Sheriff of Nottingham
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Original Game Design by Sergio Halaban and Andre Zatz
“Special thanks to Bryan Pope for his edition work and great commitment to this game.” - Sergio Halaban
Game Development by Bryan Pope
Lead Development Consultant: Benjamin Pope
Special Development Consultant: Dr. Jason Medina
Special Thanks to Dr. Jason Medina for great original ideas!
Development Team: Dr. Thomas Allen, John Guytan,
Chris Henson, TJ Huzl, Colin Meller, and Tom Vasel
Bryan and Sergio thank all of the playtesters for their help and support. They provided great feedback and ideas, and tirelessly spent many hours bribing, smuggling, and backstabbing each other!
Playtesters: Ryan Alexander, Kip Asbury, Steve Avery, Joseph Barber, Alexander Beresford, Lewis Bronson, Aaron Brosman,
Ivan Bukreyer, Matthew Burch, Robert Trent Bush, Patrick Connor, Ray D’arcy, Timothy Deal, CJ Desilvey, “The” Kevin Eilers,
Laura Fischer, Reuven Fischer, Anthony Gill, Natasha Hayden, Nick Hayden, Sam Healey, Adam Humpolick, Matt Humpolick,
Sean Kelly, Chris Leder, Dane Leitch, Sarah Leitch, Jason Levine, Matt from Dice Tower, Nathan Marchand, Chris Masterson,
Ryan Metzler, Alexander Mont, Scott Morris, Cristofer Pope, Mike Ritchie, John Rogers, Nichola Sobota, Brandon Smith,
Dawn Studebaker, Eric Summerer, James Tolbert, Rachelle Tolbert, Matthew Whitacre, Janette Williams, Phil Williams,
Connor Wilson, and Grant Wilson
Rules Written by: William Niebling
Creative Direction & Layout: Chris Henson
Art Direction and Rules Illustrations: John Guytan
Card Art and Game Components: Lorraine Schleter
Box and Character Art: David Sladek
Production Manager: John Rogers
© 2014 Arcane Wonders®, LLC, © 2014 Sergio Halaban, © 2014 Ilhas Galapagos Comercio de Brinquedos, Artigos Recreativos e Servicos LTDA, all rights reserved. No part of this product may
be reproduced without specific permission from the publisher. Sheriff of Nottingham® is a registered trademark of Arcane Wonders®, LLC.
An exciting game of bluffing, bribery,
and smuggling for 3 to 5 players.
rince John’s lust for gold has finally gone too far! It’s impossible for a merchant to make a living
anymore, being taxed as much as we are. Now he’s got the greedy Sheriff of Nottingham
checking everyone who comes through the front gate for “contraband” – meaning all the good stuff
he’s trying to keep for himself! Good thing you know the Sheriff better than Prince John does. That
shifty, no-good, greedy fellow might be intimidating when he stands in front of the city gate, but let’s
be honest, he is not above taking a well-placed bribe to look the other way.
You have come to Nottingham with your Goods on market day, and the only thing standing
between you and your hard-earned profits is the Sheriff. All you need to do is bluff or bribe your way
past him… or maybe, tell the truth!
In Sheriff of Nottingham®, you are a merchant trying to deliver your Goods to market. Players
take turns assuming the role of Sheriff, who must decide which merchants’ bags to inspect and
which to let by. As a merchant, your goal is to convince the Sheriff to let you in—by any means
necessary! At the end of the game, the merchant with the most wealth wins!
Sheriff of Nottingham includes:
• 216 Goods cards, including:
144 Legal Goods (green)
60 Contraband (red)
12 Royal Goods (red with a gold banner
and Sheriff ’s badge on the bottom)
• 110 Gold coins, in four denominations:
39 1-gold coins
42 5-gold coins
17 20-gold coins
12 50-gold coins
Merchant Bags
1 Sheriff marker
5 Merchant Stands
5 Merchant Bags
These Rules
Sheriff Marker
ach card shows a product that a merchant can sell in the
Nottingham market.
The top right corner shows the “Value” of the Goods. This is
the number of points it will be worth at the end of the game if
it’s in your Merchant Stand.
