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

These notes include the expansion,
as do the ‘how to play’, rules, and scoring help leaflets.

A bunch of dwarves, you included, are digging a mine-tunnel. They’re seeking a crock of gold. Most of them are diggers, who may even become pretty cooperative.

Hang on a moment! In the expansion, the dwarves are split into two teams – a green and a blue.

Here, they are indeed in competition, since it may be only one team whose members can drag the gold back out of the tunnel. During the mining, green and blue doors may be added to the route by some crafty dwarf or other, stopping dwarves of the other colour from getting past.

As the game’s name so strongly suggests, not all dwarves are decent chaps (or long-bearded chapesses): in their midst may be a saboteur (or more).

Oh yes !

Oh – in the expansion, there’s also a boss, who spends his valuable time leaning on his pickaxe, a profiteer who always takes a cut, and a geologist, who’s not at all interested in gold, but gains from any gems that have been dropped within the mine.

The digger-dwarves might be merrily doing their stuff, singing that famous dwarfy song, when out of the blue there’s a rockfall, and soon after, somebody’s pickaxe may get broken. And without a pickaxe, the downhearted dwarf cannot dig: it must be mended first.

If there’s a rockfall, they’ve got to repair it by placing a new piece of pathway in its place, or take another route.

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

In the expansion, there also is opportunity to steal somebody else’s gold. And the undeniable excitement, good fun, and ‘thrust’ of the game is further enhanced by the fact that dwarves can trap others in jail, or swap dwarf-roles with them, or force them to get a new hat (and a new persona).

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. Character cards are dished out at the start of each round to determine who’ll be diggers, and who’ll be saboteurs (and others, in the expansion). 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.

  • can get entertainingly lively reactions from players
  • it really is fun
  • easy enough to play, but there’s a little bit of a ‘familiarity’ curve
  • important to 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