A scrumptious little card game crafted with equal parts Rummy, conveyor belts and raw fish.
Players: 2 – 8 Best with: 4+
Age: 8+ GN Age: Pre-Teen
Game Type: Card Time: 15 minutes
Publisher/Year: Gamewright / 2016
Game Play: Card Drafting, Set Collecting, Point Salad
Available from: All retailers
Score: out of 12
This review is going to be slightly biased because 3 out of 4 Family Game Night members absolutely love sushi. In fact, to celebrate our first post-vaccine eat-in dining experience we went to the all-you-can-eat sushi experience at the awesome Nijiya Sushi Restaurant in Medford, Mass. (enjoy the free plug).
We love to try all the new taste sensations. Dragon rolls, California rolls, Torched Rainbow Yellowtail Caterpillar Mountain rolls; so many delicious combinations of tuna, salmon, crab, shrimp, eel, squid, and my new favorite, red snapper. There is a new trend among sushi bars that puts everything on display in an assembly line. While you sit at the bar, a constant stream of new sushi options roll past you on a conveyor belt; you pick the one you want, and pay for what you eat. Genius.
Speaking of geniuses, the ones of at Gamewright Games have capitalized on this whole concept and created a tasty little card game that takes their love for sushi and rolls it up into a delectable appetizer based around the set collection of Rummy but with way more options. The even managed to incorporate the conveyor belt element of the sushi bars in a brilliant way. BTW, I call them geniuses, because I live about 10 miles away from their offices in Newton, Mass. and would love to be given a tour.
But I digress, we are noshing about sushi. The object of Sushi Go is to collect the various varieties of sushi, attempting to accrue the most points over the main course of three rounds. Points are earned by choosing a card from your hand and placing in before you on the table. If you want to kick this whole dinner theme up a notch, you can place them on a plate that you set before you on the table, but this step is not required on even recommended. (Plate not included).
The value of the points earned is determined by the type of card you choose to keep. Some score points all by themselves, some score more points is you collect them in sets, and some score points only if you have more than any other player. In addition, some score points as soon as you play them, others at the end of a round, while the “dessert” cards only score at the end of the game. This multitude of scoring opportunities means that no single strategy is better than another and that there are multiple paths to victory. Mechanically, this is called a Point Salad, to further stretch this eating analogy, and is one of the more brilliant aspects of the game.
The classic menu (their words, not mine. I’m done with the food puns) consists of 8 standard items found in every sushi restaurant. Nigiri, Maki, Tempura, Dumpling and Pudding for dessert allow for enough variety to put each player on a different path of discovery on their Sushi Go experience. The other two items on this classic menu are Chopsticks and Wasabi. These Extras allow you to choose a second card or double the score of your next card, respectively.
But all this variety isn’t even our favorite part of the game. After choosing your first card your entire hand moves to the player on the left. Then you choose the next card from this new hand, and you pass the rest on. The constant cycle of picking and passing means that the game is constantly evolving. Do you pick the Sashimi card which requires a set of three to score any points, and hope that two more Sashimi cards manage to revolve back into your hand? Or do you take the easy route and choose the Nigiri, which only needs one card but scores less points. Adding this single element elevates Sushi Go beyond just a simple card game.
But the main ingredient is that Sushi Go is just fun to play. It is easy to learn. It has equal parts skill and luck, so that the whole family and kids of all ages can enjoy it. It is a phenomenal family game. If your kids can play “Go Fish” than they can play Sushi Go. And it is so much more satisfying. We love the manga inspired artwork, which further conveys the fun Japanese culture of the game.
We love that the whole game is incredibly fast. Perfect for when you just want a quick bite of a game. Sushi Go is great for dining in or dining out. The classic menu is a perfect travel game. Sushi Go is great for your all-day Game Night buffet. It is the perfect palate cleanser to be enjoyed during those Game Night smorgasbords, just like those delicious pieces of pickled ginger that come with your sushi order.
If you were to buy Sushi Go, (and I’m telling you that you should), you would be best served getting the Sushi Go Party game. It greatly expands upon the base Sushi Go game in every way. It still has the classic menu to enjoy the original game, but it adds over a dozen new menu items, giving you new options to play and strategies to try out. It increases the max number of players from five to eight, allowing you enjoy Sushi Go during your larger Game Night feasts. It includes a great menu board to keep track of the various scoring options and it doubles as a scoring track. And at under $20, it is one of the best game value meals around.
This is the highest score we’ve ever giving to “just a card game.” Even if you can’t stomach raw fish, this is a terrific game to add to your collection. We consider Sushi Go to be a must-have game for every Game Night Family to have in their cupboard. The only problem with Sushi Go is that after you play it, you’ll be hungry for another game in about an hour.
As always, using real chopsticks to hold your cards is really hard, and Game On!
Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll always smell funny – my favorite fortune cookie