The bottom right corner shows the Good’s “Penalty.” This is
the amount of Gold you must pay if you are required to pay a
Penalty during the Inspections Phase (see page 8).
There are 144 Legal Goods in the game:
• 48 Apples worth 2 Gold each
• 36 Cheese worth 3 Gold each
• 36 Bread worth 3 gold each
• 24 Chickens worth 4 gold each
There are also 60 Contraband in the game:
• 22 Pepper worth 6 Gold each
• 21 Mead worth 7 Gold each
• 12 Silk worth 8 Gold each
• 5 Crossbows worth 9 Gold each
In addition, there are twelve Contraband Goods called
“Royal Goods”, marked with a gold banner and a Sheriff
Badge on the bottom. These are used only if you are playing
with the optional “Royal Goods” rules (see page 13).
Legal Goods
Royal Goods
ach player takes a Merchant Stand along with the matching
Merchant Bag, and places those items in front of them.
Choose one player to act as the “banker.” The banker gives each
player (including himself) 50 Gold. The banker keeps the rest of the
Gold close at hand so he can make change during the game. The
banker must not mix his own money with the bank’s funds!
For your first couple of games, you may wish to play the basic game.
The basic game is played without the Royal Goods cards. Remove the
twelve Royal Goods cards from the deck and return them to the box
(to use these cards, see “Royal Goods” on page 13). Then, shuffle the
rest of the Goods cards together, and deal six cards to each player face
Place the rest of the cards in a face down draw pile.
Turn over five cards from the draw pile to form a discard pile.
Turn over another five cards from the draw pile to form a second
discard pile.
Yes, there are two discard piles! All players can examine the cards in
both discard piles at any time.
Finally, the player with the highest value of actual cash on their
person will be the first Sheriff. Give that player the Sheriff marker.
If there is a tie (or if no one has any money!), then randomly choose
the Sheriff.
he game is played over a series of rounds. During each
round, one player will act as the Sheriff while the other
players act as merchants.
Each round is divided into five phases, which must be played
in order:
2.Load Merchant Bag
5. End of Round
Note that the player who is acting as the Sheriff only
participates in Phase 4, Inspection, and Phase 5, End of Round.
He would do well to observe the actions of the other players
during the other phases.
At the end of each round, players will pass the Sheriff Marker to
the left allowing a new player to become Sheriff. The game
continues until each player has been the Sheriff twice (three
times in a three-player game).
Once you are done setting up, your playing
area should look something like this.
You are ready to begin!
f you are playing a three-player game, you must
make two changes:
Before shuffling the cards, remove all cards that
have the “4+” icon (return them to the box). This includes:
all 36 Bread cards, four Pepper, five Mead, and three Silk. If
playing with the Royal Goods, one Bleu Cheese, one Golden
Apples, one Pumpernickel Bread, one Royal Rooster, and two
Rye Bread should also be removed prior to shuffling.
Continue playing until all players have been the
Sheriff three times.
In this phase, you may discard
unwanted cards and draw new
ones, hoping to get a set of goods
to take to market.
tarting with the player to the Sheriff ’s left and going
clockwise, each merchant player takes one turn. On your
turn, you may set aside up to five cards from your hand (face
down), then draw back up to six cards.
When you draw cards, you can take them from the top of
either discard pile or the draw pile. Yes, this means that if you
really want the third card down in a discard pile, you have to
draw the two on top of it first.
You must always draw the cards you want from the discard
piles before drawing any cards from the draw pile. You
cannot take some cards from the draw pile, and then decide
to take cards from the discard piles.
After you have drawn cards, place the cards you set aside at
the beginning of this phase on one of the discard piles, face
up, in any order you choose.
Playing hint:
Drawing cards from the discard pile is a good way to
get the cards you want, but it also shows the Sheriff
what you take! Of course, this may also be a way to
trick him…
Example: Little John has two Chickens in his hand, and he
knows that there is another Chicken two cards down in the left
discard pile. He discards three cards from his hand, draws those
two cards from the discard pile, and draws one from the draw
pile. Then he places his three discards on top of the
right-hand discard pile.
In this phase, you place the goods
cards that you want to take to
market in your Merchant Bag.
Example Alan-a-Dale has been collecting Apples. He
places four Apple cards from his hand into his Merchant Bag.
