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Our latest featured game is Sheriff of Nottingham (SoN), a game that is big on bluffing, deduction and negotiation!
In SoN the Sheriff is holding a celebration (probably due to some nefarious act) and the players are merchants bringing in goods for the feast. Foodstuffs are fine, but players can also try to smuggle in contraband, which is risky but generates the big money you need to win the game. Each turn a different player takes on the role of a customs inspector (presumably on some sort of Medieval job share scheme), whose job it is to sniff out the contraband and make a bit of money on the side by accepting bribes from the mechants, who are keen to get their goods into the castle.
The players have a hand of cards which are either foodstuffs (legitimate goods) or things such as weapons (which are contraband). At the start of each turn they draw cards from a deck (either the face down stack, or from any face up discards which are near the top of the pile). They then decide which goods they are going to try and take into the castle that round. They put these into a cloth bag and declare what the bag contains. This is where the fun starts, as the players are entirely free to lie about what is in their bags! You might have 2 crossbows and a chicken, but declare that it is definitely 3 apples. It is the job of the customs inspector to try and sniff out who is telling the truth and who is smuggling illicit goods. If the CI correctly catches a player out, then they have to pay a fine and the goods are discarded. However if she gets it wrong, then it is her that has to pay a fine and the goods are allowed into the castle. It is obviously a risky business for all partners, so there is often a lot of back and forth, generally with a bribe or two involved!
Once the CI has decided which bags to open and the consequences of this have been determined, any goods in unopened bags (together with any from bags that were opened in error by the CI), are added to the players stash. At the end of the game after 5 rounds, players earn gold from the goods in their stah, together with a bonus for having the most or second most of each foodstuff type. This is added to their cash and the player with the most gold is the winner!