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Teens solve murder mystery during live-action board game

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Published:   |   Updated: January 22, 2014 at 09:36 AM

HUDSON — In a side room at Regency Park Branch Library, masking tape marked out a temporary grid on the carpet. Colorful, laminated poster boards, each decorated with the photo of a location and its name, were strewn across the grid, which represented a life-sized version of “Clue,” the murder mystery board game.

Members of the library’s anime club, which meets twice a month to watch Japanese animated television shows and movies, funneled into the room and broke into groups to receive their three allotted clue cards and a paper to mark down observations. Their other clues came from hints from opposing teams and process of elimination.

“The first team to guess the murderer, weapon and location wins,” Paul Stonebridge, the teen services manager for the Pasco County Library System, told the teens. “But if you’re wrong, you’re out of the game.”

“Clue is a classic board game, so the kids are familiar with it but it’s still novel,” Stonebridge said. “You get to be more involved with the game play than just sitting over it at a table.”

Various library branches within the Pasco system have previously hosted played live-action games such as “Chess,” “Battleship,” and “Pirates vs. Ninjas.” The pirates won.

For “Clue,” teens were split into half a dozen groups that chose one player to be their “pawn” to move across the board. Each pawn was named after a character from an anime, such as “Misa” and “L” from an anime called “Death Note,” instead of game’s traditional characters like “Miss Scarlet” and “Colonel Mustard.”

The weapons were also changed to reflect anime tropes. Instead of a candlestick or a lead pipe, weapons included items like a princess scepter and “Wire Whisk of Doom.”

While the traditional “Clue” game is set inside a mansion riddled with secret passageways, the teens’ anime version was teeming with locations like the “dojo” and “bamboo forest” instead of “library” or “kitchen” and the passageways became teleportation devices.

Chelsy Mills, an 18-year-old Fivay High School student, hurled a giant six-sided die made from a cardboard box, construction paper and tape across the makeshift game board. She rolled a three and her teammate, boyfriend Gabriel Nash, moved three spaces toward the ramen stand to make his accusation.

Each time player could make their guess when they reached a location. When it came time to make an official accusation, groups held off until they were confident they had enough clues to avoid being evicted from the game. Nash hesitated and decided not to accuse just yet.

Three more groups took their turn. The fourth group decided to step up with a verdict and Meghan Hurley, 14, took the reins.

“I accuse Yachiru. He did it at the ramen stand with a kamehameha wave,” Meghan said. The wave is a ball of energy used as an attack in the “Dragon Ball Z” television series.

Chelsy threw up her hands in joking exasperation.

“Dang it, Gabriel! We had that!”

Gabriel shrugged and laughed. It didn’t really matter. They’d had a good time.

“We’re trying to combat the short attention span that technology brings around,” Stonebridge said. “This is so immersive and they can’t look at their phones as easily while playing.”

Follow Daylina Miller on Twitter @DaylinaMiller.

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