Mrs. White, in the marketing office, with a focus group
July 8, 2016 7:19 AM   Subscribe

The board game Clue (a.k.a. Cluedo outside North America) is a perennial favorite, a first-ballot entry into the Games Magazine Hall of Fame, with more than a hundred variant versions. It is even arguably the first game to spin off a movie, complete with three different endings and eventual cult status. But even good things must change, and original suspect Mrs. White (played by Madeline Kahn in the movie) has been replaced by the enigmatic Dr. Orchid, who a Hasbro VP called "a brilliant new character with a rich backstory and links to the Black fortune." (Mr. Black is the owner of the mansion in which the game takes place, and in Cluedo versions is the victim of the murder that drives the "plot" of the game.)

Yes, this is Pepsi ClueBlue. Consider the flames on the side of your face to be in the record.
posted by Etrigan (84 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
I thought the owner of the mansion was Mr. Body.

The Venture Bros should do a Clue episode.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 7:22 AM on July 8, 2016 [17 favorites]


What? Why? Why would anybody feel this is necessary? I guess the marketing people were having a slow day and decided to just stir some shit in order to manufacture a bit of outrage and get Clue(do) into people's Facebook feeds for a few hours?
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 7:24 AM on July 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


“It was a difficult decision to say goodbye to Mrs. White—but after 70 years of suspicious activity, we decided that one of the characters had to go..."

Flames. Flames on the side of my face.
posted by griphus at 7:25 AM on July 8, 2016 [47 favorites]


Mrs. White and my Monopoly iron are going to be over here fuming because we are all products of the 20th century who only want the bad things to change.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:26 AM on July 8, 2016 [9 favorites]


In that new illustration, Prof. Plum looks like a complete tool.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:28 AM on July 8, 2016 [7 favorites]


Mrs. White and my Monopoly iron are going to be over here fuming because we are all products of the 20th century who only want the bad things to change.

And what happens when you ignore an iron for too long?
FLAMES.

It's all coming full circle, people.
posted by phunniemee at 7:30 AM on July 8, 2016 [11 favorites]


I thought the owner of the mansion was Mr. Body.

According to Wikipedia the game's victim is ‘“Dr. Black” in the UK version and “Mr. Boddy” in North American versions’. Also, its inventor originally planned to call the game ‘Murder!’ , and:
There were several differences between the original game concept and that initially published in 1949, [which] calls for ten characters, one of whom was to be designated the victim by random drawing prior to the start of the game. These ten included the eliminated Mr. Brown, Mr. Gold, Miss Grey, and Mrs. Silver. The characters of Nurse White and Colonel Yellow were renamed Mrs. White and Colonel Mustard for the actual release…
posted by misteraitch at 7:33 AM on July 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


But... orchids come in colours other than white? Why confuse the name-piece-colour correlation?

Also, it's Mr. Boddy, because I need to be a pedant about these things.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:35 AM on July 8, 2016 [7 favorites]


Also, its inventor originally planned to call the game ‘Murder!’

Actually, in America it was going to be called "Murderdo."
posted by griphus at 7:35 AM on July 8, 2016 [61 favorites]


So I hate that it took Mrs. White's death to learn this, but I am glad to learn this factoid:

The classic game was launched in 1949 after being invented five years earlier by Birmingham, England-born musician Anthony E. Pratt as a fun way to pass the time in bomb shelters.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:36 AM on July 8, 2016 [10 favorites]


I'd send that Hasbro VP a singing telegram to express my annoyance, but I don't think I'd be heard out for some strange reason.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:38 AM on July 8, 2016 [5 favorites]


Post needs more Tim Curry.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:39 AM on July 8, 2016 [9 favorites]


Actually, in America it was going to be called "Murderdo."

As in, "We're going to have a bit of a murderdo."
posted by curious nu at 7:39 AM on July 8, 2016 [6 favorites]


Are you saying that, all this time, Mrs. White has been a red herring?
posted by Frayed Knot at 7:41 AM on July 8, 2016 [11 favorites]


These ten included the eliminated Mr. Brown, Mr. Gold, Miss Grey, and Mrs. Silver.

