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Subject: No gold for you! rss

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Dave Wilson
United States
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I carpooled in with Helen and Harry, and found we were the first to arrive. We mostly sat and chatted some, catching up on things since the previous game night. Eventually Alice arrived with Gil, and Jeff and Danielle also arrived, so we sat down to play something. We had eight (Heather declined to join us in this one), so I brought out a game that supports up to 10 players, Saboteur.

In the first round, Jeff immediately started by turning the tunnel backwards, away from the goal cards completely. Jim immediately concluded that Jeff was a saboteur, and broke his mining cart. Jeff ended up spending the rest of the round with the broken cart, as none of the other saboteurs had an action card that could fix it. Dave and Helen both played map cards, with Helen looking at the right hand goal and Dave looking at the left hand goal. Dave's next play was to turn the tunnel right. Helen encouraged that direction. It would seem a good sign for the dwarves, but it turned out that these two were the other two saboteurs, and Dave had seen the gold on the left. Meanwhile, Jeff was still able to work some mischief, using a rockfall to take out a T-intersection. Danielle, however, was quick to repair the problem with a cross intersection. But the cards just weren't there for the dwarves, and when the deck ran out, the gold was still undiscovered. A win for the saboteurs, who earned three gold apiece.

In round two Jeff again was set upon, with broken tools here and there. But this time he wasn't a saboteur. It was Helen, Jim, and Harry (it turned out) who were working their mischief. They were particularly effective at capping tunnels before they got too far. Once again the saboteurs won, and they were again payed off with three gold.

Round three was interesting in that instead of five diggers and three saboteurs, there were only two saboteurs and six diggers. But Gil and Jim again made effective use of cap cards to slow the miners' progress. And then a key rockfall took out a cross intersection. It was totally surrounded, so it required another cross card. No one had one. One of the miners played a rockfall to try and clean it out, make it so maybe a T-intersection could be played, but no one had one of those, either. We ended up going around the table six times or so, and the mine just couldn't be expanded. As a result, the saboteurs won the third round as well, with Gil and Jim getting paid.

Since that was the third and final round, we tallied the scores, and we ended up with a tie: both Helen and Jim finished with six gold nuggets to together claim the win.

It's been my experience playing Saboteur that it's really hard for the saboteurs to win in the smaller configuration (in this case 2 vs 6 as opposed to 3 vs 5). I have to hand it to Gil and Jim for that win in the third round. I also think that the scoring system in the game is a little iffy. Of course, since the miners never won, we didn't really see how they'd get paid. But the game play itself is a lot of fun, kind of a cross between Bang! and Waterworks. I thought it worked out pretty well with eight players.
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