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Tips saboteur

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For the rules of Saboteur, see GameHelpSaboteur

Check your role!

  • You might be surprised how frequently players forget to check this most important information at the beginning of every round!

Saboteur 1


  • The first thing to do is to show your teammates that you are a Gold-Digger by:
    • placing a ┳ or ╋ path, or
    • placing a dead end behind the start card, or
    • if there is already a saboteur revealed, by breaking one of the saboteur's tools!
  • When there is one or more saboteurs without any broken tools, try to:
    • break their tools!
    • Place paths with multiple branches ( ╋ ┳ ┫ ) so that the saboteurs cannot place dead end paths to block all your options!


  • There are various strategies which have varying success depending on the experience of the other players:
    • Behave like a Gold-Digger the whole round - not recommended!
    • Bluff with moves that could be a Gold-Digger - can be good at the start.
    • Take advantage of a Gold-Digger who does not prove themselves by breaking one of their tools and then 'hide' - can be very effective.
    • Break Gold-Diggers early - usually better to save breaks for key moments and when Gold-Diggers are close to gold.
    • Discard - better than helping the Gold-Diggers towards gold!
    • Place dead ends/curve backwards as soon as possible - can be very effective to take advantage of having all the Saboteurs free at the start of the round.
    • Consistently either curve up or down repeatedly - can work if you have lots of the same curve, but remember Gold-Diggers may be able to curve back again!

Selfish dwarf

  • Save some good paths so ensure you can open goal cards when given the opportunity.
  • Try not to dig 1 path card away from unknown goal cards.
  • Leave your teammates broken.
  • Fix yourself instead of your teammates.. typical selfish stuff!

Saboteur 2

4 each Green/Blue Gold-Diggers

  • To help ensure you win as a Gold-Digger, place doors with your colour just before reaching goal cards.
  • Any colour of door can be helpful for working out who is and is not on your green/blue team depending on how other players react to a door.
  • Remember the digger after you may not be the same colour as you, so try not to dig one path card away from an unknown goal card or you may regret it...
  • Inspecting the role of the player after you can give you a good advantage if they are a Gold-Digger.
    • If they are the same colour as you, try to let them know and help them to open goal cards.
    • If they are the opposite colour, try to sabotage them just before reaching unknown goal cards.
  • Ladders are a good way to overcome doors of the opposite colour without looking like a Saboteur.

3 Saboteur

  • This is often the most difficult role to play as it relies on the other players not working together to find gold.
    • When playing with inexperienced players who all work together, the Saboteurs almost always lose.
  • With more than 5 players, usually it is best to 'hide' at the beginning of a round and rely on the other players hesitating before goal cards.
  • One strategy is to discard 3 cards every turn to:
    • Reduce the number of path cards available to Gold-Diggers.
    • Find good action cards such as change role and swap hands.
    • Unlike Saboteur 1, if you place dead ends/curve backwards as soon as possible, it is very risky as all other roles benefit from playing paths.
    • Unlike Saboteur 1, sometimes one curve up or down is enough to disrupt the other players naturally playing a long line of straight paths.

1 Boss

  • The Boss loves doors, and receives more gold with fewer winners, so try to force the path through at least one green or blue door, preferably both!
  • Don't open gold yourself when there are no doors or all the green and blue diggers will share the treasure and there might be nothing left for you!
  • Use ladders as a last resort.

1 Profiteer

  • Often behaving like a saboteur is a safe bet - the only thing on the Profiteer's mind is how to make as few winners as possible for the round.
  • The profiteer doesn't mind geologists much as their treasure is separate.
  • Again, loves doors, try to save any you pick up and try to force the path through them.
  • Avoid playing ladders to help the Gold-Diggers.

2 Geologist

  • On average Geologists do better with more paths played (greater chance of crystals), so long paths are good.
  • Geologists also like doors which exclude green or blue diggers from treasure. Having both blue and green doors in series is even better!
  • With many Gold-Diggers, you may also want to play like a Saboteur! Just remember your tools may be broken as a result...
  • If you think there is another Geologist, try to put them in jail just before the end of the round so that you get their half of the geologists' treasure.

Saboteur 1: Efficient use of cards

Know your paths!

