With a name like that, you’d expect there to be a bit of nastiness in the game: and there is.

A bunch of dwarves, you included, are digging a mine-tunnel. They’re seeking a crock of gold. Most of them are diggers, and they’re not in competition with each other : they may even become pretty cooperative. But not all dwarves are decent chaps (or long-bearded chapesses): in their midst may be a saboteur.

Oh yes !

They might be merrily doing their digging, singing that famous dwarfy song, when out of the blue there’s a rockfall, and soon after, somebody’s pickaxe may get broken. If there’s a rockfall, they’ve got to repair it, or take another route. And without a pickaxe, the downhearted dwarf cannot dig: it must be mended first.

Some dirty dwarf has sabotaged … and we think it’s YOU!
But, swearing at the Saboteur is very undwarfly behaviour!

Everybody’s role is kept secret, so if you’re not sure who the sab is, the only way to tell is to watch to see if they engage in any more dastardly dwarfy deeds. Roles are revealed at the end of the round.

Will the digger-dwarves find the gold and score, or will their efforts be thwarted by the saboteurs, who’ll then carry off the prize?

It’s exciting stuff, no doubt about it.

The game’s played with cards, over three rounds. Some are dished out at the start of each round to determine who’ll be diggers, and who’ll be saboteurs. The player who’s saboteur can change from turn to turn.

Four cards are then laid down to indicate the start of the tunnel, and three (unseen) cards to represent possible treasures: two are just lumps of coal, and one’s gold!

From then on, the game proceeds with a mild amount of gasping and groaning, players laying down path cards to take the tunnel forward (backwards if you’re a saboteur), or using action cards to help others, or perhaps to hinder them (including the saboteur).

Saboteur 2 brings more roles, with room for 12 players.

  • easy enough to play
  • … provided you remember to dig in the right direction of course
  • setting up is fast
  • strategic thinking can matter
  • luck is involved, but card management matters enormously
  • mildly combative

Want to do some digging?