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Subject: Mystery at Marple Manor recreation rss

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Do any of you recognize the game mentioned in the thread title, Mystery at Marple Manor? Okay, let me see if I can give a little explanation. I'll do it in the first person.

Back when I was a kid, I discovered the game of Clue. Being a young lover of mysteries, I fell right into the game, even though I wasn't immediately good at deduction.

We also had a Commodore 64 with a bunch of copied games given to use by relatives (seems like everyone was a casual pirate in those days). Many of the games seemed to be amateur-programmed. One of those was Mystery at Marple Manor, a text game obviously based on Clue, but with two or three game-changing twists.

I don't have a C64 anymore, but this game stands out in my mind for several reasons. One is that it added a tangible element to the Clue design that I quite enjoyed. Another is that it was simple enough that it could easily be turned into a board game. In fact, as an adolescent, I did, once -- creating a detailed board from sketch paper and colored pencils -- though it has been lost to the mists of time. And now that I'm older, I'd like to see if I can do it again, but better this time.

This partially a subject for the DIY forum, but first I need to address design. The game rules are entirely in my memory, so let me describe it as best I can:


First, start off with Clue. The names of the suspects, weapons, and rooms don't matter much.

Instead of the traditional board, you have a series of linked rooms. No dice, you can just move one room per turn before choosing an action. The original game used a "possible exits are..." method; it didn't differentiate between secret passages and regular doors (though the nonsensical network of exits implied that some are secret passages, for the purpose of creating a board).

Suspects and weapons are found around the mansion. They can't be moved to other rooms, but they can be hidden (see below). If you see a suspect or weapon, that means the suspect or weapon was not involved in the crime (presumably the murderer is still on the lamb and is known to carry the murder weapon). Weapons can be picked up and taken with you to obfuscate the truth for other players.

The final piece of evidence you can find is the body. If you find it, you know where the murder was committed. If there is no body in a room, you can check it off your list (though obviously, finding the body is much quicker than systematically deducing its whereabouts without running across it).

Now, here's the catch about evidence: it can be hidden. Yes, suspects too. Some of it STARTS the game hidden. In addition to being located in a room, an item is either hidden or in plain sight. If it is hidden, you'll have to search to uncover it. You can also take a turn to hide an item, a suspect, or even the body. Neither suspects nor the body can be taken with you to other rooms.

Furthermore, in the original game you cannot see where anyone is unless they're in the same room, players included. Obviously this is not entirely possible in the board game, since player pieces mark where they are. But a certain amount of secrecy is possible. This probably requires a GM to run the game.

The last addition to the Clue formula is keys. In addition to evidence, there are keys to specific rooms within the house. The "Dining Room Key," for instance, would unlock any door which opens into the Dining Room. Not all rooms have keys. There is also one Skeleton Key, which can open or lock any door in the manor. Some doors begin the game locked, others don't. However, if a door isn't locked to begin with it, you can use an appropriate key to lock it, foiling your opponents.

Turn Phases:

1.) On your turn, the very first thing that happens is that you may make one move if you wish. If the door you're trying to move through is locked, you will be told so, and your move ends without going anywhere (I think).

2.) After moving (or deciding not to), a player is told what they see in the room to which they moved (in the computer game, you don't learn any of this until AFTER you move). The original game would tell you:
* Who is in the room (both players AND suspects)
* What items are visible (evidence AND keys)
* Whether the body is present
* What item the active player is carrying

Any hidden suspect/item/body wouldn't be mentioned. Items carried by other players aren't mentioned, either.

3.) The player chooses a main action for the turn:
* Search Current Room
* Hide Item/Suspect
* Take/Drop/Switch Item
* Lock/Unlock a Door
* Pilfer
* Make an Accusation

I'll detail the actions later.

4.) Turn ends and passes to next player.



That's it for phases. Let me break down the main actions:

* Search room *

Use this action and you are told all of the items and suspects contained in the current room, hidden or no. Any hidden items and suspects would count as unhidden from them on, so any opponent who later ends a turn in the room will be able to see them.

* Hide item/suspect *
Choose one suspect or item in the room and hide it. It is hidden from everyone's sight (including you) until someone searches for it. You can hide an item you are carrying if you choose, but this requires you to leave it behind..

