Live Clue: Bring the Board Game to Life for Youth & Adults

I love doing fun and creative events with my youth group. One of these special events is a LIVE CLUE Night. Do you know the classic detective board game? We play it in person! This is an awesome activity which allows youth to interact with adults from the church, to think critically, and to build relationships.

Murder Mystery? Treasure Hunt?

While the classic board game Clue is a murder mystery, you could change the theme and still reap the benefits of this great activity. This activity could instead be a hunt for a stolen treasure; the “weapons” could be hidden objects, such as a famous painting, crown jewels, or gold. You could adjust further for a unit on saints; characters could be assigned as saints and the hidden objects could be associated relics or symbols. There is space for this activity to mirror the mystery board game and to adjust to the needs of your group, all with the same objective of intergenerational relationship building, team building, and fun!

Planning A Live Clue Night

Purchase or Borrow Clue
To get started, you will need the actual Clue board game. Some newer versions have an added cast of characters outside of the usual suspects. Depending on the size of your group and space, you can have the basic list of six suspects or you can add more.

Recruit Suspects
You will need to find an adult to fill each role. This is your opportunity to be creative. Ask people you might not normally ask. For instance, is there someone who might be an actual professor/teacher and might make a great Professor Plum? The more an adult is willing to play the part, the better the event will be. Have suspects dress up and be creative! You’ll need one additional adult to stay at a home base location so youth can bring their answers to that location when they think they’ve solved the mystery.

Plan Locations
You will need a location for each suspect. If you use the typical six suspects, then you will need six locations in the church. You can use rooms such as the kitchen, library, classroom, and sanctuary. Consider outdoor spaces, if the weather allows.

Create a Map
Once you have decided on all of your locations, you will need to create a map, which can be simple and hand-drawn or created on a computer. Many churches already have such an image available. This map will be used to mark the locations of the suspects.

Create The Cards
You will need to write out your locations, suspects, and weapons on small cards. To begin the game, divide the cards into three stacks. You will pick one card from each stack (one suspect, one weapon, one location). Do not look at the three cards and do not show them to anyone; place these three cards in the secret envelope. These are your answers.

Instruct Your Suspects
Give one remaining card from each stack to each suspect. Whatever they have on their cards, means that person, place, or thing was not involved in the murder. That is all they know. So when the youth ask a question, all the suspect can tell them is, “I know the lead pipe was not involved because I saw it somewhere.” This is the opportunity for your suspects to be creative. They can make up stories and have fun with it! For example, Mrs. White/the maid could speak in a French accent and have a hard time understanding English. Or, the Colonel could just yell orders all the time.   

Setting Up & Teaching The Game

Create Small Groups & Hand Out Materials
Divide youth into groups of 4-5. Give each group a map, a list of instructions, and an answer sheet to help them track clues (This is similar to the paper given with the board game.).

Click here for a printable, editable copy of the Clue Rules.

Click here for a printable, editable copy of the Answer Sheet.

Send Adults To Their Locations
While you are explaining the game to the youth, the suspects can move to their respective locations. Keep one adult at a home base location (with the secret envelope!) so youth can bring their answers to them when they think they have solved the mystery.

A Few Notes

Depending on how long it takes to figure out the answers, you can play this game more than once. I have played this game with my middle school and my high school youth groups.  It usually took about 45 minutes to solve the mystery. However, some of my younger youth were not familiar with the board game, so they had to first learn how to ask the right questions, which extended our playing time!   

If you want to make a whole evening of this activity, have a mystery-themed dinner or snack bar to go along with the event. You can find lots of ideas on Pinterest.

Editor’s Note: Some of the links above are affiliate links that support Virginia Theological Seminary.

Photo: Provided by Lauren Wainwright

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