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Sushi Go! Card Game Review and Instructions

How to Play | Review | Final Verdict | Comments

How to Play

Objective

Try to score the most points within three rounds.

Setup

Shuffle all of the cards together. Deal out cards to all of the players based on how many players are playing the game.

  • 2 players: 10 cards each
  • 3 players: 9 cards each
  • 4 players: 8 cards each
  • 5 players: 7 cards each

The rest of the cards form the draw pile. Grab a piece of paper to keep score with.

How To Play

Each round begins with all of the players choosing one of the cards from their hand that they would like to keep. When everyone has chosen their card, all players reveal the card that they chose to keep. These cards are played out in front of the players.

Players then pass all of the cards from their hand to the player on their left. Players then choose one card from this hand and all of the players reveal their card at the same time. The hands are again passed left and this process continues until all of the cards have been chosen by a player. The current round ends when all of the cards have been claimed by players. When the round ends each player scores points for the round. Pudding cards are kept in front of the player who took the cards while all other cards are discarded after they have been scored.

The next round then begins with each player being dealt the same number of cards that they were dealt at the beginning of the game. At the end of the third round scoring takes place like normal, but the pudding cards are also scored. After all of the scoring is completed, whoever has the most points wins the game.

Cards

Here is a short explanation of how each card in Sushi Go! works.

Wasabi: If a player chooses wasabi they put the card in front of them and wait for the next nigiri card (squid, salmon or egg) to be taken by the player. The next nigiri card taken by the player is placed on the wasabi card which means that the nigiri card is now worth three times what is printed on the card. Players do not have to immediately take a nigiri card to put on their wasabi. Nigiri cards taken before getting a wasabi card cannot be added to a wasabi collected later in the round. Players can take multiple wasabi cards but only one nigiri card can be placed on each wasabi card. Any wasabi that doesn’t have a nigiri card on it at the end of a round is worth zero points.

Nigiri: Nigiri cards not placed on wasabi score the amount of points printed on the card. If the nigiri is placed on a wasabi card, the nigiri will score three times as many points as is printed on the card.

Nigiri in Sushi Go
Pictured above are the two different ways to score points from nigiri in Sushi Go. The top row shows the three types of nigiri without wasabi. These nigiri are worth the points printed in the bottom right corner of the card. The bottom row of cards are the three types of nigiri with wasabi. These cards are worth three times the number in the bottom right corner of the card.

Chopsticks: If a player takes a chopstick card, on a future turn they have the ability to take two cards from a hand instead of one. If a player would like to use their chopsticks to take two cards from a hand they take their first card and before everyone reveals their cards the player says “Sushi Go!” and then takes a second card from the hand. In exchange the chopsticks are put back into the hand before it is passed to the next player. At the end of the round chopsticks are worth zero points.

Chopsticks in Sushi Go
In Sushi Go the chopsticks allow a player to take two cards during one round. When a player wants to use the chopsticks they add it to their hand and take two cards from their hand instead of one.

Maki Rolls: Maki rolls score points for the player(s) with the most and second most maki rolls. At the end of a round players count up how many maki rolls they have pictured on their cards. A card that shows three maki rolls, counts as three maki rolls for example. The player who has the most maki rolls at the end of a round scores six points. If multiple people tie for the most maki rolls they split the six points and no one scores points for the second most maki rolls. Otherwise the player with the second most maki rolls gets three points. If there is a tie for the second most maki rolls the players share the points and any remainder is ignored.

Maki Rolls in Sushi Go
Pictured above are the maki rolls that three different players had at the end of a round. The player on the left has five maki rolls, the middle player has three maki rolls, and the right player has two maki rolls. The player on the left would get six points while the player in the middle would get 3 points. The player on the right would get no points for their maki rolls.

Tempura: Tempura only scores points if a player acquires two tempura in a round. If two tempura are collected the player will score five points. If you only collect one tempura it is worth zero points. Players can collect more than two tempura but they only score points for each pair so three tempura would only score five points while four would score ten points.

Tempura in Sushi Go
The player on the left would get five points for their pair of tempura. The player on the right would get zero points for their tempura because they were unable to get a pair.

Sashimi: Sashimi works just like tempura but requires three sashimi in order to score points. A complete set of three sashimi is worth ten points. Any incomplete set of sashimi is worth zero points. A player can score multiple times with sashimi in a round but they only score for every complete set of three that is acquired and any extra sashimi score zero points. For example five sashimi scores ten points while six sashimi scores 20 points.

Sashimi in Sushi Go
The player on the left has acquired three sashimi so they would get ten points for them. The player on the right only acquired two sashimi so they would get no points for their sashimi.

Dumplings: Dumplings score points based on how many you acquire in a round. Points are scored as follows: 1 dumpling-1 point, 2 dumplings-3 points, 3 dumplings-5 points, 4 dumplings-10 points, and 5 or more dumplings-15 points.

Dumplings in Sushi Go
The player has three dumpling cards. This player would receive six points from the dumplings.

Pudding: Pudding cards only score points at the end of the game. All pudding cards are kept from round to round until the game ends.

Pudding in Sushi Go
During the game the left player has acquired two pudding cards while the right player has only acquired one.

End of Game

After the third round is completed (which includes normal scoring), additional scoring is done based on the amount of pudding cards collected during the game. The person who has the most pudding cards at the end of the game gets six bonus points. If two or more players are tied for the most pudding cards, they will split the points evenly with any remainder being ignored. The player with the least amount of pudding cards loses six points. If multiple players are tied for the least amount of pudding cards, they split the six points that would be lost. If all players have the same number of pudding cards, no player loses or gains points. In two player games the player with the most pudding cards wins the six points while the other player doesn’t lose any points.

