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Subject: Really bad miners, or really good saboteurs rss

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Dave Wilson
United States
Pleasanton
California
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There was already a pretty big group when Carrie and I arrived, with Rich and Sabrina rummaging through the games they bought, and Jeff and the kids in front of the video game system. It turned out that we'd have seven of us for the first game, and we wanted a quick intro in case others were coming as well, so we got out Saboteur.

The first round began with a lot of noncommittal plays, as Jim, Danielle, and Jeff all played tunnels sideways. Only Sabrina started by moving a tunnel toward the goals. Dave's first play was a map, to look at one of the end goals. He then tries to direct the digging to the other goals. Was he a saboteur moving away from the gold, or a miner moving away from a dead end? Carrie watched discards, and sideways tunnels, and decided that Jim's play was too snarky, and broke his lamp. He retaliated by breaking Jeff . Sabrina remained unfazed, though, and pushed on to a goal card. Alas, it was a rock. Carrie finally decided to leave no doubt as to her role, and she used a rockfall to destroy a "plus" tunnel card at the very beginning, next to the start card. Sabrina was able to replace it, but Carrie destroyed it again. And by now, tools were breaking all over the place. Dave broke Rich's pickaxe, but Jim fixed it. Carrie broke Danielle's cart, who retaliated by breaking Carrie's tool. Finally the deck ran out and everyone was forced to start discarding. Slowly, very slowly, the tunnel crept toward a second goal card. When it connected, we revealed the second rock card. So we knew where the miners needed to go, but they didn't have the cards anymore, and they fell short. Victory went to the saboteurs: Carrie, Danielle, and Dave.

In the second round, the tunnels immediately forked and pursued either end, but avoided the center card. Both sides crossed the table. Rich played to the bottom, but on his next turn, played to the top. Was he trying to divide the team and slow down the progress? The top tunnel approached the upper goal card, and Danielle had a chance to connect, but passed on the opportunity. Jeff played next, and took the opportunity to play the bend that would bypass that goal card. That was enough for Jim, and he broke Jeff's lantern. On his turn, Jeff broke Jim's cart. Sabrina, meanwhile, was slowly building the bottom tunnel, and connected it to the bottom goal card. Unfortunately for the miners, it was a rock. Rich played next, and he finally made his move, capping the top tunnel. At this point things looked bad for the miners, and when the cards ran out, the miners were unable reach the final goal card, and again the saboteurs won: Rich, and Jeff. Yup, only two saboteurs this time, but the miners spent too much time splitting their resources on two different tunnels.

We started the third and final round by playing lots of maps. Four of the seven players played maps in their initial turn. The tunnel shot across the center of the table, until Danielle turns it. But it still was approaching the goals, and Dave felt that it was getting too close, so he ended up capping the tunnel pretty early in the round, and immediately drew the wrath of the miners. He quickly wound up with all three tools broken. Meanwhile, Danielle used a rockfall to clear the cap. But progress was short-lived, because Dave next used his rockfall to break an early "plus" card. Sabrina fixed that, though. Jeff next joined Dave in his saboteur-ness, breaking the "plus" card a second time, but Rich was prepared, and fixed it pretty quickly. The tunnel closed in on the top goal card, but the deck ran out. Would the miners have cards to reach the goal? Sabrina kept playing tunnel cards, but they never quite got to the goal, and actually ended up making it harder to play a good one. Finally everyone ran out of cards, and the goal wasn't reached. For the third time in three rounds, the saboteurs won: Dave, Jeff, and Sabrina! Yes, she fixed the tunnel that Dave broke, but at the end, made it impossible for the miners to reach the goal. Inspired play.

So three rounds, and three wins for the saboteurs. And we tallied up the gold won, and the co-winners were Dave and Jeff, each playing saboteurs in two of the three rounds.

I really like Saboteur's game play, but the scoring doesn't quite work. In this one, though, since the miners never won, we never saw that come into play. I was actually surprised that the saboteurs won in the second round, when there were only two of them vs. five miners. But in all three rounds it was very close, and the miners just ran out of effective cards.
 
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Bolton
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Interesting - this doesn't get so many plays with us these days because the saboteurs never seem to win. May have to get it out again.

On the other hand, the 'two tunnels' story implies that 'bad miners' might be closer to the truth than 'good saboteurs'
 
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