LATIN Clue, for Exam Review

Clue is a traditional board game that challenges players to solve a murder mystery by using deductive reasoning and process of elimination to determine the murderer, the murder weapon, and the location of the murder. Players receive cards representing the possibilities in the murder scenario (suspect, weapon, crime scene). Cards representing the actual murder scenario will be removed from the deck and placed in a separate envelop at the beginning of the game (to be revealed at the end of the game). Players roll the dice to advance into the rooms within the Clue mansion, where they will suggest a weapon, suspect, and crime scene. When challenged by a “suggestion,” players must privately show cards to the player who made the suggestion. Latin Clue keeps these traditional elements, but shifts to team collaboration and adds in content questions. See the comparisons in the table below:

Classic Clue Board Game Latin Clue
Weapons ·      Revolver

·      Knife

·      Rope

·      Candlestick

·      Lead pipe

·      Wrench

Roman Weapons:

·      Mace

·      Javelin

·      Gladius Hispaniensis (two-edged sword)

·      Amphorae (pottery jars designed to hold liquids)

·      Marble bust of a Caesar

·      Bronze figure of Venus.

Game space ·      Square game board with floor plan of house printed on it.

·      Players roll dice to determine the number of floor tiles they will advance (short-term goal is to get into one of the rooms)

·      Secret passageways exist between some rooms.

·      Whiteboard projection showing the map of ancient Rome, which is overlaid with a path (game spaces) connecting all of the ancient locations.

·      Roll of the dice would allow players to advance toward one of the historic sites.

·      Secret underground passageways exist between places


Crime Scenes Rooms in the house:

·      Kitchen

·      Hall

·      Study

·      Dining room

·      Billiard room

·      Conservatory

·      Library

·      ball room

·      lounge


Roman Places:

·      The Roman Colosseum

·      The Pantheon

·      Campus Martius

·      Baths of Diocletian

·      The Roman Forum

·      Palatine Hill (House of Augustus)

·      Temple of Saturn

·      Baths of Caracalla

·      The Arch of Constantine


game pieces

·      Miss Scarlet

·      Colonel Mustard

·      Professor Plum

·      Mr. Green

·      Mrs. White

·      Mrs. Peacock

Historical Figures of Rome:

·      Emperor Julius Caesar

·      Emperor Marcus Aurelius

·      Virgil (author/poet)

·      Octavia (first wife of Marcus Antonius)

·      Cleopatra (not Roman, but important to Roman history),

·      Theodora (wife of Justinian).

Magnetic game pieces that have the busts of the characters will be used on the whiteboard that the image is projected on, so players can physically advance their piece.

Players/teams Traditional players:

·      One player per game piece

·      Game piece represents them throughout the game

·      Roll dice

·      Navigate the game board

·      Take guesses (make a “suggestion)

Teams of three to five learners select a single game piece to represent their team.

Upon entering a historic location, the team selects question category (Latin language or Roman history); they will answer the question together, quiz bowl style. A correct answer allows them to make a suggestion, if they wish.

Teams will collaborate, represent a single entity.


The Learning Values

  • Learning goals
      • The game will be used for middle school Latin mid-term or final exam review. Encountering the weapons, historic locations, and characters in a historic setting reinforces previous learning, while quiz bowl questions review Latin language and Roman history content. For another option, students could be asked to research and propose the list of weapons, historic locations, and characters (which would allow them to have more review).
      • The game requires problem-solving skills, situated in a historic setting
      • Traveling from one ancient location to another provides a great backdrop for reviewing Roman history. In addition, adding the quiz-bowl type questions (Latin language or Roman history) adds to this creative and fun review (a sort of productive play).
      • Working in a team provides peer coaching/scaffolding by distributing the performance requirement throughout the group.
  • Criteria for successful instruction
      • Authentic settings and roles for players
  • Instructional Methods
      • When giving a wrong answer, the team loses a turn, but continues play, while receiving corrective feedback (the correct answer). The consequences are appropriate; the penalty is embedded in the game play (like missing an exam question, but finishing the test).
      • The game has interesting challenges that have been optimized to reflect the learner’s coursework.
      • Cooperative play provides practical collaboration among learners
  • The Vision of the Game
    • Learning goals: learners will review previously presented information; they will work together as a team to answer questions pertaining to Latin language and Roman history (collaboration provides embedded scaffolding)
    • The game will allow students to be temporarily immersed in Roman culture, bringing the “dead language” to life, in a natural and authentic way
    • Feedback
      • Natural consequences: missing an answer will delay their progress through the game
      • Explanations:when a question is missed, all of the teams will hear the correct answer from the teacher, so that everyone benefits from the feedback
      • Debriefing: learners will debrief, together at the end of the game
      • Immediate Feedback: Learners benefit from feedback by both the teacher and their teammates.
    • The competitive spirit of the game will motivate learners extrinsically. Intrinsic motivation will come as a result of increased enjoyment of Roman culture and team collaboration.
  • The Game Space 
    • See details in table, describing rules of game, players, game pieces, technology (whiteboard, computer projection)
    • The narrative of the game, the “work” that must be done by the players requires learners to embrace the study of Latin language and Roman History in order to succeed in the game
    • Design decisions mean to create an excitement and acceptance of a subject which often overwhelms some students and bores others; Latin comes alive when the stakes are raised by the game
  • The Instructional Space
    • Teams allow students to collaborate over difficult material, working at the edge of their ZPD (Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development)
    • Students get “Just-in-Time Instruction” during the game which can help them to identify and eliminate weaknesses in the subject matter (this is for a test, after all!)
    • The teacher will be the “coach in the classroom,” providing additional learner scaffolding


Reigeluth, C. M., Beatty, B. J., & Myers, R. D. (2017). Instructional-Design Theories and Models (Vol. IV). New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.

