If you haven’t played Sherriff of Nottingham this strip may seem a little odd and if that is the case then allow me to give you the short pitch on why it is worth your time.

Sheriff is a fantastic bluffing game from the folks over at Arcane Wonders. The basic premise is 3-5 players sit around a table playing as merchants attempting to get past the notoriously dickheaded Sheriff of Nottingham to sell their goods and illicit contraband (more on this in a moment) in town. Players earn gold for the goods that make it into town. Most of the goods are simple items like bread, cheese, and chickens, however there are illicit contraband cards, like pepper and gouda cheese(?) that while worth much more gold, is illegal. If you are caught with contraband by the Sheriff, you pay fines. If you get past questioning, you stand to earn major gold. This creates are real Press-Your-Luck atmosphere over the course of the game.

As for the questioning, at the beginning of each round, one player assumes the role of the Sheriff while the other players select cards of goods and contraband from their hand and place them into the awesome little felt bags (with button snaps) to await the questioning of the Sheriff. Once the players are ready, the Sheriff questions each merchant about their goods in an attempt to root out deception. It is this phase of the game that really drives home the overall theme and fun for me. The Sheriff can ask any question and the players are encouraged to lie, bribe, and deflect suspicion by nearly any means necessary if they are carrying contraband. Players will form alliances, bribe the Sheriff to open specific player bags, and get grudgy to make sure their bags are safe. However, if the Sheriff wrongly accuses a player and opens their bag, the Sheriff then pays fines, so you have to be careful.

I had the pleasure of playing this game for the first time last year at Board Game Geek Con and I instantly fell in love with it. If you are a roleplayer, the gameplay and atmosphere it creates lends itself to such exploits. I played one round and suddenly I had voices for my merchant (I was a cheese vendor) and for my turns as The Sheriff. Ken from Geek-Craft.com introduced me to it and I believe he has his own review going up on Monday.

In closing, Sheriff of Nottingham is a fantastic party game with top-notch mechanics, production value, and beautiful artwork that I believe is worth your time and dollars. You can find it here at the Arcane Wonders site and most likely in your favorite board game store.

Go forth and Sheriff. You will not be disappointed.