Thursday, 4 December 2014

Sheriff of Nottingham

The Sheriff of Nottingham is a game of backstabbing, lies and deceit. So really, it fits in perfectly with my gaming group. 

So what is Sheriff about? Players play as merchants trying to bring their goods into Nottingham. They each choose a certain number of goods, put them into their own personal satchels and then declare what is inside that bag. Players also take turns playing as the Sheriff who will question each player about what type of goods they have in their satchel and may choose to examine the bag to see if the player is telling the truth. If the player was honest, the sheriff has to pay him an inconvenience fee for opening his satchel. If the player was dishonest however...all the goods he didn't declare are confiscated by the Sheriff and he has to pay the Sheriff an import tax on them. The winner at the end is the one with the highest value of goods that successfully made it into the market. 

Complicating things however is the fact that when you declare what you have in your bag, you can only declare ONE type of good and not several. So for example, if in your hand, you have 3 chicken cards and 2 bread cards and 1 cheese card, you can choose to just put in and declare the honest amount of each good, which means it'll probably take you several trips to the market before you can get all your stuff into Nottingham. Or you can sneak in the 3 chicken cards and 2 bread cards and just declare that you have 5 bread in the satchel and HOPE the Sheriff doesn't call your bluff.

Why is it important that you get as many cards into the market as soon as possible though? Well, the game has a finite amount of rounds, so really, the person who can get the most goods in will generally have the best chance of winning. However, you can choose to tailor the goods you have in your hand by discarding and drawing again and hoping you get similar goods. There is also another added benefit to having similar goods as at the end of the game, players can score bonus points by having the highest quantity of one type of good available in the market. For example, if you have the most chickens in the market, you will score some bonus VP. 

The components of the game however are nothing to brag about, with normal cardboard boards and coins. The gameplay is also pretty simple in its mechanics. However, where this game stands out is the mind-games it plays with people playing it. At Gencon, I think I may have messed pretty severely with the people playing the demo with it. Although I was also partially trolling in a way. This game really feels a lot like I'm the Boss board game, with player interaction being one of the most important components of this game. So really, if you have a good regular gaming group who likes to mess with each other now and then, this is probably a pretty good boardgame to play. However, that's also one of the downsides because this game gets better the MORE people play it, you almost always want to have 5 players, which may not always be possible.