I have recently played Nottingham, a card game from Uwe Rosenberg. It is a very simple game, quick to pick up, and quite fun and fast to play.

The players take on the role of tax collectors, and use every means at their disposal to collect revenue from the populace, while the sheriff is patrolling Sherwood Forest.

Each player must collect sets of cards, and can trade in three of the same card to score points. They can also try and collect other sets (three pairs, four pairs, one of each card or five of a kind) to score bonuses. Only two players can score each bonus, and each bonus is worth between 10 and 30 points (sets of three are worth 7 to 13).

Each time someone scores, the sheriff moves through the forest. When he returns to the castle, the game ends.

As well as forming sets, each of the cards have a special action. These actions enforce card trading amongst the players, helping you to complete sets, and hindering your opponents. These special actions ensure that most players are always engaged, and avoids any periods of downtime.

I believe that it is a sensible strategy to attempt to complete sets quickly, and score often. As the sheriff moves, cards are given to players with small hand sizes, and taking advantage of this often is a major benefit. I think that a score of 100+ in a four player game should guarantee victory.

The playing pieces are of high quality, but the rules are somewhat confusing. As is often the case it’s much easier to learn to play by actually playing the game, especially if you can play with  someone who has played before. Expect to make a few mistakes in a few games until you get the hang of the rules, but after that, it’s a game that should take less than 45 minutes to play, including set-up time.


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