This week, we’ll be taking a look at another cooperative game we got at Target! A lot of our games have recently come from there: Minecraft: Portal Dash (which we are cautiously but optimistically recommending: see here), Star Wars: The Clone Wars Pandemic (which we really liked: see here) and Horizons of Spirit Island (which is basically a cheaper vector into Spirit Island: if you like Spirit Island, you’ll like this). Target has become somewhat of a Mecca for cooperative games for us: everything we’ve gotten (so far) has been quite good! Will this weird Clue game be any good? Let’s take a look!
Is This Clue?
NO! Clue: Treachery at Tudor Mansion is is not Clue! That’s why (I think) the games emphasizes the “Escape and Solve Mystery” on the front of the box!! See above. This is a combination Escape room/Detective/Adventure game set in the Clue universe. Yes, there’s a Clue universe. Yes, I know, that sounds weird.
This game reminds us a little of The Adventure Games The Gand Hotel Abaddon which we reviewed a few weeks ago. Clue: Treachery at Tudor Mansion is a game of exploring the Tudor Mansion (which looks surprisingly like the Mansion from the original board game Clue): See below. (This picture below is a little bit of a spoiler, as you will be slowly exploring the mansion to reveal the map as you play, so just glance at it quickly)
If there was ever any doubt you were in the Clue Universe (Cluniverse?): take a look at the characters below. Each player plays one of the fabled Clue characters:
I haven’t played the original Clue in quite some time, so I remember there used to be a Ms. White: I guess she’s gone.
And there’s not too much we can show! This is a one-shot mystery game: once you have played through the mystery of the game, you know the solution! And the game slowly adds cards and map pieces to the game as you play, so we can’t really show too much of that other than what you see when you open the box: see above and below.
Clue: Treachery at Tudor Mansion is a mystery game. Over time, players cooperatively explore the Tudor mansion and find objects, they find new rooms, they find new clues! It’s got a little bit of a “point-and-click” adventure game feel, as you have to combine objects to get stuff done.
As a group, you work together to find out who killed Mr. Boddy: It’s a cooperative detective game. This game would fit very well into our Top 10 Cooperative Detective Games.
Clue: Treachery at Tudor Mansion says that it plays 1-6 characters and takes 90 minutes. That seems fairly accurate: we cruised through the game, but we can imagine a more ponderous group taking 2 hours if they wanted. We ended up playing 4 characters, which felt just about right. Too many characters can cause conflict as competing detectives strive to be heard, but too few characters can miss some obvious clues in the game. 3-4 Players seems the best player count, but I could see playing this 1-2 fairly well too.
One of the best elements of this game is that the game made sure to keep everyone involved: play rotated through the players, forcing everyone to read cards on their turn. The mystery is in the text of the cards: reading more cards exposes more and more of the mystery!!. The game forced everyone to read something on their turn to the group. It always felt like everyone was involved in the mystery.
As we played, we’d ALWAYS reveal more and cards from the box on our turn. So, it always felt like we were making some kind of progress!
It really did feel like something happened on everyone’s turn! There was never a dull moment!
The final mystery was pretty straight forward: you have to solve the who killed Mr. Boddy, where, and with what … okay, that does kind of sound like Clue. But in this case, there is a well-constructed mystery story already written! And it’s cooperative! And there’s exploration! And Reading! And object manipulation!! So, those things make it very different from Clue.
This wasn’t a hard mystery, but it was still challenging.
There were somethings you should be aware of: the game makes you do silly things. For example, “something happened” on my turn, poking me in the eye (in the game, not real life), so I had to put my hand over my eye for one full turn. A couple of things “like this” happen over the game. You can completely ignore this if you like, but as a group, you should make a determination as to whether you are playing “fully serious” (and ignoring the silly things like that) or “silly” (and embracing the silly things in the game). We ended playing silly and embracing it: it’s up to you. This is a simple enough mystery that you don’t have to be fully serious.
Just be aware: there is some silliness in this game.
I can’t call this a full review because:
- We didn’t play it solo first. I think you could play this solo if you liked, but then the mystery is solved!
- We can’t show too much. There would be too many spoilers!
But, we can share overall thoughts after playing through it.
This one-shot mystery was fun! It was only $15 I think. The Adventure games (like The Grand Hotel Abaddon from a few weeks ago) are a little bit better deal from a gameplay perspective, because you get three 90-minute sessions out of those games for the same price as a single 90 minute session from Clue: Treachery at Tudor Mansion. But, Clue: Treachery at Tudor Mansion is a better “light” mystery, as you are always engaged because you are always doing something: the game always seems to be moving forward. Some mystery or adventure games can be more plodding as you “think more” to solve the mystery: this game doesn’t quite have that vibe. You still have to think and solve the mystery, but the game reveals itself quite quickly.
I liked this and my game group liked this. We reset the game (nothing is torn up, so you can completely reset the game back to its original state) and I will be passing it on to Charlie and Allison: they like mystery games!