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Subject: True Review: Saboteur ROCKS! Pure GOLD! All in a DWARF sized box! rss

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Caleb
United States
Illinois
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My goal is to review all the games I own. Here is my third review. Check out my Catan review and Carc' review.


It doesn't seem fair to call Saboteur a card game. While the game is composed entirely of cards, some of the cards will be used to create a type of "board" on the table. Cards with paths can be played adjacent to other paths making it feel similar to Carcassonne. An important feature of Saboteur is that each player is given a hidden role. The player will either be a gold-digger or an evil saboteur.

Quote:
Designer: Frederic Moyersoen
Year Published: 2004
Number of Players: 3-10
Playing Time: 20-40 min.

Brief Rules
The gold-diggers are trying to mine a path to the gold, but the saboteurs secretly (or not so secretly) try to stop them. There are three possible locations where the gold might be. For the gold-diggers to win, they must connect the starting ladder to the gold. Players can draw cards after they play until the draw pile runs out. If the gold-diggers haven't found the gold before everybody runs out of playable cards, the saboteurs win. Whoever wins will be awarded gold nuggets. Then another round begins. The player with the most gold nuggets after three rounds wins. While most of the cards have paths, there are other cards with special effects. Full Rules

Positives

+ Easy to learn rules

+ The box is small and portable

+ Very good party game because a large number can play, although with more players the downtime increases

+ Using cards to make paths is unique

+ Players can easily join or leave between rounds


Negatives

- The saboteurs seem to rarely win, but this can be fixed with the official variant where gold-diggers with a sabotage-card in front of them do not receive gold nuggets

- Saboteurs do not have an incentive to remain hidden, usually they reveal themselves by playing a dead end

- The small box: I mentioned that it is nice and portable, but there are downsides. Originally I ordered Saboteur planning to give it as a gift, but after seeing the small box I thought it would look cheap. So I kept Saboteur and gave a different gift.


By the Way
There is an expansion called Saboteur 2, but with the English edition you still need to have the original game. However, some of the other editions include the original game with the expansion. Do not buy the Chinese "pirated" version which the designer gets no royalties from.

Comparison to Bang!
Saboteur has many similarities to the game Bang! They are both card games with secret roles that many players can play. The biggest downfall of Bang! is that players can be eliminated, but Saboteur avoids that problem. The hidden roles are more challenging to figure out in Bang! because saboteurs often obviously reveal themselves. In my opinion, Bang! has the potential to be more fun some rounds, but Saboteur is more consistently fun.

Worth Buying?
The price for Saboteur on Amazon is usually around the list price of $14.99. This is rather expensive for a card game, but I think it is definitely worth buying. There aren't many fun games that 10 people can play. There are enough strategic decisions to keep it interesting, but it is simple enough for new players to learn.

Rating
7.2 out of 10

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Yours Truly,
United States
Raleigh
North Carolina
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There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time.
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Quote:
- The saboteurs seem to rarely win


Quote:
- Saboteurs do not have an incentive to remain hidden, usually they reveal themselves by playing a dead end


These could be correlated If a saboteur reveals too early by a dead end, they will surely lose. They have to wait until *just* the right time to be effective. Otherwise all their tools will be broken for the rest of the game.

I do agree it's pretty tough to win as a Saboteur.
My favorite "variant" to give them a boost is the Werewolf version: everyone closes their eyes at the beginning of the game, then, just the saboteurs open their eyes, then everyone closes their eyes again. That makes it easier for the Sabs to collude with each other without revealing too early.

