When comparing Balderdash 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 20th while Balderdash is ranked 30th. 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 A great party game
Balderdash has been around since 1984 and has proven itself to be perfect for all kinds of gettogethers. The game is simple and filled with plenty of socialization, bluffing, ridiculous answers, and laughter.
Players receive points from other players, so it’s entirely possible to move forward on the gameboard only because of others applauding what you’ve written. Players can often get some laughs and points out of everyone by making their answers little throwbacks to previous answers.
When everyone has chosen an answer, the correct one is revealed. This can lead to plenty of hilarious discussions about how another answer appeared more probable.
The game is very easy to teach and accessible because there really isn’t much to it. The basics are straightforward – you take a card, roll dice, and choose the category on the card that matches the rolled number (if a player rolls 6, they can choose the category). Then you say whatever is written under the category to the other players – a word that requires a definition, a movie that needs its plot, etc. While the players are writing their answers, you write down the real one. Once everyone has handed in the answers, you read them aloud. Then the players vote, and you write down which player voted for who. After that points are distributed.
If nobody managed to guess the correct answer, then the “dasher” (the person reading the answers) receives three points which translates to three moves on the gameboard. If a player’s written answer was correct or very close, they receive three points and their answer is not read aloud with the others. Otherwise players receive a point for every other player voting for their answer. Two points are given to whoever guesses the correct one. The first person to reach the finish space on the gameboard wins.
Pro Decent replayability
You will never play the same game of Balderdash twice. The box of the game includes 280 cards with 5 categories on each. Even if you manage to draw the same card in a different game, chances are the dice roll will make you read out a different category anyway.
Pro Allows one to be creative
When writing down answers the player gets to be as creative as they like and the game tends to encourage silly as well as ridiculous answers.
Pro Good with larger groups
The description says 2-6 players but it's really fun with a group of 4+, if more than 6 just pair up the players and it will still be a hilarious time.
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 Highly group dependent
The game requires people to understand it, socialize, be engaged, and have fun with it. If a person isn’t really invested into making creative answers, or just isn’t particularly good at Balderdash, then it can be very easy to spot which answers are incorrect right off the bat, which kind of ruins the experience.
Similarly, if a player is just unfamiliar with the game or maybe just learned it, then their experience also won’t be as fun and pleasant as that of an experienced player who knows the ins and outs of the game. For example, the way the correct answers are formulated, common tendencies, etc.
Con Not suitable for younger children
Balderdash might not be the best fit for children under the recommended age of 12. It’s a smart game that requires some higher language comprehension and general knowledge of many things, for example, movie plots and laws, to be able to effectively bluff as you write and formulate your answers.
Con Not fun with two people
The game devolves into a pure guessing game when played by two people. The gameplay consists of one player writing down the false answer and the true answer and making the other person guess which one is correct. While it keeps some of the bluffing elements, it really takes a lot of the laughter and light-heartedness out of Balderdash.
Con Components included are very sparse
Balderdash, for its price should include more in the box as not even including pencils means the game can not be played without outside equipment.
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.