Sheriff Of Nottingham Board Game

Sheriff Of Nottingham Board Game

The Sheriff of Nottingham board game, designed by Sérgio Halaban and André Zatz, is a role-playing game where you get to test your bluffing and persuading skills.

Players: 3-6

Game Time: 60min

Complexity: Medium

Age: 14+

Release Year: 2020

The bustling Nottingham market is filled with goods from all over the kingdom. Prince John wants to make sure no contraband goods are sold there. So the Sheriff is tasked to inspect the wares of the Merchants to see if there are any illicit goods. So the merchants need to find a way to pass their goods.

The Sheriff’s shrewd but not above taking a bribe to look the other way. Which Merchant will end up getting the best goods through and make the largest profits in the market stalls?

In this game, gamers take turns to play the role of Sheriff, while the other players play as the Merchants who will try to stock their Stall with the best goods. The Sheriff can inspect any bag he wants; however, if he finds the Merchants were telling the truth, he has to pay the penalty.

Sheriff of Nottingham 2nd Edition includes updated rules, as well as expansions such as the 6th Merchant, Black Market, and Sheriff’s Deputies.

Game Components

133 Gold Coins

204 Goods cards (144 Legal Goods, 60 Contraband Goods)

12 Royal Goods cards

1 Sheriff standee

2 Deputy standees

6 Black Market cards

6 Deputy cards

1 Booty tile

6 Merchant Stands

6 Merchant Bags

1 Rulebook

The Sheriff of Nottingham game has quite a charming and colorful art style. The goods are well-illustrated. For example, the top left corner shows the Value of the Goods. At the end of the game, if it’s in your Merchant Stand, this will be the number of points it will be worth.

And under the Value, there’s the Good’s Penalty. If you are required to pay a Penalty during the inspection phase, this is the amount of Gold you must pay.

The visual simplification and more contrasting colors seem like they cater to a younger audience, but this comes down to personal preference.

Cards have good quality and feel right in the hands. It will not split or chip; this is an essential thing if you consider how often you will place them in and out of the pouches. Also, the fabric of the pouches is fine.

The first edition from the Arcane Wonders brand accommodates up to 5 players, while the second edition comes with updated rules and artwork, and instead of 5 players, it can accommodate up to 6.

Sheriff Of Nottingham Board Game

Game Setup

1-Every gamer will take a Merchant Stand and Merchant Bag of the same color and place them in front of him.

2-Select one player to take the role of the banker; he will give every gamer (including himself)

50 Gold, and handle transactions throughout the game. The banker must separate between his money and those for the bank.

3-Then the goods deck is shuffled, and each player will get 6 cards and place the deck in a facedown draw pile. In a three-player game, before the Goods cards are shuffled, remove any cards with the 4+ icon and return them back to the box.

The first Sheriff is the gamer with the highest amount of actual money on him. This player will get the Sheriff standee.

The basic game is played without the Royal Goods cards. It’s recommended for your first couple of games to stay with just the basic rules and then add in the optional ones later.

Sheriff Of Nottingham Board Game, How To Play?

The Sheriff Of Nottingham Board Game consists of a series of rounds. In each round, one player will take the role of the Sheriff, and the other gamers will take the role of the Merchants. Every round is divided into five phases: Market, Load Merchant Bag, Declaration, Inspection, and End of Round.

When a round ends, the gamer who has the Sheriff standee gives it to the player to his left. This player will be the new Sheriff. In a three-player game, the game continues until each player takes the Sheriff role 3 times. In a four or five-player game, the game continues until every gamer takes the role of the Sheriff twice.

1-Market Phase

The Sheriff will choose a player to start. Then, all the players will proceed in clockwise order. On each Merchant turn, the player may set aside up to 5 cards face up from his hand. After that, he draws cards from the Goods deck until he has 6 cards in his hand. The Merchants are hoping to get a set of Goods to take to the market.

Once all the players are done, the Sheriff will collect all the discarded cards and create a faceup discard pile next to the Goods deck.

2-Load Merchant Bag

During this phase, all Merchant gamers will place Goods cards in their bags at the same time. They will place 1 to 5 Goods cards in their bag. But they must make sure no one sees them, neither the other players nor the Sheriff.

Once you choose your goods and you are sure that is your final decision, snap the bag closed, then put it on the tabletop in front of you. Once a player closes his bag, he cannot change his mind; the choice is locked in.


In this phase, Starting with the player to the Sheriff’s left and proceeding clockwise, each player declares to the Sheriff what Goods they have in the bag.

Of course, each player has an option to lie about his bag’s contents. In fact, Merchants will probably have to lie at some point during the game.

In order to do this, every Merchant gamer will look the Sheriff in the eye, declare what Goods he is taking to market, and hand the Sheriff his Merchant Bag. Note that, during this phase, the bag cannot be opened.

You have to declare the exact number of Goods in your Merchant Bag and can only announce 1 type of Legal Good, which may or may not even be in your bag. You cannot declare Contraband or mixed Legal Goods. Other than that, you can make any declaration you wish.


In this phase, the Sheriff will choose which Merchant Bags he will inspect. He can choose any bags he wants to inspect, from none to all of them. The Sheriff will collect a fine if he inspects a bag and finds out that the Merchant lied about what is inside it. But if the Sheriff finds out that the honest Merchant was telling the truth, the Sheriff will pay a Penalty.

the Sheriff player may choose to threaten the Merchants with an inspection, and the Merchants can try to avoid it or convince him to inspect other player bags by offering bribes to the Sheriff

The Sheriff has a choice not to accept the offered bribe and inspect the bag anyway, or he can let you pass without a bribe.

During this phase, all Merchants can take part in all negotiations at the same time; however, the one who decides when the negotiations will end is the Sheriff.

