Reviews | Written by Ed Fortune 26/04/2022

Sheriff Of Nottingham Second Edition

Sheriff Of Nottingham has become one of those classic bluffing games. Its broad premise is that you’re medieval peasant trying to get goods to market without paying the Sherrif too much in taxes. It’s a smuggling and bluffing game.

The aim of the game is to get the highest value items to market to make the most profit.  First though, you have to get your goods past the beady eyes and greasy palms of the titular Sheriff.  (Players take turns to play the role of the Sheriff, which is the one of the things that make this fun.)

You draw cards, each one representing all sorts of interesting products. Green bordered cards are things like bread, cheese and chickens, and they’re above board.  Red bordered cards include pepper and weapons, and they’re illegal (but high value.)  You pop the goods you’re taking to market into a velvet envelope, and then pass them to the Sheriff. You have to declare how many goods you’re taking to market, and what they are. You can’t lie about the number of goods, but you’re free to fib about what is in the envelope. You can also put a bribe on the envelope, to encourage the Sheriff to look the other way.

And that’s when it gets fun.

If the Sheriff decides to ‘see’ you and opens the envelope, he can fine you if you’ve lied. If you’re telling the truth though, he has to pay out instead.  So you either want to deceive the law enough to bankrupt them, or you want to get the most valuable items past customs. They are little extras of course. For example they are illegal versions of regular goods which are worth more; this means you can hand on heart say that “you’re only trading in bread” and so on.

The result is a fun game about lying. It’s just sneaky enough and simple enough for most family members to enjoy.

The second edition allows 6 players (rather than first edition’s five) and has the black market rule; which is essentially a list of goods you have to successfully smuggle in order to get a big reward. First edition had these rules as part of the Merry Men expansion, it’s nice to see them added as a default here. The art is more clear and less cartoony, and components are a bit bigger. The box is larger as well, but it will still fit on your Kallax.