Looking at Saboteur

Saboteur is a fun little game where 3-10 players take on the role of dwarves digging their way through a mine to find gold in treasure chests.  The game starts with an entry card and then 3 treasure chest cards away from it.  The players take it in turns to lay down path tiles in order to reach the chests.  Only one of the chests contain the gold, so they have to build paths to all 3.  There are a variety of action cards that can be played which help to acheive this faster such as treasure maps that let you secretly view one of the chests and cards to repair your tools.

Path successfully reached the gold –
image originally posted by mikehulsebus on Boardgamegeek

As the name of the game suggests not all the dwarves are working towards the same goal.  Some are Saboteurs, whose aim is to stop anyone from reaching the treasure chest.  They can place paths in a way that they cannot continue onwards or use special action cards to disadvantage others whilst advantaging themselves, such as cards that break others tools and stop them placing tiles, or rockslides which block off paths..  If they manage to stop the dwarves from reaching the treasure chest then the saboteurs win the gold that round.  However their role is kept a secret, if they are too obvious then the other players can avoid their traps,

All the cards for the game
image originally posted by Simulacrum on Boardgamegeek

The game continues for 3 rounds, and at the end whichever team – the miners or the saboteurs – that has the most Gold wins.  It is simple and very fun, especially if the saboteurs are playing well and keeping themselves ambiguous.

Image courtesy of Freepik

Questions to explore Character

1) How did it feel to win the gold in a round?
2) How did it feel when you couldn’t move because your tools were broken?
3) As the Saboteur did you find it easy or hard to keep your identity hidden?  As a normal dwarf was it easy or hard to find the Saboteur?
4) Why do you think  the Saboteurs don’t want to work with the other Dwarves?
5) Do you ever feel like there are ‘Saboteurs’ in your life, stopping you from reaching your goals? 
6) How do you deal with these ‘Saboteurs’ in your life?

image courtesy of PublicDomainPictures

Links to Scripture

The clear link to me in this game is to Jesus’ parable of two paths:

13 There are two paths before you; you may take only one path. One doorway is narrow. And one door is wide. Go through the narrow door. For the wide door leads to a wide path, and the wide path is broad; the wide, broad path is easy, and the wide, broad, easy path has many, many people on it; but the wide, broad, easy, crowded path leads to death. 14 Now then that narrow door leads to a narrow road that in turn leads to life. It is hard to find that road. Not many people manage it.
15 Along the way, watch out for false prophets. They will come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath that quaint and innocent wool, they are hungry wolves

Mark 7:13-15, The Voice

There is a classic work of literature by John Bunyan called The Pilgrims Progress, which expands on this parable and makes a full story of how one pilgrim travelled along the narrow path and was tempted along the way by the false prophets who often had him fall into situations he doesn’t think he can escape from. But God always gives you a way back onto the narrow path if you get distracted, eventually finding your way to eternal life in Heaven.    

In this game the treasure can represent life in heaven,  and the saboteurs – the false prophets – want to keep that from you.  If the saboteurs are doing their job properly then they are trying to make certain paths seem more viable before sealing them off, or deliberately leading the others to the incorrect treasure chest and forcing the other players to go a longer route. But if the other players are discerning and work together they can stop the saboteur and make their way safely to the treasure.  Just like how as Christians we come together in worship, praying for one another to help give us strength and to ensure false prophets aren’t guiding us off the narrow path.

Links to buy

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Pre-warning before buying this – the game is language independent (meaning the cards don’t have written text on them) but you will need the instructions in English.   They can be found by clicking on this link – Saboteur English Rules