* Take/Drop/Switch Item *
With this action, any one key or weapon can be picked up and taken with you - don't worry about fingerprints. A player can only carry one item at a time. To pick up another, they must Switch it with the current item, which counts as Dropping the old item. If you Drop an item, it remains in the room, unhidden.

* Lock/Unlock a Door *
Doors always divide rooms and mark room exits. If you are carrying the appropriate key for a door adjacent to the room you are currently in, you may use this action to lock it or unlock it. I don't remember whether you can tell if a door is locked just by looking at it or whether you have to try to "Move."

* Pilfer *
Take an item from a player in the same room as you. In the computer game, they are not told that this has happened and will only discover the absence of their item on their next turn, after they have decided whether to move. Obviously, this poses problems for an unplugged board game, even with a GM.

* Make an Accusation *
Exactly as in Clue, it is used to win the game. The player declares whodunnit and "calls the police." If correct, the player wins. If false, the player is eliminated from the game (in the computer game, a false accusation gets you "arrested" and the game continues with the remaining players).



That's' all, I believe.


My notes:

As you can see, no dice are involved -- the only randomness is in the locations of the items and suspects. Furthermore, there is a lot of private information. In the computer game, each player would take their turn in private; when I played it with my sister we would each leave the room when it was the other player's turn (this was not explicitly stated, but it was implied, since the game wouldn't work properly otherwise).

Secondly, note the likely requirement of a Gamemaster. When I rendered this game as a young teenager, I had the GM use a screen to hide a mat with all the rooms listed on it. Stacks of cards (which resembled Clue cards) would be distributed amongst the rooms on the mat, so the GM could compare them to the actual board. Each room would have two potential stacks of cards: one hidden, one unhidden. When discovering evidence, a player would have to be passed a card, look at it, and then pass it back. Hence, the other players would immediately knew something was in that room. I theorized that a player would write their action on a note and pass it to the GM to maintain as much confidentiality as possible (otherwise, hiding items would be much less effective).

In the computer game, the players are referred to by numbers, and all the suspects are non-player characters. Personally, I would like to determine whether it's feasible to work in the possibility that one of the players is the culprit. Given the complex network of rooms and the presence of keys, a climactic escape/chase scene may be possible, too.

Covert multiple murders might also be possible, but that's stepping into extremely complex territory, so let's leave that for last.



Anyway, any of your thoughts are appreciated. I am thinking of introducing this game at a murder mystery party where we also play Clue: Master Detective and maybe even Kill Doctor Lucky, dressed in thematic colors (ala Colonel Mustard, Miss Scarlet, etc.).

It would be nice if this game worked without a GM, but I'm prepared to host the party and GM the game if necessary. (I could be the ghost of Mr. Boddy! )

I'll save the DIY stuff for later, but just as a general FYI, I plan on either combining this with the setting (and board) of Clue, or creating a new board by photoshopping together scanned pieces of the Clue board.



Story:

Story recommendations are also welcome, since working it all into a theme party will be a unique challenge. I was thinking of dividing it into three stages:

1. Kill Dr. Lucky (everybody wants to be the culprit)
2. Clue: Master Detective (everybody wants to pose as the hero)
3, Mystery at Marple Manor (the culprit has an accomplice at large)

...but that's just my initial idea, and it lacks detail. Other ideas and inspirations are welcome. In any case, I hope to leave the players free to make up character backstory so they can get into their roles if they wish (without having to stick to the stories presented by the board game, the movie, etc.).


I'd also be happy to hear from anyone else who had the pleasure of playing this ancient game back in the day. (It was released in 1984, according to this site).



Side note: Miss Marple is an Agatha Christie character who doesn't really have a direct connection to this game. I don't think the game even carried the Miss Marple license; it was just a catchy title that reminded players of a mystery novel. At least that's my assumption.
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Robert Richardson
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Some thoughts on how to work with this game.

Create a separate board from the game board (or a section on the game board) that has two card spots for every room. One spot is labeled "Open" and one is labeled "Hidden."

When a player enters a room they automatically get to look at the cards (containing evidence) from the "open" pile.

If they choose to search, they get to look at the "Hidden" pile.

