Monday, February 18, 2013

How To: Life-Size Clue

How to Create a Life-size Clue Game for a Youth Group

I lead a small youth group in suburban Episcopal church. Since capture the flag, red rover, and dodge ball are out with a group of only 4-6 middle and high school kids, I have to get creative. The latest adventure was turning our parish hall into a life-size Clue board. Here's how I did it.


+ High School students
+ Individuals: 2-6 players
+ Teams: 12 players

Note: If you have a big youth group, have groups of 6 or 12 rotate out each game. Once the kids get the hang of things, the game takes about 20-30 minutes. If they're all learning how to play for the first time, plan on 45 minutes per game.

+ 8-10 rolls of masking tape
+ Church furniture
+ Color-coded costumes
    - Red
    - Blue
    - White
    - Yellow
    - Green
    - Purple
+ Fake weapon suggestions
    - Supersoaker
    - Foam tube


1. Measure the size of your Clue board. Leave a walking path around the edges of the room. Our parish hall gave us enough space to create each space roughly 2.5 square feet so that the "board" was about 35 feet on each side. I didn't measure as we went, but rather marked comfortable steps so that when the kids walked from space to space it wouldn't require huge steps or tiny shuffles.

2. Once you've determined how big your "board" will be, you can begin to put down the tape. I used masking tape, but you could use painters tape or any visible tape that will come up easily. Do not use duct tape!

3. Put down all of the columns first, and then the rows. You'll have a huge grid. It's easier to have the grid first and then pull up the tape for "rooms." That being said, this method wastes lot of tape. I didn't have the time to measure each room then tape, but if you're short on resources and not short on time, you can mark the rooms and then the spaces. My method is detailed below.

(Heads up: This step take a long time! I would suggest banding together a team at least 5-10 people to help you put down tape. I only had two helpers and it took us just under two hours.)

Step One: Mark out the outside of the grid

This is easiest of you have someone hold the end of the tape as you move to the opposite corner. Don't put the tape down until you've reached the corner. Pull the tape taught and lay it on the floor. Walk on the tape to stick it down more securely. If you put the tape down as you walk along the edge, it will be very difficult to make a straight line. I speak from experience...

Step Two: Create Rows

Begin to lay down the rows. You'll be laying down 21 pieces of tape to create 22 rows. I suggest using a partner to lay all the tape (same as laying the border), so you make straight lines. Don't worry if the rows aren't exactly parallel -- no one will notice! If you have a few pairs of folks to help out this part can go relatively quickly.


Step Three: Create Grid

Begin to lay down the tape for the columns. Same process, different direction. You should have 22 columns in total.

This is what the completed grid should look like (22 x 22)

 Step Four: Remove the Tape for the Rooms

You can use this as a visual aid for removing the rooms. It's a modified version of the board game. Rather than adding tape for the starting positions, I placed the costumes as the starting spots. You could also use different colors of construction paper to indicate the starting positions. (You'll just need to add the doors.)

Step Five: Add Furniture to the Rooms

You can use whatever furniture you have available for the rooms. We conveniently had a piano in the parish hall which we put in the Ball Room. We grabbed a few potted plants from the parlor for the Conservatory. A few tables, some books, and comfy chairs filled in most of the other rooms. You could make the Billiard Room a game room with a stack of board games and some pots and pans to make the Kitchen. Get creative!

The Conservatory

The Library

 The Kitchen

The Suspects
(from left: Prof. Plum, Mrs. White, Col. Mustard, Miss Scarlett, Mr. Green, Mrs. Peacock)

Fun Additions

Over-Sized Dice. Wrap a square cardboard box and draw dots. It's easier to keep track of in the room than a tiny die and it's more fun to throw around! If it's not perfectly square though, the rolls will favor the long side.

Crime Scene. Have someone lay on the floor and outline the body with masking tape to mark the "crime scene". You can even use caution tape to mark off the middle square area.

Weapons. Obviously a revolver and lead pipe are not appropriate to bring into a church, so get creative! Use a super soaker as the revolver, a foam sword for the knife, whatever you deem appropriate. Remember, the characters have to bring the weapon into the room to raise a suspicion before determining their accusations.

Decorations. The more realistic you make the rooms, the cooler the effect. It might be fun to make it a whole event, with lemonade or punch "mocktails," simple hors  d'oeuvre like pigs in a blanket, cheese and crackers, grapes, etc., and classical music playing in the background.

Costumes. Go to Goodwill and get color-coordinated costumes (i.e., red for Miss Scarlet, yellow for Colonel Mustard). I used large button-down shirts ($3/ea.) with silly hats ($1.50/ea.), but you can go more into characters depending on your available resources and budget. If your youth group wants to get into character themselves or if you don't have a budget to use, you can assign characters ahead of time and encourage each person to come in their own created costume.

Making It Easier

The Grid

  • Is it too much work to make the customized grid? Just use a 26 x 26 grid and make each room 4x4. Done.
The Rooms
  • No furniture to use? Just write the room names on construction paper and place them in each room. The kids will still have fun moving around from room to room!
  • Don't want to bring in anything weapon-like in? Draw or write the weapons on pieces of paper. When the kids make their suspicions or accusations, they'll just need to grab the correct piece of paper. No danger involved.

But the most important part of this...HAVE FUN! :-)