Rolling Out An Epic Sushi Go! Review

Created by Gamewright, Sushi Go! is proof that good things come in small packages! This entry-level card drafting tabletop game has a unique theme to match its fun factor. 

The game is for groups of two to five and is recommended for children as young as 8. Sushi Go! can be learned and played in minutes, and will keep you coming back for more! 

Join me as I take you through the contents, rules, strategy, and ultimately review Sushi Go!

Before we get started there is one important thing to note. Sushi Go Party! was developed as an expansion (in concept, owning Sushi Go! is not a requirement) with some variation. Perhaps we’ll review that at a later date! 

Rolling out Sushi Go!

Sushi Go! comes in a small, vibrant tin container. At only four inches wide and under 6 inches long, this game travels very well. Upon opening the container, you’re greeted with the deck split into halves underneath a small booklet of instructions.

Sushi Go! Unboxed

The Objective

As I’ve already said, Sushi Go! is easy to pick up – physically and mentally. The game is played over the course of three identical rounds. At the start of each round, seven to ten cards are dealt to each player, dependent on the number of players.  

Winning in Sushi Go! is straightforward. At the end of the first and second rounds, points are totaled before dealing the next round. Then, after the third and final round, bonus points may be added to your final score. The player with the highest total is named the victor. 

The Play

Within each round and after receiving your initial hands, you will draft cards. Drafting, in this case, refers to selecting and playing a card from your hand. In Sushi Go!, everyone decides which card to play face down and turns them over in unison. There is a caveat here, but we’ll address that shortly. 

After playing the card, you pass your hand clockwise. From here, you make the decision on which card to play from this new set of cards. This play repeats until there are no cards left to pass. After scoring this will complete a round. It’s that simple!

Of course, knowledge of how each card is scored is key:

Tempura

Tempura is scored in pairs. For every two Tempura cards you have played at the end of a round, you score 5 points. If you played two tempura cards, you get 5 points. If you played three tempura cards, you still only get 5 points. 

Sashimi

Sashimi is scored in sets of three. For every three Sashimi cards you have played at the end of a round, you score 10 points. Since there are no partial points, you must have three, and a fourth won’t help you!

Dumpling

Dumpling cards are slow burners. With each additional Dumpling card you play, your scoring potential increases. One Dumpling card scores you only 1 point. Two Dumpling cards score 3 points. Reaching five Dumpling cards or more will score you a whopping 15 points! 

Maki Rolls

Maki rolls come in three versions worth 1-, 2-, or 3-points. Counting the value at the top of the card, the player with the highest total is awarded 6 points. Additionally, the player with the second-highest earns 3 points. 

If players tie for first place, the 6 points are evenly distributed amongst them and no points are awarded for second place. If there is a tie for second place, the 3 points are distributed. Round down with no partial points in either scenario.

Nigiri

Nigiri by itself is the most straightforward card in the game. At the end of the round, you are awarded the value at the bottom of each card. The value of Nigiri cards can be amplified by Wasabi cards.

Pudding

Pudding cards are a unique card in Sushi Go!. It is not scored until the end of the third round. Each time a Pudding card is played, place it to the side where it won’t be disturbed. When tallying final scores, the player with the most Pudding cards earns an additional 6 points. Conversely, the person with the least amount of Pudding loses 6 points! 

Like the Maki Rolls, if there are ties, points earned or lost are divided between the participants. Only the top and bottom players score – no points for second place. 

  • If all players wind up with the same amount of Pudding cards, no points are scored.
  • When playing with 2 players, only the player with the most Pudding cards gets 6 points. There is no penalty for the other player. 
  • At the end of the game and in the event of a tie, Pudding cards serve as a tie-breaker.
Wasabi

Wasabi cards are another unique card in Sushi Go!. By themselves, Wasabi cards are worth 0 points. However, they act as 3X multipliers for any and all Nigiri. If a Wasabi card is played with an Egg Nigiri card, you score 3 points. Played with a Squid Nigiri card, you score 9 points! 

There is one caveat. In order for you to benefit from this multiplication, you must play the Wasabi card first and then play the Nigiri on top of it. If you have a Nigiri card on the table already and a Wasabi card in your hand, you can’t increase the downed Nigiri card. 

You must play the Wasabi card and hope for another Nigiri to come around. There’s also no rule stopping you from playing multiple Wasabi cards before getting any Nigiri. That is definitely risky though!

Chopsticks

Chopsticks cards are Sushi Go!’s final unique card. They allow you to play more than one card in a single turn! 

They require two turns to execute. First, you must play the Chopsticks as you would any other card. On any following turn, you may call out “Sushi Go!” before everyone reveals their cards for the turn. This will grant you the ability to select a second card to place face down before the reveal. To end the process, pick up the Chopsticks card and add it to the hand you are about to pass. 

Not the most sanitary rule in the world, but others are now free to use the card in the same way. 

  • You may have multiple Chopsticks cards in front of you, but only one can be played per turn.
Tempura card
Tempura
Sashimi
Sashimi
Dumpling card
Dumpling
Maki Rolls card
Maki Roll
Nigiri card
Nigiri
Pudding card
Pudding
Wasabi card
Wasabi
Chopsticks card
Chopsticks

Previous
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Here’s a complete list of the cards found in Sushi Go!

  • Tempura, 14x
  • Sashimi, 14x
  • Dumpling, 14x
  • 2 Maki rolls, 12x
  • 3 Maki rolls, 8x
  • 1 Maki roll, 6x
  • Salmon Nigiri, 10x
  • Squid Nigiri, 5x
  • Egg Nigiri, 5x
  • Pudding, 10x
  • Wasabi, 6x
  • Chopsticks, 4x

Strategy

If you’re like me, your head may be spinning with ideas upon reading how all the cards work. 

Do I go for the big scoring play of three Sashimi cards? Is racking up Maki Rolls the way to go? Shall I feast on all Pudding? I played my Chopsticks early, but I’m not sure which turn to utilize them. Dumplings seem to have the highest reward so I’ll go after that! 

This is the beauty of Sushi Go! 

Your strategy will most certainly change as you are at the mercy of the cards at play. You may place back to back Sashimi cards before realizing an opponent had the same idea and now there are none left. Or, you might place a Wasabi card and never get a chance to get a high-value Nigiri on top. You may give up on the Pudding arms race after someone gets out to a three- or four-card lead in the first round but then be forced to fight to stay out of last. 

Because of the power of shuffling and openings for different strategies, games will often look and feel very different!

Sushi Go! Grade

Before purchasing, I knew that Sushi Go! was the game to pick for an introduction to card drafting games. What I didn’t know was how much of a joy it is to play. 

Part of me wishes there were more variations of rules, but we’ll save that for more complex card drafting games! From my exposure so far, considering the number of players and the variability in strategy, this will be a game I reach for more often than not! 

Sushi Go! Rating
9/10

If you liked this review, check out some of our other tabletop reviews here.

Have you tried Sushi Go!? If not, after reading this, do you want to give it a try? Have you played any other card drafting games that you think I should check out? Let me know in the comments below!

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Also, we just started a new podcast! Check out episode one here, where we talk about the free-to-play gaming model!

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