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Sherwood Showdown

By Shamus
on Thursday Jul 14, 2011
Filed under:
Tabletop Games



My wife Heather has illustrated a card game. The game was designed by Roberta Taylor, who previously won the Canadian Game Design of the Year. My wife and I have been working on a lot of different things for a long time since I moved to freelance work, so it’s nice to see some of it finally coming to fruition. (And it’s somewhat telling that of the two of us, she managed to bring a product to market before I did.)

Here is how to play the game:

Link (YouTube)

Disclaimer: The game does not come with the Irish Folk music. If you purchase the game, you will need to provide your own Irish Folk band or learn to play the violin on your own. Humming is acceptable in situations where you might not have enough room for the entire band.

We just received our copies of the game two days ago. I actually haven’t played the thing yet. I am assured that it is a fast-paced game, although it seems like that would depend on the tempo at which the band is playing.

Anyway, you can buy the game online. If you run a gaming store or some other nerd-centric establishment and want to get in on the action by scoring some copies of the game wholesale, you can do so. Be warned that if you were to buy this game, you risk some of that money falling into my hands where I will use it to keep myself out of a cubicle for as long as possible. Please spread the word accordingly.

Also, I have a free copy of the game here that we’re going to give away. Leave a comment below that contains the word “gimmie” to enter yourself in the drawing, and I’ll email the winner to get their mailing address. (Protip: You have to enter a working email, sparky.) If I see the same email popping up for repeated entries I’ll delete them. Not as a punishment, but just to cut down on the number of comments I’ll have to wade through. The winner will be chosen using my extensive collection of gaming dice. I will not reveal the number of sides or die that will be used, in order to discourage people gaming the system. I know how you gamers are. Always gaming everything.

I’ll close the comments and pick a winner on Sunday, July 17th. If the chosen winner doesn’t get back to me in 48 hours, I’ll roll another, and so on, until I get someone to take this friggin’ game off my hands. Heather and/or myself will sign the game if you like, although that means taking the plastic off. You can make that decision when you win. (And I know you’ll win. I’m rooting for you!)

I’m told viral marketing is important for projects like this, so please spread the word to all your friends in a viral way. I recommend kissing.

Comments (382)

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  1. locusts says:


    That should cover the entry portion of this comment. I would however like to say I support your viral marketing strategy. Now I am off to find strangers who will let me kiss them to find out about a new game. Wait, that sounds creepy when I say it.

  2. Pentangled says:

    Reminds me a bit of “Quests of the Round Table.” Like the art too!

  3. Nick Bell says:


    New card games are always fun. Especially because I finally have friends to play said games with.

  4. LazerFX says:


    I’ll also say “Gimmie”, in-case you were being literal in your interpretation of ‘contains the word “Gimmie”‘ and including the quotes, or not literal, in the normal ‘human’ sense of things.

    And yes, I’m a Developer. Trained in the black arts of covering my @$$ – at the moment, I think it’s got so much Teflon, I could make my office chair a Slip’n’Slide.

  5. TehShrike says:

    I thought I left this vernacular behind me decades ago, but here goes… “gimme!”

    There, I think I got it right. It’s been a while.

  6. Leon says:

    Shamus, “gimmie” a break! I’m offended that you would have us do this.
    …That said, I would love a free copy of the game. :)

  7. Mathias says:

    Ooh, gimmie. This looks very interesting!

    …Oh, and “gimmie”, just in case.

  8. Joe Cool says:

    Gimmie gimmie gimmie!

  9. Matt K says:


    Seems like a modified version of Loot. Although I like the changes a lot. The art looks nice, it’s just a shame it’s only 2 players.

  10. hardband says:


    BTW your wifes artwork looks really good!

  11. fair_n_hite_451 says:

    Me first! (and the “Gimme Gimme”s)

    Does that count as multiple entries?

  12. Eathanu says:


  13. Silfir says:

    Can I get a “Gimmie” to Germany? Or is that shipping a bit too much?

  14. Entropy says:

    “gimmie”. As long as not being in the US isn’t a problem for you.

  15. Emlyn says:

    Free, fun card games? Gimmie!

