We were gifted Seinfeld Clue by The Op Games to review. Seinfeld Clue is a refresher version of the classic game Clue, with some minor changes in rules and some big changes in theme. If you are a big fan of Seinfeld then every homage to the game and its lore will be a happy detail for you as you play. The game does a great job of incorporating the theme while also maintaining the easy playability of the original Clue. Even if you are not familiar with Seinfeld, the game is fun and easy to play. In this game, Newman has some dirt to spill on the characters in the form of a newsletter he intends to send out. Someone has knocked Newman out and hidden the newsletter somewhere in the city. It’s up to you to find out who knocked out Newman, with what weapon and where they hid the newsletter.
To set up, you first separate the rumor cards and the intrigue cards. The rumor cards are your characters, weapons, and location cards. After separating each type of rumor card, you will shuffle each deck and place one character, weapon and location into the secret envelope. This will contain the answer to who is responsible for knocking out Newman in attempt to stop the newsletter from getting out. The remaining cards are then shuffled together and distributed amongst the players as evenly as possible. There are 6 characters: Jerry, George, Elaine, Kramer, Puddy and Peterman. There are 9 weapons: the Festivus Pole, Beef-a-Rino, the Big Salad, Jerry’s Microphone, a Shower Head, the Cigar Store Indian, the Statue, the Label Maker and the JFK Golf Clubs. The 9 locations are: Jerry’s Apartment, George’s Office, Kramer’s Apartment, Elaine’s Apartment, Peterman’s Office, Monk’s Restaurant, the Soup Kitchen, the Car Dealership and the Chinese Restaurant. The only drawback to this is that there is an uneven number of cards to distribute so someone will sometimes have an extra clue. We saved this to give to our younger nephew to even out the difficulty for them.
Gameplay is almost identical to the original Clue. You roll dice, make a guess, and any information that is wrong with you is shared in turn order. Seinfeld Clue differs slightly in some of these steps however. The dice and the board contain “?” Icons that will make you gain an intrigue card. Intrigue cards serve as a bonus card, giving you extra steps on your rolls taking an extra turn or additional bonuses. Rolling the “?” will automatically give you an intrigue card, and if you step on a “?” on the board your movement ends and you gain one as well. On a regular roll (one without “?”), you may move up to that amount in orthogonal directions only. There is no rule that clarifies if you take your movement from a “?” roll so we played with the rule of you take whatever the other die reads.
After movement, if you find yourself in a room, you can start a rumor. You pick a player, and a weapon and start a rumor saying you think it’s that character, with that weapon and the letters are hidden in the room you are in. The player will move the character standee of the person they think did it and the item they think was used to their location. Then starting with the player to your left, if they have any information that is wrong, they select 1 card (even if they have more) and show you the card privately. Should that player not have anything, the next player follows the same steps and so on until a player has shown a piece of information to the person who started the rumor. In this way, the players will slowly deduce the person, place and thing as the game progresses.
If a player’e standee is moved as part of a rumor, they gain an intrigue card for the inconvenience. This way the gameplay balances out slightly as being moved out of the room you think is culpable is very inconvenient. Gameplay continues in this manner until someone believes they know the answer. Once someone has reached this point, they will make their way to the center room (the comedy club) and will accuse who, what and where. One of two things will happen at this point. If the accuser is correct, they win! However, if they are wrong, they simply sit out for the rest of the game only contributing to rumors. They lose the game but need to help the rest of the team figure out who did it. If all players are wrong or if a player guesses correctly the game is over. Throughout the course of the game, intrigue cards in the form of Clock Cards are also drawn. The game can also end after the 8th card is drawn, representing how Newman came to and called the police. Whenever one of these cards is drawn, it is placed on the side of the board with the tracker. One thing to note is that the card tracker fills up after 6 cards making it rather confusing as to how many cards end the game. There is no mention of a short or long game that would justify this in the rulebook, but this could be a way to make the game shorter. Simply end the game after the 6th card is drawn and the tracker is filled.
Seinfeld Clue is a fun thematic version of the game and adds a bit of humor to the semi-serious tone of the original Clue. It has great nods to the show and immerses you in the Seinfeld universe with the characters, items and locations. It is a must have if you know anyone who is obsessed with Seinfeld and certainly something to add to your collection if you love Clue.
Language Barrier Playability: Good. It is easy to play with a language barrier but the intrigue cards must be translated, which keeps any mystery of abilities out. This ends up adding tension however as certain abilities will come into play and you will see them coming at inopportune times.
Replayability: The game is easily replayable. The selection of cards during the setup makes the selection modular. Mathematically there are 486 possibilities with the 6 characters, 9 weapons and 9 locations.
Artwork: Decent. The character cards and standees for Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer(the four main characters) are very high quality. They are crisp and clear. Peterman’s card is slightly pixelated and Puddy’s card is very pixelated and looks like it was pulled out of a screenshot rather than a photoshoot. The weapon cards are also slightly pixelated making the details of the tiny items seem much more pronounced than they actually are.
Strategy: Light. Since this game is about deduction, very little strategy is used. The best you can really do is try to wrongly start a rumor with something you know is NOT correct. This makes the game a great family game as it is easily accessible to most ages.
Quality: Good. The cards, board, standees and weapon tokens are all very well made. The printing on some of the cards is a little pixelated but otherwise durable and well made.
Instruction Manual: Good. The manual is easy to follow and short. The only drawback is that the manual does not clarify if you take your movement if you roll a “?” on your turn. It merely states, draw an intrigue card if you roll a “?” on your turn.
Organization: Not great. The box insert for organization has about 20 slots for cards, 8 numbered square slots, a blank rectangular slot and two large open slots. The problem with this is that there are only 4 types of cards (5 if you count clock cards as separate from intrigue cards) and the organization system has many, many more slots for cards. The slots numbered 1-8 also makes no sense as there are 9 weapons and 2 dice. Upon further investigation we came to find out that it is an insert for Monopoly. It may simply be cheaper for The Op to produce the game with components of other games that are already in production.