I can't count the number of times I've gotten rules wrong in learning boardgames. It seems as though every time I learn a game for the first time, I get something wrong. Even worse, I am often the person in the group charged with reading the rules and then explaining the game to the other player(s), so I propagate my misunderstanding to other innocent souls.
Usually this problem happens in the first play or two of a game, and then a review of rules or feedback on a post somewhere makes me realize my mistake. It's usually not hard to correct, and after a few plays, I will get it right. But tonight we realized that we have been playing a generational family classic wrong every since we first got it. No, I'm not talking about Monopoly, which suffers from chronic house rules that have become cultural tradition. I'm talking about Clue.
Well, to be precise, I'm talking about Clue: Master Detective, an "expanded form" of Clue that works on the same principles but accommodates more players with a larger board, more rooms, more suspects, more weapons, and more dice. C:MD also has a few nuances largely with regard to movement that we have always understood - that you can move through rooms to get to other rooms, that you can move through a secret passage as part of your dice roll movement. But there is one rule difference from Clue that we have overlooked for the entire 24 years that we have had our copy of C:MD.
In conventional Clue, when a player makes a suggestion, the player to his or her left reveals to the suggestor a suspect, weapon, or room card that refutes the suggestion. If that player has no such card, then the suggestion continues around the table until one player reveals one card to the suggester, at which point the suggestion ends. So the suggester will see at most one card that refutes the suggestion.
In C:MD, however, the suggestion does not stop with the first player to reveal a card. All players who have any such card must reveal one to the suggester. (I first learned of this rule in R. Wayne Schmittberger's article "When Bigger is Better" in this month's issue of Games Magazine.) So in that case, it is possible for the suggesting player to see two or even three cards that refute the suggestion. This rule makes for some interesting new information - and a somewhat faster game.
At one point in our game this afternoon, my wife Kathy posed that Mrs. Peacock had committed the murder with a candlestick in the courtyard, and all three of the rest of us showed her one of those three cards. That told everyone at the table that none of those cards was in the envelope. In a normal game of Clue, as the player to my wife's left, I would have showed her the candlestick, and that would have been the end of the turn. So we all checked off three things in one turn, where in a normal game of Clue, only Kathy would have checked off one thing.
So the bottom line is that you still have to read all the rules, even if you think you know the game. At least, I do.