SABOTEUR Game Rules and How to Play Guide

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In this article, you can read about the basic rules of the game Saboteur and learn how to play. The object of the game is to get as much gold as possible.

Two teams game

There are two teams the gold diggers and the saboteurs. The gold-diggers objective is to work together to build a tunnel in search of the treasure.

The objective of the saboteurs is to try to place obstacles and prevent the gold diggers from achieving their goal. All identities are kept hidden.

Dealing cards

Separate the cards into two paths, action, nugget and dwarf cards. Based on how many players are in the game, shuffle the correct identity cards and deal one to each player. From one saboteur and three gold diggers for three players all the way up to using all the dwarf cards for ten players. The remaining card is put aside facedown until the end of the round.

Start card

Among the 44 path cards, there is one double-sided start card showing a ladder and three gold cards. One of the gold cards shows a treasure and the other two merely a stone.

Place the start card face-up on the table then shuffle the gold cards and put them face down on the table, 7-card spaces away from the Start card, and one card space between each goal.

You may not play path cards outside the confines of the start card and gold cards. Put the remaining path cards in all action cards into one deck. Shuffle and deal out four to six cards to each player depending on how many players there are playing.

Put the remaining cards next to the gold cards within easy reach as a deck. Shuffle the gold nugget cards and put them next to the leftover dwarf card as a facedown deck.

Game start

The youngest player begins and play goes clockwise. On your turn, you must first play a card in one of three ways. Either add a path card to the tunnel, put down an action card in front of a player, or pass discarding one card face down to a discard pile. Then you draw a card at the end of your turn.

When the draw deck is used up players do not draw any more cards and play continues until everyone is either played and/or discarded all their cards.

Path cards

To play a path card it must always be put next to a path card that is already on the table. Path cards are placed starting from the Start card and placed towards the gold cards.

The path is on all the sides of the card must fit those already in play. A path card may never be played crosswise. The gold-diggers must establish an uninterrupted path from the Start card to their goal card.

Action cards

Action cards are played by putting them face-up in front of a player. There are four types of action cards. Red broken tool cards prevent a player from placing down path cards as long as the card is in front of them. Players can play a maximum of three broken tool cards in front of a particular player but only one card of each type.

Repair cards

Green repair cards remove broken tool cards from in front of a player. However, the repair card must specifically match the broken tool. And, if a repair card shows two tools it can be used to repair either type of tool but, not both. Discard both cards facedown. Players may remove cards from other players if they choose.

Rockfall cards

The use of a rockfall card to remove a path card of choice from the tunnel excluding the start end goal cards. The map card allows a player to secretly look at one of the three gold cards.

Once a player looks at the gold card he then puts the card back facedown and discards his map card facedown. This player can now choose to share the information, keep it to himself or lie about it. The final option is to pass. Placing a card from your hand facedown on the discard pile without showing it to the other players.

When a player plays a path card so it reaches and is connecting towards a goal card he reveals that gold card.

If it is the card showing the treasure and the tunnel has a continuous uninterrupted path from the start to the treasure, the round is over and the gold-diggers win.

If it shows a stone the round continues. The face-up card is placed next to the path card just played in such a way that the paths fit.

Rare cases

In rare cases, it may be that the gold card can not be placed in such a way that all the paths fit the adjacent path cards. As an exception to the general rule, this is allowed if it concerns a gold card. If the gold diggers win, draw as many gold nugget cards facedown as there are players. However, in a 10 player game, draw only nine nugget cards.

The gold-digger who reached the gold card with the treasure gets to choose one of the gold nugget cards first. Then, he passes the remaining gold nugget cards counterclockwise to the next gold digger, not Saboteur who then chooses a card and passes. This continues until players choose all the gold nuggets.

Some gold diggers may get more cards than others. If all the cards have been played or discarded and the tunnel does not reach the treasure or is not continuous, then the saboteurs win. Reveal everyone’s dwarf cards and each saboteur gets two to four gold nuggets depending on the number of saboteurs.

Optional rule

There is an optional rule where the gold diggers who have a broken tool card in front of them at the end of the round do not receive gold cards. This does not apply if the saboteurs win.

The player should keep their gold cards secret until the end of the game.

Reset the cards. Deal out the dwarf cards and start a new round with the neighbor left of the player who played the last card in the previous round. The game ends after the third round. All players count the gold nuggets on all their gold nugget cards.

The player with the most gold nuggets wins. If more than one player has the same number it is a tie. is an affiliate. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. is an affiliate. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
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