Sheriff of Nottingham board game – Game Review

The “Sheriff of Nottingham” might be most well known for causing Robin Hood problems (and vice versa), but in tabletop gaming land the Sheriff of Nottingham is known for trying to stop contraband getting through the city gates and for making players laugh.

Setup & Gameplay
If you’re a regular here, you’ll know we don’t go into a big spiel about every rule (that’s what the rulebook is for), we want to talk about the gameplay. So with that in mind, we’ll say setup is a case of dishing out the allotted coins to each player, same with cards and draw decks. In a nutshell, easy.

Gameplay isn’t too taxing and is all about the bluff. Each round one player takes on the role of the eponymous “Sheriff of Nottingham”, the other players are the merchants, some of them sneaky merchants! The role of Sheriff passes clock-wise around the table, with each person taking on the role twice, thus ending the game.

Sheriff of Nottingham tabletop game review - Sheriff of Nottinghame game boxSheriff of Nottingham – Ahh the box, the box full of bluff!

The deck encompasses legal and illegal goods, merchants place 1 to 5 goods cards in their pouch and pass it to the Sheriff. Once the Sheriff has all player pouches it’s time for each player to try and get through the city gates by telling the sheriff what’s in the pouch. Of course, the players can lie about the content, trying to sneak through contraband, which is worth more than the legal goods. If the Sheriff opens your pouch and it contains exactly what you stated, the Sheriff pays you the penalty (ascribed to each card). If you were naughty and there’s things in there other than what you stated, you pay the sheriff.

The real fun is in the tête-à-tête between the sheriff and the merchant, is the merchant telling the truth, does he / she just have apples in the cart, or is there a little contraband silk stuffed in the back. A cool gameplay mechanic is the pouch itself, with its snap close button which makes a snapping noise when opened. Once open the deal is set! This makes the pouch itself almost a character, the Sheriff might pull a little on the flap, teasing he / she is about to open it, this might make the merchant nervous if they’re up to no good and a deal might be placed on the table “I may have accidentally left some mead in the cart with all those chickens. I am sure this 5 coin tip might be enough to see me through the gates?”. Or perhaps the merchant player will unnerve the sheriff sticking to their guns that it’s only chickens and the sheriff will slide the pouch back unopened.

There’s also nothing to stop other players interjecting with commentary to try and undermine everyone else. All in all “Sheriff of Nottingham” is a cutthroat business, with a lot of laughs. There’s even a handy App for your mobile device that will time turns and add up everything for you at the end to give you the winner with a little fanfare. Very cool idea.

At the end of the game, the player with the most points wins. Points are accrued by the amount of coins a player has, along with all the cards they’ve gotten by the sheriff / legal and otherwise.

Fans of the game Werewolf” will really enjoy “Sheriff of Nottingham” as will anyone who likes bluffing friends and making frenemies.

Sheriff of Nottingham tabletop game review - Sheriff of Nottingham cardsGreen cards are okay, who doesn’t love chicken and cheese! (well other than vegetarians .. and vegans…). Red cards are naughty, so you must sneak them in.

“Sheriff of Nottingham” is a really fun game. The element of luck might not be to everyone’s taste, but this truly is a fun game. “Sheriff of Nottingham” is easy to learn and play, making it a great gateway game for non tabletop gaming friends and family.

Game Build Quality
Great box build, insert could do with being slightly resized for coins and character cards, but it does the job. Cards are sleek, coin tokens thick and well made. The only real complaint would be the snaps on the card pouches, sadly only two games in one of them broke and the player wasn’t being over zealous. Even with that though, overall, a really sweet build. Oh and there’s also a really cool partner App, it times player turns and adds up overall scores calculating the winner, a nice addition (not needed, but cool regardless).

3-5 Players
Ages: 13+
Play Time: 50-60 mins approx
Setup Time: minimal

[author] [authorimage timthumb=’off’]/content/images/2016/02/gameapalooza-micro-review-icon-sm.gif[/authorimage] [authorinfo]Micro Review – Love a little bluffing in your game sessions, Sheriff of Nottingham is just the game for you. It’s fun, has a cool gameplay mechanism and looks really nice to boot. If you’re looking for a great bluffing game and you lack the large groups something like “Werewolf” calls for, “Sheriff of Nottingham” is just the ticket! [/authorinfo] [/author]