Sushi Go! is a great new game from local publisher Gamewright!
So, what’s the deal with Sushi Go!?
Players compete to assemble colorful and delicious plates of sushi. Grab your favorite pieces of sushi as they pass by on a conveyor belt. Different pieces of sushi score points in different ways, so choose your pieces carefully! And don’t forget to leave room for dessert!
What makes Sushi Go! special?
Sushi Go! is a great design that clearly set out to do one thing – card drafting – and do it very well. And I say it accomplishes its goal! Sushi Go! can be learned in just minutes, even by folks not familiar with card drafting mechanisms, and the fast pace of the game keeps everyone involved – very little waiting for others in this one. I had plenty of tough decisions to make as I played, and the drafting integrates well with the scoring mechanisms to add a slight push-your-luck element to the game, too – do you grab the sure points, or risk it by betting on higher scoring sushi that might not pay off?
The elegant gameplay is only the beginning though, as the playful and fun art adds a delightful frivolity to the game that makes the package complete. Looking at those happy little pieces of sushi makes me happy! I wonder if they know they’re about to be eaten.
I’d also be remiss to not mention the awesome reception Sushi Go! got at PAX East this year. Gamewright only had 20 copies available for purchase at the convention, and to try to be fair, they drew names from everyone interested in purchasing a copy that day to determine who would get to own it before it widely hits the market. If only I had thought to take a picture of the huge crowd of people that showed up for the name drawing! Seeing so many people hopeful and excited to grab a copy of this new card game was one of the coolest things of the convention for me.
Alright, so what’s the gameplay like?
The game is played over three rounds. In each round, you get a hand of cards. Choose one card from your hand and play it face down on the table. Once all players have chosen, the cards are revealed simultaneously, and then you pass your hand of cards to the player on your left (and receive a new hand from the player on your right). Repeat until there are no more cards left in the hands, and then score points. After three rounds, whoever has the most points is the winner.
Nigiri is the simplest of all types of sushi when it comes to scoring, worth 1, 2, or 3 points depending on the type. However, if you can get some Wasabi, then the next Nigiri you play is worth 3 times the points! Put the Wasabi card behind the Nigiri to show this – but be careful, because if you don’t get any Nigiri after you get the Wasabi, the Wasabi goes to waste. All Nigiri and Wasabi are discarded at the end of each round.
Tempura and Sashimi require you to collect a sets in order to score points. Tempura scores you 5 points for each pair you have, while Sashimi is worth 10 for each set of three. Be careful though, because incomplete sets are worth nothing!
Dumplings are also worth collecting in a set, since the more you have, the more they are worth! While a lone Dumpling still scores you a point, getting five of them nets you a sweet 15 points.
Tempura, Sashimi, and Dumplings are all discarded at the end of each round.
Maki Roll cards are worth 1, 2, or 3 Maki Rolls, as pictured at the top of the card. At the end of each round, whoever has the most Maki gets 6 points, while second place gets 3. Ties divide all points evenly, rounded down, but you have to have at least one Maki to score any points for them. Be careful of getting too invested in Maki, but clever play can net you an easy 6 points! Maki are discarded at the end of each round.
Pudding are the only cards not discarded at the end of each round! Puddings do not score points from round-to-round, but rather score at the end. Whoever has the most Pudding at the end of all three rounds of play snags a cool 6 points. If that doesn’t seem worth the effort, you’d do well to not ignore Pudding entirely – whoever has the least loses 6 points, which is easily enough to change the outcome of the game.
Finally, Chopsticks are a cool card that can give you more options. When you have Chopsticks in play, on any turn, you may choose to play two cards from your hand instead of the usual one, and put the Chopsticks into your hand before you pass it to the next player. However, Chopsticks aren’t worth points (you can’t eat them!), so whoever gets stuck with them at the end of the round is out of luck, since they too are discarded at the end of each round.
I think I get it. Who do you recommend this game to?
As someone who has played a lot of games with a wide range of complexity, I really appreciate the simplicity and fast play of Sushi Go!. It’s very easy to learn, even for players not familiar with card drafting mechanisms. I highly recommend the game to players looking to engage with drafting in a quick-playing game, especially if the mechanism is unfamiliar.
Players familiar with more complex drafting games like 7 Wonders might find Sushi Go! a little light for their tastes, but I really encourage fans of that game or other drafting games to give Sushi Go! a try. In fact, I am a big fan of 7 Wonders, and Sushi Go! doesn’t feel like “Diet 7 Wonders” to me. It’s a really great distillation of the fun of drafting in a 15-20 minute package that is hard to pass up!
Time: 15 minutes
Game Elements: Card drafting, set collection, cute happy pieces of sushi