No Mr Pink?
posted by Paul Slade at 7:43 AM on July 8, 2016


So Hasbro pur Mrs. White in the witness protection program, and we're to pretend she never existed? Very clever. Well played, Hasbro, but there is blood on your hands.
posted by mosk at 7:45 AM on July 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


A gallery of the suspects through the years. (The best version is clearly Paraguay's Quien Sera El Asesino?, from 1972.)
posted by Iridic at 7:48 AM on July 8, 2016 [17 favorites]


In that new illustration, Prof. Plum looks like a complete tool.

And why are they all so young and beautiful???

Normal looking people can be killers too you know!
posted by JenThePro at 7:48 AM on July 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


So, they just erased the female character who wasn't young and hot?

Good job, assholes.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:54 AM on July 8, 2016 [27 favorites]


Iridic, that's an odd title. Literally, "Who will be [future tense] the murderer?" The murder already happened, thus there is already a murderer. C'mon, paraguenses.
posted by radicalawyer at 7:57 AM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Nyo.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:57 AM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


On the one hand, I'm hate this because I hate change, and everything I did as a child should remain exactly the same forever.
On the other, good on Hasbro (don't think I've ever said that before) for adding woman of color who is also a doctor to the cast (of murder suspects).
posted by enjoymoreradio at 7:59 AM on July 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


“It was a difficult decision to say goodbye to Mrs. White—but after 70 years of suspicious activity, we decided that one of the characters had to go..."

Could it have been...


MURDER?!?
posted by MrGuilt at 7:59 AM on July 8, 2016 [12 favorites]


(The best version is clearly Paraguay's Quien Sera El Asesino?, from 1972.)
I'm partial to the US 1963 set.
posted by clorox at 8:00 AM on July 8, 2016 [7 favorites]


The housekeeper will be replaced with Dr. Orchid who, according to Hasbro, "is a biologist with a PhD in plant toxicology, privately schooled in Switzerland until her expulsion following a near-fatal daffodil poisoning incident. She was then home-schooled by the very woman she would go on to replace, the late housekeeper, Mrs. White."

This is basically the exact opposite of how getting a Ph.D. works.
posted by yeolcoatl at 8:02 AM on July 8, 2016 [46 favorites]


On the other, good on Hasbro (don't think I've ever said that before) for adding woman of color

I think Miss Scarlet has been Asian a few times?
posted by Chrysostom at 8:03 AM on July 8, 2016 [5 favorites]


Non-US peeps, I have to know.

Is Cluedo pronounced ClueDOO or ClueDOUGH?
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 8:03 AM on July 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


On the other, good on Hasbro (don't think I've ever said that before) for adding woman of color who is also a doctor to the cast (of murder suspects).

In the version I had as a child, Miss Scarlet was already a woman of colour.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:04 AM on July 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


``Klu-EH-doh" maybe? I don't know.
posted by yeolcoatl at 8:05 AM on July 8, 2016


Is Cluedo pronounced ClueDOO or ClueDOUGH?

The latter.
posted by misteraitch at 8:07 AM on July 8, 2016 [5 favorites]


Even the independently wealthy can't afford full-time help anymore, and must rely on their heirs for home care just like us plebs.
posted by muddgirl at 8:08 AM on July 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


Two things:

1 - Doctor Orchid? You're threw Mrs. White under the bus for somebody named Doctor Orchid? Boo Hasbro, Boo.

2 - You'll pry my boy Mr. Green out of my cold dead hands.
posted by Sphinx at 8:10 AM on July 8, 2016


2 - You'll pry my boy Mr. Green out of my cold dead hands

Did you know that Mr Green is Reverend Green in the UK version?
posted by JenThePro at 8:13 AM on July 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


1972 version is the only version!

I'm confused now because plum, peacock and orchid all sound purple to me.
posted by latkes at 8:13 AM on July 8, 2016 [14 favorites]


Properly, THE Reverend Green.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:14 AM on July 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


Please tell me that the Reverend Green is a very large and sweaty soul singer who sings about doin' it almost like he's angry
posted by middleclasstool at 8:17 AM on July 8, 2016 [35 favorites]


Man I miss Madeline Kahn :(
posted by Golem XIV at 8:19 AM on July 8, 2016 [13 favorites]


So Betty White's lawyers were finally successful?
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:20 AM on July 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


jacquilynne: "So, they just erased the female character who wasn't young and hot?"