If they choose to hide or reveal, they may move cards from one pile to another.

Two-sided tokens would be an easy way to work the doors. One side has a padlock, the other has an open door. When locking or unlocking a door, just flip the token to the appropriate side.
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robert4818 wrote:
Some thoughts on how to work with this game.

Create a separate board from the game board (or a section on the game board) that has two card spots for every room. One spot is labeled "Open" and one is labeled "Hidden."

When a player enters a room they automatically get to look at the cards (containing evidence) from the "open" pile.

If they choose to search, they get to look at the "Hidden" pile.

If they choose to hide or reveal, they may move cards from one pile to another.

Two-sided tokens would be an easy way to work the doors. One side has a padlock, the other has an open door. When locking or unlocking a door, just flip the token to the appropriate side.


Thanks, those are some nice suggestions. I think there are a few things I can extrapolate about what you're thinking, so I'll try:


Now, the "separate game board" would serve a purpose similar to the "mat" I mentioned, but you seem to be implying that the it would not be hidden from the players. In order to hide the number of cards in each room, each card stack could be held in something similar to Clue's "Confidential" envelope. That's one way of handling it.

There is something I neglected to mention, though: different rooms have different numbers of cards (evidence) "in" them. Some rooms might be completely empty. I said the evidence locations are randomized, but if a GM arranged it, the truth is that it's his decision. You could possibly achieve a similar result without a GM pulling the strings, but the trick would be intentionally uneven distribution of evidence cards.

Here's one idea I came up with: blank cards. The more blank cards you shuffle into the evidence deck before dealing it out into stacks for the various rooms, the more unevenly the evidence is likely to be distributed. A player could pick up a stack of several cards and act like they found something, when in fact the room was empty> Yay, more obfuscation! (Can you tell I like that word?)

That leaves a question, though: should the cards really be blank? Is there something else that could be done with them? Perhaps they'd give a bonus to the finder, but only if the finder reveals the card to all other players (thus negating the potential to serve as a red herring to other players)?

Thanks, Robert, I think you've helped me continue on my way towards phasing out the GM necessity.
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I was just about to suggest "Nothing" cards. Because, like you, I was thinking that it would be too easy to decide whether or not to search a room by the number of cards on the "hidden" pile.

For a bit more Randomizing, I would also suggest the following:

Once you decide on the total number of cards, (blank and evidence) create a small series of tokens that when all added up together, total that number.

During set up, lay each token face down above each spot on the board before you deal cards to them.

When you get ready to deal the cards, turn over the token for that pile and put that many cards into it. This way EVERYTHING is a bit more random.

Of course, you can neglect this as well, its just a random thought.
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Oh, as a side note. You've placed the seed of a Clue variant idea in my head which I'll be posting here in a little while.
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Yes, I have heard of Mystery at Marple Manor. This game gets credit, along with my father's teaching, as starting my interest in computer programming. I've even still have the article with the source code from Compute's Gazette magazine.

As for trying to make a board game version of the game, check out Day's of Wonder's Mystery of the Abbey. Although a different feel from Marple Manor, it does have different instances of a "pilfer" mechanism...You can steal a card from a player if you go into the confessional after them, but then you become the next player to have a card stolen from. Also, you can steal from a player if you go to their bedroom, as long as they aren't able to catch you (enter their bedroom while you are in on their turn). Even if it does not help with ideas, it is still a very good deduction game.

Lastly, if you look, you should be able to find files for Mystery at Marple Manor for running in a Commodore emulator, like VICE. I think there is a repository out there of all of the Compute's Gazette programs. While you are there also check out Sleuth for C64. It was a deduction game based on interrogation, where the suspects give clues on opportunity, motive, etc and one of them is always a liar. Kind of a modification of that math problem with the two doors, two guards, one being a liar.
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This C64 game came with Sept 84 edition of "Compute!s Gazette".
This page: http://www.atarimagazines.com/compute/gazette/ lists it and has a link to the disk - but it's dead. A bit of searching finds an alternative (in addition to the download from the link in the original post).
Grab a C64 emulator (like http://www.c64forever.com/) and try it out.