Then he adds a Crossbow. He would love to toss in the Silk he’s
holding, but he can only put a maximum of five cards in his bag.
He closes the bag and places it in front of him.
ll merchant players place Goods in their bags at the
same time. You can place from one to five Goods in
your Merchant Bag. You cannot place zero Goods or more
than five Goods in your bag.
Be careful that you don’t let the Sheriff or the other
merchants see which cards you put in your bag.
When you are satisfied with the Goods in your bag, snap
it closed and place it on the table in front of you. Once you
close your bag, you cannot change your mind later!
In this phase, you must declare
to the Sheriff what goods you
are delivering to the market.
Of course, you can feel free to lie
to him. In fact, you will probably
have to lie at some point during
the game!
tarting with the player to the Sheriff ’s left and going
clockwise, each merchant player looks the Sheriff in the
eyes and tells him what Goods he is taking to market. When
you make your declaration, you must hand your Merchant
Bag to the Sheriff.
Important: The Sheriff cannot look in the Merchant Bags
at this time!
You may make any declaration you wish, but you must follow
these three conditions:
• You can only declare Legal Goods.
• You can only declare one kind of Goods.
• You must declare only the exact number of cards in
your Merchant Bag.
Example Will Scarlet looks at the Sheriff and announces:
“My bag has four Chickens in it!” He has to say four, because there
are four cards in his Merchant Bag, but they might not all
be Chickens! In fact, Will only has two Chickens in his bag. The
other two cards are a Cheese and a Silk. The Silk is contraband, so
he would have to lie about that anyway: Will can only declare
Legal Goods.
Will cannot declare three or five Goods, because he must always
declare the exact number of cards in his bag. He could not
declare that he has two Chickens and two Cheese, because he
can only declare one type of Good.
Example The Sheriff is about to inspect Friar Tuck’s bag. Tuck
Now the Sheriff can choose to
inspect the Merchant Bags!
says “Wait, Sheriff! You don’t need to look in that bag! How about
I give you five Gold and two Apples for your trouble?” The Sheriff
looks at the good friar suspiciously and says, “Make it eight Gold
and we have a deal.”
Looking hurt that no one believes his innocence, Tuck pays the
Sheriff eight coins and two Apple cards from his Merchant Stand.
The Sheriff hands Tuck’s Merchant bag back to him.
hen you are the Sheriff, you decide the order in which
you inspect the bags. You can inspect any number of
Merchant Bags during this phase. You can even decide not to
inspect any bags!
Before you inspect a bag, you may choose to threaten the
bag’s owner. That player may offer you a bribe to avoid the
inspection. A bribe can be just about anything you can think
of, in any combination. Here are some of the things you can
offer as part of a bribe:
• Gold
• Legal Goods in your Merchant Stand
• Contraband in your Merchant Stand
• Goods in your bag (Legal or Contraband)
• Promises of future favors
See “Honor Among Thieves” on page 10.
You cannot offer any of the cards in your hand as
part of a bribe!
Once the Sheriff has made a choice it cannot be changed.
As soon as you unsnap a Merchant Bag or hand it back,
it’s too late to change your mind!
After the Sheriff hears your offer (and after any negotiation
required to settle the issue), the Sheriff must either allow you
to pass (accepting any bribe that may have been
offered), and hand you your Merchant Bag,
or inspect the bag (refusing any bribe that
may have been offered).
You must now show the cards in
your bag to the other players.
All Legal Goods are placed in the matching spaces of your
Merchant Stand face up. The Legal Goods of your Merchant
Stand can always be inspected by any player at any time.
Example Maid Marion’s sweet and innocent reputation got
her past the Sheriff without even paying a bribe! She pulls three
cards out of her bag: Two of them were Cheese, just like she said in
the Declaration Phase. She places those in her Merchant Stand face
up. But the third card was Contraband! The Sheriff groans as she
places it face down above her stand.
All Contraband is kept secret! You must reveal the number of
Contraband cards you have smuggled into Nottingham, but
not their type. Keep your Contraband face down at the top of
your Merchant Stand.
there are two possible outcomes:
If you were telling the truth, and your bag has exactly what
you declared, the Sheriff must pay you Gold equal to the
Penalty on every Legal Good in your bag. Your Legal Goods
are then added to your Merchant Stand, as above.
