Clue is still around but the original board game has lost its appeal in this digital world. The original Clue is considered unsophisticated and somewhat boring and very few kids and even fewer adults can be persuaded to play it.
Leave it to Hasbro to bring their board games (yes it is still a board game) into the twenty first century with Clue: Secrets & Spies.First of all this is not Clue as older adults might remember it.Clue: Secrets & Spies is an entire new twist where only the names remained the same, but now everyone is a secret agent. Part of the mystery is that they may not know who they are or where they are going or sometimes what they need to do.
Each player in Clue: Secrets and Spies is an agent and taking a clue from the original each operative is named after the original Clue characters, White, Peacock, Mustard, Scarlett, Plum and Green. Each of these novice spies is after Agent Black and the one to capture him wins (more or less).
Scoring in Clue: Secrets & Spies is accomplished by completing missions and attending super secret spy meetings. While meetings in the real world can be boring, meetings in this board game are fairly mysterious. A player may not which pair of agents are to meet and only after an agent reaches the city is the player allowed to scan the card (with a special little scanner) and find out who they need to get to the city to complete the meeting. Although it may sound confusing it simply adds to the cloak and dagger spy theme.
Points can also be gained by completing missions. Missions involve acquiring tools of the trade such as cool spy guns or microchips or even diamonds. This adds to the cool factor of the game and makes strategy a prime factor unlike the old Clue where random guesses were often the way to a win. A player can activate any agent but no agent can be activated twice in a row. Therefore an opponent who needs to move a specific agent to a location to score can be effectively blocked by another just by activating the agent first.To make it even trickier there are a limited number of action cards by which agents are moved around the world.
The artwork is amazing and one of the strongest features of the game. The agents are ultra modern plastic pieces that add to the cloak and dagger spy theme. The game board is ultra cool and amazingly well done for a board game.
Up until this point Hasbro did a fine job of updating Clue to the twenty first century but someone somewhere in Hasbro R&D; decided the game needed more bells and whistles to compete with video games. This is where a cell phone into game play and Clue went from cool to cheesy. A single cell phone can be used in game play and once activated it is passed from player to player by turn. Randomly it will text bonuses or special missions to the cell phone. While in theory this sounds cool there are only a total of 6 messages possible in any one game. That means if the game proceeds quickly there may not even be a single text message until after the game is over. Anyone of almost any age playing Clue: Secrets & Spies may find the cell phone addition pointless and silly.
The game is easy to learn, quickly to play (unlike monopoly or even the old Clue) and involves strategy as well as luck. While Secrets & Spies may not be the most high tech game on the game shelf, it is a solid game and a lot of potential fun for a select audience.
Even updated board games may not seem as high tech and cool as video games in this day and age, but for the family or friends who frequently play board games it certainly is a new take on an old game.
Pros: Clue: Secrets & Spies is certainly an improvement over the original Clue. No more random characters wandering from room to room in a big house making random guesses as to who was murdered with what object. It certainly moves much more quickly than the old Clue game and the game play is more in keeping with the times. Rules are simple to learn and the artwork is outstanding in this game.
Cons: The cell phone addition is not always used in game play and can become annoying if the messages arrive after the game is over.