Just like Clue, Clue Jr. lets players develop their detective skills, but the junior version replaces the mystery with something more benign than murder. Several versions of the game exist and all of them follow the original Clue Jr. game instructions with slight differences to suit the theme of the game.
Clue Jr. Game Instructions
The game is designed for two to four players ages 5 to 8. The object of the game is to figure out which child is in which room with which pet. Like the adult version, Clue Jr. takes place in a mansion, but instead of trying to find out who committed the murder with what weapon and where, kids are trying to discover where a child is hiding, which child it is and what pet they have with them.
The game includes four movers for the players, as well as four cards with mysteries on them (a total of 16 different mysteries, making game play somewhat limited). The card with the mystery in question is placed in the clue revealer sleeve with the door closed.
- Players start by picking a mover and taking a sheet of the detective note pad and a pencil (not included).
- Each player puts his mover on the colored start space that matches his mover.
- The youngest player goes first and play moves to the left.
- To move, just spin the spinner and go as many spaces as it says in any direction. If there is already a player in the space you would end up in, skip that space. But if you want to see the room that person is looking into, wait in the space in front of the room and look into the room before you roll the dice on your next move.
- When you end your turn in front of a room, you can turn the keyhole and look into the room to see which child and which pet are inside. Mark the child, the pet and the room off on your detective pad. Don't let the other players see what is inside the room.
- If you spin the Secret Passage Stairway, you can place your mover on any other Secret Passage Stairway space on the board.
- If your spin lands on the magnifying glass, choose a keyhole space on the board that isn't occupied by another mover. Look inside and record your findings on your notepad, then remain on that space until your next turn.
- When you have seen enough rooms that you're ready to guess which child and pet are hiding in which room, announce that you're ready to solve the mystery. Say your guess and look at the mystery card to see if you are right.
- If you aren't right, put the card back so the other players can try to solve the mystery. If you are right, you win!
Clue Jr. Versions
Over the years, Hasbro and Parker Brothers have released several versions of Clue Jr. Many of the games are out of print, but they can still be found on Amazon and online auction sites, as well as thrift stores and second-hand toy stores. Detailed rules can be viewed on Hasbro's site, but here are the variations between the games that players need to know.
- Case of the Missing Pet: The object is to figure out what pet is missing, where it's hidden and who took the pet. Unlike traditional Clue Jr. the board includes seven trap doors and two spaces specific to this version: Check Clue Here and Check Clue Anywhere. The spaces give players a 'free pass' to learn new clues.
- Case of the Hidden Toys: Players must solve which pet has hidden which toy in the clubhouse, using Neighborhood Places instead of rooms. The game includes spaces on the board with arrows next to a Neighborhood Place. Players landing here can look and see which pet is there. Also, if a player lands in the same space as another player, he can look at his opponent's token and see what toy is named on the bottom. This game has a special die with numbers and images. If a player rolls a number, he advances that many spaces. For images, players do the following:
- Skateboard: Move anywhere on the board.
- Magnifying Glass: Do not move, instead pick up any other player's mover and read the clue on the bottom.
- Carnival - Case of the Missing Prizes: There are two ways to play this game based on the child's age. In the simple version, players must figure out who took the prizes and when they were taken. Spaces on the board specific to this version are the rides. When a player lands on a ride he can secretly look at the clue located there. In the version for slightly older kids, players must also figure out where the prizes were before they went missing. This game play includes Secret Paths, which work like the Secret Passage Stairways in the original game.
- Spongebob Squarepants Version: Players help the popular cartoon character find his jellyfishing net and solve who took the net and when it was taken. This game is based on the Case of the Missing Cake instructions.
Clue Jr. is a good game for kids who need a relatively easy but fun game. It has other benefits as well. While a child is enjoying the challenge of solving the mystery, he is also developing memory and deductive reasoning skills. Since the game requires active thinking, it can also be a great choice when children are bored.