Sheriff of Nottingham

Sheriff of Nottingham
Arcane Wonders
galapagoes jagos


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.

Prince 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!

Game Components

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
• 1 Sheriff marker
• 5 Merchant Stands
• 5 Merchant Bags
• These Rules

The Goods Cards

Each 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).


Each 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 down.
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.


The 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:
1. Market
2. Load Merchant Bag
3. Declaration
4. Inspection
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).

If 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.
Starting 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.
All 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!

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.

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!
Starting 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.

Now the Sheriff can choose to inspect the Merchant Bags!
When 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).

Example The Sheriff is about to inspect Friar Tuck’s bag. Tuck 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.

IF THE SHERIFF LETS YOU PASS 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. 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.

IF THE SHERIFF INSPECTS YOUR BAG 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 normal.
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 card.

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 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.
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!
Otherwise, 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.

It 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 paid.
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.


The 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?
The 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:

Apples - King’s Bonus 20 - Queen’s Bonus 10
Cheese - King’s Bonus 15 - Queen’s Bonus 10
Bread - King’s Bonus 15 - Queen’s Bonus 10
Chickens King’s Bonus 10 - Queen’s Bonus 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).

Example David of Doncaster ends the game with these Goods in his Merchant Stand: 4 Apples, 6 Cheese, 1 Bread, 4 Chickens, 2 Pepper, and one Crossbow. He has 42 Gold.

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:

Legal Goods
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!


Royal 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 competing 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!

Sheriff 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!
Have 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 Increase 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.

Promotional 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®.