Sushi Go! Overview
Game Genre: Card Drafting
Designer: Phil Walker-Harding
Number of Players: 2-5
Amazon Affiliate Link
Right on the cover of the tin box, Sushi Go! bills itself as a “pick and pass card game”. That premise is deceptively simple. Sure, when you open the box and read through Sushi Go!’s mechanics, it really is as simple as picking a card from your hand and passing it.
But like other quality card drafting games, there’s enough going on under the hood to keep you engaged. In the course of the game, sashimi, dumplings, and tempura will be up for the taking. Will you grab that wasabi in the hopes that some fool hands you a squid nigiri for mega points? Would you opt for a dumpling strategy since no one seems to be prioritizing those cute little guys (and the art designs are cute!)? Or are you going to gamble for sashimi? There are many ways to grab points before the round ends and it’s up to you to decide how to approach it.
Sushi Go! is the Perfect Introduction to Card Drafting Games
All of that is to say that Sushi Go! gives you deceptively simple, yet interesting choices. Sushi Go! is an easy game to teach since the mechanic is one that takes little explanation and it’s rare for someone to ask how many points a card is worth. The information is all right there and even the most difficult card to explain, the chopstick, isn’t really that hard once you demonstrate how it works.
But then the game begins and that’s when new players will experience the ramifications of card drafting. The mental tug of war between denying your opponent that crucial piece of sashimi needed to complete their set versus letting them have it to take an even higher point value card is a dilemma that new players will face. So what can seem like a solitaire game becomes more interesting when new players grasp the concept of indirect player interaction.
Sushi Go! Fits As An Appetizer Or Dessert Game
If I classified board games by their form and function, using a meal as an analogy, Sushi Go! would either be the appetizer or the dessert. This belongs to a class of games that are short, easy to play, and don’t force brain-busting decision making. Sushi Go! fits the role like a glove.
As I’ve stated before, the game is easy to teach since the mechanics are pretty simple. And when you’re faced with a crucial decision, you can just look at people’s boards and there will be enough of a mental tug of war to keep you engaged without being overwhelming. This is key for an appetizer or dessert game because it can whet people’s appetites for bigger games (whatever you decide your main course to be), or it can be a way for people to just wind down after a long gaming session. Best of all, Sushi Go! can be finished in about 30 minutes.
Because of its simple, easygoing nature, I’ll find myself pulling it out pretty often when I’m hosting game nights. I still prefer heavier card drafting games like 7 Wonders, since I like games that reward more long-term planning/strategizing. But I also realize that not every game needs to be a brain-busting, overly analytical optimization exercise. Appetizer/dessert games like Sushi Go! have their place as part of a well-balanced board game meal.
Verdict: 7/10 – Decent: Sushi Go! is the perfect appetizer game to play while waiting for other people to show up. It’s short. Not deep enough to serve as the main event, but still enjoyable. A good gateway into heavier fare like 7 Wonders.
- Easy to teach and easy to learn.
- Fast game allows you to get multiple plays.
- Teaches the concept of card drafting really well.
- Fun theme along with fun artwork.
- Game is fairly tactical and light; a great appetizer or dessert game.
- Game doesn’t foster long-term planning and you work with what you have.
- It is light, which might not float everyone’s boat.