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Game Night Reviews: Sushi Go

Updated: Jul 9, 2021

Sushi Go

Arrrrr! And the Game Night cruise continues as the lads and I charge onwards aboard our mighty water going vessel down the Silsden Canal heading for East Marton. We faced many dangers, such as rain, other canal users, big dogs and twenty four exhausting locks. Two of our number were nearly killed when Bob dropped his lock key from twenty feet up, fortunately he missed them both and the key bounced off the boat and into the murky depths never to be seen again.

When we moored up for the night we were all wet and exhausted and looking forward to a good meal in the pub. Unfortunately Steve decided we should start our evening with a real life game of Unlock as he padlocked the boat shut with the keys still in the ignition! After borrowing part of a local farmers fence and wedging the doors ajar with one of our mooring stakes, I managed to use my incredible hook-a-duck skills to snag the keys and gets us back inside.

Finally, we ate and with all the death and danger behind us we sat down to enjoy a quiet evening of gaming.

Tonight’s game was a little drafting game from Phil Walker-Harding called Sushi Go.

A Quick Overview

Sushi Go has a very simple premise. Each player is dealt a number of cards based on the number of players. They take one card to keep and pass on the rest. They reveal the card they took and then take a card from the new hand they received from their neighbour. This continues until all the cards have been taken.

The round is then scored based on the cards you took. Each card type scores differently.

  • Maki Rolls - Score 6/3 points to the player with the most/second most

  • Sashimi - For every 3 Sashimi you score 10 points

  • Tempura - For every two Tempura you score 5 points

  • Dumplings - If you have 1/2/3/4/5+ you score 1/3/6/10/15

  • Nigiri - Scores 1/2/3 points depending on the type

  • Wasabi - Triples the value of the next nigiri you play

Puddings and Chopsticks score nothing, however puddings are set aside for the end of the game. Once you have noted down the scores a new round begins. In total you play 3 rounds followed by a desert round. The player with the most Puddings scores 6 points, while the one with the least scores -6.

The player with the most points after desert is the winner of the game.

Did They Like It?

It was hard to tell. I love Sushi Go, I’ve waxed lyrical about Phil Walker-Harding’s game designs elsewhere, but I love how he can take a simple set of rules, in this case choose a card and pass the rest, and make a game with interesting choices and lots of design space. I don’t think my non-gamer buddies were as impressed, perhaps it was too simple, perhaps it was the exhaustingly long day. We played a couple of hands before moving on to other games.


Sushi Go has been superseded by Sushi Go Party. Seriously, don’t buy Sushi Go, yes, Party is twice the price but it is more than twice the game. With Sushi Go the gameplay, while fun, will always be the same, with Sushi Go Party you have hundreds of possible combinations which makes for a different experience every time and you can just play the basic Sushi Go with the party set.

Sushi Go Party

However, what do I think of the system? For me, Sushi Go is an obvious choice to play with gamers and non-gamers alike, even in a mixed group setting. The mechanics can be explained with a single sentence and once all the players understand the scoring (which is explained on each card) they can start to get tactical with their game play.

Sushi Go is a short game, twenty minutes at most, but it can be a great capper to an evening or even an opener. The artwork is whimsical and the graphic design makes the game pop on the table, while clearly delineating different scoring groups.

If I had any gripes at all about the game it would be the fact that it comes in a tin, which makes it harder to store and the quality of the cards. After only ten plays my Sushi Go Party set began to show wear and even knicks on the cards so I had to sleeve them to stop them deteriorating further.

Final Thoughts

Sushi Go is a fairly inexpensive game that plays well with anyone, even if they haven’t played games before. The cards are brightly coloured with cute artwork and the rules can be explained quickly and simply. Games are fast and light but there are still tactics that can be exploited by gamers who want a crunchier experience. However, Sushi Go has ultimately been replaced by Sushi Go Party so buy that one instead!

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