Players: 2 to 5
Game Length: 20 minutes
Best enjoyed: With 2 to 5 players who want a quick and easy-to-learn card drafting game
Sushi Go! is a drafting game where each player is trying to get the highest-scoring combination of sushi, by choosing one option from a hand of cards then passing the remaining cards to their opponent. It simulates a fast-moving train at a sushi restaurant – you can only pick one dish before they pass you by and someone else gets to choose from what you passed up!
Each turn, you’ll choose one card from your hand and put it face down, then pass the unchosen cards to the side. Each player will then simultaneously reveal what they chose, take up the cards passed to them from the other side, and repeat until all cards have been chosen. Play proceeds quickly and you’ll always have something to think about, with very little downtime.
There are a range of different sushi cards, and each has a different scoring mechanism, from Tempura and Sashimi cards which must be collected in sets, Nigoro cards which can give triple the points if you pick up Wasabi first, Dumplings which give increasingly more points the more you collect, and so on. The most difficult part of Sushi Go! is learning the difference between these cards, but the rules are printed on the cards themselves and after being explained once these are intuitive.
A full game of Sushi Go! consists of three rounds, and a few turns into each round you should know all the cards available. You might want to start collecting Sashimi and Tempura, for example, but this will only be worthwhile if you know that you can complete a set – and your opponents might start thinking the same thing, or just decide to block you by collecting them anyway! You’ll quickly know if your strategy bears fruit, as each round only lasts about 5 minutes, after which you’ll all work out your score for the round, and begin the next. After three rounds you’ll award bonus points for desserts and work out the final winner!
Sushi Go! is a very light strategy game and works excellently as a quick filler game or gateway game. It plays well from 2 to 5 players, becoming more cutthroat with less players as you can start drafting aggressively to prevent your opponents from scoring. Luck can be a factor, but this is mitigated by the constant passing of cards, as all players are ultimately drawing from the same pool of cards.
Sushi Go! comes highly recommended if you want a fun light strategy game with very little downtime between turns. It won’t take the place of more substantial games but still manages to be very satisfying, and you’ll be eagerly scarfing down bite-sized game sessions before you know it.