When I scheduled Life Size Clue, I had never played the game and was not aware that most of the plans out there for this game were much more detailed and time consuming than I would really want with my limited time frame. Programs for teens and/or school-aged kids are usually scheduled on a day when I have a maximum of two hours for set-up and all set-up is done by me alone. I needed to take some shortcuts in getting this game set-up.
Before the day of the program, I looked up the rules and gameplay and figured out that to save some time, I could just buy the game and use the cards provided in the game. Then I decided to cut back on the number of rooms, both to limit time for taping and to cut down on the time it takes to get through rounds of the game. After pouting because a modern version of the game doesn’t include a library, I cut down my room selection to just five rooms and purchased a blow-up die.
On the day of the event, I started set-up around two hours before our start time. I quickly made weapons by sculpting tin foil around objects in our office (not so masterfully, I might add), and then picked up some colored masking tape that we use for marking new books. To save this precious tape, I used it only for outlining the rooms, which were all simple rectangular shapes with an opening for the door. I had a large pack of red construction paper, so the sheets became my steps around the board. By far, individually taping down those steps with scotch tape took the longest. I named the rooms by writing down their names on construction paper and taping them to the middle of the rooms.
When that was done, it was just time to get together the cards and detective pads for each player. I slipped all of these into manila folders and clipped them to clipboards along with pencils. This all took about an hour and a half (including time to clear and arrange the room). I went over the rules a couple times until I got it, and here is the simple summary for anyone who hasn’t played before:
Life Size Clue Rules At A Glance
Set-up a starter table where the Murder File and face-up cards can remain.
Sort your cards into three stacks of characters, weapons, and locations. Pick one from each to place (secretly) into the murder file. Leave that file in the middle of the table for later.
Read the instruction booklet to find out how many face-up cards should be drawn and left on the table. (This is based on the number of players, and you can also factor in how many locations you left out). Then, divide up any remaining cards among the players. Make sure players mark out anything that the cards indicate on their detective pads. (It’s not in the murder file, so it can’t be a correct piece of the puzzle.)
Have players roll to see who goes first and then have them pick their own starting rooms.
Players continually roll to see how many steps to take until they reach a room.
In a room, a player can make a Suggestion if they are guessing at the crime or an Accusation if they think they know. A player must say which they are making because if they make an incorrect Accusation, they are out of the game. Either one must consist of Murderer + Room + Weapon, and a suggestion can only be about the room they are in. I allowed an accusation to be made from any room. (In some versions, the player has to bring a murder weapon into the room and the person playing a character too. We started out doing this, but it fell by the wayside somewhere along the way.)
When a suggestion is made, the player to the suggester’s left is the first to say if they have anything in their cards that proves him/her wrong. If not, it moves to the next person. A player should only reveal one thing that contradicts the suggestion. When players learn of a factor that contradicts, they cross it out on their pads.
You continue the process of elimination until someone accuses correctly. The end.
I had two sisters show up for this event and they quickly recruited their mom to play as well. I had a few other teens in the library, but when asked to play, they said they weren’t very interested. Boo.
So the girls recruited their mom to play, and they played twice very happily as a family. Each round took only 15-20 mins between the three of them. They stopped and talked with me for about 15 minutes afterward, just telling me about their school play and the girls’ career ambitions. I’m always amazed by the teens in my programs. Most are truly unique and surprising.
I loved this program and would like to try it again, maybe next year.