  16. Simon says:

    Will you subtract the number of dice -1 from the result? Otherwise the first people will be screwed. Btw, everyone should try to get their comment into the middle of the bunch, since when using several dice the result will follow a normal distribution and not an even one!

    (or something like a normal distribution, depending on the mix of dice, anyway the first and last people are at a huge disadvantage)

    • decius says:

      The only fair way would be to roll a die or set of dice uniformly distributed across a number equal to or greater than the number of entries, rerolling numbers greater than the number of entries. Two d%, one high and one low, gives you up to 10,000 with uniform distribution.

      It could also be an ‘unfair’ system, in which not every entry has an equal chance of winning. Because the entrants do not know the rules, there is still a sense in which it is ‘fair’. But the fact that Shamus implies that there would be a way to game the system if the system were known, and his phrasing: “Not as a punishment, but just to cut down on the number of comments I'll have to wade through.” implies that there is no advantage to multiple entries, and that the process exclusive of rolling the dice is not significantly automated. If we assume the system to be ungameable, there is no advantage or disadvantage to attempting to game it. If we assume the system to be gameable, then we have to compare our skill at gaming the system to the skill with which the system was built to punish attempts at gaming it.

      Bluff, double bluff, and at least triple bluff. I’d like to know the method used, after the contest is closed to new entries of course.

      • Sord says:

        To get a linear distribution, you just need to multiply each successive die by the product of the faces of the previous dice (which is what %d does). For example, you could roll a d6, d8, and d12 with the result being 1+(d6-1)+(d8-1)*6+(d12-1)*48 to get a number between 1 and 576.

        The d10 is a bit easier, because they put 0’s instead of 10’s so you don’t have to do the -1 thing, and interpreting 0 as 100 results in the same probabilities as doing the +1. On my original example, you could do the same thing by not adding 1 and instead treating a 0 result (from rolling all 1’s) as 576. It’s just a lot more confusing…

        And for the contest, the word “gimmie”

      • Chad says:

        I always feel at home here among the geeks. Oh and “gimmie”

    • Greg says:

      Since Shamus didn’t disclose the number of dice it’s entirely possible he’s rolling 1D4 and everyone who didn’t get their entries in sooner rather than later will be screwed :P

      As he says, there’s no real way we can game the system without knowing what the system is.

      While I’m here “Gimme”

      If I win I’m going to kiss everyone who plays the game with me and post photos :D

      • hewhosaysfish says:

        I suspect the reason Shamus didn’t disclose the dice method is because it depend on the number of candidates.

        Also: gimmie!

      • Mephane says:

        His rolling system has already been revealed, although the dice involved remains unknown:


        Edit: gimmie/gimme/whatever – after short thinking I concluded I would look more stupid by not including it than by shouting with the crowd, heh. XD

    • lazlo says:

      Die rolls are convolutions of discrete uniform distributions, meaning that their results are triangular in nature rather than a normal distribution.

      I believe it can be perfectly fair if you roll enough dice to make the highest roll possible be exactly twice the number of entries, then take the result modulo (number of entries). so you basically fold the triangle into a square. Of course, I’ve been applying this sort of solution to computerish things that start at a value of 0, so you do have to account for that, but after that it should work. But I could be wrong on that…

      And also, “Gimmie!”

    • droid says:

      My guess was that the very dice pictured in the comment counter up top would be used. Of course that has several obvious failure modes, at least if they are simply added. Also, not every post contains the entry trigger word.

    • Zak McKracken says:

      Now there you are, fullfilling Shamus’ Prophecy …
      You can just use three d10 and let each one decide on one of the digits of a number. If the number is greater than the number of participants, reroll. But I’m almost sure there are more ways of going about it, and that Shamus knows about them, dice-fanatic that he is.
      And I totally did not manage to work “gimmie” casually into this post :(

  17. Jjkaybomb says:

    Hey, if you both sign the box, gimmie the deck. Freaking love card games, and this looks pretty fun.

  18. Zero T. Katama says:

    Oooh, sounds like fun, gimmie!

  19. Airslay says:

    Looks like an enjoyable game, with nice artwork.

    Gimmie, gimmie, gimmie!

  20. Nephele says:


    Also, pretty!

  21. Corvus says:

    Do want!

    But if you gimmie, I’ll give away that copy and buy my own, because Robin Hood card game? Dream game!