The Sheriff will return the bag back to the Merchant unopened If he accepts the bribe. But If he decides to inspect it, he will open the bag and reveal anything inside it to all gamers.

The offered bribe can be Gold, Legal Goods from your Merchant Stand, Contraband from your Merchant Stand, Goods in your bag, and Promises of future favors.

5-End of Round

The game ends immediately once all the gamers play the Sheriff role 3 times in a three-player game or twice in a four or five-player game. Otherwise, the player who was the Sheriff will pass the Sheriff standee to the gamer on his left to be the Sheriff in the next round.

Before the next round begins, each player draws cards until he has 6 cards in hand. Keep in mind that last round’s Sheriff should already have 6 cards in hand from the last round.

During the game, If the draw pile runs out, you can form a new draw pile by shuffling all Goods cards in the discard pile.

Winning the Game

When the last round ends, each player discards any cards he has in his hand as they are not worth any points. Then each player’s Contraband cards are revealed, and the score is counted.

Points are earned for the Value of any Gold coins you have, any type of good cards you have in your Merchant Stand (Legal and Contraband), and a King and Queen Bonus.

Finally, the gamer who has successfully delivered the most and the second most of every type of Legal Good is declared the King and Queen, respectively, of that Good. Those players gain bonus points. The winner is the player who has the most points.

Sheriff Of Nottingham 6 Players Game

Game Setup

If you are playing a six-player game, then the game setup will have a few changes. For instance, instead of the Sheriff standee, you will use the 2 Deputy standees and return the Sheriff standee back into the box.

Also, the 6 Deputy cards are shuffled and placed facedown in the middle of the playing area. Next to the Deputy cards, place the Booty tile.


The Sheriff of Nottingham is training and recruiting new Deputies. Every round, two gamers will take the role of the Deputies, and the other four gamers will take the role of the Merchants.

Shuffle the Deputy cards and draw 2 from the top. Give each one of the two selected players a Deputy standee.

The 6 player game will have the same five phases: Market, Load Merchant Bag, Declaration, Inspection, and End of Round. The gameplay will follow the core game rules until Inspection. In the Inspection phase, the Deputies will inspect the Merchants’ Bags either by working as a team or on their own.

Inspection Phase

During the Inspection phase, there are three possible outcomes:

1-Both Deputies agree to let a Merchant pass; If they accept a bribe and let the Merchant pass, the bribe is placed on the Booty tile.

2-The two Deputies agree to open the bag of the Merchant. Every one of the Deputies would pay half of the penalty to the Merchant if he was telling the truth. They will pay the penalty from their own Gold, not from the Booty. But If the Merchant was lying, the fine would be placed on the Booty tile.

3- If one Deputy is willing to let the Merchant pass, and the other wants to inspect the bag. Then the one who chooses to inspect the bag will act alone. He will pay or receive any Penalty on his own If he decides to open the Bag. However, If he accepts a bribe to let the Merchant pass, he will get it alone.

Once the Inspection phase ends, any Gold and Goods cards on the Booty tile are shared evenly between the two Deputies. Any cards or golds that are leftover will be discarded unless the two Deputies agree on how to distribute them.

End of Round

The round ends when the players go through the 5 phases. To start a new round, take the 2 topmost cards from the Deputy deck and perform the 5 phases one more time.

After 3 rounds, all the players will have taken the role of the Deputy once. To create a new deck, shuffle the Deputy cards and start a new round.

End of the Game

When the Deputy deck has run out for the third time, the game will end. Then players will count points and bonuses following the core game rules.

Black Market

A Black Market that is full of special demands has formed in the dark corners of the city, waiting for those brave enough to face the Sheriff and his Deputies and smuggle large amounts of Contraband.

Game Setup

The 6 Black Market cards are sorted by their type to create 3 piles that consist of 2 faceup cards each, with the higher value card on the topmost. Then put those cards next to each other in the center of the playing area, with easy access for all gamers.


The gameplay will follow the core game rules until the Inspection phase. After the player receives his Merchant Bag from the Sheriff, he may claim a Black Market card, which allows for trading in smuggled Contraband for extra Gold.

A player must own three Contraband cards of the same kind as the Black Market card he will claim for his Merchant Stand. Before claiming the Black Market card, the matching Contraband cards are revealed to the other gamers and discarded. Then those Black Market cards that are claimed will be placed in the gamer’s Contraband pile.

The gamer who will fulfill the first Black Market order will take the topmost card of that kind, which has a higher value than the card below it. When the game ends, players will gain points for any number of cards of the Black Market type in their Contraband pile.

Our Opinion About Sheriff Of Nottingham Board Game

The Sheriff Of Nottingham board game is one of those classic bluffing games where players will try to get their goods to the market without paying the Sheriff too much in taxes. It’s a smuggling and bluffing game.

The bluffing and deal-making mechanics are the driving force behind the Sheriff of Nottingham, but there is also a set collecting mechanic that plays a pretty big role in who ultimately wins the game.

The game doesn’t depend on any optimal strategy; you can play it as many times as you want and have fun every time. It is a great game with a high replay value.

You can play this game with a number of players, 3 to 6, and it has a playing time of around 60 minutes. The game comes with some special rules and components for the six-player game; you will feel like playing a new one. Also, the second edition from the CMON brand comes with a bigger box that consists of different slots to keep the game pieces on it. 

This card game does a great job of mixing party games and board game elements which makes it more approachable to people who have never played board games. Also, the game has no elimination, meaning that you will be part of the fun from the start to the end. It is an enjoyable competitive game to play with friends at your next party. Also, it is a fun family game for the whole family to enjoy.

Sheriff Of Nottingham Board Game