Or did they remove the one whose identity was tied to being married and replaced her with an accomplished academic?

#hottakebuffet
posted by boo_radley at 8:26 AM on July 8, 2016 [20 favorites]


There'll only ever be one "Reverend Green" to me.

Meanwhile, this is life in America today: even in board games, the White guy who's been a longtime suspect gets off, and the new suspect is a close associate of the Black guy.
posted by koeselitz at 8:28 AM on July 8, 2016 [5 favorites]


Or did they remove the one whose identity was tied to being married and replaced her with an accomplished academic?

Then they could have changed Mrs. Peacock -- who used to be old but still attractive and has been younged-down over the years, as well -- rather than Mrs. White, who at least had a damned job.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:33 AM on July 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


It was Miss Scarlett and Mr Green, on the billiard table, with the rope (for restraining Mr Green)

#IntentionalEntendre
posted by Hasteur at 8:38 AM on July 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


Miss Scarlet would never do something that bad for the felt when there were perfectly good tables in the Library and the Dining Room.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:40 AM on July 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


Murder-dough just sounds ill-bread to me.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:44 AM on July 8, 2016 [8 favorites]


The library and dining room may be good, but the library tables probably couldn't have held up to Mr Green's excitement, and you don't ______ where you eat.
posted by Hasteur at 8:45 AM on July 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


and you don't ______ where you eat.

Candlestick?
posted by Mister Moofoo at 8:49 AM on July 8, 2016 [12 favorites]


What? Why? Why would anybody feel this is necessary? I guess the marketing people were having a slow day and decided to just stir some shit in order to manufacture a bit of outrage and get Clue(do) into people's Facebook feeds for a few hours?

Yeah, and then they can release Clue(do) Classic with Mrs. White and everyone will cheer.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:52 AM on July 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


The housekeeper will be replaced with Dr. Orchid who, according to Hasbro, "is a biologist with a PhD in plant toxicology, privately schooled in Switzerland until her expulsion following a near-fatal daffodil poisoning incident. She was then home-schooled by the very woman she would go on to replace, the late housekeeper, Mrs. White."

I will go ahead and say that I kind of love this.

First of all, they are not replacing Madeline Kahn, because the movie characters didn’t actually match the game characters anyway. For example, Mrs. White in the movie was not the housekeeper.

Second of all, I think it is pretty great that Hasbro did this to make one of the six players into a PoC.

Third of all, I am super into this backstory. Young Miss Orchid, kicked out of her Swiss boarding school after the daffodil incident, is taken under Mrs. White’s wing. When she isn’t running the house, Mrs. White teaches Miss Orchid science! Enough science that she ends up going to college and then grad school and finally getting her PhD. So Mrs. White is still invoked by being a multitasking science genius (kind of a nice upending of her “domestic” employment), the game is no longer all white people, and Dr. Orchid knows all the ins and outs of the house.

If Madeline Kahn was still alive, I think she would be completely on board for a movie reboot where Mrs. White (actually the housekeeper in this version) mentors and teaches Miss Orchid, helps her apply for college scholarships, and maybe they both occasionally murder people when warranted. (I like Arden Cho for Miss Orchid, she’s a great actress and good at being a badass.)
posted by a fiendish thingy at 8:54 AM on July 8, 2016 [11 favorites]


JenThePro: "2 - You'll pry my boy Mr. Green out of my cold dead hands

Did you know that Mr Green is Reverend Green in the UK version?
"

I did, and I like how the hallmarks of good games is when they go global. Clue(do) is a brilliant game, and has stood up for a very long time. Not joking when I say that that game taught me a bunch about deduction and reasoning.

Did you know that Mr. Green is so serene, he's got a TV in every room?

koeselitz: "There'll only ever be one "Reverend Green " to me.

Friday morning cubicle dance party is on, my boss is going for beer.
posted by Sphinx at 8:54 AM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


In that new illustration, Prof. Plum looks like a complete tool.

They're all young and hot now! Even Col. Mustard has a Sexy Grandpa thing goin' on!
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:01 AM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Always felt that there should be a British version set at Grace Brothers, called Are You Being Murdered?

