Sheriff of Nottingham - Board Game Review - Tally Ho!
Sheriff of Nottingham
Game Type – Party Game
Number of Players – 3 - 5
Mechanics – Hand Management, Set Collection
Difficulty to learn – Easy
Release – 2014
MSRP - $34.99
Publisher – Arcane Wonders
Recommended for fans of – Spyfall, Resistance, Coup
When I was a kid I was absolutely enchanted with Robin Hood. I think it’s pretty safe to say that Robin Hood is one of those characters that every child loves. My friends and I would pretend we were the Merry men, I begged my Mom to buy me a bow and arrow (she didn’t), and for a while the Disney Robin Hood was played on repeat in my house. With all that said I’m happy to report that Arcane Wonders has made a fantastic game where you get to be everyone’s favorite Robin Hood character, the Sheriff of Nottingham! Oh wait, what’s that? He was the villain? Everyone hates him?!? Oh jeez, that makes this review a little more difficult. Well, weird theme element aside, let’s take a look at a pretty fun game.
In Sheriff of Nottingham, each player is one of the Merry Men trying to sneak goods past the titular Sheriff. Each turn one player acts as the Sheriff who is checking for contraband. Once everyone has been the Sheriff twice the game ends and the player with the most points represented by goods cards wins. The flow of a turn works as follows. Each non-Sheriff player secretly chooses a number of goods cards to put in their bag (the game actually comes with little snap shut velveteen bags). They then take turns giving the bags to the Sheriff and saying how many goods and what kind are in the bag. The players have to be honest about the number but can lie about the type. The Sheriff then chooses which bags they want to inspect (if any). If the bags have the stated goods, the Sheriff pays the player a fine. If the player was lying, for each non-stated good they lose it and pay the Sheriff a fine. This is almost a pure bluffing and negotiation game, but negotiations never seem to drag on and the game plays pretty smoothly. It’s also very easy to teach and you can play with just about anyone, even cranky old aunt Gertrude.
The rules are put together very well. They are easy to understand and contain lots of examples and pictures (a must for any good rule book). There’s no index included but since it’s such a simple premise I’ll give them a pass. They also have a number of optional rules in the back, which is always nice to spice things up with.
For a game that could really have most any theme on it, it comes together surprisingly well here! The art is very evocative and the little bags you get add to the feel of smuggler merchants. I think every time I’ve played, everyone role plays their part a little bit.
Not much to say here, shuffle some decks and go.
Everything is fantastically high quality. There is a nice standee for the Sheriff, there are player mats for everyone, and both of these are made of nice cardstock. I mentioned the little bags you put your goods in already but I have to say again that they are beautiful little props that really add a spark to the game.
I love this game. Sheriff is one of my go-to’s when I’m looking for something I can play with non-gamers or just a good filler. It may not seem like there is enough here to give it a "Buy it Now" rating, but simplicity is not always a bad thing. This game has a place in every gamer's collection and I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t like it. It’s quick, fun, and can be enjoyed by just about anyone.