So I was in Bruges recently. It’s a lovely place, and I saw lots of beautiful things.
The best thing I saw, though, was this:
Yes, in a Bruges toy shop window was this… thing. It’s a version of the board game Cluedo, but based entirely around my least favourite TV show: The Big Bang Theory.
Now, I’m not going to go into why I don’t like The Big Bang Theory (saving that for another day), but I’d like to take a moment to consider the oddity of this as a cultural artifact. A murder mystery board game themed around a nerd-centric sitcom. What a time to be alive!
But how exactly do you merge TBBT with Cluedo? It’s not a natural transition.
For comparison, let’s look at how Simpsons Cluedo, which I actually own, did it.
It all works very well. The premise is that Mr Burns has been killed (again!) and the game plays out in the standard Cluedo fashion. The characters neatly pair up with characters from the show, the weapons are things like Bart’s slingshot and Lisa’s saxophone, and the places become the Nuclear Power Plant, Kwik-E-Mart, etc. So it’s all pretty elegant.
Cluedo: The Big Bang Theory doesn’t bother with any of that though. The death of Dr Black (ie. the whole reason there’s an investigation at all) is reduced to Who betrayed Sheldon? Yup, Sheldon’s not even dead or anything – just a bit annoyed at his friends.
What are the possible betrayals? Well, I couldn’t see on the front of the box, but some online digging turned up these “misdeeds”:
- Erased Equation Board
- Dog-eared Comic
- Wiped Hard Drive
- Stained Cushion
- Defiled Toothbrush
- Dismantled Shelbot
Yeah… I can’t say I’d feel as excited about investigating a stained cushion as a murder. The box reverse asks “Did Penny dog-ear the comic in the laundry room?” and I don’t feel that’s a question anyone in the world would care about the answer to. But whatever hey. At least they’ve tried.
The characters are all the major ones from the show (excluding Sheldon, of course) and the places are all the main “places” of the show. Maybe you’ll get a kick out of that if you’re a fan, I dunno. It’s cool they’ve stuck to these elements at least, seeing as they began by undermining the fundamental point of the whole thing.
I’d also like to point out how weird it is that they used a weird cartoon version of The Big Bang Theory characters on the box. Could they not get the actors to pose for just one photo? TBBT isn’t a cartoon and it’s confusing that they’d use one on the official box art.
I mean, they did it for the Monopoly cash-in…
So how does Cluedo:TBBT actually play? Is it any good? To find out the answers to these questions, I headed to the game’s Amazon page. There, you can buy it new for £24 or used for a couple of quid less. It’s currently ranked #65 in Toys & Games > Games > Board Games between “Waddingtons Santa’s Workshop Limited Edition Christmas Jigsaw Puzzle (1000 Pieces)” and “Monopoly Adventure Time.” So it’s pretty popular, I’m guessing.
It has an average Amazon review score of 3.0 out of 5 stars, from 26 reviews. Let’s take a look shall we?
Oh, this poor chap got a copy of the game that was misprinted. None of the room names were printed, and there are some missing special squares on the board. Oops! Let’s try another.
Christmas ruined for paulmc there. Another misprinted board. Surely they can’t all be like this?
Ok then. It looks like the game board is just broken. Seeing as the game’s printers had one job (print all the information that’s meant to be on the board onto the board) that’s pretty shocking. Just for balance though, I’ll include one that doesn’t mention the printing issue.
Here me 🙂 (not me) writes that cluedo arabs live big band theory. I’m not entirely sure what that means, but he’s given it 5 stars anyway. So there’s definitely people out there this game will appeal to.
But I’m not going to be one of them. Frankly, I still can’t believe the thing even exists.
I’ll stick to my original Cluedo, thanks.