played at the upscale European hotels where he worked. In 1943, he and his wife Elva designed a board game based on those party games that centered around deduction. In 1947, their game earned a patent, but post-war shortages halted manufacturing for a few years. In 1949, London-based Waddington’s Games finally published the game, which they called Cluedo. Waddington’s American partner, Parker Brothers, debuted a slightly modified version called Clue that same year. (It is worth noting that there were other murder-solving games before Clue, but none of them combined simplicity of play with the game's now-iconic solvable elements of “who,” “where,” and “what.”) Americans in the 1950s were enamored with mysteries, such as Agatha Christie's novels and Alfred Hitchcock's films, so the board game Clue was a natural fit. Its strong replay value (the game offers 324 different murder scenario combinations) also contributed to its success, and today, it remains one of the best-selling games on the market. There are even special licensed versions that feature beloved characters like Sherlock Holmes, the gang from Scooby-Doo, and even the entire family from The Simpsons!

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