I also agree with your "pro" of easy to learn rules. Such simple rules, yet it's got some fun emergent properties. That's my hesitation for Saboteur 2 (expansion-only editions). I haven't played it yet, but I've read a bit, and what with all the additional roles and different colored doors and different dwarf teams, it seems to turn the ruleset into something unnecessarily convoluted and complicated.
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Yours Truly,
United States
Raleigh
North Carolina
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There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time.
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Oh I forgot to mention. The rules are ambiguous on this, but, you can only place a path card if there's a continuous path back to the start. So a rockfall has to be cleared before anything after the rockfall is played. This also improves the saboteurs chances. This was clarified in a BGG post by the designer.
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Kathy Sheets
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Port Saint Lucie
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Very nice review! I really like your "By the Way" paragraph, too. The only question I have is, what do you think is the least amount of people you can play with and still have fun. I see there is quite a bit of disagreement and discussion about player count.
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Bent Nikolaisen
Norway
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I agree with the review. A true little gem. The family loves it (we are 4), even more so since I "geeked out" and spraypainted a tablecloth to go with it. The wife likes it so much she forgave the fact that the paint stained the kitchen table....(thinking before acting....not my strong point...).
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Caleb
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Mamadallama wrote:
Very nice review! I really like your "By the Way" paragraph, too. The only question I have is, what do you think is the least amount of people you can play with and still have fun. I see there is quite a bit of disagreement and discussion about player count.

My preferred number of players to play Saboteur with is 5-7. With 3 or 4 players there might not be a saboteur in the round, but it will still be somewhat interesting if you use the variant rule where sabotaged miners receive no gold nuggets.
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Mercedes (Mandy)
Japan
Setagaya-ku
Tokyo
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Sorry if I'm slow in reading mails. I'm currently working hard on some Alley Thieves
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4 works great with the selfish dwarf variant! Sorry I'm on my phone which is a but hard to make links- but the post is called 4 player variant.
That's how we play it a lot.

There are three teams.
We use only 4 roles. 2 good dwarfs - select two with a green jacket, 1 saboteur, 1 selfish dwarf, use a dwarf that wears.a red jacket.
The good dwarfs and saboteur is as per standard rules.
The selfish dwarf wins if he is the only one that reaches the gold. So he's helping build, but trying to stop the good dwarfs from reaching the goal. He's like the deputy in Bang. It's a LOT of fun, and 2 people have hidden roles.

The gold distribution is different. We do this:
Saboteur/selfish dwarf get 4G if they win
The good dwarf get 3 random gold cards shared (the one to reach chooses first etc) if they win
It's played over 3 games, and whomever has the most gold wins.
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Kathy Sheets
United States
Port Saint Lucie
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Thanks, everyone, for that further information! I'm definitely going to have to pick this up!
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Yee Keat Phuah
Malaysia
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JohnnyDollar wrote:
That's my hesitation for Saboteur 2 (expansion-only editions). I haven't played it yet, but I've read a bit, and what with all the additional roles and different colored doors and different dwarf teams, it seems to turn the ruleset into something unnecessarily convoluted and complicated.


That's my view also, which is why I haven't gotten saboteur2.

Nice review. I would like to comment a little on my experience playing this game with others. Usually it takes 3-4 rounds of 3 and people will kind of get bored with the game. However, the last time that I brought it to a retreat, we played like 5 hours one day and 2 hours the next day. This is because one of the players just seems couldn't grasp the whole concept of the game causing lots of laughters among all the other players.

I also dislike players who tried to be smart, saboteurs who simply block a person even before knowing their identity, or miners who tried to act like saboteurs. This game is good when played with competitive players, but not smart asses.
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Canadian Dave
United States
Lehi
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Wise men say, forgiveness is divine, but never pay full price for late pizza.
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TrueCaleb wrote:


Negatives

- The saboteurs seem to rarely win, but this can be fixed with the official variant where gold-diggers with a sabotage-card in front of them do not receive gold nuggets

- Saboteurs do not have an incentive to remain hidden, usually they reveal themselves by playing a dead end



With us, we reward as much gold as there are players. Four players, four gold cards. If there is a saboteur, that means the finder gets two cards and gets first choice of card (and last/second to last if two saboteurs). That means unless there are no saboteurs, the finder always gets two cards.

This leads to a larger screwage factor because all the diggers want the gold, they just want to be the one to find it.

It's hard to tell who is the saboteur and who just wants to make it so they get the gold first. This makes it so much more enjoyable.
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John Heynes
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I have Saboteteur 2 and it isnt that complicated. If you enjoy the base game the expansion adds a lot of cool new cards and roles.
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Regényi Mátyás
Hungary
Sopron
Győr-Moson-Sopron
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I LOVE this game too. I wonder why isnt it in the first 500?????????
 
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