If you just want the info that came in the magazine:

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Radien wrote:


That leaves a question, though: should the cards really be blank? Is there something else that could be done with them? Perhaps they'd give a bonus to the finder, but only if the finder reveals the card to all other players (thus negating the potential to serve as a red herring to other players)?


Make it like a scratch card:

"Sorry, you didn't win this time. Please waste another $2 and try again!"

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Radien wrote:

That leaves a question, though: should the cards really be blank? Is there something else that could be done with them? Perhaps they'd give a bonus to the finder, but only if the finder reveals the card to all other players (thus negating the potential to serve as a red herring to other players)?


There's no need for them to be literally blank. They should at least be entertaining to read... "There are rumours that one of the suspects once dabbled in Black Magic." "The 'Ming Dynasty' vase is a fake made by a potter in Burnley." "The victim had a mortal fear of organ-grinders." "There is a great deal of dust in this room. Someone should have a word with the servants."
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Wow, so many ideas. Thanks for all your input; I guess I came to the right place to bring up an old computer game based on Clue!

robert4818 wrote:
I was just about to suggest "Nothing" cards. Because, like you, I was thinking that it would be too easy to decide whether or not to search a room by the number of cards on the "hidden" pile.

For a bit more Randomizing, I would also suggest the following:

Once you decide on the total number of cards, (blank and evidence) create a small series of tokens that when all added up together, total that number.

During set up, lay each token face down above each spot on the board before you deal cards to them.

When you get ready to deal the cards, turn over the token for that pile and put that many cards into it. This way EVERYTHING is a bit more random.

Of course, you can neglect this as well, its just a random thought.


Thanks, for the help! I've gotten enough good feedback that I think I'm going to try "nothing" cards. I'm sure something can come of the idea.

Your idea about randomizing the number of cards per room via tokens is also a good one, except that it would be more obvious which rooms contain a windfall of clues and which contain very few. Combined with "nothing" cards it would make it very random indeed, but I get the feeling that there is no need to use both methods at once.


robert4818 wrote:
Oh, as a side note. You've placed the seed of a Clue variant idea in my head which I'll be posting here in a little while.


I will await it with anticipation. For that matter, I can't believe I haven't checked out the Clue variant page here (I spent last night reading the Kill Dr. Lucky variants, since Clue's rules are more stable to begin with).


wwwebb wrote:
Yes, I have heard of Mystery at Marple Manor. This game gets credit, along with my father's teaching, as starting my interest in computer programming. I've even still have the article with the source code from Compute's Gazette magazine.

As for trying to make a board game version of the game, check out Day's of Wonder's Mystery of the Abbey. Although a different feel from Marple Manor, it does have different instances of a "pilfer" mechanism...You can steal a card from a player if you go into the confessional after them, but then you become the next player to have a card stolen from. Also, you can steal from a player if you go to their bedroom, as long as they aren't able to catch you (enter their bedroom while you are in on their turn). Even if it does not help with ideas, it is still a very good deduction game.

Lastly, if you look, you should be able to find files for Mystery at Marple Manor for running in a Commodore emulator, like VICE. I think there is a repository out there of all of the Compute's Gazette programs. While you are there also check out Sleuth for C64. It was a deduction game based on interrogation, where the suspects give clues on opportunity, motive, etc and one of them is always a liar. Kind of a modification of that math problem with the two doors, two guards, one being a liar.


I enjoy hearing about how it inspired you. Alas, I might've become a young computer programmer when I was 8 or 10, but I lacked a mentor. I got a magazine which contained BASIC source code, but couldn't figure out how to save it as a program all by my lonesome, if it was even possible on my Commodore 64. I even typed up about six pages of code once which was lost to the void before it ever did anything. Heck, I even started a very simple program to simulate navigating my house, text-adventure style. It worked, but again, I didn't know how to save it to disk.

firewizard wrote:
This C64 game came with Sept 84 edition of "Compute!s Gazette".
This page: http://www.atarimagazines.com/compute/gazette/ lists it and has a link to the disk - but it's dead. A bit of searching finds an alternative (in addition to the download from the link in the original post).
Grab a C64 emulator (like http://www.c64forever.com/) and try it out.

If you just want the info that came in the magazine:



So THAT'S why that issue of the magazine came up so often in my search results... my 21st century mind had assumed the program had come on a demo disk included with the magazine. Thanks for the links! I will read up so that I know about the source of my humble inspiration.

