«Sheriff of Nottingham» review

Sheriff of Nottingham

Prince John is going to Nottingham! Players take the roles of merchants to gain profits by selling goods in the city while Prince is here. But at first, players must get their goods through the city gate which is guarded by the Sheriff of Nottingham. Will you play it safe with legal goods and make a profit or risk everything and sneak past with illicit goods? Be careful because Sheriff is watching for liars all the time and he can take your goods for himself!

Will you be able to make a deal with the Sheriff or will you persuade him to inspect another player while you quietly go through gate? It’s time for you to become strategy-minded merchant and get rich!

Designers are Sérgio Halaban, Bryan Pope, Benjamin Pope and André Zatz. Artists are Lorraine Schleter and David Sladek.

Game Contents

There is a good idea about game contents to use a metal coins like gold in this game. Some gamers say that it is much interesting to use them instead the cardboard… You can purchase them on kickstarter and this will make your gameplay more historical and atmospheric!

  • 216 Goods Cards (card size is 56mm * 88 mm)
    • 144 Legal Goods (green)
      • Fourty-eight Apples
      • Thirty-six Cheese
      • Thirty-six Bread
      • Twenty-four Chicken
    • Sixty Contraband Goods (red)
      • Twenty-two Pepper
      • Twenty-one Mead
      • Twelve Silk
      • Five Crossbow
      • Twelve Royal Goods (red with golden banner)
      • Two Green Apples
      • Two Golden Apples
      • Two Gouda Cheese
      • Bleu Cheese
      • Two Rye Bread
      • Pumpernickel Bread
      • Two Royal Rooster
  • 110 coin cardboard tokens
    • Thirty-nine 1-gold coins
    • Forty-two 5-gold coins
    • Seventeen 20-gold coins
    • Twelve 50-gold coins
  • Sheriff marker
  • Five Merchant Stand tableaus
  • Five Merchant bags
  • Rulebook

Sheriff of Nottingham - Components

Also, you can see the unboxing video on youtube by the Geekedupgaming.

Gameplay

In Sheriff of Nottingham players declare goods they wish to bring into the city or sneak past through the gates with goods that are secretly stored in their burlap sack. The Sheriff must decide who gets into the city with their goods, who he will inspect or confiscate the goods of suspicious player!

Sheriff of Nottingham - Ready to Play

Game Setup

Players take a Merchant Stand with the appropriate Merchant Bag and place those items in front of them. Choose one player to be as the “banker.” The banker gives players (and himself to) 50 Gold. The banker keeps the rest of the Gold closed at his hands so he can make change during the game process. The banker is prohibited to mix his own money with the bank’s cash! For your first game experience you may wish to play the basic game. Remember, that the basic game is carried without the Royal Goods cards!

Sheriff of Nottingham - Player Boards

Remove the twelve Royal Goods cards from the deck and get them back to the box. Next, shuffle the rest of the Goods cards and deal six cards to each player and put them face down. Then, place the rest of the cards in a face down draw pile. Turn over five cards from the draw pile to make a discard pile. Turn over another five cards from the draw pile to make another one discard pile. Now we have two discard piles! All players can check the cards in both piles at any time they want.

At last, the player with the highest value of funds will be the first Sheriff and you should give that player the Sheriff marker. If there is a draw (or no one has any money!) choose the Sheriff in a randomly way.

Sheriff of Nottingham - 4 Player Game

Rules

The game is carried out over a series of rounds. On each round one player is the Sheriff while the other players are the merchants. Each round is divided into five phases which is played in order:

1. Market

This phase, you may get rid of cards and draw new ones to get a set of goods to take them to market.

2. Load Merchant Bag

This phase, you place the goods cards you’ve got in the previous phase to take them market in your Merchant Bag.

3. Declaration

Here you must declare to the Sheriff what goods you will deliver to the market. Of course, you can lie to him. Obviously, you will have to lie during the game!

4. Inspection

Now the Sheriff is going to inspect the Merchant Bags!

5. End of Round

If all players played Sheriff twice (or three times in a three-player game) the game ends!

Remember, that the player who is the Sheriff only participates in Phase 4, (Inspection) and Phase 5 (End of Round). He can observe the actions of the other players while they perform their phases. At the end of each round players pass the Sheriff Marker to the left which allows to a new player become the Sheriff. The game carries until each player has played the Sheriff twice (or three times in a three-player game).

Victory Conditions

At the end of the last round, all players show their cards they have —those cards are not worth any points!

Then, look at your Contraband cards and count your score. You points are equal to:

  • The value of all Goods you have in your Merchant Stand (Legal and Contraband);
  • Any Gold coins you have
  • Any bonuses you have earned for being the “King” or “Queen” of a type of Good.

