Friday, June 22, 2012


Saboteur card game by Z-MAN Games. This is a card game where most of the group are dwarves trying to tunnel to the gold, but someone is secretly a Saboteur trying to stop them by breaking their equipment, or tunnelling them into dead ends.

I think the game, as-written, would work really well if a large group of people where playing, but we where playing the scaled back 4-Player version (it can be played with up to 10 people) and frankly we had a hell of a time. Basically, the Saboteur won, EVERY ROUND, more or less by default. There was even a round where there was no Saboteur (it is determined at random) and we still couldn’t reach the gold. To make it more playable, we upped the amount of cards dealt each round, and dropped most of the ‘dead end’ tunnel cards. We got closer, but it was still very easy for the Saboteur to throw up a few blocks and win. We played through a whole game and the dwarves never did get their damned gold.

Watching THIS REVIEW brings up an interesting idea on how to tweak things to make it more playable. In the rules, the tunnel cards are played long-side up, like you would with almost any card game. However, in the video review it looks like they are playing the tunnel cards down short-side up (sideways) which, having just played with some of the cards, might actually have a shot of getting you to the gold. I also wonder if allowing the players to play the card in any direction they choose might not also work.

Definitely something to try the next time we play. And if nothing else, the tunnel cards will come in handy if I ever have to design a dungeon on the quick.   

*Star Trek lied to me! The idea that the word 'sabotage' comes from French luddities throwing their wooden shoes,  'sabo' into mechanized looms is unsupported. The word comes from the general French 'saboter' which simply means to do things in a clumsy or slipsod manner. From 'Six Words You Never Knew Had Something to do with Pigs' by Katherine Barber.

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