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Subject: Are we playing it right? Impossible for saboteurs rss

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Victoria Smith
United Kingdom
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Hi

We played this the other day for the first time, and I was really looking forward to it but for some reason it didn't quite work. It was a 6 player game, and we had 2 sabs and 4 dwarves, and every round it just seemed like a kind of non-game for the saboteurs.

The deck is WAY too big to actually deplete it before getting to the gold, even if it's the last goal card that gets turned over, and breaking other people's tools never really seemed to work because there were always more dwarves to heal each other and fight back, so they still ended up with far more turns and easily got around any dead ends we managed to throw at them.

Are we doing something wrong? Missing some tactics? I just found it kind of too easy as a dwarf and way too hard as a saboteur.
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Robert Taylor-Smith
Canada
Okotoks
Alberta
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Don't the miners compete with each other as well as defeating the saboteurs? This isn't some team or cooperative game, there is single player victor at the end of the rounds. Players need to keep in mind how the gold cards are distributed at the end of each round.

The first miner to get to the gold ore has a significant greater chance of final victory. It shouldn't be easy, or at all until the end of a round, to determine who are the saboteur players. Those two factors should drain down the deck as each player attempts to slow down everyone else.

It sounds like your saboteur players need to play in a more subtle manner.
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Tom
United States
New Jersey
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I never actually play with the gold point cards, but our saboteurs still win around half the time. Your saboteurs should lead the group to the wrong goal card, throw suspicion onto gold diggers, cause general confusion about who is lying, and break "suspicious" players' tools the whole game. This will waste cards and run through the deck without making as much progress towards the gold goal card. They really should only block paths or blow up tunnels (obvious sab moves) when it's a guaranteed win for them (towards the end of the deck).

If it's still too difficult for your saboteurs, try having them look at each other in a "night" phase before the game. Or try adding an additional saboteur card (this may make it too easy for the sabs), pushing the center goal card one space further from the ladder, or adding uncertainty as to how many sabs there are (2-3 sabs instead of 2).
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Henry Allen
United States
Astatula
FLORIDA
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It has been a long while since I played the base game but I think 6 players is particularly tough on the sabs. With 7 players don't you get 3 sabs vs 4 diggers? The ratio makes a big difference but in general it is hard to be a sab.

The sequel/expansion does a lot to even the odds at all player counts by creating different factions within the diggers and even adding a few independent roles with their own agenda (which tends to help sabs or at least make it easier for them to hide). You also get less money when you have a a bigger team (so in an 'easy for your team round' does occur, it's not worth much).
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Scott Davis
United States
Mountain View
California
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In addition to the suggestions other people have made, you might want to play with the greedy dwarf variant listed at the end of the game rules.

Basically only digging dwarves with unbroken tools get a share of the gold at the end of the game (if the digging dwarves win). This makes the digging dwarves more hesitant to cooperate with one another as much, perhaps even intentionally breaking each other's tools.

We always play with this variant and I think it makes the game a lot more fun and more difficult to figure out who the saboteurs are.
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Derek H
South Africa
Johannesburg
Gauteng
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kbfan wrote:
I never actually play with the gold point cards, but our saboteurs still win around half the time. Your saboteurs should lead the group to the wrong goal card, throw suspicion onto gold diggers, cause general confusion about who is lying, and break "suspicious" players' tools the whole game. This will waste cards and run through the deck without making as much progress towards the gold goal card. They really should only block paths or blow up tunnels (obvious sab moves) when it's a guaranteed win for them (towards the end of the deck).

If it's still too difficult for your saboteurs, try having them look at each other in a "night" phase before the game. Or try adding an additional saboteur card (this may make it too easy for the sabs), pushing the center goal card one space further from the ladder, or adding uncertainty as to how many sabs there are (2-3 sabs instead of 2).

This is all great advice, and the "move the card one space" is a very effective change. One tactic I always try, if I am saboteur, is to figure out who the other one is, while playing as many neutral cards as possible. This person should then bear the brunt of the accusations and suspicion, but the moment someone else has a move that is not 100% in support of getting to the goal, then pounce on them as "the other one". Establishing who the other saboteur is, out of a group of 5 or 6, should not be that easy...
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Mike L
Canada
Montreal
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I really enjoy the game, but it definitely has problems at certain player numbers. If you go by the rules at 5-6 players, it's possible for there to be only 1 saboteur, and then you have pretty much no chance at all and it's almost not worth playing the round.
When we do 6-player, I'll put 2 saboteurs and 4 miners instead of the random draw. With that, and in larger groups using standard rules, I find the game pretty balanced, with the saboteurs winning maybe 30-40% of the time. This is a decent ratio, since saboteurs get more gold than miners do and it works out if you're playing multiple rounds.
The strategy for saboteurs is basically to hold off revealing yourself as long as possible, while discarding path cards you know would only be useful for the miners. The longer you hold off, particular to the rock slide cards, the better you'll do, but sometimes you just don't get the cards. Such is the way with luck-of-the-draw games.
 
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Hans Moleman
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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I was saying boo-urns
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DEFINITELY play with the Greedy Dwarf variant (balances it out as not all dwarfs get gold) but as others suggested the saboteur shouldn't be that obvious:

- discard cards
- do peeks
- target someone directly w/ broken items as they might be the sab.
- lead others to wrong to the wrong card (if you looked at card)
- follow table talk [don't create it]

NEVER destroy anything until you have too (or place a block).
Most importantly, save your non-field cards, b/c once you block a path, expect everything to be broken on your next go around
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