Anyway, I must admit that I do in fact emulate, and have found a copy of this game which I have yet to try out. Most everything that is relevant to a board game is already committed to memory, but if I wanted to be remarkably true to the original, some choice details could be garnered by booting it up and taking notes. For instance, the weapon selection and the names of the suspects, which I wouldn't be able to recall even if you asked me 10 years ago. (Dang, this game is almost as old as some of my friend's flowery American board games from the late 1970's, and yet it was never an actual printed board game...)


londonien wrote:
Radien wrote:
That leaves a question, though: should the cards really be blank? Is there something else that could be done with them? Perhaps they'd give a bonus to the finder, but only if the finder reveals the card to all other players (thus negating the potential to serve as a red herring to other players)?


There's no need for them to be literally blank. They should at least be entertaining to read... "There are rumours that one of the suspects once dabbled in Black Magic." "The 'Ming Dynasty' vase is a fake made by a potter in Burnley." "The victim had a mortal fear of organ-grinders." "There is a great deal of dust in this room. Someone should have a word with the servants."


I was only referring to them as "blank" cards for the purpose of game design -- my original intent was to have literal "Red Herring" items. Who wouldn't enjoy carrying around a dead fish? :headshake:

Your idea sounds like it could add a lot of fun variety and creativity to the game. After all, for comparison, half the fun of Kill Dr. Lucky was reading the fun flavor text on the cards.

Ex:
Suddenly, a pause; a thought; a shudder. Did you leave the iron on?
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Just a nod towards having something on the nothing cards. A card with nothing on might easily be seen accidentally by another player. The nothing cards, because they do not actually "interfere" with normal play can be the strength of the theme. As you are holding a "Murder mystery gaming weekend"
then have some of the cards be interactive, ie "When the next player starts his turn you have to scream" or "Stand up and accuse the person opposite you of being the murderer" or "Keep still and stare at each player in turn" that sort of thing. This sounds like a great idea you have.
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It sounds like you could easily have a variant where (like a lot of mysteries) one player is the murderer, and every other player has a secret they need to keep.
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I have a quick note and another problem to address, for which I'd love to get your perspectives.

You see, in the original Marple Manor game, suspects were scattered around the mansion. Finding a suspect meant they were innocent. As the "evidence" was represented by actual people, you couldn't "pick them up" and take them to other rooms (an actual person can't be hidden in your pocket the way a key or a candlestick might be), nor could a suspect change rooms at all, though you could instruct a person to hide in the same room where they were found.

Here's the problem: suspect cards have the same card backing as other cards. Without a GM, there is nothing stopping a player from investigating a room, picking up a suspect card as though it were an item, and moving it to another room.

My first thought is that suspect cards should be treated as physical "alibis" rather than actual people, and then just allow players to move them, much like the weapon cards. This may end up being a necessity, as I can't think of a practical solution.


This problem is twofold, because I have the same difficulty with "Secret Passage" cards. I had the idea of having secret passages ala Clue, but make them into cards so that in every game the manor will have different secret passages. The difficulty occurs if a player picks up a Secret Passage card as though it were an item, and moves it to another room before "discovering" it and using it.

Is there a way to prevent this? I have only come up with one potential solution, and it is a peculiar one. I'd like to know what you think. Here's the idea:

Each card face is constructed very specifically -- the name of the card and the artwork (if any) appear on the top half, and the card type appears at the bottom (or some equivalent variant of this layout). When a player is not looking at their hand, they store it FACE UP, with an object covering the names of the cards and revealing the card type.

The card "type" might be particularly vague. Perhaps just vague enough to prove that the player did not remove a card which was supposed to remain in the room. But it might become obvious that the only purpose of the game mechanic is to prevent players from cheating, and that sort of thing feels rather negative, even though it's practical. Do you all have any thoughts?


whatambush wrote:
Just a nod towards having something on the nothing cards. A card with nothing on might easily be seen accidentally by another player. The nothing cards, because they do not actually "interfere" with normal play can be the strength of the theme. As you are holding a "Murder mystery gaming weekend"
then have some of the cards be interactive, ie "When the next player starts his turn you have to scream" or "Stand up and accuse the person opposite you of being the murderer" or "Keep still and stare at each player in turn" that sort of thing. This sounds like a great idea you have.