Pratt, A. E. (1996). Clue: Classic Detective Game. Beverly, MA.: Parker Brothers.


Work Process: Designing a Game


I designed a board game called Super (Quiz) Bowl. It is a game combining trivia questions with the rules of football, where the game board is a football field with an “end zone” at either end, which must be crossed to score a touchdown. I made a game board out of foam core board, but you could use a sheet of paper, if you marked it at 10 yard-intervals.

This game requires the football field (described above), four dice, two timers (showing seconds—we used the stopwatch function on our phones), Play cards (I made these on Canva and printed them out at home), Question cards (I used brain-teasers and trivia from the internet), and a football game piece (you could use a paperclip here or some other everyday object).

Ideally, 3-9 people may play. This game requires two teams, of 1-4 players each, which alternate between being “Offense” and “Defense,” and an “Official.” If there is an even number of players, one person on each team must alternate acting as the Official.

The object of the game is to advance down the field toward the other team’s end zone (where a roll of dice determines the degree of advancement for each turn or “down”) and to score the most points (by touchdowns or kicks), while answering questions and overcoming the attacks of the opposite team.

The Offense (1) rolls dice to determine the possible yardage (2) draws a “Play card”, which determines the response of the Defense during the play (3) answers a question (a) brain teaser or (b) trivia.

The Defense has chances to compete during the 30 seconds allotted for the Offense to answer the question. The Defense may get a “turn over” for besting the offense during the question time, which allows them to get possession of the ball and begin competing as the Offense. The Offense can score by touchdown or kick.

The Official keeps track of downs, reads questions, judges answers, and is both time and score-keeper.

Game is over when one team reaches 35 points or 20 minutes has expired (there is a half-time break after 10 minutes of play).


Here are the iterations of my game:

Initial Concept (Brainstorming):

My main question: what are some activities where people lose track of time, while having fun?

Answer: Football!

Second question: How can I combine traditional football rules with board game play?

Answer: Use quiz-bowl type questions to determine progress of offense

Third question: Where would I find the kind of questions that anyone could answer, but would take some time, some deliberation, to add more drama during the play?

Answer: this is a weakness. I had trouble finding questions that I could use for my Beta testing. I didn’t have time to write an entire question bank. I found some websites that offered various trivia and quiz bowl type questions, but none were completely satisfactory.

Then I sketched out the elements of the game:

Roll 4 dice to determine possible yardages (rolling a pair doubles the face value of the roll, rolling a triple, triples the yardage, rolling a quad allows you to go for a touchdown right away)

Draw a “Play” card to determine the play (really, this is the response of defense during play)

Run (Defense gets to distract offense during answer time)

Pass (toss-up question, ring a bell to “win” the chance to answer)

Punt (Defense gets to answer first)

Kick (Defense gets no chance, Offense only answers)

Answer questions – timed for 10 seconds

I wrote the directions in a word document and drew up a game board and cards

The Amys’ Review

I shared the game with my friend Amy and a friend of hers (also named Amy!). They loved it, but had some confusion about:

The yardage determination with the dice

The “Run” card (this allows the defense to distract the offense during play to prevent them from answering the questions)

If each team works together, or if the individuals answer independently

The problem of the question bank was still an issue

Linda’s Review

I revised and clarified my directions and shared them with my friend Linda. We played a few rounds and she gave me some suggestions:

Rolling the dice – getting to double and triple yardage makes the number too high. Instead:

For a double, add 5 yards.

For a triple, add 10 yards

Explain the purpose of the Play cards sooner in the directions (this part was referred to early in the directions but not explained in detail till the end).

When drawing a “Pass” Play card, instead of ringing a bell to win the chance to answer, place a household object in the middle of the game board. The team that is ready first will pick it up. This was helpful in making the game for easier to replicate at home.

Increase the time allotted to answer each question from 10 seconds to 30 seconds.

The question bank was still a problem, but the game worked well. It was fun (when finding a question wasn’t a problem).


I made the corrections from my time with Linda and sat down to play with my family. There were two kids and two adults.

Changes made with Linda’s help were good. Everyone thought the game was fun and had a lot of potential.

Once again, the biggest trouble was the question bank. Some questions were too easy and went too quickly. Some questions were too hard.

Overall Effectiveness/Usefulness

Effectiveness of the game:

Games are supposed to be fun. This was fun!

Games are unique in the way you tend to lose track of time when you are playing, and this was true for this game.


It wasn’t good for the game that the difficulty level of the questions was inconsistent because it affected the sense of fairness. With the right question bank, I think this game would have excellent potential in the commercial or educational markets.

You have probably already figured this out, but this game is complicated. More like a board game you would buy. It takes one time of playing it to figure it out, but then it is really fun. I think that this would be kind of hard to do with homemade objects because of the need for the Play cards (see the picture below).

Value for learning/Usefulness in educational or training setting

This game is not dependent on a particular genre of trivia, so any category of questions could be inserted into the structure of the game, and it would still work (provided the questions were written for the skill and age of the players).

Therefore, this would be an excellent game for review of concepts, for use with small groups, in classrooms for kids ages 10-18. And also, there could be some usefulness in higher education and training for review of concepts or skills, but might be more popular with adults in the board game market.

Ultimately, the greatest challenging was writing appropriate questions. This was the biggest problem with this game, but building a bank of questions is a project unto itself and so I concentrated on the mechanics of the game, which worked very well (once we got the kinks out).