October Game of the Month – Sheriff of Nottingham

The Game of the Month series highlights one of the many games in our library at Ravenwood Castle. We will briefly describe the game, how to play it, and why we like it.

Game: Sheriff of Nottingham

Publisher: Arcane Wonders

October’s Game of the Month is one I’ve been waiting to write about for two months. I picked up a copy at GenCon without realizing that the game wouldn’t actually be available in distribution until October. Had I known, I’d have picked up multiple copies on the spot. I’m speaking of the Sheriff of Nottingham, a game by Arcane Wonders and one of my new personal favorites.

Described by Arcane Wonders as “an exciting game of bluffing, bribery and smuggling”, Sheriff of Nottingham puts three to five players in the shoes of merchants attempting to deliver their goods to market in the town of Nottingham. Standing in their way is the Sheriff, who is played by each of the players in turn.

On their turn, players have an opportunity to draw a number of cards representing trade goods – some legal, some not so much. They then place a number of goods into a sealed bag, hand that bag to the player acting as Sheriff for the round, and declare what goods the bag contains.

Once all of the players’ bags have been handed to the Sheriff, the fun really begins. The Sheriff has the option of either allowing a bag to pass or inspecting the goods. While the Sheriff deliberates the merchants can offer bribes, threaten retaliation on future turns, or strike whatever other deal they can dream up.

At the end of negotiations, the Sheriff either allows the goods to pass, or inspects them. Contraband that is caught is forfeit, and the would-be smuggler pays a fine. On the other hand, a Sheriff that wrongly inspects an honest merchant pays a fine as well!

The game lasts until each player has had two turns as Sheriff. At the end, the merchant with the most wealth in gold and goods is declared the winner.

Sheriff of Nottingham combines the best features of bluffing games and negotiation games, and wraps them all up in a great theme. I foresee this game becoming a staple at Ravenwood Castle events for a long time to come!

Jim Reed

Jim Reed is a lifelong gamer who started with the original red box Dungeons & Dragons. After spending 20 years in the corporate world, he decided it was high time that work be fun and struck out on his own. Jim now owns and operates Ravenwood Castle, and spends his days ensuring his guests have as much fun as he does.