This article is was originally written in 2015 for the now defunct GamerTime UK website.
Sushi Go! is an adorable card drafting game for 2-5 players that is all about, yes you guessed it, sushi. The premise is simple, pick one card from your hand and pass on the rest to your left. Gradually, the cards in front of you will grow and the number of cards in your hand will diminish. Once all the cards have been placed, tot up the score and go at it again 2 more times. What at first might seem like a simplistic and mundane game is, in fact, excellent and brimming with strategy.
These little nuggets of food gold are what you need to win the game. Here is how they work: sashimi needs 3 copies to score any points, tempura needs 2 copies to score any points, the person with the most (and second most) maki rolls are the only ones to get points out of them, wasabi triples the worth the next nigiri you play, the player with the most puddings gets 6 points at the end of the game, but the person with the least gets minus 6 points and chopsticks are not worth any points, but instead you must yell “SUSHI GO!”, deafening adjacent players (please use this card with caution as Sushi Go! take no responsibility for any startled, spilt drinks or loss of hearing) and swap the Chopsticks for another card in your next hand.
As you can see there is enough sushi to sate any appetite. At this point you might now be thinking that Sushi Go! is a nice friendly game and the person with the best plate of food is the winner. And you’d be right, but you would also be wrong. Sometimes you don’t necessarily need to ‘win’, but instead ensure everybody else loses.
Indulge me for a moment and take a look around the table. Consider this, the person directly to your left and has just gotten himself his second sashimi. By looking at your current hand of cards, you can a) pick the card that is most useful to you or b) take the sashimi with a smirk and deny him scoring those much needed 10 points effectively stopping him from winning the game. The choice is yours. Here is another example. This time let us take a look at the player, two people, to the left of you. She has put down a wasabi card and is just waiting for some decent nigiri to score that triple pointer. You know that your last hand didn’t have any in, but this one has a squid nigiri worth 3 points (9 with the wasabi). Do you a) take that third dumpling that you’ve been waiting for or b) take the squid, sit back and watch with great pleasure as the wasabi becomes a useless card. Again, the choice is yours.
I know what my choices would be for the above, but then maybe I’m just a terrible person. Sushi Go! could well be a very passive and relaxing game where you are only ever looking at the cards in your hand, but I think to win (and who doesn’t love a good win), then you need to think laterally. What are your friends and family going to pick and how can you use that to your advantage? How can you deny others points and grab a few yourself?
Sushi Go! packs a lot of depth, strategy and food-based feuds into its tiny tin. A simple and unassuming concept of picking one card and pass the rest becomes a fight for food glory unlike any other. It is quick, cute and fun. The winner will be decided by a sliver and the loser by a pudding. Sushi Go! is a great game for anybody. It can open a game night or just work as a quick game before dinner to whet the appetite. I heartily recommend it.
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