"It was Mr. Humphries, in the shoe department, with Mrs. Slocombe's pussy." "I'm freeeee!"
posted by delfin at 9:04 AM on July 8, 2016 [13 favorites]


jacquilynne: "rather than Mrs. White, who at least had a damned job."

I was thinking that she had an office job, but she was also a maid at the mansion??? So I looked it up and man, I am kind of weirded out that there are huge backstories for all of the Clue tokens. I'm sure an exciting evening of Clue fanfic awaits me.
posted by boo_radley at 9:04 AM on July 8, 2016 [11 favorites]


Dat murderdo.
posted by Night_owl at 9:11 AM on July 8, 2016 [9 favorites]


My 7-year-old recently discovered Clue via the US 1963 set at his grandparents, which is the set I grew up with. Yesterday we just got the "Classic Edition", which plays the same, but has inferior art IMO (especially the poorly marked doorways). My son promptly won the first game on the new set.
posted by fings at 9:17 AM on July 8, 2016


Will this affect the canonicity of the Clue YA mystery chapter books?
posted by Apocryphon at 9:28 AM on July 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


Did you know that Mr Green is Reverend Green in the UK version?

He even has his own Animal Collective song!
posted by Itaxpica at 9:30 AM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Obviously, the best and only acceptable set is the US 1992 one because it's the one I grew up playing.
posted by Anyamatopoeia at 9:39 AM on July 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


Kill Doctor Lucky is the reverse version of CLue/Cluedo - You're try to commit the crime, rather than solve it. It inspired a prequel, Save Doctor Lucky, where in comedy-of-errors fashion, you keep your wandering victim free from assorted hazards and pratfalls (for why allow fate to take your hated nemesis' life when you still have your own long-held thoughts of revenge to continue mulling over?)

The game even had its own tribute song by Beatnik Turtle.
posted by Smart Dalek at 9:40 AM on July 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


Wait. Dr. Orchid is replacing Mrs. White, not Prof. Plum? THAT DOESN'T EVEN FIT THE COLOR SCHEME.

OMG Maid Smithers!
posted by maryr at 10:04 AM on July 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: I'm sure an exciting evening of Clue fanfic awaits me.
posted by maryr at 10:04 AM on July 8, 2016 [7 favorites]


maryr: "Metafilter: I'm sure an exciting evening of Clue fanfic awaits me."

Honestly, I'm looking forward to analyzing clue tropes tonight.
posted by boo_radley at 10:22 AM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Anyone else remember the Encyclopedia Brown-esque Clue books from the middle nineties? Compared to most ghostwritten franchise lit, they were astonishingly good.
posted by Iridic at 10:47 AM on July 8, 2016


Wait. Dr. Orchid is replacing Mrs. White, not Prof. Plum? THAT DOESN'T EVEN FIT THE COLOR SCHEME.

It looks like several editions in the early 2000's had already started giving Mrs. White a lavender color scheme in contrast to the professor's plum and Mrs. Peacock's royal blue.
posted by straight at 10:47 AM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


I've been helping a friend run an (entirely unlicensed) Clue LARP at local conventions where we take the basic characters and throw them into various situations and let the mayhem ensue. (It's very low-rules. We basically have props for each of the weapons and give everyone a sheet with a two sentence backstory and their feuds/alliances with other character. Tap someone with a prop, they die.) Sometimes we start with Mr. Boddy (or equivalent) dead and sometimes we just set it up so he's an irresistible target. (I NPC as someone who either drops secrets if things get dull or am as unpleasant as possible to provoke people into making me the next victim.)

We've already pulled in some of the names from other versions, like Rusty Naylor, just for variety. I expect we'll keep Mrs. White and Dr. Orchid. Lady Lavender and Professor Plum are already purple, though, so I'm not sure how to differentiate Dr. Orchid. This will take thought.
posted by Karmakaze at 10:56 AM on July 8, 2016 [6 favorites]


Clue(do) is a brilliant game, and has stood up for a very long time. Not joking when I say that that game taught me a bunch about deduction and reasoning.

