Sheriff of Nottingham

How to play Sheriff of Nottingham

Easy and fast way to learn how to play Sheriff of Nottingham board game. We cover the essential rules and get your game started quickly.

2 – 5  players

60 mins

Age: 14 +

What is the goal?

  • Players are merchants,  who on each turn, attempt to bring their goods to the market for trading
  • They take turns to be the sheriff who inspects the merchant’s bags
  • Players who are merchants must persuade the sheriff to let their goods through
  • Players gain wealth by getting their goods into the market
  • Player with most wealth wins

Table of Contents

Game setup 

Each player takes a Merchant bag and stand of matching colour. One player is chosen to be banker and distributes 50 gold to each player (including him or herself).

In the Basic Game setup,

  • remove Royal Goods cards (12 cards and return to box)
  • shuffle remaining cards and deal 6 to each player
  • leftover cards are placed in draw pile

Create 2 discard piles by drawing 5 cards from draw pile to form 1st discard pile and drawing 5 cards again to form 2nd discard pile.

Finally, randomly select a player as the sheriff


  • Game is played over a series of rounds. Each round has 5 phases:

How do you win?

At the end of the last round (every player has been sheriff twice or 3 times for 3 player game),

  1. Discard all cards on hand (these cards have no points)
  2. Reveal Contraband cards and count total score. Total score equals:
    • value of all goods on Merchant Stand (legal and contraband)
    • gold coins
    • bonuses for being ‘king’ or ‘queen’ for a type of good
      • player who has delivered the most or second most of a type of good gets bonuses
        Bonus table for King and Queen of type of good - Sheriff of Nottingham
      • tie for King, add King and Queen bonuses together and split among the tied players (round down). No bonuses for second
      • if tied for Queen bonuses. Divide it among tied players (round down)
  3. Player with most points wins

Useful References

Gold and Penalty value of goods - Sheriff of Nottingham

What are the Optional Rules for Sheriff of Nottingham?

Royal Goods Cards

Add these cards when you have gotten used to the game.

4+ marked cards are only used for 4 or more players and are removed from 3 player games.

Rules for Royal Goods Cards:

  • treated like contraband
  • when inspected, they are confiscated and one pays the fine listed on the card
  • if they make it through to the market, they are placed face down on the Merchant Stand
  • at the end of the game, added to the legal goods and are worth the amount listed on the card

Royal Cards - Optional rules for Sheriff of Nottingham

Video Walkthrough


  1. michiko
  2. michiko

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