Definitely, I could imagine many fun game effects that the "filler" cards could use. (I figure "filler" is a better word than "nothing" cards if I had them actually do something, eh?) An example would be "play this card to move another player to any room in the manor." Or something like that.

The little "outbursts" you suggested sound fun, but I'm not sure how to handle them. Since the player looks at a stack of cards and voluntarily selects specific cards, following the instructions on a card without revealing it seems counter-intuitive. And even if they did pick it up, when would the instructions be followed? Hmm.

Side note: Is that Rev. Green in your avatar? Thank you for the advice, Father!


Edit: Oh, you might all be interested in something I did recently. I have a friend who is blind but loves gaming. I printed up a copy of the Dr. Lucky board and applied glue along the walls to make it semi-tactile. I left it with her in case she wants to modify it, but if I use the Dr. Lucky board for this game variant, she may be able to use the tactile board to join in. She won't be totally independent, though, unless I figure out how to integrate braille cards into the deduction process (she has a braille punch that can be used on playing cards). Yes, I've checked out Braille Cluedo, for those of you who happen to know about it.
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I have nothing to add to the discussion, but this (yours) is a facinating and entertaining post to read. Thanks.
I look forward to you and the others coming up with something!
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Radien wrote:

Side note: Is that Rev. Green in your avatar? Thank you for the advice, Father!


I almost forgot that I had him there. When I was looking for an avatar I wanted something green (don't ask, it is embarrassing) and something to do with gaming so I decided upon the rather iconic Rev. Green.
 
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My answer to your problem of someone potentially "hiding" a suspect.

Don't worry about it. Put it in the rules that they cannot "pick up" a suspect. I'm not positive that you need an actual "Anti-cheating" mechanic for it.

If you put in some form of the "pilfer" ability, the mere chance that someone could "steal" the illegaly held card may be enough to prevent a cheater from doing it.

Put the rule on each "suspect" card.

I.E.

Mr. Green
(This is a suspect card and cannot be carried)
 
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Radien wrote:
I had the idea of having secret passages ala Clue, but make them into cards so that in every game the manor will have different secret passages. The difficulty occurs if a player picks up a Secret Passage card as though it were an item, and moves it to another room before "discovering" it and using it.


Have a separate deck of cards, which look different to the item cards, which indicate either a secret passage, or no passage.
 
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apeloverage wrote:
Have a separate deck of cards, which look different to the item cards, which indicate either a secret passage, or no passage.

This works for the suspect cards as well - blank, or an alibi.
 
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whatambush wrote:
I almost forgot that I had him there. When I was looking for an avatar I wanted something green (don't ask, it is embarrassing) and something to do with gaming so I decided upon the rather iconic Rev. Green.


Hmmm, I wonder what could possibly be so embarrassing about green. Are you secretly a leprechaun?

Seriously though, I like green, so no questions asked.

Incidentally, it's interesting that you call Rev. Green "iconic," since until recently I didn't know that Mr. Green had been turned into a clergyman. For years I've owned an old copy of Clue and Clue: Master Detective, and in both Mr. Green is (or appears to be) a fat cat with a penchant for horse races.



robert4818 wrote:
My answer to your problem of someone potentially "hiding" a suspect.

Don't worry about it. Put it in the rules that they cannot "pick up" a suspect. I'm not positive that you need an actual "Anti-cheating" mechanic for it.

If you put in some form of the "pilfer" ability, the mere chance that someone could "steal" the illegaly held card may be enough to prevent a cheater from doing it.

Put the rule on each "suspect" card.

I.E.

Mr. Green
(This is a suspect card and cannot be carried)


Thanks for the suggestion. You make some good points. It's true that trusting players isn't always a big problem. I would note that right now in certain circumstances a player MIGHT be able to guarantee that they'll get away with moving an unmovable card (for instance if they're too far away from other players to be pilfered from), but the game isn't done yet. Other additions may change that.

