- I. Before the Game
- II. Dirty Secrets
- III. The Game Begins
- IV. The Search Is On
- V. The Structure of a Turn
- VI. The Murderer's Sneaky Tricks
- VII. Things to Do in Clue When You're Dead
- VIII. Endgame
- IX. Scoring
Welcome to HRSFA's Live-Action Clue!
We hope you will have a good time doing dirty deeds.
The game is inspired by three sources:
The Parker Brothers board game Clue,
the movie of the same name starring Tim Curry, Lesley Ann Warren, etc.
(from which you will find quotations throughout these rules),
and "how to host a murder" party games.
As in the board game,
players are trying to find out who did it, with what, and where.
As in the movie, each player has a dirty secret
they'd rather keep just that—secret.
The rules as you see them were created
by Claudia Mastroianni '91-'94 and Katherine Bryant,
based on the original idea by Lee Valentine '93.
Matt Duhan '95, Matt Ender '93, Lori Rodriguez, and Zil Lyons
also contributed to the development of the game.
The objects of the game are pretty simple:
- If you're the murderer, you don't want anyone to figure out
the crime. Meeting this goal may require you to, er, remove some
of the other players forcibly.
- If you're not the murderer, you want to figure out who did it,
with what, and where. You also want to avoid being murdered!
- And, no matter who you are, you want to collect as much
dirt on everyone else as you can, while keeping your own dirty
"And you'd had a letter, and you'd had a letter..."
"Get on with it!"
—Wadsworth and everyone
- Sometime before the day of the game, you will receive an
invitation to the Bawdy House. The invitation will tell you who
you are and what you know, about yourself and other people.
The invitation will also inform the murderer that he or she is the murderer.
- Please make an effort to come in costume. We have tried to
assign players to colors they've told us they can provide a
costume for. And for the sake of your feet and knees,
wear comfortable shoes!
- You may want to bring a notebook and writing implement
to the game, to keep track of the information you learn.
"You're not being blackmailed?"
"Oh, I'm being blackmailed, all right. But I did what I'm being blackmailed for."
—Wadsworth and Miss Scarlet
There are two types of information you will come across during
the game (well, two that count; random gossip you may find on
blackboards is fun and encouraged, but hardly trustworthy!):
subplot fragments and card equivalents.
- Each player has a subplot. This is something unsavory in
their lives that Ms. Bawdy found out about and used to
blackmail the character.
- Each subplot contains three crucial pieces of information
that can be put together to figure out the whole story.
- At the beginning of the game, each player knows one piece
each of three other characters' subplots (as well as his or her own complete
subplot, of course!). Someone has each piece of each subplot. Some
subplot information is also scattered around the rooms, and
can be found through player and butler-aided searches (more on those below).
- It's up to you to get the information from other players or
from searches and then put the information together to
make the whole story.
- In not quite the words of Schoolhouse Rock!, "I find it very
interesting—a card equivalent's a person, place or thing!"
Specifically, a card equivalent is a piece of information that
exonerates one particular character, room, or weapon of
the murder. (They're called "card equivalents" because they're equivalent
to the cards used in the original board game Clue®.)
- Each player will start the game with three card equivalents.
Other card equivalents can be found through player and
butler-aided searches (yes, I promise, we'll
get to those in a bit!).
- Information on card equivalents is exchanged during a
Suspicion (that's coming up later, too).
"Pardon me, sir, but tonight you may well feel obliged
to my employer for the use of an alias."
- Please be on time. It causes delays for all the other players if
someone is late—and you wouldn't want to get the murderer
mad at you, now would you?
- When you arrive, you will be greeted by one of the butlers,
who will give you a packet of information and show you to a room.
The packet will give you further information about what you see
and hear while waiting. This information becomes your
card equivalents (see above).
You will also get a map of the house
and a list of your fellow guests.
- While waiting, please do not disturb anything that may be
in the room with you.
- At some point, there will, I am afraid, be a scream. Shame,
shame. Please do not leave the room you are in until you are
fetched by a butler; we'd hate to have any further mishap befall
anyone at this point!
- The butlers will fetch you and bring you to headquarters,
at which time certain things will be revealed and plans made.
- As soon as we are done at headquarters, players will be
paired off to do an initial search of the house. Each pair will
be assigned certain rooms to search for evidence.
- What evidence? There will be an index card hidden
somewhere in each room with information written on it.
That information may reveal one of three things:
- A subplot fragment.
- A card equivalent.
- The existence of a secret passage. (More on them in a moment.)
