Customer Reviews: Saboteur Card Game
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on December 11, 2008
I love this game. In Saboteur you and your group are miners (dwarves) collaborating to tunnel to your goal: gold. You lay cards that create the tunnels leading to one of three possible destinations (only one of which has the gold you seek). However, one or more of you may actually be a Saboteur, subtly (or not-so-subtly) undermining everyone else's efforts. In addition to laying tunnels, you may: use map cards to help you decide which destination is the one you want; break or fix other players' mining equipment; cave in sections of the tunnel; or just secretly discard cards that are not useful to your goals.

The game is very quick for novices to pick up, and works wonderfully with large groups (I think you really need at least 5 for it to work well, and the more the better). It reminds me a little bit of the classic Mafia party game, but with some real gamesmanship involved. It's great fun even with a mix of serious gamers and casual (or even slightly confused) participants... everyone seems to get into the spirit quickly whenever I've played. It also moves fast, and you can alter the length of the game by choosing how many rounds you want to play.

Bottom line -- easy, fun, cooperative strategy game (with possible traitors) that's great for a large group; wonderful way to open up a game night
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon June 6, 2013
This is the original Saboteur game. I highly recommend the expansion along with this game. The designer tweaked the scoring, introduced more variety of characters, simplified the game setup, and gave us new cards, both path cards, action cards, and cards to attack others. It's really fun during a game, where everyone is screaming "Saboteur!" to anyone that does not place a path card of their liking or in a location of their liking. Plus, this is a game where anyone can play, easy to explain how to play, the only hiccup is the expansion does make it more confusing on the character role cards.

The game is based on someone in the group of gold diggers being a possible saboteur. On the way of playing cards on a surface, each player may be suspicious of the other as they all connect paths closer to the end where the potential gold is hiding. The game is a lot of fun and easy to teach. The expansion is a must though, but slightly more confusing to teach to first timers.

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VINE VOICEon May 12, 2011
In many ways, this game has a lot going for it. It's simple to explain, fits into a small box, and can accommodate up to ten players. This alone is enough to ensure that it sees more than its fair share of play time.

The concept is also pretty appealing: Each player is a dwarf working in a mine, digging tunnels and trying to reach gold--except for the ones who are saboteurs and actually want to hinder everyone else's progress. This is a bluffing/deduction game, which is generally my favourite kind: player roles are hidden, so you don't know who's working with you and who's working against you.

As I mentioned before, gameplay is very straightforward. Each player has a hand of cards, consisting mostly of tunnel pieces. On your turn, you play a card and then draw a new one. If you're not a saboteur, you're trying to advance the tunnel toward the three endpoints, one of which contains gold. If the tunnel forms a continuous path to the gold, then the regular miners win. If the deck of cards and the players' hands are exhausted first, then the saboteurs win.

Besides tunnel pieces, there are a few other types of cards that add a bit of variety to the turns. Maps let you look secretly at one of the endpoints to figure out where the gold is, and hazard cards let you hinder the other players: you can break their pick or their lantern, which prevents them from working on the tunnel until the problem is fixed. There are also cards for fixing the broken tools and for destroying part of the tunnel. I should note that I love the artwork on the cards; there are all sorts of cute critters and random objects that bring the tunnel pieces to life.

So, how does it all come together? Personally, I tend to find the game a bit disappointing. I like games where there's a lot of choice on every turn, but Saboteur turns are very limited. You have very few cards to choose from, and a very small set of options for using the cards that you do have. This means that the deduction/bluffing aspect isn't as fully realized as I'd like; if the saboteur is doing their job effectively, it will usually be pretty clear who they are. I've played games as saboteur where I tried to do something useful and misleading on my first turn and found that the other players had practically won by the time my second turn came around.

Maybe the most interesting aspect of the game is the incentive for people on the same side to turn against each other: when the miners reach the gold, it's distributed only among those of them who are not currently suffering from a broken tool, so harming your ally can result in more gold for you. Unfortunately, this is also connected to what I see as the game's greatest weakness: if you aren't able to repair yourself and no one wants to help you, you may have to miss multiple turns and spend a lot of time just sitting there without participating in the game. Needless to say, this can get pretty boring. I'd much prefer full-out elimination, where at least you know that you're done and can go get a snack or something, to this state of paralysis where you're forced to sit there doing nothing.

Despite these serious flaws, though, I would say to anyone considering a purchase that I think you'll get your money's worth. Saboteur is very inexpensive to begin with, and short play time and simple rules mean that it's easy to get this one out on the table. Basically, Saboteur is a good filler, and if you don't come to it looking for deep gameplay then you probably won't be disappointed.
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on March 30, 2010
Saboteur is a great game to play with a group of people. It's different every round you play, so you're not stuck being a "good guy" or a "bad guy" for the whole game. There is also always one extra card every round, so you never really know for sure who is who.

The game itself: You are either a "good guy" trying to reach the end goal, or a "bad guy" trying to cause trouble and keep that from happening. The game seems to be easier for the "bad guys", but it really all depends on the cards you are dealt, so I guess it could go either way. All in all, a fun, interesting game!
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on November 8, 2009
Saboteur is a fun game for a group of people that know each other well, as well as a good ice breaker for new acquaintances. The game is fast, simple to learn, and does well with larger groups.

Most of the players will be on a team as miners trying to lay down cards to build tunnels that will eventually reach the gold at the end. The other players will be saboteurs trying to prevent the miners from reaching the gold through a combination of misdirection, deception, and outright sabotage. The only trick is-- no one knows what team any of the other players is on! The most fun part of the game is trying to figure out the loyalties of your fellow players.
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on February 26, 2013
This game got a lot of reviews for larger numbers of players. It felt too simplistic to me, and the "saboteur" is always at a very heavy disadvantage; he almost never wins. Still, there aren't that many games out there that can be played by a lot of players but that are still fast-paced, so I wouldn't call it a total loss.
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on March 6, 2015
This is garbage. The cards are printed paper (paper, not playing card stock). The ink is so poor that game would be ruined. In the image the card on the right, is the saboteur (the point of the game is to obsfucate who is playing the saboteur) hard is it to notice "the bad guy" with a marked card.
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on February 13, 2016
A great simple game to play with a group of friends (best with 5-8 people). The players are secretly split into two groups either gold-diggers or saboteurs. The gold-diggers attempt to dig a tunnel to the treasure which is hidden under one of the three ending cards. The saboteurs want to stop the gold-diggers, at all costs, until all players can no longer make a move. The game progresses with each player taking a turn by either playing a path card, playing an action card, or discarding a card. Once everyone is familiar with the rules, the game is quite quick and lasts approximately 30 minutes.
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on April 26, 2011
So, the game is easy and fun. But I think the ratio of miners to saboteurs is not balanced. The saboteurs always lose because they are out numbered. In order to make the game a bit more fun, we ditched the extra card before dealing them out, and made sure there were always equal number of miners and saboteurs. We also tried extending the playing field by one card, so that the path had to be 8 spaces away from the treasure, instead of 7... it made it a bit more of a challenge for the miners.
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on October 16, 2015
Really fun party game. Acts as a good introduction to deception style games because there is more to the game than just deception. Because the roles change often and no one trusts anyone, it doesn't piss off people with thin skin. Try this one with the group first, then move on to things like Avalon, Coup, and Werewolf. Better with the expansion.
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