If you were lying, and your bag does not have exactly what
you declared, three things happen:
1. Any Goods that you did declare truthfully are allowed into
the market. Place them on your Merchant Stand face up, as
2. Any Goods that you did not truthfully declare are
confiscated! The Sheriff takes all of those Goods and places
them on one of the discard piles, in any order he chooses.
3. You must pay a fine to the Sheriff for all confiscated Goods.
The fine is equal to the Penalty shown at the bottom of each
Playing hint:
When offering bribes to the Sheriff, keep in mind
that you will have to pay him a Penalty for any
confiscated Goods anyway. Sometimes it’s worth
offering him a little bit more to avoid having your
Goods confiscated.
Example Much the Miller’s Son turns out to be an honest
man. The Sheriff inspected his bag and found that it does, indeed,
have exactly four Chickens in it, just like he said. The Sheriff must
pay him eight Gold (two for each Chicken). Much the Miller’s Son
then gets to add the Chickens to his Merchant Stand.
Example Gilbert Whitehand has four cards in his Merchant
Bag. He declared that he had four Apples. Even after Gilbert
offered a hefty bribe, the Sheriff refused to believe him and
inspected his bag. Inside he found only one Apple, one Cheese
and two Mead.
Since Gilbert was truthful about the one Apple, he is allowed to
keep it (adding it to his stand). But, he lied about the other three
Goods, so those are confiscated (and placed in the discard pile).
Gilbert must now pay the Sheriff ten Gold (two for the Cheese plus
four for each of the Mead cards).
Normally, all deals you make must
be honored! However, there are a
couple of exceptions:
• Promises of future favors, which take place after the current
inspection phase, are not binding!
• A merchant might offer the sheriff a bribe, which includes
Goods in his merchant bag. Of course, he might be lying
about the contents of his bag. If he is allowed to pass, when
he reveals the Goods in his bag, he need only pay the sheriff
the Goods he promised which actually exist! If he promised
Goods to the sheriff, which are not in his bag, he does not
have to pay those.
Example The Sheriff is threatening to inspect Richard at the
Lee’s Merchant Bag. Richard decides to use this opportunity to get
back at Sir Guy of Gisbourne. He makes the following offer: “Sheriff,
I will pay you twenty Gold if you agree to let me pass unchecked and
agree to inspect Sir Guy’s bag, regardless of what bribes he may offer
you!” The Sheriff agrees, taking Richard’s money and waving him
along. Now the Sheriff must inspect Sir Guy’s bag, since the deal can
be completed in the same round.
In a later round, Sir Guy makes a deal with the Sheriff: “If you don’t
inspect my bag this round, I won’t inspect your bag next time I’m
Sheriff.” The Sheriff agrees and lets Guy into the market. But, when
Guy is the Sheriff during a later round, he could decide to betray his
honor and inspect the (former) Sheriff ’s bag!
If all players have been Sheriff
twice (three times in a three-player
game), the game ends immediately!
therwise, the player who was the Sheriff passes the
Sheriff marker to the player on his left. That player will
be the Sheriff during the next round.
All players draw cards until they again have six cards in hand.
Note that the Sheriff should have six cards in hand from the
last round.
The next round begins with
Phase 1, the Market Phase.
t is possible that you will run out of Gold coins during the
game. You cannot offer Gold for bribes if you do not have
the coins to pay.
If you cannot pay a Penalty you owe, you must give the player
Legal Goods from your Merchant Stand with a value at least
equal to the amount you owe. (This may mean you give more
value than you owe, but you won’t receive change for the
excess.) If you do not have enough Legal Goods, you must
reveal and hand over Contraband to make up the difference.
The player who received the Goods may then add them to
their Market Stand.
If you have exhausted all the Goods and contraband in your
Market Stand to pay a debt, any leftover debt is considered
this helps a desperately
poor player!
In the event that you run out of cards during the game,
you will need to shuffle all but the top five cards from
each of the two discard piles to recreate the draw pile.
he game ends after all players have had two chances
(three chances in a three-player game) to play as the
Sheriff. At the end of the last round, all players discard
any cards they have in hand—those cards are not worth
any points!