Actually, I'm more worried about people accidentally breaking the rules and finding out later. If a player somehow used their knowledge -- added to the assumption that everyone is following the rules -- to deduce something, then later found out in the worst way that that deduction had been rendered incorrect due to a rule that had been broken, it could lead to a rather unpleasant game interruption.

For instance: how many of you have a childhood memory of playing Clue, when the dealer accidentally included two cards of the same type in the Confidential folder? Something like this messes up the deduction process for the whole game, and yet the dealer almost certainly didn't intend to go against the rules.



That said, here's what I have for secret passages:

If a secret passage is hidden, searching for items will move it (and all the room's other hidden cards) to the "unhidden" stack for that room. ("unhidden" stacks are still left face-down; you can only browse them if you are in the same room.)

A player in that room may reveal a Secret Passage card in the "unhidden" stack to establish the link between the two rooms, which is marked with two "stairway" tokens of a matching color. The secret passage card goes back to its previous "unhidden" stack. While the stairways are linked, they may be used just like a single door between the two rooms.

Later, a player may go to the room and hide the Secret Passage card. This causes the stairway tokens to be removed until someone else uncovers and uses the Secret Passage card again. A side effect of this is that while a secret passage is closed, it can only be opened from one side (since there's only one card).


So... um... I think I'm making progress. Thanks everyone for your help so far, by the way.
 
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Radien wrote:


Incidentally, it's interesting that you call Rev. Green "iconic," since until recently I didn't know that Mr. Green had been turned into a clergyman. For years I've owned an old copy of Clue and Clue: Master Detective, and in both Mr. Green is (or appears to be) a fat cat with a penchant for horse races.


Ahhh, I live in England and our version was called Cluedo, Rev. Green has always been Rev. Green.

An extract from Wiki

Rev./Mr. Green
The character of Green has been given two different personas in the Cluedo world. Originally patented as The Rev. Mr. Green; in Britain, he is Reverend Green, a hypocritical vicar who weakens when it comes to the Sixth commandment; namely murder. And in North America, he is Mr. Green, who has taken many money-oriented roles from mobster to businessman. Parker Brothers insisted on the name change as they thought the American public would object to a parson being a murder suspect.[4] He rolls fourth in the game.
 
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Look to Mystery Express for inspiration?

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whatambush wrote:
Ahhh, I live in England and our version was called Cluedo, Rev. Green has always been Rev. Green.


Really? Ahhh, how could I have missed that? I have researched the various editions of Cluedo/Clue and didn't realize that particular difference between the British and American versions. When I referred to a "change," I was making a reference to Rev. Green's appearance in the most recent American edition of Clue, in which Mr. Green has finally returned to his British name of "Rev. Green."

I'm willing to bet the companion booklet in Master Detective mentions Rev. Green. It covers a number of other name changes used for Clue releases in various countries, presented as fun factoids.


Anyway, going back to the topic at hand...


byronczimmer wrote:
Look to Mystery Express for inspiration?


Ahh, moving from the fairly old to the extremely new...

Mystery Express looks like a fun game. I'll have to add it to my "try" list. I'm tempted to just buy a copy, though, since it's so new that I might not get a chance to try it out for awhile.

I'd like to use it for inspiration, but I'm not sure whether I can get enough information about the rules online. I'll have to keep poking around, perhaps outside of BGG if their Mystery Express page is too limited. Still working that out.


I wish I had more friends who enjoyed mystery board games. Every time I suggest Clue, somebody gripes by saying "that takes too loooong..." ...Clearly, I need some more seasoned opponents, if only to shorten the game.
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Hey everyone, sorry to double-post, but I have a lot of things to report.

Tonight I got a chance to playtest this recreation with my mother, who is mostly a non-gamer. I was going to have a third player, but she was not cooperative, so I decided to try and see whether the game could, in fact, be played with only two players.

First of all, here are some thoughts:

1.) 23 rooms -- which is the number of non-hallway rooms on the Dr. Lucky board -- is too much. At the very least, the game should only have cards to be found in the 2- numbered rooms (there are three named-but-unnumbered rooms, not including the starting room).

2.) The method used to deduce the culprit, etc. is rather dull, overall. Move to a new room, see what's there, mark it down on your sheet. If you want to be thorough, search the room before moving on. Lather, rinse, repeat. A fair amount of strategy is removed by doing away with Suggestions.

