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This occurred during a game of Sheriff of Nottingham, during the "negotiation" phase between two other players.

I was going to lie to the sheriff and put illegal goods in my bag, however I was not going to bribe the sheriff. When I offered my bag, the sheriff said to me "If you give me an offering I will not search it." So I decided to add a bribe on top of my bag, as play allows. Then, the sheriff decided to search the bag since I had reached to offer him something.

According to the rules, is this kind of game-play legal?

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Before you [as the sheriff] inspect a bag, you may choose to threaten the bag's owner. That player may offer you a bribe to avoid the inspection.

A deal is considered complete when an offer is accepted. An offer is a specific bribe proposed. Once the sheriff has made a choice it cannot be changed.

As you describe it, the sheriff made a vague threat, and then declined whatever offer you were making (possibly before you even specified the amount).

For better or worse, this is within the scope of the rules. Maybe in a future game, you will occasionally adopt the tactic of offering a bribe even when innocent, to make the sheriff's decision less obvious!

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    As I've heard it played practically, an offer is accepted when the sheriff pops open a bag or hands it back to the player and takes any bribe offered. – Samthere May 9 '18 at 6:16

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