Earlier this summer I completely flaked on the fact that I said I was going to bring this new game that I wanted to try out to dinner with friends. Social media to the rescue! Little bit of time on twitter and I knew my local game store had the title I needed in stock and I was pointed in the right direction when I got there. Awesomeness.
So what was this little game that managed to slip my mind but had me excited enough to still run out and get it? Sushi Go! from Gamewright! Well, my copy is from Gamewright but Phil Walker-Harding, a game designer/inventor from Australia, initially offered it as an Indiegogo campaign in 2012. (You can see the early box art below.) Gamewright licensed it and I saw it in its new form this past February at New York Toy Fair.
Sushi Go! is an easy drafting card game – which will mean squat to anyone who isn’t into the “geeky” game lingo, so let me explain. The game is played in three rounds. Each round players collect 1 card per turn and try to get the best sushi combinations to “feed” their patrons (aka collect the most points). What makes it a “drafting” game is that instead of drawing the top card from the deck or something akin to that, you start your turn with a hand of cards and you draw 1 of them and pass the rest of them to the next player. The nice part of the game is that everyone is taking their turn at the same time and when they select a card, they place it face-down in front of them until everyone is ready and then they show their selection and add it to their sushi lineup. Knowing what everyone is collecting is a big part of the game. Not only do I want to have some nice sushi combinations, but also I want to stop my opponent from getting cards that are going to give them loads of points. Some examples:
The player with the most Maki Rolls at the end of a round earns 6 points, everyone else earns ZILCH!
The more Dumplings you have the more points you earn: 1 Dumpling = 1 point, but 2 Dumplings = 3 points, 3 Dumpling = 6 points, 4 Dumpling = 10 points, and if someone collects 5 or more Dumplings they’re going to rock you with 15 points!
Each kind of Nigiri is worth a different point value, but the value triples when a player has a Wasabi card. So that 3 point Squid Nigiri can jump from 3 points to 9 points in one turn.
Like I said, the game is played in three rounds and a round ends when there are no more cards left to pass. Players then figure out scores and write them down. The only cards that don’t get tallied and reshuffled are the Pudding cards. Players hold onto those until the end of the game and whoever has the most gets 6 points – and whoever has the least LOSES 6 points. When the scores are in the cards are reshuffled and dealt to start the next round.
There is one nice twist to the game: the Chopsticks. If a player drafts a Chopsticks card it allows them to trade in the Chopsticks on a later turn. On the later turn they’ll take the card they want, but then they’ll take a second card and replace it with the Chopstick card from the table in front of them. It’s a great way to get some nice combinations.
Overall, I think Sushi Go! is a fun little card game! It’s a nice way to get people to understand the concept of drafting without playing something overly complex. The cards are cute and the game plays pretty quickly. I will warn against playing with two players. There are alternative rules for two players which make it a better experience, but not great. So do yourself a favor and play it with more than 2 for at least the first couple times – then if you’re dying for a Sushi Go! fix, you can dig into the 2 player rules.
UPDATE: Since I wrote this post Gamewright has released Sushi Go! Party a deluxe version with more cards, more ways to play, and up to 8 people can play (versus 5). I highly recommend if you are looking at Sushi Go! that you buy the deluxe version instead. Yes, it’s larger and more money, BUT you get the original game PLUS tons of other cards so that you can make your own “menu” which really extends the replay value of the game. Read more about it HERE or just go buy it at Amazon HERE.
Sushi Go! Stats:
~$9 at Amazon and your local game store
2-5 players (try to play with more than 2)
Ages 7 and up