You and your friends frequently get together at various restaurants to experience a wide variety of culinary tastes. You also have this rather strange tradition of competing to see who can have the best possible meal. Today you find yourself at a little sushi bar, where having the greatest sushi experience requires both a refined palate and quick thinking. But don’t forget to save room for dessert! See how your tastes in sushi measure up in Sushi Go Party!
Sushi Go Party! is a fast-paced 2-8 player sushi-themed card drafting game with a play time of about 20 minutes, recommended for ages 8 and up.
In Sushi Go Party!, players are competing to have the highest score by selecting various sushi and other Japanese dishes from a hand of cards as those hands are passed around the table. Different cards and card sets will score differently, so players must choose carefully in order to complete their sets. Whoever makes the best possible sets and scores the most points after three rounds wins the game.
At the start of the game, players will create a deck of cards consisting of various sushi rolls, appetizers, daily specials, and a dessert. Each player will then be dealt a hand of cards, and players will begin “drafting” the cards as follows:
Players will all simultaneously take a single card of their choice from their hand, play it face up in front of them, and then pass the remaining cards in their hand to the player on their left. Players will choose which cards to play based on how those cards score and which sets they wish to make.
For example, Maki Rolls give 6 points to the player who collects the most of them during the round and 3 points to the player with the second most, but no points to anyone else. Tofu gives you 2 points if you have one of them, 6 points if you have two, but 0 points if you have three or more. Specials may allow you to steal cards from other player’s hands or draw cards from the deck and choose one to keep. Dessert cards only score at the end of the game (not the end of the round like other cards), but usually give a penalty to players who fail to collect enough of them by the end of the game (remember, you should always save room for dessert!).
Players will continue playing a card from their hand and passing the rest until all cards have been played. Once this is done, players will total up their scores (except for their dessert cards), reshuffle the deck, and deal out cards to begin a new round. After three rounds, players will also tally up their dessert cards along with the rest of the cards they played that round, and whoever has the most total points wins the game.
Sushi Go Party! is the “deluxe” version of the smaller card game, Sushi Go. Sushi Go had one deck of cards that was always the same, and while that made the game fast to set up and clean up, it did run the risk of getting a little samey each time. Sushi Go Party! completely solves that problem by giving you way more options and possible combinations. There are 23 different “menu items” in the box, while the original game only had 8. There are also eight different set ups recommended in the rulebook, but you can also make your own combinations as well. This creates a huge amount of variety and replayability, and I think will do a great job of keeping the game from getting stale.
The cards themselves are nice quality and they all have cute, colorful artwork that is fun to look at. The cards do a great job of explaining how they score so you don’t forget, but if something does require clarification there’s a clearly written card guide in the back of the rules. The rules are also clearly written, well laid out, and not too long.
The game comes with a central board where you can set reference tiles for all the cards you’re using that game, and both the board and tiles are thick and sturdy. The board also acts as a score track, and the game comes with 8 different colored soy sauce bottle tokens that are cool and unique.
The container is a metal tin, which I don’t mind but there are many who dislike tin boxes for a game. The insert is not greatest, but it is functional and does keep all the cards sorted. With how the cards are stored, the board is set on top of them on their edges, and some have expressed concern that this could damage the cards. I haven’t had the game long enough to say one way or the other, but if that is a concern, you could easily sleeve the cards, if you wish.
Sushi Go Party is just pure, simple fun. The game is literally just play a card, pass the rest, which makes turns super fast. There are certain special cards that may slow the game down for a moment, but that’s only occasionally, and even when one is played, that turn should still take less than 30 seconds.
Because the game is so simple, it’s super easy to teach and great for a wide range of ages and those not familiar with a lot of games. The game is really short, so it’s also a good option for when you don’t have a lot of time or somebody isn’t sure if they want to commit to a bigger game. The artwork is also really cute and I think will draw a lot of people in.
It also seems to work well at all player counts. I was a little skeptical of the two-player game, and while it does change some of the strategy slightly, it was still a lot of fun. And with higher player counts, because of the nature of drafting, it really doesn’t slow down gameplay at all. Because the game can go up to 8 players, if I’m going to a social event and I want to bring a game but don’t know how many people will be there, this will probably be one of the first games I grab.
If you like cute artwork, fast and easy gameplay, wide range of player counts, fun, or all of the above, you should definitely check out Sushi Go Party!
This review was originally written for Cardboard Koinonia. Check it out here: http://www.cardboardkoinonia.ca/2017/12/02/sushi-go-party/
I wouldn't call the quality of the cards good at all. It's pretty ridiculous how bad the card quality is. During out first shuffling, a few cards already bent easily and I'm worried about their longevity. Probably by far the worst card stock I have in my collection. Even the original had better cardstock.