Friday, November 08, 2019

USAoploy is Releasing a New Edition of CLUE: DUNGEONS & DRAGONS

Shortly after Hasbro launched the 3rd Edition of Dungeons and Dragons, USAopoly produced a version of Clue(do) with a Dungeons & Dragons theme. This 2001 release replaced traditional characters like Mrs.White and Colonel Mustard with the iconic characters Hasbro featured in the Dungeons & Dragons rulebooks. Instead of playing Colonel Mustard, players could now be Regdar or Mialee. The murder weapons were similarly reskinned.

The production was more than a simple reskinning of the classic game of deduction. Yes, it had all the elements of the original, but it also featured elements that added a dash of Dungeons & Dragons feel to the game.

First and foremost of these elements was the addition of pewter miniatures of the characters. While the figures are too small to be used as D&D figures, they are very nice looking and give the game a nice ambience.

Mialee stands outside "The Maze" as she seeks out the murderer.

Regdar readies his weapon as he prepares to encounter a "Random Encounter"

The figures weren't the only change though. USAopoly's designers added an optional "random encounter" rule which allowed the adventurers to fight iconic monsters from the Dungeons & Dragons game, as well as to acquire treasures they could use to aid them in finding out the identity of the murderer.  Players can trigger a random encounter by stepping on one of the "scratched" squares and drawing a card.

The combat in these random encounters is extremely simplified, even more so than in the board game Dungeon. The character's ability to defeat a given monster is static. It doesn't matter whether you are a fighter or a wizard, just roll a d6 above a target number and you win. If you fail, you are banished to "the maze." It's not a "deep" mechanic, but it adds a nice flavor and the treasures can impact game play. USAopoly made sure to include some proprietary Wizards of the Coast creatures like The Beholder and Displacer Beast to the mix to make it a D&D and not generic fantasy experience.

Clue is a very solid game, but it is one that can become less exciting to play over time. That's why it's important that any variant include some small shift in mechanics, and Clue provides a wonderful basis for such changes. Books like New Rules for Classic Games by R. Wayne Schmittberger and The Boardgame Remix Kit by Kevan Davis, James Wallis and others are great places to look for suggestions for how to tweak games that have gone stale. So too is purchasing a game by USAopoly. While some games just reskin the existing game, others add subtle new twists that make the game fresh. Such was the case with the original Clue: Dungeons and Dragons. Will that be the case with the new version?

If the marketing copy and glimpses that USAopoly have given of the interior, it looks like they will.

This year's Dungeons & Dragons themed Clue ties into the new Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus campaign, with the players adopting the personas of key characters of the Forgotten Realms who are seeking the location of an Infernal Puzzle Box. There is a traitor who has murdered one of the party, replaced them, and has hidden the item.

A quick look at the board reveals that like the older D&D themed edition, there are board spaces with special markings. In this case it looks like these are either "Intrigue" or "Rumor" spaces that will allow players to draw cards or interact with the game in a way that differs from the basic mechanics.

The game retails for $39.95 and looks like a good purchase for D&D players and those who collect Clue variants alike.

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