Remember this board game by Parker Brothers?
It clearly states on the box “Ages 8+” and yet the board and the little people and the little weapons (especially the little weapons) have fascinated Brother for the couple of years now. He’s five. About once every couple of weeks or so he pulls out the board and the people and the weapons and wants to play a round. Unfortunately, although he is older and can read a little, he is no more ready now to play the actual game with the actual rules than he was at age three when this obsession started. Sooo, we made up new rules. Our version has nothing to do with who-done-it but it does use the critical pieces (the weapons). Here’s how we play.
*Lay out the board with the people in their proper places
*Have the children place the weapons in whatever rooms they like. One weapon per room.
*Have each player choose the character they’d like to be. (This character’s location will also be their starting point.)
*Remove the character cards from the deck and deal out (face up) the remaining cards making sure that in the end everyone has the same total number of cards. (Any odd cards may be returned to the box.)
*Roll the dice to determine order of play. Highest # goes first.
*The goal of this new game is to advance your playing piece to every location in your hand by rolling the dice. The first player to do so is the winner.
A Few Notes:
*Because you want to travel by the most efficient path possible (and it make the goal clearer for little ones) it is a good idea to arrange your cards (or help little ones arrange theirs) in the order you wish to proceed before play begins.
*After you visit a location or pick up a weapon turn that card over so you (and the other players) will know how close you are to finishing.
*You may only turn over one card per turn.
*If you roll more than you need to enter a room but you enter the room anyway, you forfeit the extra spaces.
*It takes two turns to use a secret passage. One turn to enter a corner room and the next turn to use the passage. Even so, this is sometimes a great way to get to the opposite side of the board.
Here is a sample hand dealt to Professor Plum:
Since his starting point is next to the Study and the Library it makes the most sense for him to go one of those two places first.
After he visits the Library and the Study, Plum will make his way across the board to the Lounge to pick up the Candlestick. He could, if he wanted to, go through the Hall to get there but it would cost him an extra turn to do so since he cannot enter and exit a room on the same turn.
Finally, in this sample Professor Plum must pick up the Rope and visit the Dining Room but by a strange quirk of fate the Rope is IN the Dining Room. It will take three turns for our poor Professor to accomplish his tasks. He must enter the Dining Room (turn over that card), exit the Dining Room, and then enter the Dining Room again to pick up the rope (turn over that card).
At this point Professor Plum has completed the round and if he did it before anyone else he is the winner.
This makes for a much simplified game that most ages can play. Also, it’s good for short attention spans (mothers and children) because it only lasts about 10 minutes while a typical Clue round is much longer.