It turned out that not only did she love Cluedo; she was also a walking treasure trove of information about the game’s history. She told me that a solicitor’s clerk named Anthony Pratt, who was an avid murder mystery fan, invented it in Leeds during World War II. He came up with the idea as a way to pass the time during air raid drills in 1944. Mr. Pratt, who apparently described himself as “an introvert full of ruminations, speculations and imaginative notions” took the game to Waddingtons with some friends who’d already invented, and sold, Buccaneer. Due to wartime shortages it wasn’t released until 1949.
A play on words was used to name the game. Since the object was to collect clues; Cluedo was a play on the word ‘Ludo’ – meaning, “I play” in Latin. However, for an American market the game was simply named ‘Clue” because they play ‘Parchisi’ instead of ‘Ludo’.
It was fascinating stuff that made my love of the game seem positively amateur, I recognized that she’d be a formidable opponent. Fortunately, just as she spotted a set in our host’s house and suggested that we might play, the game of Monopoly ended in a sulky truce.
Sarah Maple writes about Online