Clue, Secrets in Paris - Copyright 2009; Released Fall, 2009
 
Front Cover
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Who killed the concept?! That's the real mystery surrounding the latest Clue incarnation.

Clue, Secrets in Paris's box description provides the background information: "You're on a high school drama club trip to France and the sights are like, totally amazing until - OMG! On a dare, a student has stolen a priceless work of art! Now it's up to you to solve the mystery... one of your classmates is hiding something! Was it White? Did she hide th work of art in the Orsay Museum, using the 'rope'?"

OMG? OMG! If you think this doesn't bode well... You're, like, totally right, dude! You have sleuthing skills to rival Colonel Mustard. Er... Zach Mustard?
 
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The STUDENTS: Scarlet, Mustard, White, Green, Peacock, Plum

Samantha Scarlet: Samantha is the star of the show who always gets her way, but has no problem breaking hearts and backstabbing her fellow actors along the way. She's got looks, she's got class and she gets everyone's attention which is exactly how she likes it. In fact, she always steals the show - hey, wait a minute...!

Zach Mustard: Zach is a big guy; with a big attitude! he is one dude whose bad side you don't want to be on. He counts on his brawn, not his brains (if he even has any inside that hard head) He's usually cast as the villian... could he have taken his role a little too seriously?

Emma White: Emma is always trying to fit in, one way or another. She's desperate to just once be cast as "leading lady". She can be focused and driven, especially in her effort to make a name for herself. Could Emma have been driven to star in her own "criminal" performance?

Ryan Green: A popular, good-looking dude who seems friendly and easy-going, but he's really just into himself. A natural performer and smooth talker, everything has always come easy for this "leading man". But is Ryan's good-guy reputation all just an act?

Ashley Peacock: She's got everything under control; seriously, everything! Drama club director, stellar grades, friends, student government; even the teachers think she rocks. But don't cross this control freak! She's so organized, she could run her own theater company, if only she had some way to pay for it...

Justin Plum: Justin is so smart he's pretty much in "a class" by himself. His eccentric behavior can sometimes get laughs (don't worry we're laughing at you, not with you!) His roles are usually relegated to bit parts and the token nerd, but he just might be looking for a way to finally outsmart everyone who ever laughed at him!


 
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The PROPS: Knife, Candlestick, Pistol, Poison, Trophy, Rope, Bat, Ax, Dumbbell


 
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The SITES: Place des Vosges, Bastille, Notre Dame, Orsay Museum, Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Paris Opera, Louvre, Sacred Heart Basilica


 
Player Passports (Front)
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Samantha Scarlet: Once per game, you may look at a card that one player has just shown another player.

Zach Mustard: Once per game, you may move twice. Roll the dice, move, then roll again.

Emma White: Once per game, you may move to any Site that does not have a Metro.

Ryan Green: Once per game, you may start a Rumor using a Site you are not in. The Suspect of the Rumor is moved to the Site you name.

Ashley Peacock: Once per game, you may randomly pick a card to look at from someone you just showed a card to.

Justin Plum: Once per game, you may start two Rumors on the same turn.
 
Player Passports (Reverse)
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Samantha Scarlet: "It's all about me... at least, it better be!" SAMANTHA SCARLET - Conceited and cunning

Zach Mustard: "You accusin' me of somethin'? Huh?" ZACH MUSTARD - Large and in charge

Emma White: "Someone notice me... please!" EMMA WHITE - Jealous and emotional

Ryan Green: "Bro, I'm so cool, I rule the school!" RYAN GREEN - Selfish and materialistic

Ashley Peacock: "If you want something done right... I'll do it!." ASHLEY PEACOCK - Controlling and stuck up

Justin Plum: "I will not be outwitted!" JUSTIN PLUM - Brilliant and eccentric
 
Sample of Various Intrigue Cards
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One Intrigue Card: Play at the end of your turn. The player on your right must show you a card.

One Intrigue Card: Play when starting a turn at a site. You may stay at that site and start a Rumor.

Two Intrigue Cards: Play instead of answering a Rumor. The Rumor stays unanswered.

Two Intrigue Cards: Play when one player has shown another player a card. You get to see the card.

Two Intrigue Cards: Play at the end of your turn. Move anyone back to their start space.