- Anything found by a pair during this initial search is considered
to have been found by both players, so both players know this
information from here on out.
A very important note!!
When you find a card in a room, either now or later
in the game, do not remove the card from its place.
Any information found during a search is considered to be permanently in the room
and is not to be disturbed or removed.
- During this initial search, do not remove weapons from rooms.
Also, it would be very poor form for the murderer to dispatch his or her
partner; after all, it would give away your identity very quickly!
- After the initial search is done, we will return to headquarters.
At this point, each player may choose a room to go to,
and from here on out the game proceeds in turns.
Each turn may be divided into two phases: movement and action.
- During the movement phase, players may either stay in their
current room or move one room away. The map shows which rooms
are connected to each other. You may only move to a room
that is connected to the room you are in by an arrow—or by a
- Once you find that a secret passage exists in a room, you know
how to get into the passage—but not where it goes. You may
only use a secret passage during the movement phase. If you
want to use it, ask the butler where it goes and be on your way.
If you already know where it goes, from an earlier turn, then just
go ahead and go.
- Just because you know how to go one way through a passage
doesn't mean you know how to go back—opening the door to a
passage from inside the passage doesn't show you where the
mechanism is inside the room. You must find the mechanism
during a search.
- If you are staying in your room till the next turn, don't open
the door and watch everyone else moving around. Also, you
may not change your mind about which room you're going to after
you open the door to your destination room. If any movement
irregularity occurs (e.g., you opened a door, then realized you
had gone to a room you couldn't have gotten to on the map),
call a butler immediately, and we'll straighten things out as
best we can.
- No two players may spend more than three consecutive turns
in the same room(s) as each other. On the fourth turn, you
must go your separate ways. If you don't, when the butlers
come to your room, they will assign each of you to a random
room. Please don't make us do this.
This is where most of the game happens. You may do two
things on each turn: one search and one information exchange.
There are two kinds of searches, and two kinds of
- In a player search, you yourself search the room for the
hidden index card and the information it contains. If more than
one person in a room decides to do a player search, all those who
search get to see the information. Anyone who decides not to
do a player search does not get to see the information.
- In a butler-aided search, you ask the butler (who will make
rounds of the rooms each turn, to answer questions, resolve
problems, and provide these searches) what you find in the room.
This will get you another piece of information—a different piece
than what you would find by searching yourself. Again, only
those who choose to do a butler-aided search get to hear what
the butler has to say.
- In a Suspicion, one player suggests a combination of
character, room and weapon that he or she thinks may be the solution
to the murder. Then, in arbitrary order (decide among yourselves
first, if it's an issue), the others in the room are asked if they
can disprove the suspicion.
This is where you use your card equivalents.
- If you have a card equivalent for an element of the
Suspicion, you must tell the person making the Suspicion
which one you can disprove. (If you have more than one,
you only need to tell one.) This information should be
whispered, written down, or otherwise given privately,
so that others in the room don't hear it.
- If you do not have a card equivalent that matches
the Suspicion, say so, and the question passes to the
next person. Once one person has disproved the Suspicion,
no one else has to respond.
- You may make only one Suspicion per turn (if you choose
to make a Suspicion at all). Everyone, including those who
choose to trade subplot information instead of making a
Suspicion, is obligated to participate in disproving
- What are you obliged to tell? Only the card equivalents you
had at the beginning of the game. You are not obliged to tell card
equivalents you have found in searches or that people have
disproved for you in Suspicions you have made.
- The other option is subplot exchange. Players who choose this
option may trade however much subplot information they care
to, about themselves (unlikely!) or others. You may not lie
about subplot information at this stage. Also, though you need
not recite your subplot fragments verbatim, it's important that
you get all the information across.
At the end of a turn, you must deal with weapons.
- If you are alone in a room and there is a weapon present, you
may pick it up and take it away with you. Why would you want to?
If you and the murderer wind up alone together in a room, and
you're armed, he or she can't kill you. Weapons must be carried
openly—nobody here has a concealed weapons permit!
- If there is more than one person in a room, and any of them
are armed, all who are armed must drop their weapons. (If rooms
get cluttered with too many weapons, the butlers may tidy up
and put them back where they belong. As Wadsworth said:
"I buttle, sir."
- If you decide to stay put during the movement phase and
everyone else in your room drops their weapons and leaves, you
may not pick up a weapon before the next turn starts. All
weapons manipulation—dropping or picking up—occurs at the end
of the turn. In the above case, you could pick up a weapon at the end
of the next turn, if nobody came into your room during that turn.