3.) A little bit of strategy is *added,* however, with the inclusion of keys and locked doors. Going through a door and locking it behind you could be a game-winning move, depending on the circumstances.

4.) When played as a board game, everyone knows where everyone else is. A good deal of the intrigue is removed, since in the computer game you were "playing blind" apart from the room you were in.

5,) Using special effect cards instead of "nothing" cards is a mixed bag. Half the time, using them right away (without taking the time to pick one up and carry it along with you) is pointless, and the rule where you may carry only one card on you can be awkward if you are forced to decide between a key and a special effect card.

6.) The special effect cards were extremely confusing to my mother. They weren't any more complex than you folks would be used to, but they took some reading to understand, and by comparison, card-reading is not an important part of Clue.

7.) My mother was also confused by the secret passages, but I think this might just be because she's not a game person (unless it's Scrabble).

8.) The "Body" card is kind of a cheap shot, because it almost completely removes deduction from the process of determining the room. Sure, hiding the body adds strategy, but it still greatly rewards the player who gets there first.

9.) We played without the "hiding cards" mechanic. This simplifies the mechanics but makes the game a little mundane.

10.) The empty hallways on the Dr. Lucky board are more annoying than anything. I had to have an "up to two doors per move" rule to soften the blow, but this made it weird since you could skip past rooms without seeing anything in them.



All in all, I think the game has potential, but it was more interesting when I was 8 years old, when a computer was running all the rules (thus increasing player confidentiality), and when the players were playing "blind." I am considering whether playing semi-traditional Clue on the Dr. Lucky board with a "keys and locks" variant might be more fun.


However, I've done a fair amount of work on this recreation, and I'd quite enjoy finishing it up, and packaging it into a set of printable documents, if anybody would enjoy trying it out for themselves. For starters, I can upload the rules doc so you can all look at it and see what you think.

If I were to package it all up, I could even have some pretty colorful artwork from Dr. Lucky and Clue: Master Detective. I realize there are some copyright issues, but it would be intended to complement people who already own a copy of Clue (any version) AND a copy of Kill Dr. Lucky, and both of those games are pretty easy to come by.

What do you all think about those various questions?
 
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One of the soul destroying aspects of game design is to playtest for the first time to discover the actual gameplay is mundane or lacklustre. There maybe ideas you have that will change the mechanic but keep a similar idea. How about playing with just cards and no board? Somewhere along the lines of Dominion in reverse. Each turn you hold X amount of cards and the idea is to show as little as possible of them, in case one of the other players spots a bit of evidence. You can play cards that force an opponent to play cards from his hand, but maybe at a small cost to yourself.
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The offer is still there for a printable package for this game if anyone would be interested in checking it out. I'd also welcome any advice for submissions as I haven't made one yet... Hint hint(?)


whatambush wrote:
One of the soul destroying aspects of game design is to playtest for the first time to discover the actual gameplay is mundane or lacklustre. There maybe ideas you have that will change the mechanic but keep a similar idea. How about playing with just cards and no board? Somewhere along the lines of Dominion in reverse. Each turn you hold X amount of cards and the idea is to show as little as possible of them, in case one of the other players spots a bit of evidence. You can play cards that force an opponent to play cards from his hand, but maybe at a small cost to yourself.


Yeah, it definitely can be heartbreaking. Kinda like "all that time spent and it was ill-fated to begin with? Bah."

Maybe it can be salvaged, but as I suggested, it might be better to take the more interesting rules and apply them to Clue.

Now, I considered going "all-cards," which is an idea I'm fond of since I think boards are overused (and totally unnecessary in regular Clue/Cluedo), but I wanted to try the official "Clue Card Game" before I assume there's a need for a fan-concocted version. Besides which, once I get that game I can build on their rules and perhaps make house rules.

Thanks, you've got an interesting idea there for a "deck depletion" mechanic. It reminds me a bit of Alibi, actually (where you repeatedly pass more and cards to your left until eventually someone knows enough to make an accusation). I'll have to mull over it a little and see if I can think of a key concept to tie some of these things together.

I've known for awhile now that game design is much harder than we would have ourselves believe... I really respect game designers for their ideas; they certainly aren't slackers of any sort.
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