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Sushi Go!: A Neat Little Pick-and-Pass Game

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Sushi Go! from Gamewright Games

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

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Warhammer: Visions and White Dwarf — Hot Off the Press!

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First issue of the new White Dwarf

The new magazines from Games Workshop are out, and the verdicts are in.  Sort of. (According to the reactions of our customers, if this were a trial, the jury would have been split — the judge would be thanking the jurors for their efforts, and ordering a new trial.)

In case you missed it, Games Workshop has taken its venerable monthly magazine, White Dwarf, and split it into two new versions: a monthly, named Warhammer: Visions; and a weekly, called White Dwarf. This past week saw the release of the inaugural editions of each.

Inaugural issue, Warhammer: Visions

Inaugural issue, Warhammer: Visions

Warhammer: Visions is a chunky, glossy magazine with a smaller footprint than the original — it’s almost the size of a trade paperback book. Warhammer: Visions seems largely to consist of beautiful photographs of exquisitely-painted models: what text there is consists mostly of multilingual captions to the photos.  Warhammer: Visions #1 also contains, in the last few pages, some kit-bashing examples and suggestions.

White Dwarf, on the other hand, seems to be concentrating on a more traditional mixture of news on upcoming releases, special rules sets, and painting tips.  Games Workshop will be moving to a weekly release schedule for new models, and White Dwarf will trumpet each wave one week in advance. The magazine is thinner than the previous version, but the high quality of production is apparent — the paper is thick and glossy, and the photographs are superb.

It remains to be seen whether this splitting of one magazine into two will last, especially since the total cost, for those who wish to continue collecting the whole series, will be more than three times as much as was the previous version (a per-month purchase of $20 for the 4 weekly issues of White Dwarf, plus $13 for Warhammer: Visions.  Plus tax, at least here in Canada). It will be interesting to see whether players, if they choose the weekly White Dwarf over the monthly Warhammer: Visions, decide to buy all four issues per month, or whether they end up cherry-picking.

For the time being, we will be carrying both Warhammer: Visions and the weekly instalment of White Dwarf. As previously, we order a limited number of magazines, and when they are gone, they are gone. Please let us know if you would like us to reserve a copy of either (or both!) for you.

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All About … Scopa

13330-scopa-packageScopa is a 400-year-old Italian card game, part of a group of games known variously as  Scopone, Scopetta, and Scopone Scientifico.  The word “scopa” means “broom”, and refers to the action of taking all the cards from the table in a sweep.

The game is played with a 40-card deck, divided into 4 suits (either cups, swords, coins, and clubs; or hearts, diamonds, spades, and flowers, depending on the region).  Cards are numbered 1 through 7, then Knave, Queen, King.

Three cards are dealt to each player, followed by four cards face-up on the table. On his or her turn, a player may capture any of the face-up cards if he can play a card of the same value from his hand. If a player cannot make a capture, he must play one card to the table. After each round of play, cards are dealt out in lots of three until the deck is exhausted, at which point the scoring is calculated.

Players earn 1 point for a sweep; 1 point for capturing the greatest number of cards; 1 point for capturing the most cards of the coin suit; 1 point for capturing the 7 of coins (the “sette bello”); and 1 point for the best “primiera,” the highest number of sevens or high cards.  The game is traditionally played to 11 points.

A clever game with a lot of history behind it. Che bella gioco!

Scopa, 2-6 players, ages 8+  $14.99

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How to make a Mancala board, even if you do not have a full deck.

Here’s a really clever way to improvise a Mancala board. Great for travelling families!

Around the World in Eighty Games

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Here is an improvised Mancala board made from some playing cards. The cards that are in rows are used as the pits that the players sow the seeds. The cards at the ends are for putting the seeds that are captured. This is a great way to play Mancala games while traveling because it reduces the amount of extra equipment you need to bring. A board made from cards can also be used to playing variations of Mancala that have differing numbers of pits. If you have any ideas on making a Mancala board, please share it in the comments section.

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The Blog is Moving …

The blog has now been relocated to the following address:

http://www.scalliwagtoys.ca/blog

We’ll leave the archives here for a while (although they are all at the new address as well).  But if you’re looking for new posts, that’s where you’ll find ’em.

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A Perilous Pile of Pigs

Blue Orange Games makes clever games for children — and has a shelf full of awards to prove it — so their newest game, PigzUp, looks sure to follow in the footsteps of Gobblet, Froggie Boogie, and other Blue Orange winners.

Like most games from this publisher, PigzUp makes lavish use of painted wooden pieces, in this case 8 smiling pig heads (this is not as weird as it sounds, truly) which have a nice heft to them.  The heads are stackable, with tops and bottoms of differing sizes, painted noses in one of four different colours, and cute pink felt ears.

Players simultaneously flip the top card on their stacks; as soon as two cards match, the players involved must race to stack up the requested number of piggies.  Cards may be any one of four colours, or may be multiple colours.  The top card’s colour indicates the required colour of the top stacked pig’s nose.  There is also a D6 included for a game variant in which the picture on the die dictates how the Pigz may be handled (this variation recommended for somewhat older children).  The first player to successfully stack his pig retires that card from his hand.  First player to get rid of all his cards wins.

This is an enjoyable game for children aged four years and up.  In stock now.

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I’m Doing a Little Maintenance

I’ve just noticed that, while using Apple’s built-in browser Safari, some of the photos and other formatting in past posts are not behaving properly.  Some illustrations are not loading, for example.  I’ve no idea why this should be so, as they work just fine in Firefox, but have put it down to general computer software quirkiness.

So I’ll go back and fix the things that I find, and from now on will keep in mind that not everyone in the world is a fan of Firefox.  (Are all you people using iPhones browsing with Safari?  I have to admit that I don’t know.)

My apologies.

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