Was it Colonel Mustard with the candlestick in the conservatory? This might sound familiar for anyone who grew up playing the board game Clue. Twice a year, students have the opportunity to relive the childhood game by participating in the live-action version hosted by the Wilson Special Collection Library.
Once in the fall and once in spring, students form teams of four or five participants to solve the supernatural mystery in the library. Teams spend about an hour and a half gathering evidence, interrogating suspects and interacting with maps as well as special collection library materials in order to make their best guess at the suspect, library item and room where the action occurred.
This spring’s game will take place on Wednesday, April 10 and will be the 14th edition of the tradition. Community engagement librarian Emily Jack has worked with the planning committee since the inaugural game in the fall of 2012.
“We had this idea of creating an opportunity for students to engage with the library and to interact with the library in a way that is fun and in a way that is at a time that is dedicated just for them,” Jack said. “That naturally led to the idea of a game and because a lot of students hold this impression of Wilson as a kind of mysterious place, the game of Clue matches to that idea really nicely.”
Live-action Clue is played on all four floors of Wilson Library and even involves game pieces from other resource centers at UNC, like pieces made with the laser cutter in a makerspace.
“It’s been really neat,” said Alison Barnett, co-chairperson of the planning committee and businesses services coordinator for UNC Libraries. “It’s another aspect of University Libraries that we are able to bring into the game. That’s what we really try to do, is bring in everything that we can, that the libraries across campus have to offer.”
The game is facilitated on a mobile app created by former UNC librarian Luke Aeschleman, who worked in the software development department.
The top three teams win gift cards of varying amounts to local shops in Chapel Hill. Previous years’ prizes have included cards to The Yogurt Pump, UNC Student Stores and other restaurants on Franklin Street.
Librarian LeTroy Gardner is in charge of staff recruitment for the 2019 spring game. Faculty members are needed to play characters in the game, serve on the planning committee and monitor game play for any attempts at cheating. Gardner said he has seen some intense contests in the past. He said that during the fall Clue game, many participants go all-out and dress up in costume during the Halloween season.