I had bought Sherwood Forest several years ago. However, it is one of the very few games in my collection that I have not yet played. This is primarily because while I have heard the game is a lot of fun, especially under the advanced rules, the way the rules are written (in English) makes it very difficult to understand how to actually play. This is despite the fact that the game is not terribly complex from a functional standpoint.
I finally learned how to play the game by playing it SOLO.. just to walk through it and figure it out step by step with help from the tireless efforts from Pedro (Predator). To attest to how poorly the rules were written, I've never had to play a game solo just to figure out how to play it. This is supposed to be an AWESOME game, so I figured I would take the time to help others who I am guessing are wanting to get this to the table but are similarly frustrated and foiled by the rulebook.
Like most people who are familiar with how to play Sherwood Forest, I think it is important to learn the basic rules before moving on to the advanced game. So in an effort to help, I have listed a few of the common issues people have had to troubleshoot or figure out when trying to play the basic game for the first time.
1. Issue: You received 8 raiders... in orange... with your game along with the orange starting player and 3 orange cube markers. But there is nothing in the setup about the color 'orange'. Just blue, green, yellow, red, purple and black.
What are these orange game pieces and what are they used for? No corresponding encampment for orange is enclosed.
Answer: From what can be discerned, it appears that some people received these orange pieces and others did not. For those who did receive it, it provides the opportunity for someone to play with orange instead of another color. Nothing more. You can use a different color encampment for the color you substitute out.
2. Issue: The rules loosely interchange between the terms "player" and "raider", especially when explaining about subdividing the loot, which adds to the confusion about how to divide loot. How should the rule be interpreted?
Answer: Loot is split directly proportional to the number of 'raiders" each player contributed to the hideout and NOT by the number of "players" in the hideout.
EX. Meaning that if the blue player is the brigand leader and there are 5 raiders in the hideout of the color blue and 3 raiders of the color red and there is 8 gold at stake, then the loot is split in the following order:
1 piece of gold for the first blue raider, then 1 piece goes to the first red raider
1 piece of gold for the second blue raider, then 1 piece goes to the second red raider
1 piece of gold for the third blue raider, then 1 piece goes to the third red raider
The 2 remaining pieces of gold go to the last two blue raiders.
Sidebar 1: If, for instance, there were 9 pieces of gold in play, then the process for distribution would start all over again. The brigand leader would logically probably go first, choosing themselves (blue) to receive the 9th piece of gold. If there was a 10th piece of gold, then that would go to a red raider. And so on and so forth.
Sidebar 2: If companions AND gold are involved, the brigand leader blue gets to choose what each red raider would get, as long as they got something. Remember 1 piece of loot can either be a piece of gold or a companion. They count equally when distributing "loot".
3. Issue: The rulebook continually interchanges the terms "active player", "player" and "brigand leader". Is there some way I can make better sense out of what is what and who is who here?
Answer: This one is difficult. Whenever you see the term "active player" it means the person whose turn it is. Contextually, the rules sometimes refer to a person as the "active player' when 'brigand leader' would technically have been more correct and readily understandable. Read the rules contextually, and it should make a little more sense.
4. Issue: A grammatical error exists in the example for the three player basic game. Under #6 of the planning phase, it says "Carla places her remaining two raiders on the inn and looks at a facedown card"
Correct Answer: The text should read: "Carla places ONE of her remaining two raiders on the inn and looks at a facedown card." In the way the example appears in print, Carla would be placing 5 raiders total to start the game, even though she is supposed to only have 4 raiders to start. Additionally, there is never a legitimate reason to place two raiders at the inn to look at one card. This was a misprint.
5. Issue (Advanced Game): What is the "Powder Keg" card? The rulebook refers to it but I don't see what it does. Is this a special card similar to the Provisions, Forest Gerkin, or Messenger Garment Card?
Answer: No. It is not a special card. It is simply the standard equipment card with a value of +3.
Finally, please remember that this errata is only for learning about the basic game. The advanced rules are better written but directly replace some of the rules described here.
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Recommended Rules Variation: This is for the basic game only.
There is a rule in both the basic and the advanced versions of the game about paying one gold bag to gain one equipment card. This rule actually makes sense for the advanced version of the game because of how you play equipment cards and their utility in the negotiation arena. In the advanced game, you can keep the value of an equipment card to yourself before it is played in a raid. In the basic edition of the game, however, when you decide to play an equipment card, it becomes known to everyone.. before the raid takes place.
Because your actions for splitting loot are more defined and regimented in the basic game, paying one gold bag for an equipment card makes much less sense. The reasoning is that pulling a raider out of an ambush (where they can't take part in winning loot) for one round and sending them to the inn instead is more than enough payment for the possibility of gaining "net +" value for an equipment card. And that assumes you win a card that adds +2 value or higher for you. 33% of the equipment cards have a value of 1. That means 33% of the time, you are swapping equal value. -- i.e. 1 raider for 1 equipment card.
Pulling a raider out of a hideout PLUS paying a gold bag for the privilege of doing so ... only to get an equipment card with a value of 1 can actually be a determent to implementing a sound game strategy. A "1 for 1" value swap obviously provides no added benefit.. and it is especially problematic because a raider actually counts for dividing up loot... whereas using an equipment card does not. And that raider is now at the merchant instead of in a hideout where loot can be won.
Therefore in the basic game only, my recommendation is that a player DOES NOT pay one gold bag to get an equipment card. They simply commit one raider to the inn to gain one equipment card instead. This better balances "risk" of the equipment card draw in the basic game.
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Other Questions That May Arise:
1. Can a player be the brigand leader if it is their turn, even if the they are contributing less raiders to a raid than another player?
Answer: Yes. Cited: Section "5.2 Recruit Other Players"
2. In a particular round, can a player go to a village location (i.e the merchant, the inn or the marketplace) more than once?
Answer: I cannot see anything in the rules which prevents this. Note: You can only send one raider at a time to a village location on your individual turn within a round, however. Cited: Section "Overview of Gameplay-- In the Planning Phase"
This essentially means that you can place one raider per village location each time you take an action (i.e. your turn) within the planning phase of the round. There is nothing in the rules which states that you cannot have more than two raiders on any one village location during a single round. They just must be placed on separate turns.
EX. Planning stage for a sample round two.
You are the blue player and for your turn, you put one raider on the merchant to collect an equipment card.
The yellow player now takes their turn and places one raider on the church and follows the appropriate instructions.
The red player places three raiders in a hideout in anticipation of an upcoming ambush. (Note: Hideouts are not considered part of the village and therefore are not bound by the single placement rule.)
As the blue player, it is now your turn once again to make a placement in the planning phase of this round. Once again, you put another single raider on the merchant and collect a second equipment card.
These are my interpretations from studying the rules and are subject to evidence to the contrary. Please note the place in the rulebook where you feel the interpretation is incorrect.
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- David UmstattdUnited States
TexasAll Hail Lelouch
- I honestly think there's no reason not to play the advanced rules. I never played the basic version and had almost no trouble understanding the rules. The only reason I think people have trouble understanding the rules to this game is that they are so non traditional. This game really is unlike any other game in a lot of ways and so its hard for people. Especially those who have played a lot of games and can succumb to the "oh I see where this rule is going." effect.
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