I recently played a couple of games (i.e. six rounds) of Saboteur with ten and then nine players. The miners found the gold every round, and it was only a close thing once.
The saboteurs win a bit more gold than the miners if they're successful, but I'd be surprised if this was enough to balance the game.
There's a similar question about ways to balance the win ratios, but I'm interested in whether the game as it stands has a balanced expected return for both sides.
Edited to add game information:
The rules for Saboteur are available from the ZMan games site.
The role deck contains 11 cards:
- 7 gold miner cards (whose aim is to find the gold)
- 4 saboteur cards (whose aim is to prevent the miners from finding the gold).
The gold deck contains 28 cards in the following denominations:
- 16 cards with 1 nugget
- 8 cards with 2 nuggets
- 4 cards with 3 nuggets
If the miners win a round in an n player game, then n randomly select gold cards are distributed amongst the miners (for a 10 player game only 9 cards are distributed). If the (1/2/3/4) saboteurs win a round then they are awarded (4/3/3/2) gold each (respectively).
I am interested in the expected amount of gold for those playing as miners, and for those playing as saboteurs. This is almost certainly different for different numbers of players, but I am interested to know whether the expected winnings is anywhere near the same for both sides.