Recently, I picked up a used copy of the board game, Sheriff of Nottingham. This is a bluffing-style game that I was first introduced to on the show Tabletop. A friend of mine was selling it at their garage sale, and I decided it was worth picking up. The other night we got together with my brother-in-law and his fiance and played through it.
The premise of Sheriff of Nottingham is that you’re trying to bring goods into town to populate your market. However, the goods that fetch the highest prices are contraband, and in order to get those to town you need to convince the sheriff to not inspect your bags. This is where the bluffing and bribing comes in to play.
The game continues around the table for two rounds where each player gets to play the role of the sheriff twice. At the end of the two rounds, players add up their points from all the goods they managed to bring to town and a winner is declared. The funnest part of the game is learning how to effectively bluff and bribe to get your goods to market.
Just because the sheriff wants to inspect your bag, you can often convince him otherwise with a bribe. If you’re carrying contraband in your bag, sometimes you can bribe the sheriff and still make a profit. This careful balance is what adds in a sneaky strategy component into the game. You have to think big-picture, and not just what you can accomplish in a single turn.
We had a great time with the game, and we all had the hang of it pretty quickly. It’s a great game to play when you don’t want to dig deep into a large strategy game, but still want to think a little bit. I would caution that it might get frustrating for younger kids, as they may not quite get the whole bluffing and lying aspect in the same way that adults do. Otherwise, I recommend giving this one a try with your friends and see who can fool that silly old Sheriff of Nottingham.