Saboteur Review

person smashing pick axe on ground

Hey folks, grab your lantern, pickax, and mining cart. We’re digging tunnels and looking for gold. Some of us are working together, but there are a few that wants the gold just for themselves. There’s bound to be sabotage, broken tools, and maybe even a couple of collapsed tunnels. We’re playing Saboteur.

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Saboteur is a secret identity, take that, bluffing, route building card game. That’s a lot in this small boxed game. Essentially the size of a Uno deck, this game comes with one set of rules and 110 cards. These cards are broken down into a role deck, a draw deck, a gold deck, and the starting cards. The role deck is made up of miners and saboteurs. This will dictate how you get gold at the end of the round. The gold deck is what everyone is racing to draw from. There are between 1 and 3 nuggets on each gold card. The draw deck is comprised of both the action and tunnels cards.

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The draw deck has tunnel and action cards. Tunnel cards are used to expand the mine and move towards or away from the gold. The action cards are made of broken tool cards, fix tool cards, tunnel collapse cards, and map cards. Action cards can be played on yourself or others. Broken tool cards prevent players from playing tunnel cards. Broken tools can be a pickax, cart, or lantern. These are pictured as broken tools and have a red “do not” circle and icon in the top corners. Don’t worry. These can be fixed by tool cards. They are depicted as complete tools with green circles in the top corners. TO fix a broken tool, you need to play the same type of tool card. So pickax to pickax, lantern to lantern, or cart to cart. There are a couple of tool cards with multiple tools on it. These cards you pick either one to use. Map cards let you take a peek at one of the gold cards that everyone is after. You can let other players know what’s there, you can lie, or tell the truth. Then the tunnel collapse cards let you remove a previously played tunnel from the table.

This game is played over 3 rounds. The goal each round is for the miners to get to the gold or the saboteurs to stop the miners. The round ends when either a miner gets to the gold or draw deck runs out of cards and players don’t have playable cards in their hands. To set up the game, use the double sided tunnel card with a ladder. Use the rule book to measure 7 cards away. Next you’ll shuffle the end cards up. There are three. One is the gold, the other two are just rocks. Next, refer to the rule book and pick out the correct role cards. For a 6 player game, it’s 2 saboteurs and 5 miners. You’ll have one extra card left over once you deal these out. Next, deal 5 cards to each player. This is for a 6 player game, at different player counts the number of cards will vary.

Each player has three options during their turn. They can play a tunnel card. To do so, they pick a tunnel card and connect it to a card already on the table. You have to match either long side to long side or short side to short side when connecting tunnels. You also have to have all tunnel ends connect to legal spots. So a tunnel can’t dead end into another card unless that card continues to a dead end. The other option is playing an action card. You can play action cards even if you have a broken tool. Lastly, you can pass. If you pass, you have to discard a card. Once you have picked on of those actions and preformed it, then you end your turn by drawing a new card.

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So turns go on, and people are trying to figure out who is on what team. You might have a suspicion, and play a broken tool card on someone, only to get retaliated and someone play one on you. It’s basically the blame game. No one trusts anyone. It’s great. If the miners win, the person who uncovered the gold draws gold cards equal to the number of players in the game. That player selects one gold card and passes it to the next miner. This goes on until all the gold cards are gone. If the saboteurs win, then each saboteur automatically gets 3 gold nuggets. After 3 rounds, the player with the most gold nuggets wins.

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What do I think about this game? I’m a fan of larger player counts, take that games, and then connecting tunnels together looks nice on the table. So naturally, I loved this game. Now the art isn’t anything spectacular, but the whole maze of tunnels looks cool when finished on the table. Every time I’ve played this game, players start accusing people of being saboteurs immediately. Sometimes they’re correct, and sometimes they are way off. Either way, this game has people cracking up. Game play is easy, and it’s a fast and easy game to teach. Having three options during your turn helps eliminate any My dad seemed to like this one, as he compared it to Water Works card game. This is a small boxed game, accommodates a high player count, and is fun to play. I recommend this to anyone that likes take that games, tile placement games, and secret identity games. Being in a small box, this is also a game that’s easy to transport. It’s one I’ll throw in a bag if I’m going to any get together.

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