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The Drink: Contraband Golden Apple

1.5oz ginger snap vodka (we used cupcake)
1/2 oz green apple schnapps
1 oz apple juice

1/4 oz fresh lemon juice
1/4 oz simple syrup

Shake and strain, garnish with apple slices. 


Our Review

At it's core, Sheriff of Nottingham is a game about bluffing, tricking, and mind-reading. Much like rock-paper-scissors, you can spend all day analyzing what the other player is going to do, but they're also analyzing your move. So you have to guess whether they'll go for the reverse, and you should play the double-reverse. Or whether they're expecting the double-reverse and you need to go all the way to the triple-reverse. Welcome to game theory, friends.

One huge plus for this game is that there is a wide range of effective strategies. You can play it safe and only put legal goods in your merchant bag, or you can make bold plays and try to make deals with the sheriff to let your stack of crossbows through, or you can pretend to play it safe and slyly sneak through that barrel of mead. Whatever your heart desires. And your strategy will have to be tweaked each game, and even each round, depending on the other players, what cards you draw, and how suspicious the current sheriff is of you.

The wide range of strategies is critical to this game's wide appeal. Jordan, our resident troll, loves figuring out how to best bluff his way past the sheriff by sneaking goods in when he thinks he can escape unscathed or messing with the sheriff by acting really suspicious when he only has honest goods in the bag. But! This game is not just for the trolls among us. Jessi, who does not enjoy bluffing, was still able to play effectively and have a good time with extremely minimal tricking. So... good job, Sheriff designers! A bluffing game that is still "a solid medium" for non-bluffers. That's hard to do!


If you're an experienced board gamer, you should be able to pick up this game relatively quickly. Most of the rules are pretty straightforward, although there are a few nuances about things like discards that might be tricky if nobody has played before. Make sure to read that rule book carefully! Even newbie gamers should be able to pick this one up without too much trouble, although the nature of the bluffing and secrecy might make it difficult to ask specific questions after the game has started without giving too much away.

This game should be accessible to most color-blind folks. There's no color coding on the cards, so the only thing to worry about is the merchant sacks themselves. But they're brightly colored and, if necessary, you could really easily add distinctive marks to the bags to distinguish them.


The best part of this game is so seemingly minor, but oh so satisfying. The merchant bags where you store your goods are closed with a snap. And opening that snap when you call somebody on their bluff... wow. The "pop" sound and that visceral feeling right before figuring out that you've been swindled out of your money. So good.

In general, games where the end goal is to accumulate money or victory points tend to have a less engaging theme. But certainly not always, and this game is one of those exceptions. Yes, you can count up your pile of coins and try to mathematically analyze how to get the most. But one way to get a bonus of money at the end of the game is by being the king or queen in a particular category of good. So you'll be vying with the other players to see who can be the Cheese King or the Bread King, which is already so much more fun than just getting money.

And the even better part is when you, inevitably, get attached to the apples in your merchant bag, or your beautiful loaves of bread, or the fine rounds of cheese that you're so excited to get to market. 

I have never cared so much about a bird as I did about the chicken cards I brought to market in this game. I mean, come on, they had names. 

Even better than getting super attached to your chickens or cheese, is how attached you get to your non-existent cheese. When, for example, your cheese that you have so carefully wrapped up and brought on your wagon to market is, in fact, a crossbow that you plan to sneak past the sheriff and sell on the town's black market.

At this point, my only question is, how big would your round of cheese have to be to disguise an entire crossbow inside???

The Breakdown

Overall rating:
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ - Would recommend to most gaming groups

🍹🍹🍹🍹 - DRINKERS: People get worse at bluffing when tipsy, which is good and bad
💭💭💭  - THINKERS: Plenty of interesting strategic decisions, but you can do fine without thinking too hard.
⚜⚜⚜⚜⚜ - THEMERS: The theme is great. My chickens agree.
😜😜😜😜😜 - BLUFFERS: Definitely recommend for anybody who enjoys bluffing

📖📖📖 - Fairly easy to learn, but hard for newbies to ask specific questions after starting
⌛️⌛️⌛️ - Not a quick game, but won't take all night

Want More?

Buy it: http://amzn.to/1TPAY3S
Learn more: http://www.arcanewonders.com/sheriff-of-nottingham