I admit I have not played in several decades, but the appeal of the game design seems minimal. Yes, it does teach the players a bit about reasoning but I submit that a whodunit game where you can win by working out that you yourself are the murderer and revealing this startling fact is not a great game.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:02 AM on July 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


I've always hoped that they would make a Clue: Compleat Edition one day, incorporating all of the extra characters, weapons (remember the poisoned chalice), and rooms (just what's the point of a drawing room?). Join Cluedofan.com to learn the rich lore and mythos of Clue.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:13 AM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yes, it does teach the players a bit about reasoning but I submit that a whodunit game where you can win by working out that you yourself are the murderer and revealing this startling fact is not a great game.

This is why God and Soap Operas gave us the Fugue State.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:17 AM on July 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


On the plus side, it looks like Matthew Perry is getting some work as Mr. Green, so good for him.
posted by Existential Dread at 11:27 AM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


a whodunit game where you can win by working out that you yourself are the murderer and revealing this startling fact is not a great game

The players aren't playing as the suspects; they're each playing as a wheelchair-bound shamus each of whom deputizes a suspect to run around the mansion collecting clues. The murderer is either too scared or underestimates the detective too much to actively sabotage the investigation.
posted by straight at 11:40 AM on July 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


John Lennon was the worst Clue(do) player - he always guessed "Lucy, in the sky, with diamonds".
posted by Lucinda at 11:40 AM on July 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


I've always hoped that they would make a Clue: Compleat Edition one day,

"Clue: Master Detective" does a pretty good job at that. That is the only version we play - can't go back to basic Clue after playing Master Detective.
posted by fimbulvetr at 12:40 PM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think Miss Scarlet has been Asian a few times?

Okay, here is where I reveal that I am a tremendous Clue nerd. My theory is that they wanted to get away from Scarlett's baggage as a super-exoticized Asian lady. My main evidence for this is the VHS game, which I may have watched obsessively as a child, where she's a mysterious international spy with an over the top accent and a cigarette holder. It's all a bit much.
posted by zeusianfog at 1:05 PM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


This seems as good a time as any to relive to the terrible part-gameshow part-drama version of Cluedo on Australian TV in the early 90s. I loved it as a kid.
posted by retrograde at 1:40 PM on July 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


"This is basically the exact opposite of how getting a Ph.D. works."

Welcome to Trump U.!
posted by klangklangston at 1:47 PM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Doc Oc, heh.
posted by gryftir at 1:52 PM on July 8, 2016


I am still disappointed about all the money they've been leaving on the table by not offering a Clue: Reservoir Dogs Edition.
posted by ckape at 4:18 PM on July 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


In at least one version of Clue I played as a child in the 90s, Miss Scarlet was a straight-up Dragon Lady
posted by griphus at 4:21 PM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


OK. Now I want to play clue, but I'm by myself and don't have it, and I can probably find some sort of board game online site that would do that, but if I'm doing all that I'd actually rather play something similar but better. Is there anything like that? Just some sort of on-line deductive puzzle thing I could take a couple runs through?

I guess I could boot up an emulator and play one of the old console games...
posted by lkc at 5:07 PM on July 8, 2016


The Dungeons and Dragons edition of Clue is a lot of fun when you play with the monsters. Defeating a monster gives you a one-time bonus (look at an opponent's card, etc) while losing tone gets you sent to the maze at the heart of keep, from which you can only escape by getting the correct roll on the die).

There's also a great hack of Clue called Murderland in which the goal is to eliminate all the other players and discover an obscene sum of money.
posted by KingEdRa at 10:15 PM on July 8, 2016


The name Cluedo is a play on Ludo , although obviously the rules are completely different.

It was with a shock, and a propos of nothing at all that I realised the other day that Cluedo is basically the same game as Mastermind, but Mastermind is more abstract. Same logical principle, though, but all the decoration and flummery distracts from the fact that it's basically a logic game.

I used to think that the pictures on the cards were realistic depictions of the characters who had somehow been bottled with just their heads sticking out.

I also used to use the secret passage as much as possible because secret passages are cool.
posted by Grangousier at 4:03 AM on July 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


retrograde: I had completely forgotten that show existed! You weren't the only one obsessing over it.
posted by Jilder at 4:24 AM on July 9, 2016


No blandishes for Ms. Orchid.
posted by Mocata at 9:53 AM on July 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


Etrigan: I just have to say, props on the title. :)
posted by WCityMike at 10:01 AM on July 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


But Mrs. White wasn't the murderer!
posted by Night_owl at 3:35 AM on July 10, 2016


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