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Subject: Naughty dwarf! No gold for you! rss

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John Farrell
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Rozelle
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Buster Keaton from 'Go West'
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I had previously played Saboteur with a group of 4, and although it was OK, I suspected it would be much more fun with a larger group. As we had 8 people milling around looking for a game, I suggested it, and as my idea was so much easier than choosing two games for four, we tried that.

Players: Harley, Bertie Beetle, John, Kevin, Werner, David, The Axe, Michael.

As Kevin had (also) played before and seemed to know what he was doing, he explained the rules while I dealt with the effects of the thunderstorm outside the church hall.

I don't remember many of the details, but with 2 or 3 saboteurs, there's some room to manoeuvre. In the first hand as a saboteur, I had a hand of maps/rockfalls/damage cards, so I played a bad tunnel and was immediately attacked by a bunch of do-gooders. No matter, I could keep playing cards while the real saboteurs bided their time. There was an awful lot of discarding happening, and the other saboteurs didn't make any really aggressive moves. I think in the end they confessed they didn't have any bad cards, so their most effective plan was simply to discard.

We played two complete games, (and another the next day at a different game group) and I began to understand some of the finer points of the game. Horizontal movement is at a premium - any card which contributes to the seven needed is valuable, and the game is very often won or lost by one card. So saboteurs with consistently good cards can be very effective simply by discarding them.

In the face of this rarity, good dwarves need to learn to combine several corners to make horizontal movement. To the naive player, inserting a corner is sabotage. However if you needed one more horizontal space, and you achieved it with two corners, that's good play.

Knowing where the gold is is very handy, but I have yet to see the saboteurs effectively confuse the good dwarves. The map cards seem to be common enough that a consensus can be reached, and to disagree marks you as a saboteur. I'm sure it can be done, and it would be great to see.

This game can also be very funny. Kevin had played with another group, and knew all the smart remarks and kept us all amused. Our table was quickly filled with laughter and cheering and groaning, maybe to the annoyance of the boring Caylus players at the next table . In particular, when a good dwarf is saved from broken tools and manages to play the card that wins the hand, there's a very loud cheer.

As Kevin pointed out, the scoring for the game is pretty broken, so don't worry whether you win or lose. For the record, David won the first game and Harley won the second. I think the Caylus guys are still playing.
 
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Samuel Sng
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"As Kevin pointed out, the scoring for the game is pretty broken, so don't worry whether you win or lose"

I believe that you were allocating the gold cards in the clockwise direction.

It should be distributed in the ANTI-clockwise direction so as to reward the player who helped to set up the final card.
 
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John Farrell
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Rozelle
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Buster Keaton from 'Go West'
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No, we got that right. The problem is that it's likely one player will get lucky and be on the winning side 3 times, without necessarily doing much to cause the win. Also, a win as a saboteur is worth 2 wins as a good dwarf. Maybe over more rounds it would even out, but 3 rounds seems too few.
 
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