My wife is a clue fanatic. We have, at current count, 5 editions of clue. Regular, Haunted mansion, the card game, a wooden box "retro" edition, and this game, Dungeons and Dragons. (we also have at least 3 other editions on our wish lists)
That being said, we have played a lot of clue. I have found that many editions don't do much to tinker with the base formula, as the alternate editions of risk have. Mostly they just re-theme it, or make a completely new game that isn't really clue at all. I am happy to say that this edition adds some new things that help make the game fresh, while still keeping the same feel as good old clue.
The story is as follows; the archbishop has been killed by a doppelganger, and the doppelganger is hiding, disguised as one of the characters. The characters must question one another in an attempt to deduce the killer. Game play is much the same as regular clue; each player moves using dice, makes suggestions, others show him some cards, and so on. If you have ever played clue, you will be familiar with the basic premise.
New, however, is the optional monsters rule. There are six spaces on the board marked with claw marks, and on these spaces you may choose to fight a wandering monster. There are six, and you choose which one you may fight. Each monster is progressively more difficult to defeat, (the dice roll of the fight is harder) but the tougher monsters have bigger payoff. If you defeat a monster, you get a special power that can be used once. For instance, the goblin is very weak (roll a d6, need a 2 to win) and gives a power where you can roll twice to move, and take the better roll. By contrast, the beholder is the hardest, requiring a 6 to defeat, but the power you get is to look at one of the solution cards!
Failure of the fight roll places you in the labyrinth, a space in the middle of the board. To leave this space, you must roll a five or six on your move to leave, otherwise, you lose your turn.
That's about it as far as the game play goes, close to the original, but the monsters help you get that "D&D" feel.
The components are a mixed bag. The playing pieces are nice, metal figurines and sculpted weapon pieces. The pieces are not colored in any way, so it can be difficult for a novice to tell them apart. The cards are kind of wimpy, and are on a thin card stock (although I've certainly used worse). The board is mounted, as many are, but the mounting back is also kind of thin. The artwork is very nice, however, and mirrors the art from the 3rd edition d&d books. The characters involved are also the signature characters from that line, Regdar, Tordek, Mialee, Ember, Lidda and Nebin.
All in all, not a bad game. If you like clue, like I do, then you will probably like this, as it is the same old game. If you don't like clue, though, this won't convert you. Also, the D&D theme appeals to the rpg gamer in me. A good diversion from the norm, whether for clue players, or maybe a break for your rpg group.
Retains feel of classic clue
Monsters are a welcome element, giving special powers
Sculpted metal pieces
Slick, professional artwork
The card stock and board are kind of disappointing
More could have been done with the theme; special powers from the get-go, magic, some kind of quest, stuff like that
Still Clue, so no new thrills
Pieces need a coloring, to be kept apart
Rules could need some polish, left somewhat ambiguous.
Clue is a classic game and fun for the entry-level detective gamer. However, I strongly suggest checking out MYSTERY OF THE ABBEY as this improves on the deduction mechanics and better player interaction.
I just received a sealed copy of this yesterday.and I agree with you regarding the components. The cards are incredibly flimsy, and my Bugbear card has half of the bottom line of text cut off (image is too low on the card) While still playable, it is not pretty and that sort of slip in quality control always sticks in my throat.
Aside from that I'm very happy to have managed to get a copy at not too crazy a price. my kids have been on a D&D kick, so this will make a nice alternative to other gaming.