  22. JT says:


    Working hard, no braincycles available for clever addition.

  23. Rylinks says:


    That mechanic where you can discard the Travelers to draw seems like it will either result in huge snowballing or is not very useful.

    • Joel D says:

      Yeah – it seems to depend on whether there’s a limit to how many cards-in-hand are allowed, and whether or not you only get 2 cards a round, regardless of how many you used. Both questions are probably answered in the instructions.

      Also, before I forget, “gimmie” :)

      • Rustybadger says:

        The rules can be downloaded from http://whimsygames.ca/sherwoodshowdown/

        The main thing about selling the Traveller Cards is that they are also worth points at the end of the game. So the incentive to sell them is low, but if you find yourself short in your hand, they can help you build back up. There’s no hand limit, but you only get to draw two ‘reinforcements’ after each melee- so if you exhaust your hand, you will need to sell some of your ‘loot’ to bring in more outlaws to help out.

        • decius says:

          Is the rule “Only one leader per melee” or “Only one leader per player per melee”? Also, what events trigger the shuffle of the discard pile back into one’s draw pile? I count 42 player cards, of which 6+19*2=44 MUST be drawn during normal play, with an estimated ~150 draws possible (assuming all of the travellers are won by the same player, who sells all of them for reinforcements; The advantage to be gained from a large hand, or from using a given card again by shuffling the discards back into the deck, might outweigh the cost of losing points.)

          • Rustybadger says:

            One leader per player, per melee. The discard pile is recycled once you run out of cards to draw. Bear in mind it’s advantageous to keep your discard pile until you completely exhaust your draw pile- this is because there are cards that allow you to mine your discard pile for reinforcements.

            I like your thinking regarding having a large hand. It’ll be interesting to see if that strategy breaks the game or not. If it does, we may need to impose a hand limit.

            One could theoretically win by only scoring Ransom cards (which cannot be sold), but their value is low, so you’d need to take pretty much every hand to win that way.

          • Sumanai says:

            The part, “The discard pile is not re-shuffled until a player’s draw deck is depleted”, implies to me that a player’s Discard pile is re-shuffled once the Draw pile is empty. Also you don’t get to draw a full amount if the Draw deck is depleted during the process.

            So if you only have 4 cards in the draw deck and use a Traveller card worth of 5, you draw 4 cards then shuffle the Discard pile. But you don’t draw the remaining card. The extra value is lost.

  24. vanderbane says:

    The wife and I could always use a new cardgame, this looks like fun! And of course the art is excellent. gimmie!

  25. RollOfTheDice says:

    It might be worth getting just for the artwork; love it!
    *scrambles to find some appropriate Irish Folk Music*

    Oh, and “gimmie”.

  26. Greg says:

    I’m a sucker for unique card games. My collection of games include the entire Killer Bunnies game with all expansions, Monty Python Fluxx, the Civilization card game that came with the boxed set, and others. And don’t forget a bunch of outdated Magic:TG, Star Wars CCG, and maybe some Pokèmon CCG cards, too. This will be obtained by me, one way or another.

    If this was Woot! I’d have clicked on the ‘I want one!’ button already. Pretty please, Gimmie! May the Dice Gods shine their face upon me during the rolling.

    As a side note, I do actually play Irish fiddle music.

  27. Legend_D says:

    I wonder if it includes any ‘just for fun’ rules in the instructions, or at least a few suggestions for alternate game types. Sort of like landing on free parking in monopoly.

  28. Samrobb says:


    Congratulations to Heather – it looks like a neat game. If I fail to win, I’ll have to see about getting a copy, if only to help keep you in your current state as a free-range developer. The fact that my girls enjoy card games and we have a small cache of Irish folk songs only serves to make the game even more appealing :-)

  29. Fang says:

    Damn you camping! FFFFF. Leaving the day the contest ends so I wouldn’t be able to get back to you.

    Well good job to Heather for getting something done unlike Shamus with his book.

  30. SyrusRayne says:

    Gimmie! Even though I have been taught by my mother to not say gimmie as it is rude, I will say it in this case.

    Congrats, by the way! Glad to see things working out :)

  31. Darazel says:

    Looks like a nice game for in-between or the occasional ‘it’s too early to leave, yet too late to start a game of War of the Ring’ spots that like to show up.

