25th July 1997 at 01:00
Cluedo? Super Sleuth, Waddingtons Pounds 27.99, Travel Cluedo? Pounds 7.99, 8-plus, From department stores, large toyshops, WH Smith

Equipment Super Sleuth is a revamped version of the original 1949 Cluedo? board game in which sultry Miss Scarlett, slimy Revd Green et al attempt to solve a sub-Agatha Christie murder mystery by elimination and deduction.

To justify the price, Super Sleuth has more of everything: the house has become a mansion in which players "build" one room at a time. The old plain-coloured character pieces are now pewter miniatures - tacky, easy to lose and hard to identify. Extra characters (not potential suspects) can help or hinder play. Plus tiny magnifying glasses, plastic widgets, dice, detective notepads (but no pens) and three kinds of cards - endless stuff to lose.

The travel version sticks to the original format and six characters. Fewer bits, but they are just as easy to lose. A magnetic board would help.

Who can play Between two and six, the more the merrier.

When Wet afternoons. Both are best played indoors; Super Sleuth needs a solid table, but Travel Cluedo? is fine for the ferry or train.

What happens Three clue cards are removed to represent whodunit, the room and the weapon. The players throw dice to move between rooms, bluffing and cajoling each other in an attempt to see and eliminate the cards still in play. Super Sleuth has new-fangled diversions including The Hypnotist's Crystal.

Value for money Elementary.

Entertainment factor Absorbing, but not for the short-sighted or the short-tempered. Super Sleuth retains some of the original's cosy charm and the innovations add pace and interest. Great potential for role-play - but tears before bedtime if everyone wants to be Miss Scarlett.

Star rating ***

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