From US publisher Gamewright comes Sushi Go!, a neat little card-drafting and set collecting game for 2 to 5 players aged 8 and up. The clever mechanics and quick play mean that the game is enjoyable for adults, too.
There are three rounds of play, with each round beginning with a hand of cards dealt randomly to each player. Hand size depends upon the number of players.
The 108 cards in Sushi Go! depict various kinds of sushi, with some strategically-important Wasabi, Chopsticks, and Pudding cards thrown in for good measure. The value of or action associated with each card is clearly stated on the bottom margin. The design and sturdiness of the cards is well up to the standard that one would expect from Gamewright. The game is packaged in a neat tin box, with a formed plastic insert that makes for good card storage.
The rules are easy to learn. On each turn, players choose one card from their hands and place it face-down on the table before them. The cards are then simultaneously turned over, and the remainder of each player’s hand is then passed to the player on the left. Everyone picks up their new, smaller, hands, and play begins again.
This game mechanic is known as card drafting, and introduces a level of strategy to what is otherwise a simple game: when choosing what card to play from one’s hand, a player might also consider which card(s) he will be giving away at the end of the turn. In other words, because each player controls the hand that will be presented to his neighbour, he is in a position to thwart his neighbour’s strategy by using a card himself (whether he really needs it or not). It can make for some nasty blocking!
There are 20 purely strategic cards in the 108-card deck: 10 Pudding cards, 6 Wasabi, and 4 Chopsticks. Wasabi cards increase the value of Nigiri cards played on them, tripling their value. Chopsticks cards serve as a sort of placeholder, allowing a player to play two cards from his hand on that turn. The Chopsticks card is placed back into the hand, to be passed to the next player on the next turn.
Although face-up cards are scored at the end of each round and removed from play, the Pudding cards remain on the table, unscored, until the end of the third round. At that time, the player with the most Pudding cards receives a six-point bonus, while the player with the least suffers a six-point penalty.
Sushi Go! was designed by Phil Walker-Harding, and initially published by Adventureland Games.
2-5 players, ages 8 and up, 20 minutes. $14.99