I was drawn to Sushi Go as a way to introduce card drafting to my husband, and I needed to add something to an order to get free shipping. With its cute artwork and simple gameplay it has become a go to filler game that we have successfully introduced to my husband’s parents. Each game is played over three rounds. Every player is given the same number of cards (in a two player game it’s nine cards). Then everyone chooses a card at the same time reveals their chosen card and passes the remaining cards to the next player. This continues until the cards that were dealt are all played, then points are added up and the next round begins. At the end of three rounds the person with the most points is the winner.
In the game there are several different types of sushi which allow you to score points in various ways. Nigiri give you points depending on what type they are: egg are worth one point, salmon two points and squid give you three points. However it is possible to triple your points for any nigiri by playing wasabi first, this can be a risk as if you don’t play another nigiri in the round you receive no points for the wasabi.
Tempura and sashimi like to exist in pairs and threes respectively. Get a set of two or three and you score five or ten points. However if you don’t complete the set you score no points. Thus it is possible to stop your opponents completing their sets by playing the cards they would need. However this means playing a card that will probably not score you any points either, so it is a careful balancing act in when to prevent an opponent from scoring and when you’d be better off maximising your own points.
Dumplings give more points the more of them you collect. Therefore it is important to keep an eye on what your opponents are up to, as if they collect five of them they score a massive fifteen points. With dumplings, unlike tempura or sashimi, even if you only have one of them you still get a point.
Maki rolls only score you points if you collect the most or second most of them. Each maki roll dish contains, one, two or three maki rolls and at the end of the round everyone counts up the number of maki rolls they have and the person with the most gets 6 points, and the second player gets 3 points. This means taking maki rolls is a bit of a gamble as if you don’t get enough of them you score no points.
The final two types of card are slightly different in that they don’t score you points at the end of each round. Puddings are put to one side and saved to the end of the game. Have the most puddings and gain an extra 6 points, however have the least and you lose 6 points. Choosing when to take puddings is quite tricky as if you take a pudding you can’t take another card too which makes it harder to complete sets of other cards. But ignoring puddings is risky as if you wait to the final round there may not be any and then you’d lose six points. Chopsticks allow you to play two sushi dishes on a subsequent turn by swapping them back into your hand. This is great for completing sets of sashimi, tempura and dumplings. However chopsticks score no points at the end of the round.
Although this is a filler game (you can easily complete 3 rounds in less than 20 minutes), there is still a decent amount of strategy involved. Do you try and complete a set of three sashimi or go for collecting maki rolls? What are you leaving your fellow players to choose from? What cards can you leave now as they are likely to come back round to you? As everyone plays at the same time there is no down time between turns, which means everyone is always involved (and slow players can be encouraged to hurry up).
Overall, this is an easy to understand filler game that doesn’t outstay its welcome and with such cute artwork, what’s not to like?