Sheriff of Nottingham - Apple King

The player with the most points is the winner! If two players have the same points the player who has the most Legal Goods wins. If there is still a draw the player with the most Contraband Goods is the winner.

For more information and tactics advices about rounds and phases you can consult the full rules presented by PDF tutorial here!

Playing with more than 5 players

Well, it’s not quite clear if this game is fit for 6 or even more players, though many gamers say that you should try to D.I.Y to expand this game for 6 players. That means that you should add one more merchant bag and Goods Cards. Some players also mentioned that the only difference between 5 and 6 players game is that they spent more time to play and the balance remained the same.

Expansions

Sheriff of Nottingham: Dice Tower Promo Pack

Sheriff of Nottingham - Dice Tower Promo Pack

This pack presents two new cards for the game:

Arcane Scrolls – You can’t collect bonuses at the game’s end.

Feast Plate – this card can be played as any of the four basic legal goods.

Sheriff of Nottingham: Gambler’s Risk

Sheriff of Nottingham - Gamblers Risk

This pack of cards has one card in each player color. Players start the game with a Gambler’s Risk. While the inspection phase you may remove this card from play before the deal is finished to double the penalty which is paid on that merchant bag if it is inspected.

Sheriff of Nottingham: Gen Con Promo Set

Sheriff of Nottingham - Gen Con Promo Set

This promo card pack has six new cards for Sheriff of Nottingham:

Brimstone Oil – Collect gold at the game’s end or discard immediately to destroy an opponent’s pair of legal goods;

Olive Oil, Strawberry Mead – Increases the price of all other mead you sneak past the sheriff;

Golden Silk – Increases the value of all other silk you sneak past the sheriff;

Dragon Pepper – Increases the value of all other pepper you sneak past the sheriff;

Heavy Crossbow – Increases the value of all other crossbows you sneak past the sheriff.

Sheriff of Nottingham: Prince John’s Sword Promo Card

Sheriff of Nottingham - Dice Tower - Prince Johns Sword Promo Card

Prince John’s Sword is a card worth 12 gold which costs 6 penalty.

Sheriff of Nottingham: Royal Summons Promo Card

Sheriff of Nottingham - Royal Summons Promo Card

Royal Summons is a contraband card that can be played in addition to your hand with this ability: “If you are inspected and you tell the truth (except for this card) the sheriff will pay 8 extra gold”.

Sheriff of Nottingham: Tabletop Trophy of Awesome

Sheriff of Nottingham - Dice Tower - Tabletop Trophy Awesome

Tabletop Trophy of Awesome is a single card worth 11 gold which costs 5 penalty.

You might be interested in miniatures that can be used in this game and yes, there is a good one to replace the Sheriff standee made of cardboard! You can see it by yourself here!

Similar Games

City of Horror

City of Horror

City of Horror is rather similar to this game but it has a zombie theme. It has voting-negotiation mechanics where every round all players vote on which player to help and which one to hurt. This is incredibly fun!


Cosmic Encounter

Cosmic Encounter

Also, you would like to try the Cosmic Encounter which negotiating and voting too and it is described like «heavier Sheriff of Nottingham».


iOS and Android versions

Sheriff of Nottingham App

Sheriff of Nottingham is available on both of the mobile systems! You can download it and play following these links – for iOS and for Android. Enjoy!

FAQ

Q: In the Inspection Phase, is the threatened player the only one who can negotiate with the Sheriff?

A: No. Any player can get involved in the negotiations. The Sheriff is the focus of this phase, but it’s meant to be very open. The rules were not meant to hamstring player interactions.

Q: Does anything happen if one of the discard piles is emptied?

A: No. If one of the discard piles is completely emptied, then it remains that way until a player decides to discard into it.

Q: How does Royal Summons work?

A: It functions as any other contraband if you are not inspected. However, if you are inspected, then you only get the special effect if all of the other goods in your bag are the type you declared, otherwise you must discard it as contraband.

Q: When is a deal considered complete?

A: A deal is considered complete when an offer is accpeted. Most of the time this should be fairly intuitive. The Sheriff may say, “I will let your bag pass for 5 gold.” If the merchant accepts that offer, then the deal is complete.

Sheriff of Nottingham - Cards in Hand

Conclusion

This game is special for us because some tragic event happened while we were making this review. The famous actor Alan Rickman struggled for his life but he couldn’t make it and cancer took him away from us. He is famous for such role as the Sheriff of Nottingham in the «Robin Hood» movie and we decided to dedicate this review to him. You can support the developers of this game and buy it on Amazon and praise the memory of Alan Rickman! Thank you for everything you’ve done… Also, it is available on meeples.com.