So, to recap how a turn works: First, during the movement phase, move
to a new room if you're going to. Then, in whatever order you like, each player
may (1) either do a player search or a butler search, and (2) either
make a Suspicion or trade subplot information. At the end of the turn,
if there is more than one person in the room, all must drop weapons.
If you're alone, you may pick up a weapon.
At the end of each turn, the butlers will call out "Time!" or
something similar. At this point, the movement phase of the
next turn begins.
Of course, while all of this is going on, bear in mind that there's
a murderer on the loose...
"Why would he want to kill you in public?"
"Mrs. White, no man in his right mind would be alone together with you."
While everyone else is busily trying to figure out who did it,
with what, and where, the murderer is trying to knock off a
few more players before they can finger him or her. Here's how
- At any point during a turn before the weapon-dropping
at the end, the murderer, if armed, may kill an unarmed player
if the two are alone in the room together.
- If the murderer wants to trade information before killing,
that's fine. If the murderer wants to kill the other player
before he or she has a chance to search the room, that's fine too.
- The murderer may then run as many as three rooms away.
Here, the murderer has the special aid of the butlers; they may
tell him or her which rooms are occupied and unoccupied, but not by
whom (or by how many). If the murderer knows about a
secret passage, he or she may use it in running away.
- If the murderer is alone in a room and armed, he or she may
move one room away to see if anyone might be waiting alone
there. He or she may not have the aid of the butlers in deciding which
room to move to. If the room turns out to be empty, the murderer
returns to his or her original room.
- The murderer should inform a butler when a killing has
been made. The butlers will wait three turns to see if anyone
finds the body.
- If you should happen to find a body, scream!
It adds such color to the game.
- When a body is found, or after three turns if it hasn't been,
the butlers will spread the news of who died and where to
the other players.
Now, what happens if you, poor soul, meet the murderer alone
and unarmed, and fall victim to his or her nastiness?
"Two corpses, everything's fine."
"Being killed is pretty final, wouldn't you say?"
- Stay where you died until you are found or your death is
announced. (The butlers will let you know when your death
has been announced.)
- Fear not: Just because you're dead, doesn't mean you can't
still score points. Write out everything you know: Whodunit,
where, and with what (you need all three to score—guess or
hedge bets if you don't know), and everything you can piece
together about everyone else's subplots. Guessing isn't likely
to work for subplots, but it can certainly be entertaining. Until
you've finished writing up, be alone no matter what. You may
not eavesdrop, search other rooms, or otherwise seek more
- After you submit your solution to the butlers, you may
haunt: wander around from room to room, eavesdrop, write
blackboard gossip, whatever. Don't reveal anything to still-living
players, though. Well, nothing that scores points. If you
want to give them a message from their Great-Aunt Nora,
that's entirely appropriate.
"To make a long story short—"
—Wadsworth and everyone
Unless everyone gets massacred, the butlers will use their
judgement to decide when the police should arrive. At that
point, all of you will be herded back to headquarters to
write up everything you know. Give your write-ups to the butlers,
and then all will be revealed...bloodshed! Scandal! Mrs. Peacock
was a man!
Your world will never be the same.
"One...plus two...plus one...plus one..."
|Each subplot fragment (3 per other player, max):
|The entire subplot of another player:|
(so the maximum for each other player's subplot is 25 points)
|Nobody figures out your entire subplot:
|Nobody figures out the whole solution:
|The first death within the game:
|Each subsequent death:
|Figuring out who, what, and where:
||100 ÷ number of solutions
|Staying alive until the denouement:
You may guess on the final solution if you don't know. You
may give several alternatives, e.g. Dr. Brown or Ms. Red in the
Lounge with the Revolver or the Knitting Needle. But each
alternative you add increases the number of possible solutions
you're including. In the example, there are 2 people, 1 room,
and 2 weapons for 2 X 1 X 2 = 4 possible solutions. So if you're
correct that it was one of those four, you would get 100/4 = 25
points. So the maximum possible score for a hedged bet is
50 points. You get the full 100 points if you have just
one solution and it's right.
Live-Action Clue rules ©copyright 1998 by Claudia M. Mastroianni and Katherine L. Bryant.
Photography ©copyright 1998 Mary Tsien.
All rights reserved.
Permission to redistribute granted so long as this copyright notice is included.
Last updated 2 May 2010. ©1995-2015 HRSFA.
The Harvard name and VERITAS shield are trademarks of the President and Fellows
of Harvard College and are used by permission of Harvard University.