Saturday, October 3, 2015

Board Game Review: Sushi Go

Hello and welcome to another week of the Game Dork's rantings! It's time for another board game review, and this time around, we're going to do a card game called Sushi Go, by Gamewright Games. It's a fun little card game with an interesting mechanic! The object is to score the most points by picking the tastiest (and therefore most valuable) items from the conveyer belt at a sushi restaurant.

Let's start things off right:
Strategy and Randomness are rated from 0 to 6. A 0 means the rated aspect plays no part in determining the game's outcome; and a 6 means that it is the only factor that determines the game's outcome. Complexity is also rated from 0 to 6; a 0 means that it's so simple a six-year-old can play it, a 3 means any adult should have no trouble playing, and a 6 means that you'll need to refer to the rulebook frequently. Humour can be rated as 'None,' meaning the game is not meant to be funny, or it may have one or more of the following: Derivative (meaning the humour is based on an outside source, such as a game based on a comedy film), Implicit (meaning that the game's components are funny, such as humourous card text), or Inherent (meaning that the actions the players take are funny). Attractiveness has nine possible ratings. Ideal: the game is beautiful and makes game play easier. Pretty: The design is beautiful and neither eases nor impedes game play. Nice: The design is beautiful but makes game play harder than necessary. Useful: The design is neither beautiful nor ugly, but eases gameplay. Average: The design is neither beautiful nor ugly, and neither eases nor impedes gameplay. Useless: The design is neither beautiful nor ugly, but makes gameplay harder than it needs to be. Utilitarian: The design is ugly, but eases gameplay. Ugly: The design is ugly, and neither eases nor impedes gameplay. Worthless: The design is ugly, andmakes gameplay harder than it needs to be. Average Length of Game Play describes how long an average game will probably last, give or take.

Strategy: 2
Randomness: 4
Complexity: 2
Humour: None
Attractiveness: Pretty
Average Length of Game Play: 30 minutes

Players start off with a hand of cards depicting various kinds of sushi, or other items associated with sushi (such as chopsticks or wasabi). The hand size depends on the number of players. Each player chooses a single card to play, and they all play that card simultaneously, so you don't know what anyone else is going to play until you've already played your own. Then (here comes my favourite part), each player passes his entire hand to the next player. This means that you won't know what cards you'll have available to play until the next round. This is important, because most of the cards rely on multiple-card combinations!

Let me show you what I mean:

A display of the various cards available in Sushi Go. In the top row is Wasabi, Sashimi, Tempura, Pudding, and Dumplings. The bottom row has three Maki Roll cards, which are identical except one has a single Maki Roll icon, another has two icons, and the last has three. Next to these is the Chopsticks, followed by the three Nigiri cards: Egg, Salmon, and Squid. All of these cards are a different colour, except all the Maki Roll cards are red, and both the Nigiri and Wasabi cards are yellow. The art on each card is a cute cartoon-character rendition of the sushi item represented by that card (for example, the Dumpling card shows a happy little Dumpling with a cartoon face.

Nigiri is the most straightforward of the cards. Each nigiri card is worth 1 to 3 points (egg nigiri is 1, salmon nigiri is 2, and squid nigiri is 3). However, if you play a wasabi card, it's not worth any points on its own, but it does triple the point value of the next nigiri card you play! So it can be worth a lot of points, but playing it can be risky, because not only do you not have any way to be sure that there will be any nigiri cards in the next hand that is passed to you (or any subsequent hands; the nigiri doesn't have to be played immediately after the wasabi, it merely applies to the next nigiri card you play), but now that you have a wasabi card showing on the table in front of you, the other players will know that they don't want to pass you a hand containing a nigiri card (especially if that card is a squid nigiri!).

Dumpling is the only other card that is worth points by itself. However, the more dumpling cards you have, the more they're worth! A lone dumpling card is worth 1 point. Two dumpling cards together are worth 3 points. Three of them give you 6 points, whilst four and five are worth 10 and 15 points respectively. So they can be worth a lot if you have enough of them, but it can sometimes be hard to get a lot of them, especially if the other players notice what you're doing and start playing the dumpling cards before they get to you so that you can't have any!

Maki rolls are worth points to whoever has the most of them (and it's not the player with the most cards, but the most maki rolls; you may notice in the photo above that the maki roll cards—the red ones on the lower left—have one, two, or three maki roll symbols in the top. At the end of each round, players count the number of these symbols that they have in total). The player with the most gets six points, whilst the player with the second most gets three points.

Sashimi and tempura are worth points if you have combinations of them. Every two tempura cards you have are worth 5 points together, whilst you get 10 points for every three sashimi cards you have.

Chopsticks cards aren't worth any points by themselves, but if you have a chopsticks card on the table, you can swap it out for another card in your hand at any time. It's a placeholder that essentially allows you to play two cards at once on a later turn. This can be very useful if you've got a wasabi card and a squid nigiri card in the same hand and you want to play both of them!

The pudding cards are the most complicated. They are also not worth any points by themselves. Like maki rolls, they give points to the player with the most of them, but they're not scored at the end of each round, like maki rolls are. They're scored at the end of the game. The game consists of three rounds; players are dealt hands, and play through all the cards in those hands, three times, scoring the cards they have in play at the end of each of those rounds. Then, at the end of the game, the player with the most pudding cards gets six points, whilst the player with the fewest pudding cards loses six points! So you don't want to skip these cards, because even if you don't get any points from them, not having any will guarantee a big loss!

This game is super fun, quick and easy. I always enjoy it when we play. It's fun to weigh your options; do I play the wasabi and hope that I get a good nigiri card later on? Or do I play it safe and stick with a dumpling that will guarantee me at least one point? On the other hand, the player next to me already has two sashimi cards; do I want to pass him this hand with the sashimi card still in it and give him ten points? Or do I play it to prevent him from getting those points even though it means I won't get any points either?

Anyway, that's it for now. Tune in next time, when I talk about something completely different! Until then,

Game on!

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