Pros: Great theme, fun to play, skill involved
Cons: 8 is a little young, some luck involved
My children had fairly short Christmas lists this year. One of the few items my 7 year old had her eye on was Clue Haunted Mansion, so Santa obliged.
Clue Haunted Mansion puts a Disney spin on the classic Clue board game. Clue Haunted Mansion is for 3-6 players ages 8 and up. The object of the game is to determine which one of six ghosts is haunting which one of the six guests in one of the nine rooms of the mansion. Games take about 30 - 45 minutes to play.
If you have ridden the Haunted Mansion at Disney World more than a couple of times, this game will look familiar to you. The six ghosts are characters in the attraction: the Opera Singer, the three Hitchhiking ghosts, the Mariner and the Bride (from the original attic scene). The guests are classic Disney characters: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy and Pluto. The rooms on the quad-folding board are designed to accurately recreate rooms from the ride: the Foyer, Portrait Chamber, Library, Conservatory, Séance Room, Ballroom, Attic, Graveyard and Mausoleum.
The game is cute, at least as cute as a haunted mansion can be. We enjoy looking at the rooms and talking about our memories of the ride. The rooms are amazingly accurate and detailed. Although the Haunted Mansion was Re-Haunted (updated) in 2007, other than the Bride ghost, everything else in the game seems to remain accurate, although I am unsure if the framed painting of the Mariner ghost is still in the mansion. There are even hidden Mickeys on the board. While certainly no substitution for a ride on a Doom Buggy, the theme of Clue Haunted Mansion is well executed. Fans of the ride are not likely to be disappointed.
For each room, ghost and character there is a matching card. The cards are sorted by type, shuffled and then one of each type is slipped into Madame Leota's Reading envelope. These cards represent which character is being haunted by which ghost in which room. The first player to figure it out wins. The remaining cards are dealt to the players along with a clue sheet that lists all the characters, rooms and ghosts.
By process of elimination, players must figure out which cards are hidden in the envelope. Players move their Disney character tokens to the various rooms and make an accusation. The player moves a ghost and character into the room. Starting with the player to their left the first person to have a card that matches the accusation shows it to the asking player only. By making careful guesses players can eventually determine which cards are hidden in the envelope. Using the clue sheets allows players to keep track of which cards they hold in their own hand as well as which cards opponents have shown them.
My husband and I both loved playing the original Clue as kids, our whole family loves Disney World, and the Haunted Mansion happens to be one of my favorite rides. Clue Haunted Mansion seems to be a good fit for our family.
Game play was easy to explain to our 7 year old and our 5 year old enjoys playing along with an adult. But being able to move a piece and ask a question is a far cry from being able to play Clue. There is a method to making accusations. Most experienced players ask their opponents to show them three cards, two of which they hold in their own hand. That allows, with complete certainty to determine where the third card of the accusation is; either in an opponent's hand or in the envelope.
Despite explaining it several times, Seven, just doesn't get it yet but she still enjoys playing. She happily moves her character around the board and asks random questions in the rooms trying desperately to figure out the cards in the envelope, she just doesn't understand the methodology yet. But she has mom's and dad's attention for a good chunk of the evening and I think for now that is enough for her.
My husband and I are both enjoying playing with her. We have developed a signal to indicate when one of use has figured out the cards in the envelope. This allows us to feed our competitive natures while not frustrating our daughter to the point of her not wanting to play anymore. It's no fun to play a game if the big people always win, but it's no fun for the adults not to play either. We strike a balance by playing until she is either ready to make a guess or bedtime. Although we have played at least a dozen times since she received the game, Seven has yet to make a correct accusation, but she keep trying!
Clue is a great game and having a Disney Haunted Mansion theme just makes the game that much better. Game play is simple to understand but to win takes some skill and a little luck. Clue Haunted Mansion (or any version of Clue for that matter) is best played by preteens and adults, eight seems a bit young to me for competitive play. If you are a Disney fan and are looking to add Clue to your game collection I highly recommend Clue Haunted Mansion.