    Gimmie :-) Or otherwise I might be forced to buy it, and thereby supporting this great site… wait, what?

    • Sumanai says:

      It’s sort of a win-win situation isn’t it. Especially since card games of this like tend to be on the cheaper side.

  32. aldowyn says:

    eh, Gimmie. I hope it explodes in popularity and you become less poor as a result :P

  33. Paul Spooner says:

    Looks cool! Like an introduction to CCGs, but without the first ‘C’.
    Just to keep this straight though, if we don’t actually want to be entered, we shouldn’t say “gimmie” so that… oh dang.

  34. Orci says:


    The art looks nice, but there aren’t that many different looking cards?

    • Rustybadger says:

      Each player deck is identical, except for the backgrounds used to tell them apart for sorting purposes. Art assets are expensive, even when you have an excellent artist like Heather who’s willing to work on commission!

  35. Lord Nyax says:


  36. elias says:

    I think it should be spelled “gimme” rather than “gimmie.”

  37. Cuthalion says:

    Gimmie some o’ that good ol’ fashioned card game action, Robin Hood style.

    No, that sounds stupid. My cheesy sentence, not the game.

    Nevertheless, I hope I win the copy, and congrats on finishing it, Heather!

  38. pffh says:


    I’m always looking for new games that we can play while we wait for all the people to show up for the weekly d&d game.

  39. Sickofpalantirs says:


    card games are da best! it certainly looks interesting.

  40. Brett says:

    Yay! “Gimmie”!

  41. Coke says:

    gimmie – though please don’t tell my children who I will be playing this card game with that I was so rude. ;)

  42. Unhidden says:

    Gimme gimme gimme a man after midnight
    Won’t somebody help me chase the shadows away
    Gimme gimme gimme a man after midnight
    Take me through the darkness to the break of the day

  43. Chris says:

    Neat, gimmie! :)

  44. Rosseloh says:

    Gimmie a chance to win this thing.

    Very nice of you to do this, Shamus. And, it’s probably been long enough since I last said it: thanks very much for the entertainment every day.

  45. Aadel says:

    Gimmie that game! Looks so cool, and my daughters love Munchkin and Fluxx

  46. Lupis42 says:


    It looks awesome – is she ever going to let you live down the fact that she beat you to market with a game?

  47. krellen says:

    Could be a fun side-card at our next board game party, so gimmie.

  48. jraama says:

    Gimmie, please.

    And I definately want it signed if I win.

  49. Yerushalmi says:

    Ooh, gimmie!

    (Personally, though, I prefer to spell it gimme.)

  50. Arctem says:

    I would very much approve of having this game be gimmie-d to me.

  51. RandomGamer says:

    I won’t use the ‘G’ word as I just went out and bought it – I was looking for a new two player game for my wife and I and this seems to fit the bill. Cool!

  52. Myth says:

    I’ll toss in a “gimmie” as well – I’m definitely liking the concept of the game!

  53. Hitch says:

    One bit of unsolicited advice, and far too late at this point. But something to consider if the game goes into a second printing. The backs of the three decks should be color coded yellow, green and blue. There’s not much reason the decks should get mixed together, but experience with card games has shown me that they always do. Being able to sort from the back or face of the cards is always helpful.

    Anyway, you should “gimmie” the free deck to thank me for this advice.

    • Rustybadger says:

      Good point, but one we thought of. You see, there are some cards in the game that can ‘defect’ from one player to the other and be used against their original ‘band of outlaws’. So having identical backs keeps the element of surprise- you know your opponent has one of your outlaws or weapons, but you don’t know if it’s back in his hand yet!

  54. Duffy says:


  55. Kevin O'Gorman says:

    That’s a big “Gimme”. I have the Irish folk music ready to roll (Wolfe Tones, Clancy Bros., etc.) Yes, my game will have a little edge to it.

  56. Joe says:

    Gimmie, if I may.
    This looks really cool. And extreme praise to Mrs. Young for the art. Commencing operation “Share with all friends ever.”

  57. Tholmir says:

    Sound fun! Gimmie!

  58. Gothmog says:


    It looks pretty fun, Shamus. Good job, Heather!

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