What: An adorable card drafting game that’s easy for anyone to play
Time: 15-20 minutes
People: It’s a real family game, nothing too deep but great for the pub.
Available: It’s very cheap so get it here UK or here US
Why we recommend it
There’s one piece of prime sashimi in front of you. You’re about to take it – but then you glimpse a crispy piece of prawn tempura.
It looks pretty inviting and you’re bound to get more than one. But is there more sashimi? Is it worth the risk of waiting to find out? What if someone else who’s already got some takes it before you?
Luckily, eating sushi isn’t usually this stressful (unless you’re like me and sharing food gives you anxiety). But playing Sushi Go is – but it is damn fun.
I love this little game for many reasons, not least because it’s delightful to look at. It’s centered around food – little sushi pieces with super cute faces. You’ve never seen dumplings look so content. Plus, it’s in a compact metal tin, making it great for taking anywhere and everywhere. Even a desert oasis in Peru.
But none of that would matter if it was rubbish to play. Luckily, it’s not. Quite the opposite. Sushi Go is one of my favourite casual games, great for both couples and groups.
This isn’t an epic 2-hour strategy-a-thon that eliminates players or makes you stay through to the bitter end even when you can’t win. It’s quick, easy-to-learn and winnable by pretty much anyone.
It’s basically a drafting game, which in non-gaming-people language means gradually building up your collection of sushi by selecting one card each time from the hand in front of you. Every turn that hand will be different, because they’re passed to the left each time players take their card.
This is done until all the cards are gone (one round) and then you count up how much your sushi collection is worth. The person with the highest score after 3 round wins. Simple.
The different sushi give you points in different ways. Some, like those crispy tempura or that premium sashimi, need to be in a pair or threesome for them to score at all – big risk, big reward. Others multiply the value of other cards. Then there are maki rolls, which you want to have more of than anyone else.
There is some strategy involved and you’ll likely start off with an optimistic plan to keep track of all the cards so you can both take the ones your friends need and assemble the GREATEST SUSHI SPREAD OF ALL TIME. In reality, this grand plan will crumble within a couple of turns when you immediately forget what was in the hand you just passed on, or your friend takes the last sashimi, and your last card of the round ends up being the worthless chopsticks.
But that’s what makes it fun: Anything could happen. Anyone could win.
Before I go, one other thing in this game that makes me happier than it probably should: pudding.
Pudding cards are the only ones you keep between rounds. At the end of the game, the person with the most sweet treats gets extra points, as greed should always be rewarded. The person with the least loses points. These puddings can often swing the entire game, those cheeky so and sos.
So that’s Sushi Go in a nutshell (crabshell?) Great for couples, friends and family, especially those not-a-gamer-but-secretly-likes-games people you know. Give someone the gift of sushi this Christmas!