Two Intrigue Cards: Play instead of rolling the dice. Move anywhere.

Two Intrigue Cards: Play after you roll the dice but before you move. Add 6 to your dice roll.

Four Intrigue Cards: Play at the end of your turn. Take another turn.

Eight Clock Cards
 
Board
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Box Insert & Playing Pieces
Playing Pieces Close-Up
 
Notepad
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Board Reverse
 
Solution Envelope
Box Reverse Cover
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This could have been a great Clue game. The original concept, based on the early advertisements (see below), appears to have been as follows: "A group of young students are on a class trip in Paris. One night when they were out to dinner the Chaperone did not show up. Later they found out that she had been murdered!"

So what happened?! Instead, the concept changes to one of the students (who are now part of a drama club trip instead of a class trip) steals a work of art from the Louvre and hides it - with the help of one of the drama club props - somewhere in Paris. THIS DOESN'T EVEN MAKE SENSE. How can a prop dumbell help you steal or hide some artwork? Why would the drama club bring props on an overseas class trip? What are the chances a prop pistol wouldn't have been confiscated by the TSA? Is the Louvre security so bad they can lose priceless art to an ax weilding American teen?

Simply put, this game was too dumbed down by the powers-that-be to protect the impressionable children that be that it's now laughable.

Concept aside, the artwork in the game has its good and bad points. The box cover has become one of many variations of the Discover the Secrets theme. Nothing new or exciting. The physical box itself is horrible. The box lid's edges only come down about a third of the depth of the box. Why the makers did this is beyond comprehension. The box cannot be stored on it's side without the contents of the box falling out because there is no support from the lid.

The students (suspects) are generally well done. They actually appear to be high school aged, which is nice. But the character descriptions seem a little bit off. In particular, Zach Mustard and Ryan Green. Zach is supposed to be big and intimidating. Ryan is a laid back leading man. But looking at the images, Zach doesn't seem that big OR intimidating. Could his character have been swapped with Ryan's in the continuing political correctness of this game? Could the makers have thought a thuggish African American was to stereotypical or offensive? Why didn't they try to rework the descriptions instead of just swapping them? And after reading the descriptions, why any kid would want to play any of them is a good question. None of them seem particularly likeable. They do look nice, however.

The weapons - er, props - are ridiculous. They make much more sense as weapons. But perhaps it would be too much if Ashley Peacock used a real bat in her theft of the Mona Lisa.

The locations are suitable. Using the Hotel for the center space is a nice touch. The overhead shots of exterior buildings takes some getting used to as opposed to the bird's eye view of room interiors the Clue player is used to seeing. There are sewer drains, however, all over the board which are distracting. And like in Discover the Secrets, the locations seem to extend past the board's edge instead of being self contained which is visually unappealing. There is also a river that runs down part of one side of the board that - if nobody told you was a river - you'd probably not figure it out. The lighted squares used to indicate entrances to the locations are not as easy to see as regular doorways. But the switch from Secret Passages to Metro Stations cooly makes up for the downfall. The back of the board, as well, is patterened which is another nice touch.

The best things about this game are the notepad and solution envelope. The notepad cleverly places the solution grid over a map of the city. And the solution envelope looks like an airmail envelope. Clever. The suspects also get passports which further immerses the player into the theme of the game.

That said, the overall problems that plague Discover the Secrets plague Secrets in Paris.
 
Instruction Booklet Front Cover
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Instruction Booklet Page #2
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Instruction Booklet Page #3
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Instruction Booklet Page #4
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Instruction Booklet Page #5
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Instruction Booklet Page #6
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Instruction Booklet Page #7
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Instruction Booklet Reverse Cover
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Box Side Panel

Box End Panel
 
Early Advertisement Box
The image to the left, taken from the internet, shows a slight change to the box cover. Note that the postcard on this box says "France" whereas the eventual box says "Paris." Also, the recommended age changes from 8+ to 9+ despite the change in storyline. The accompanying text with this advertisement reads, "A group of young students are on a class trip in Paris. One night when they were out to dinner the Chaperone did not show up. Later they found out that she had been murdered!"

Too bad this concept didn't come to fruition. It would have made for an amazing addition to the Clue line of products.
 


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