After tallying points for pudding cards, whoever has the most total points wins the game. If there is a tie, the player with more pudding cards breaks the tie.

Scoring in Sushi Go
For this round the player would score ten points which includes five points for the two tempura, three points for the two dumplings, zero points for the sashimi and chopsticks, and two points for the salmon nigiri. The pudding card would be put aside for scoring at the end of the game.

Variants

Pass Both Ways: Each round players alternate which way they pass their hands. One round players pass their hand left and the next round they pass their hands right.

Two Player Variant: This variant features a third “dummy” player. Deal each player nine cards. Players take turns controlling the dummy player. When it is their turn they take the top card from the dummy pile and add it to their hand. The player takes one card from their hand for themself and gives one card to the dummy player. The rest of the game is played like the normal game.

Review

Ever since it appeared on the third season of TableTop, I have wanted to try out Sushi Go! Even before TableTop I heard a lot of good thing about Sushi Go! and the TableTop episode just confirmed what I had heard. The main reason I held off from buying the game for a long time was that the game has always been really cheap so I was looking for a really good deal on the game. After having finally played the game I have to say that Sushi Go! lived up to the hype and is a fantastic example of a simple pick up and play card game that hides quite a bit of strategy beneath the surface.

While I like strategic games, I appreciate a good light to moderate strategy game since they can be engaging while also being accessible to new players. This is the perfect description of Sushi Go. While the game is a light to moderate strategy game it does a great job blending accessibility with options. The game is very easy to play since it only takes a couple minutes to explain and maybe a couple rounds for a player to fully understand. The game is also really quick to play since you can generally finish a game in fifteen minutes. Sushi Go! is a perfect filler game especially for people who don’t regularly play board and card games.

When you first start playing the game you might not think there is a lot of strategy to Sushi Go! While the game is accessible it has plenty of choices to make. The more you play the game the more you see the strategic elements in the game. While playing the game you need to consider what cards you want in addition to what cards other players are looking for. Considering other player’s hands might be more important than your own at times since you might have to take a card that will earn you few points just to prevent another player from getting the card and earning a bunch of points.

Sushi Go! seems so well balanced. Most of the cards in Sushi Go actually play differently while remaining easy to understand. Each card has its’ strengths and weaknesses. Nigiri cards by themselves score less points than the other cards but they are also the safest since you will automatically score points with them. Dumplings are also safe but don’t score a lot of points unless you acquire quite a few of them. A lot of the other cards are more risky but result in bigger payoffs. The wasabi, sashimi, and the tempura require you to get other cards or they are worth zero points. If you get the other cards you need though you will score quite a few more points than if you went with a safer option. Finally the chopsticks are an interesting card since they essentially let you pass on one hand and take two cards from another hand. One player will get stuck with them at the end of the round though and will end up getting zero points for them.

In addition to some great gameplay, the card quality in Sushi Go! is quite good. The card stock is pretty typical of a card game but the artwork is fantastic. I have really no interest in sushi having never ate sushi before and yet the artwork is so charming and really well done. The cards are really well designed with a quick explanation at the bottom of every card that tells you what it does. This helps immensely when you are first learning the game since you can quickly go through the rules and then use the bottom of the cards to refresh your memory of what every card does as you play through your first game.

Although Sushi Go is a really good game it is not perfect and it won’t be for everyone.

While the game has quite a bit more strategy to it than you would first expect, people who like really strategic games will probably find the game to be a little on the light side. Your decisions in the game actually have an impact on what ultimately ends up happening in the game. Good strategic decisions give you an advantage in the game. Except for the first couple of cards each round though, it is usually pretty obvious what card you should take at any given time.

Unfortunately luck has more impact on the game than I would have preferred. If all of the players are of an equal skill level, the winner will probably be whichever player was luckiest. Luck comes into play into two ways. First whoever gets the better starting hands gets an advantage since they are able to take the better cards from those hands. Also getting the first look at the best hand of the round gives you an advantage in deciding which strategy you are going to be implementing for the round.

Luck also comes into play in guessing which strategy you think the other players will implement. While keeping track of how many of each type of card there is in any particular round is helpful, you still need to guess what you think the other players are going to do. Since several of the cards require collecting multiple cards of the same type, you are taking a risk that the other players won’t pursue the same type of cards as you are in any particular round. If you get lucky and the other players don’t pursue the cards you are going after you will score a lot of points but if two players go after the same cards they will end up sabotaging one another.

Final Verdict

Sushi Go is a great game. The game is easy to learn, quick to play, and still has quite a bit of strategy to it. While I wish the game relied a little less on luck, unless you hate light to moderate strategy games I think you will really enjoy Sushi Go! On top of all of its’ positives the game is also quite cheap since you can usually find a copy of the game online for less than $10. Unless you don’t like light to moderate strategy games I would highly recommend picking up Sushi Go!

If you want to purchase Sushi Go you can pick it up from Amazon here.

3 thoughts on “Sushi Go! Card Game Review and Instructions

  • August 26, 2019 at 11:49 pm
    Permalink

    When each game only has 3 rounds how do you get 5 or more dumplings?

    Reply
    • August 27, 2019 at 11:44 am
      Permalink

      This confusion is probably due to me not doing a great job describing what constitutes a round. At the beginning of each round the players start with the number of cards shown in the setup section (between seven and ten). Players take one card and then pass the cards to the player on their left. This continues until all of the cards have been claimed by players. This is the end of the round. You are able to get five or more dumplings in a round because each player will get to take between seven and ten cards each round (depending on the number of players).

      Then another round is played with players being dealt the same number of cards as they were at the beginning of the game. Players will once again take cards until all of the cards are taken. One more round is then played and then the game ends.

      I am sorry that you were confused by my description of the rules. I am going to edit them some to make this more clear.

      Reply

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