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Winning Moves Misses the Mark
on 28 November 2012
Winning Moves has evidently been awarded the contract for custom Cluedo Editions in the UK, but if this is the result of their debut effort, no thank you. Wining Moves used to be associated with quality, especially when it comes to the Cluedo franchise, like their previously only available in the US Limited Gift edition, 1949 re-issue and current "Classic" edition. But they have clearly changed their direction with this edition. Priced at a ruthless £24.99, little of that money shows up in the quality of this game.
First, the materials used in the game are incredibly cheap. The board is flimsy, the cards are flimsy, and the counters are cheap. This game is unlikely to stand up to rigorous play, or the test of time. About the only mark of quality I can give it is for a well organized box.
Second, they have churned out a game which consists of uninspired photographs which have been seemingly copied form the Internet and Photoshopped into a generic template. Evidently, Winning Moves has conceived a generic template upon which they intend to cut and paste photographs for any subject conceived or licensed by them. This game board looks identical to the Cluedo Sherlock Edition board released simultaneously with this edition, and will likely be the basis for all the planned regional variations announced for future variations. Indeed there is little to set this edition and the Sherlock edition apart since they both use landmark locations around London and identical weapons. The net result is that it looks like something any eager Cluedo fan could have produced themselves with materials available to them in their home. Have an inkjet printer and a connection the the Internet? Save your money.
Third, the design effort put into this edition is equally lacking in detail. Using the traditional Cluedo layout, they have left out doors to rooms that have been there for 60 years, walls creep so far into the moving tiles as to question whether they are even spaces. Due to these design flaws, the Scarlett character must roll a minimum of a 12 on the dice to enter a room, compared to all the other characters which only need roll an 8 or less. Even more perplexing are the Suspect cards, which look like they were conceived and designed for a completely different game. The only actual artwork included with the game, these cartoonish stereotypes adorn bright white cards with a decidedly low-tech feel -- the complete opposite of the other weapon and room cards included with the game, which otherwise match the overall dark hi-tech look.
Fourth, and perhaps most importantly, unlike Winning Moves other editions, or even competing USAopoly's well known branded editions (Simpsons, Scooby Doo, Hitchcock, Family Guy, etc.), there is little customization beyond the substituted characters and locations. The counter tokens are nothing more than clear plastic rectangles with "?" etched into them, and standing upright in a cheap colored plastic base (which came with recent standard editions). At a minimum, they could have been cardboard images of the respective "suspects" as included with even the cheapest themed games previously produced. But for this price, would traditional custom pewter tokens included with earlier themed editions have been out of the question? The weapons used in this game are also the traditional set used in the regular Cluedo editions. This in of itself is not so bad until taken into consideration with this editions other shortcomings. Half the fun of these branded regionally-oriented games are the subtle, or blatant references to the cities. Again, for this price, would it have been out of the question to create a custom set that references the city a little more directly, in keeping with the tradition of even the cheapest Cluedo themed games?
The bottom line is that Winning Moves has dropped the ball with this edition. There is little here to justify double price of a regular Cluedo game which typically has better quality, art, design and ingenuity. My advice, save your money and make your own Sherlock game at home using an old Cluedo set buried in the closet, you'll be happier in the long run. A message has to be sent to both Winning Moves that just because they slap some stock photos of a city's well known locations on a box, board and cards, that the citizens of those cities won't just flock to the stores like chickens to feed, and slap down their hard-earned money to buy it. This effort shows a complete disregard to the customer, and is a slight to their intelligence and taste. Don't fall for it!!