When comparing Sheriff of Nottingham vs Munchkin, the Slant community recommends Sheriff of Nottingham for most people. In the question“What are the best party board games?” Sheriff of Nottingham is ranked 5th while Munchkin is ranked 7th. 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 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?”.
Pro Encourages both cutthroat and cooperative play
On top of casual banter, you’ll be actively talking with the other players throughout the whole game. You'll want to gang up in earlier rounds to defeat monsters, but tensions are bound to rise nearing the end of the game.
At the start players are too weak to take on most monsters so it’s best to band together, but, obviously, not everyone wants to help you for free. You will haggle for the price of assistance – a share of the treasure, an equipment item from the player, or anything else. It’s up to you, you can even, say, make a player complete a dare you just made up.
The end of the game can get loud -- even the game’s box states that it revolves around backstabbing your friends. Some comments are bound to fly around as players announce what cards they’re using to flip the round in the monsters’ favor and take away that sweet victory that was just about to be achieved.
Pro Hilarious theme
The game is a parody of fantasy role-playing board games in its purest form, and the art on the cards reflects that. The game is filled with all kinds of funny characters and references that parody the board gaming culture. For example, there’s a card called “Whine at the GM” which makes you go up a level. Also, every expansion comes with a brand-new theme filled with more humorous content to bring to the table - the wild west, holiday-themed stuff, and yes, even hipsters. All the cards are illustrated by the popular cartoonist John Kovalic.
Pro Amazing replay value
The game offers a lot of variety because of the big card count, which ensures that every game will be different. There are 168 cards in total, which include monsters, player classes and races, equipment items, special cards, spells, and much more.
Furthermore, Munchkin has a lot of expansions. Each of these offers even more cards with all kinds of different mechanics.
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.
Con Very long play time
Munchkin is not really a game you can quickly play out before doing something else. A normal match takes anywhere between one and two hours, but some people have reported playing for up to 5 hours. This is mostly due to the social factor – almost every action in the game is impacted by whether the other players choose to help you or undermine you. This is especially true for the end-game where each player is looking for the lucky draw to win and everyone else is trying to deny the win by enhancing the monsters.
Con Highly luck-based
Whatever you draw will directly impact the game, as is typical for a card game. Some games will just not go well for you, be it not getting good equipment cards, tackling monsters too strong for you, or other players drawing the right cards either to win or mess up your game.
Con Not very accessible
Munchkin isn’t something that people would call a great gateway game. The basics are not too difficult, and the mechanics of the cards are purposely simple, but there is simply too much to take in for a complete beginner.
If the player happens to be playing with more experienced players, then he’s at a huge disadvantage. There’s quite a lot to explain – levelling up, equipment, combat, and, most importantly, cooperation to defeat monsters. There are many variables to everything. For example, almost every equipment piece has some conditions and exceptions tied to it.
The beginner is probably unsure of the value of the cards in his hand either, which is very crucial in a game where every card matters. There’s a lot of reading to be done to find out what each card does, and this gets worse if you’re playing with expansions.
Con No easy way to keep track of levels in non-deluxe versions
Though the deluxe version comes with a handy gameboard and character figures, the regular game really lacks a universal and convenient way of following progression. The game can get intense at times, which can make some players mistake their level and miscalculate attacks. Most players end up using a piece of paper to mark the levels, others use coins or poker chips.
There’s an official mobile app that resolves this problem and, on top of that, helps track attack values, but it comes for an extra $5.00.