Then, reveal your Contraband cards and count up your score.
You earn points equal to:
• The value of all Goods you have in your Merchant Stand
(Legal and Contraband);
• Any Gold coins you have; plus
• Any bonuses you have earned for being the
“King” or “Queen” of a type of Good.
The player with the most points wins.
If two players tie for the same amount of points, the player
with the most Legal Goods wins. If there is still a tie, then the
player with the most Contraband Goods wins.
So, you want to be
the Chicken King?
Example David of Doncaster ends the game with these Goods
Comparing his totals with the other players, he sees that he has the
most Cheese, making him the “Cheese King”, and that he is tied
with one other player for the second most Chickens, so they split the
“Chicken Queen” bonus. His total score is as follows:
he player who has successfully delivered the most and
the second most of each type of Legal Good is declared
the “King” and “Queen”, respectively, of that Good. They
receive bonus points as follows:
in his Merchant Stand: 4 Apples, 6 Cheese, 1 Bread, 4 Chickens, 2
Pepper, and one Crossbow. He has 42 Gold.
Legal Goods
King’s Bonus
Queen’s Bonus
Chickens10 5
If there is a tie for the King’s Bonus, add the King and Queen
bonuses together, and divide the total equally between all the
tied players (rounding down). Do not pay out bonuses for
second place.
If there is a tie for the Queen’s Bonus, divide those points
equally between the tied players (round down).
Apples: 4 x 2 = 8
Cheese: 6 x 3 = 18
Bread: 1 x 3 = 3
Chickens: 4 x 4 = 16
Pepper: 2 x 6 = 12
Crossbow: 1 x 9 = 9
Gold Coins on hand: 42
Cheese King: 15
Chicken Queen: 5 ÷ 2 = 2.5
rounded down to 2.
Total: 8 + 18 + 3 + 16 + 12 + 9
+ 42 + 15 + 2 = 125 points!
optional RULES
oyal Goods are the finest quality Goods in the kingdom.
Prince John has declared that these Goods can only be
used by himself and his most loyal cronies. So, all Goods
marked with a gold banner and a Sheriff ’s badge are considered contraband.
The Royal Goods are normally meant to be played with the
game, but are removed when first learning the game. Add
the twelve Royal Goods cards to the deck before you shuffle.
They are treated just like any other Contraband card during
the game.
At the end of the game, the Royal Goods cards are added to
your other Legal Goods before you determine who wins the
King and Queen bonus for each type of Good. Each Royal
Good counts as 2 or 3 of the matching type of Good, as listed
on the Royal Good card. Note that six of the Royal Goods
cards are marked with a “4+” icon and must be removed
during a three player game.
Example Will Stutely and the Bishop of Hereford are com-
peting for the title of Cheese King. Will has 10 Cheese cards and
the Bishop has 11. Normally, that means the Bishop would get a
15 Gold bonus and Will would only get 10 Gold.
But, Will has a surprise! He has a Gouda Cheese card. That brings
his total to 12 Cheese, which is more than the Bishop has. Will
gets to be the Cheese King!
heriff of Nottingham is even more fun when you put a
time limit on the Inspection Phase! The Sheriff only gets
1 minute for each merchant in the game. So, in a four-player
game, the Sheriff only gets 3 minutes to decide if he is going
to inspect any of the Merchant Bags. If you run out of time,
any merchants you have not inspected must be allowed to
pass without bribing you.
You can use your own timer for this, but why not download
our free app at We built in
lots of fun sound effects to add atmosphere to your game!
ave annoying card counters in your group? Frustrate
them with this optional rule!
At the beginning of the game, after shuffling the cards, randomly remove 10 cards from the deck and return them to
the box without revealing them. This way, no one will know
which cards were removed!
seven card hand
ncrease each players hand size from six cards to seven.
This gives the merchants more control and makes it a
little more challenging for the Sheriff.
romotional cards for Sheriff of Nottingham can be
identified by the blue banner at the bottom of the card.
These cards may be added to the deck without needing to
remove other cards.
Copyright © 2014 Arcane Wonders®. All rights reserved.
No portion of this document may be duplicated or copied without the express written permission of Arcane Wonders®.
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