First Play – Sushi Go!

Game: Sushi Go!
Publisher: Gamewright

Last night we were finally able to crack into Sushi Go! for the first time. This has been a game that has been on my wish list for a while due to the incredible word of mouth this game has. It was on most Canadian board game retailer’s best sellers list and was constantly recommended on the forums. I was excited to sink my teeth into the game and, in the end, be another one of the many voices singing high praise for this game.

My initial impression when I opened this game was focused directly on the artwork. The artwork by Nan Rangsima is absolutely adorable. The personifications they were able to get across over the different styles of sushi was incredible. Tempura looked happy together. Dumpling looked completely satisfied with how many dumplings it got to eat. The Nigiri looked coy and playful as it waited for the perfectly solemn and meditative Wasabi. Then there’s the Chopsticks: you can just hear the drawing itself yelling out ‘Sushi Go!’. The art and colour coding made the cards easy to identify and made the game play quick and easily because there was absolutely no confusion between cards.

The gameplay is very standard drafting gameplay. You get dealt X amount of cards, you choose one, play it in front of you and then pass your remaining cards. Rinse and repeat until scoring. This doesn’t mean the game itself is boring. Sushi Go! is a very tight game wrapped up in this little package. When should you jump into certain types of sushis? Do I use the ability on my chopsticks (allowing me to choose two cards instead of one) now or later? Do I play actively with my hand or reactively to what my opponents are doing? There’s a surprising amount of depth in this game. The ease of play and different scoring possibilities with the sushis means you always feel there is a good decision you should be making. Also the fact that the sushi is swept each round after scoring means that every round is a fresh start to that race for the highest score.

We played three games on stream and myself, Mitchell and Mike all loved it. We were shaking our fists at each other when someone moved in on a sushi we were working towards and laughing all along the way. We each won a game, leaving a good taste in all of our mouths. (Ha.) The biggest surprise in this game was how much the theme actually felt like it mattered. The sushi you were attempting to score with felt concise and focused as to why you were scoring it that way. Dumplings score more for each dumpling you have because why would you just eat one dumpling? Sashimi only scored in threes to match the picture of the three types of Sashimi. The theme didn’t feel tacked on as I played it. That’s what really pushed this game over the edge for me.

We’ll definitely be pulling this game out at more of our game nights. I’m interested to see how well it holds up. As mentioned earlier, the aspect of focusing on playing actively to your hand or reactively to your opponents offers an intriguing bit of strategy to me. I’m going to spend a few games testing it out and seeing different approaches to winning. The fact that Sushi Go! packs such a big punch in such a small, inexpensive package is incredible. I highly recommended snatching this one up. If you have chopsticks, I highly recommend picking up two.

Justin

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