When comparing Agricola vs Sheriff of Nottingham, the Slant community recommends Sheriff of Nottingham for most people. In the question“What are the best board games?” Sheriff of Nottingham is ranked 22nd while Agricola is ranked 41st. The most important reason people chose Sheriff of Nottingham is:
“Sheriff of Nottingham” is a great game for providing some action and laughs at a smaller get-together, which is to be expected from an easy game that revolves around light roleplay, random banter, and lying and bribing your way to victory. While not necessarily a roleplaying game, sometimes players can’t help but change their voice when taking on the role of the sheriff and threatening the merchants. The same principle works the other way around – merchants tend to come up with witty excuses when trying to bribe the sheriff or pass their stock as legitimate. All of this can lead to some hilarious and memorable moments.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Easy to explain, but very difficult to master
The basic premise in Agricola is simple: players take one of their two starting people and, in turn order, use it to select an action. Once an action is selected, it can not be chosen by other players. After everyone has placed their first worker players place their second, again in turn order, followed by 3rd, 4th, and 5th, if applicable. However, the difficulty in Agricola comes from the relatively limited number of action slots available and the sheer number of things players are trying to accomplish over the 14 rounds of the game.
Pro Has expansions that can add more depth and variety to the game
Players can purchase the expansion, Farmers on the Moor, to add more gameplay options and strategic depth or they can purchase additional card packs to add variety to the minor improvement and occupation decks. This helps keep the game from getting stale and encourages multiple plays to try and experience everything this game has to offer.
Pro High player interaction for this type of game
The very limited number of actions available to take each round, combined with most resources only being available at 1 or 2 spots means that players are regularly interfering with eachother's plans and constantly being forced to reevaluate their strategy after an opponent blocks them. This leads to high amounts of player interaction and keep you very engaged in the game instead of focusing solely on your player board.
Pro Great party game
“Sheriff of Nottingham” is a great game for providing some action and laughs at a smaller get-together, which is to be expected from an easy game that revolves around light roleplay, random banter, and lying and bribing your way to victory.
While not necessarily a roleplaying game, sometimes players can’t help but change their voice when taking on the role of the sheriff and threatening the merchants. The same principle works the other way around – merchants tend to come up with witty excuses when trying to bribe the sheriff or pass their stock as legitimate. All of this can lead to some hilarious and memorable moments.
Pro Simple to understand
"Sheriff of Nottingham" makes for a great gateway game because of how easy the rules are. Even children can understand the main gist quite easily. The game revolves around managing your hand, collecting sets, and lying straight to the sheriff's face.
Every turn the players discard and redraw cards from discard piles and the deck and maintain 6 cards in-hand. The players then choose 1-5 cards, place them in a burlap sack, and declare them to the player taking the role of the sheriff by saying how many cards of one type are in the sack, but the only thing that must be truthful is the number of goods - the actual contents can be contraband or different types of goods. For example, a player says that their sack contains 3 chickens, whereas it actually contains 2 chickens and a crossbow.
It is up to the sheriff to decide who is inspected and who is let in. If the sheriff catches a merchant trying to bring in contraband or different goods than he declared, then that merchant must pay the sheriff the penalty price written on the cards. If the sheriff inspects the bag of a truthful merchant, then the sheriff must compensate the penalty to the player and let the goods go to the merchant stand.
The game is won by the player who has accumulated the most wealth after every player has been the sheriff two times (three times if playing with three players).
Pro Quality components
The components are all well-made and should hold up to regular wear and tear and even an accidental drop now and then. The game consists of gold coins, merchant stand boards, and a Sheriff marker made from thick cardboard, cards made of durable cardstock, merchant bags made of dense fabric, and a useful foamcore card insert for holding the cards during the gameplay.
Pro Useful mobile app
Arcane Wonders have made a free mobile companion app for “Sheriff of Nottingham” that helps with keeping the time of inspections if you’re playing with a time limit, keeping score of your finances and who is in the lead, and providing an atmosphere with ambient sounds and voice-acted audio comments.
If you just want to make the game funnier, you can pay 3$ for the “Merchant Fun Pack” to get a clickable soundboard and unlock over 70 more audio comments to spam throughout the game, featuring such highlights as “COUGH Contraband COUGH COUGH” or “Crossbows are illegal, right?”.
Con Can be a very punishing game for new players
Even players who love Agricola regularly joke that its name should be Misery Farm. This is because everything that you fail to do will cost you points, yet it is very difficult to do some of everything. This means that new players have a very low chance of beating someone experienced since they won't fully now what to expect as the game goes on and how to plan for it.
Con Very group dependent
The game will not fit every group due to the social nature of it. It's a whole different game when played with children, adults, or more introverted people. The personalities of people greatly influence the banter, the roleplay, the bribery, and the negotiation parts, which are core aspects of "Sheriff of Nottingham".
Moreover, if players choose not to engage in the more cutthroat side of the gameplay (bribery, lying, etc.), the game gets boring very fast. "Sheriff of Nottingham" is all about bluffing, and if you take that part of the game out entirely then it just becomes a card game where people race for the most points.
Con Not greatly replayable
The game manages to keep the players excited for the first few plays, but it easily loses its charm after you play it more than ten times or so. It starts to feel samey even when played a few times in a row.
The variations of the game don't really impact the replayability either - they only add a little bit of difficulty, for example, you can add a time limit, make players have 7 cards in-hand, remove some cards from the deck, or play with "royal goods", which are basically cards that are counted as contraband but add to your legal good count at the end of the game.