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I only played Saboteur 2 once, but I realize that it can very easily become unbalanced.

We have 6 players. In a round of the game, we have 2 gold diggers, 1 geologist, 3 saboteurs. The gold diggers stand no chance at all and are almost blocked (with broken tools) the entire game. Same for the geologist, since everyone else discards their road cards with crystals.

I find the game rule doesn't really make sense: choosing roles from the 15 dwarf cards regardless the number of players in the game. What if it was a three-person game, and everyone in the team is a saboteur? What fun do we have by playing that?

Should we remove some roles card depending on the number of players so that it is more balanced?

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    If you jumped straight into full Saboteur 2 and weren't familiar with the original, you're going to have a very thin understanding of the basic gameplay. – Nij Jan 7 '18 at 5:20
  • @Nij We did play the base game a couple times before going to the expansion. Do you have an answer to what we should do when there are too many saboteurs on the board? Basically, in the original game, this is not going to happen because there is a fixed set of possible roles based on the number of players. However, in the expansion, the complete randomness makes it possible that the game could end up in a situation I describe above. I was wondering why we cannot limit the roles similar to what we did in the base game.. – Yuchen Zhong Jan 7 '18 at 13:46
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    "A couple of times" isn't really familiarity, especially if players are exposing their Sab role within a few turns or throwing away cards because they might help someone else. – Nij Jan 7 '18 at 23:21
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Honestly I would recommend removing none of the roles as the game is decently balanced for a game with random rolls and you just got bad luck.

From what you have posted it seems you are missing some of the rules for the game. First what you described to have played was not one game but one round of a game that lasts 3 rounds.

It also sounds like you had bad luck in that all 3 saboteurs where present in a 6 player game which is not all that common. I would also question why you would discard path cards just because they have a crystal on them since they can be critical to winning and you will win more then a single gold in most cases.

The last thing that I am wondering about is from the way you worded your question it seemed like everyone knew what role everyone was. If that is the case it would allow the saboteurs to have an advantage and target the miners and all players to have an advantage to discard crystals.

My advice would be to play at least 1 full game of 3 rounds where you will see different team balances for each game. Though to get a true feeling for the balance of the game I would suggest that you play more games so that a bad draw does not influence your opinion of the game.

It should also be noted that the roles in the game can change at any time as there are 2 action cards that cause a player to switch roles which could be good to get rid of an enemy or prevent someone from making a lot that round.

Update:

Based on your updates it definitely sounds like you where not playing it optimally

  1. At the start of the game everyone should be acting like a miner regardless of their role. This is a hidden role game and you don't want to reveal to much information to start. Every game I have played has started with the saboteurs trying to make it look like they are miners before starting to cause damage to the mine. This is especially important in a larger game where there is only 1 saboteur so they don't become targeted and rendered useless early on. Note once you have more games under your sleeve and have a better understanding of the game and the roles then it is more feasible to come out with your role earlier in the game.
  2. Miners and saboteurs should not be discarding path cards with crystals on them just to prevent the geologist from getting points because every discarded path card could mean the difference between them getting gold or no gold. Note this does not apply to cards that prevent you from reaching your goal.
  3. You should also remember that in this expansion there are cards that prevent people from getting gold and cards that let you steal gold from others. This means that even if everyone ends up on the same team and wins not everyone will end up getting gold or the same amount in the end.
  • Thanks for the answer. Having 3 saboteurs in a 6-player game is not very common, that I agree. But it can happen though. Same as in a 3-player game, it is possible that 3 saboteurs are there. When that happens, it becomes not fun to play the game. I was wondering whether it is possible to elimite the possibility of that. – Yuchen Zhong Jan 7 '18 at 13:29
  • "it seemed like everyone knew what role everyone was". That's also correct. We figure out each other's roles after a few cards being played. – Yuchen Zhong Jan 7 '18 at 13:32
  • "why you would discard path cards just because they have a crystal on them" that's also simply because we know there is a geologist in the game we don't want that geologist to get more points. We are all evil & greedy. – Yuchen Zhong Jan 7 '18 at 13:36
  • I've also edited the question to say "a round of the game" instead of "a game', which is not correct as you pointed out. – Yuchen Zhong Jan 7 '18 at 13:40
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I think you'd have more fun with 3 Gold Diggers, 2 Saboteours, and 1 geologist. Having more traitors than good guys in a hidden-traitor game really discourages anyone from hiding their identity.

  • Having a fixed set of roles in the game goes against the entire design philosophy of the game. In the first game there is a set number of miners and saboteurs dealt out based on the size of the game, but it is more then the players so you are never sure of how many of each role are in the game until you have played it long enough to figure out what people have. I would also argue that with fixed roles like the geologist in play people are less likely to play the cards that the person with that role needs to score. I would also argue that the geologist is a bit boring compared to other roles. – Joe W Jan 10 '18 at 0:21
  • @JoeW That's interesting to know. Would you suggest not playing geologist at all? Only play the other roles? – Yuchen Zhong Jan 10 '18 at 1:53
  • No, I would suggest playing with all 15 role cards which include 6 different role cards so you get a variety every time you play. 15 dwarf cards (4 green and 4 blue Gold Diggers, 1 Boss, 2 Geologists, 1 Profiteer, and 3 Saboteurs). – Joe W Jan 10 '18 at 2:37

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