Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Saboteur--It's fun but . . .

The Review Crew's Take on
# Players . . . 3-10
Game time . . . . . . . . up to 30 minutes
Set up . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 minutes
Luck . . . . . 4 . . . . . . Strategy
*Interplay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9.8
Visual Appeal . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Component Quality . .. . . . . 7
*Replayability . . . . . . . . . . . 8

*See "How we Rate" for a definition.

We got a new card game for Christmas. Saboteur is described as a cross between Milles Bornes (because obstacles are sometimes placed on another player), Waterworks (in that you're making a connecting path from one object to another) and Shadows over Camelot (think traitor and mostly cooperative game). 
After playing several games of Saboteur we found ourselves saying, "It's fun, but . . . ."

And it is fun. Here are the reasons we like it.
     The theme and graphics are appealing, sort of Seven Dwarf-ish. Players are miners, trying to tunnel toward a hidden gold nugget.
     It's easy to learn.  
     The rounds are fast and sometimes furious. Three are played in a game, and players' roles change with each round. Players might switch from bad guy to good guy and back again in the course of the game.
     Lots of people can play, which makes for a perfect post-Christmas get-together sort of game.  

Here are the buts . . . 
     The balance between playing for the team and playing for yourself is hard to find. There is one big winner at the end, but mostly the game is cooperative. So when you do play to win and how do you do it? Still haven't figured that one out.
     We also haven't figured out how much table talk should be allowed. After playing multiple games during the holidays it still feels like we don't have a handle on certain aspects of the game. 
     The saboteur role becomes a throw-away round for your score. After our first game, the saboteurs haven't been able to win. It's a good thing you're not locked into that role the whole game, as you are in Shadows over Camelot.

All in all, we would recommend Saboteur, especially if you're more concerned about having fun than winning. Because it it fun, but . . .

As a side note, Saboteur 2, an expansion, is on its way right now, courtesy of a Christmas gift card. It claims to "fix" things that are wrong with the original game.
Stay tuned.


  1. I like this game quite a lot. I am still trying to figure out the strategy too, but it allows for lots of interesting interaction, and is a great group game for more than six.

  2. We have saboteur 2, but all we've been playing is Elder Sign so we haven't tried it out yet.

    1. Elder Sign must be fun, huh? Can't wait to try it.
      By the way, Saboteur 2 is an expansion. You have to the original game in order to play it. Did you know that? Apparently, the advertising is wrong.