  • 1 "ladder" (start card) ╋
  • 1 "gold" (goal card) ╋
  • 1 "coal 7" (goal card) ┓
  • 1 "coal r" (goal card) ┏
  • 5 "cross" ╋ ("straight")
  • 5 "T" or just "t" ┳ ("straight")
  • 3 "simple straight" or just "simple" ━ ("straight")
  • 5 "vertical t" or just "vt" ┣ (curve)
  • 5 "7" ┓ (curve)
  • 4 "r" ┏ (curve)
  • 4 "noodle" ┃ (vertical)
  • 7 "front dead ends" or just "de"
  • 2 "vertical dead ends" or "noodle de"


  • Sometimes it is necessary to curve up/down in order to move forward!
  • When Saboteurs are broken, don't be afraid to use curves!
  • Remember there are a limited number of straight ( ╋ ┳ ━ ) paths.
  • Learn the rule of "2 curves = 1 straight".
  • Avoid discarding paths as much as possible.
  • If you are the first Gold-Digger after a Saboteur, you are a prime target for them to break your tools, so try to dig helpful paths every turn that you are not broken.
  • Don't place curves on top/underneath straight ( ╋ ┳ ) paths if possible!


  • If you are free and have a front de, use it ASAP!
    • Forcing the Gold-Diggers to play an extra path or rockfall is usually your best move.
  • If you have no dead ends, try to surround key paths to create better rf spots!
  • Otherwise curving backwards on top/underneath a cross or t is often good.

Know your actions!

  • 2 "simple pick" = single pickaxe fix
  • 2 "simple lamp" = single lamp fix
  • 2 "simple trol" = single trolley fix
  • 1 "picklamp" ("multi") = pickaxe or lamp fix
  • 1 "picktrol" ("multi") = pickaxe or trolley fix
  • 1 "lamptrol" ("multi") = lamp or trolley fix
  • 3 "pick break" = single pickaxe break
  • 3 "lamp break" = single lamp break
  • 3 "trol break" = single trolley break
  • 3 "rf" = rockfall
  • 5 "map"!


  • As there are only 3 in the deck, save them for critical moments - you may have only one rockfall card for your team!
  • When path cards are surrounded on all sides they become a prime target for an rf.
Rf spot
  • An "rf spot" is a path card which, if an rf is played to remove it, requires a particular type of path card to replace it.
    • Simple straights ( ━ ) are a typical target as there are only 3 in the Saboteur 1 deck.

Single tool fix

  • Use them to fix your teammates ASAP!
  • When given the choice between fixing yourself and your teammate, it is usually better for your team to fix your teammate.

Multi tool fix

  • Save multi fixes for critical moments, e.g.:
    • when two of your team are both broken with the same tool type, or
    • when there are no more cards in the deck, or
    • when you know all of the single type have been used already.


  • Try not to map too early - save them for when your tools are broken and you would otherwise be discarding.
  • Try to map goal cards that your teammates have not already mapped - this gives your team more information.
  • If you have 3 or more maps, the 3rd map can be used to indicate where the gold is!

Working out who the Saboteurs are

  • This is much easier when playing Saboteur 1 with the maximum Saboteurs option.
  • With 5 players it is usually quite easy to deduce who the Saboteurs are even before every player has played.
    • Saboteurs will tend to discard at the beginning
    • Gold-Diggers will tend to dig towards gold..
  • For example, in a 5 player Saboteur 1 game with the maximum number of Saboteurs:
    • If the first two players have already dug ┳ or ╋ in the centre and you are a Gold-Digger, it is very likely that the remaining two players are Saboteurs and it is not a bad idea to break one of their tools even though they have not had a chance to play yet.

Saboteur 2: Efficient use of cards

Know your paths!

Saboteur 1 path cards

+30 path cards

  • 3 "green door" ( ━ ┏ ┃ )
  • 3 "blue door" ( ━ ┓ ┃ )
  • 4 "ladder" ( ━ ┓┏ ┃ )
  • 2 "tunnel" = 'Bridge' ( ╂ ╂ )
  • 2 'Double Curve' ( ┓┗ ┛┏ )
  • 10 with crystals ( ╋ ┳ ┳ ┳ ┳ ━ ┣ ┣ ╸ ╹ )
  • 6 other new paths ( ━ ┓┏ ┏ ┃ ┃ )

Know your actions!

Saboteur 1 action cards

+21 action cards

  • 1 "rf" = rockfall - crystal paths and doors are common targets.
  • 4 "steal" = 'Theft' - best played just before the end of a round so that other players do not have time to play 'hands off'.
  • 3 'Hands Off' - save these until someone uses theft and play as soon as possible.
  • 2 "swap hands" = 'Swap Your Hand' - try to make moves that make other players break you, fix with 2 cards multiple times to reduce your hand size and then swap hands!
  • 2 "check role" = 'Inspection' - checking the role of the next digger can be very useful.
  • 2 "change role" = 'Swap Your Hats' - best played just before the end of a round.
  • 3 "jail" = 'Trapped!' - best played just before the end of a round.
  • 4 "free" = 'Free at last!' - keep one for the end of the round in case another player jails you when your hand size reduces to 1.