You never know what you might find at your local comic book store or at a comic con. The Sushi Go Party card game feels like one of those passer-by items you come across on a stall and thought “Hey, why not?”, you buy and give it a try. Little do you know how many people have biting into the imaginary sushi in front of them and how well this game has done!
A card drafting game developed by Gamewright in 2013, Sushi Go Party is a reimplementation of the original drafting game Sushi Go, only it allows more players, being up to 8, and has a wider menu selection. I’m not a fan of sushi myself, I’m more of a noodle, rice and chips kind of guy, but the setup of choosing food as if you were in a restaurant really stood out to me. It feels like there is no activity in real life which can’t be made into a board game.
The small metal box for the game is colourful and shines with attraction. The cartoon style of the sushi characters on the front draw the eye. It’s nothing mind-blowing but it does tempt you to buy it just to see how it works, or better yet, find out what the party version of the game can deliver. So does the game taste sweet or make you feel nauseous? It’s probably better you play this after eating, or you’ll be left starving by the end.
What Do You Get?
- 181 Cards:
- Nigri – 12x: Nigri
- Sushi Rolls – 12x each: Maki Roll, Temaki, Uramaki
- Appetizers – 8x each: Tempura, Sashimi, Dumpling, Eel, Tofu, Onigiri, Edamame, Miso Soup
- Specials – 3x each: Chopsticks, Soy Sauce, Tea, Menu, Spoon, Special Order, Takeout Box, Wasabi
- Desserts – 15x each: Pudding, Green Tea Ice Cream, Fruit
- 22 Menu Tiles
- 8 Pawns
- 1 Game Board
How Do You Set It Up?
- Place the game board in the centre of the playing area.
- Each player chooses a player colour and places their corresponding pawn on or near the O space of the game board.
- The first time you play, divide the cards according to type and place each type in a slot in the box.
- Together, decide which cards to use in this game.
- Find the menu tiles that correspond to the chosen cards and place them into their appropriate slots on the game board. These tiles allow everyone to see at a glance which cards are in play and how they work.
- When playing with maki rolls in a 6-8 player game, flip its menu tile over to show the 6-8 player game scoring.
- Shuffle the chosen dessert cards and place them in a face-down pile to one side of the board.
- Take all the other chosen sets of cards and shuffle them together to form a face-down deck which is also placed near the board.
How Do You Play?
You are dining a la carte at a deluxe sushi feast. Before you eat, you must first create your own menu from a wide variety of delectable options. Then try to score the most points over three rounds by grabbing the best combination of cards before they whiz by!
In Sushi Go Party! you choose what’s on the menu for each game. Different combinations will make the game feel very different.
Create Your Own Menu
Pick your own card combination to play with. You can play with any combination of cards you like. Just make sure your game is made up of the following:
- Nigri cards are used in every game.
- 1 type of rolls.
- 3 types of appetizers.
- 2 types of specials.
- 1 type of dessert.
IMPORTANT: Menu and special order may not be used in a 7-8 player game. Spoon and edamame may not be used in a 2 player game.
Starting A Round
A game of Sushi Go Party! takes place over 3 rounds. Before each round, shuffle a group of face-down dessert cards into the main deck based on this table:
Then deal cards face-down to each player, based on this table:
Place the remaining cards in a face-down deck beside the game board. Take your cards into your hand, secret from other players. Play now begins!
Playing A Turn
Turns in Sushi Go Party! happen simultaneously. Each player chooses 1 card in their hand that they would like to keep and places it face-down in front of them. When all players have done this, everyone reveals their chosen cards by turning them face-up.
After revealing cards, pass your remaining hand face-down to the player on your left (In this way, each hand will move clockwise around the table). Pick up this new hand and the next turn begins (You will have a smaller hand to choose from).
Face-up cards remain with you until the end of the round, when they are scored. As you accumulate cards, group them together in columns of the same colour.
Ending A Round
When all of the cards have been played and everyone’s hand is empty, the round is over. First, place any dessert cards off to your side. Keep them there until the end of the game, which is when they are scored. The strawberry icon in the lower-left corner of all the dessert cards is a reminder of this.
Next, score all the other cards you have played this round. Each card type scores in a different way, as described in the “Card Guide”. Move your pawn along the score track on the game board, showing how many points you scored in the round.
All cards, except for played dessert cards, are then collected and re-shuffled together. Remember to add in a new set of dessert cards, according to the round. Start the next round, which plays just like the previous.
Ending The Game
When you have played 3 rounds, the game is over. In addition, to regular scoring, be sure to also score your dessert cards, as described in the “Card Guide”. Whoever has the most points is the winner! If there is a tie, the player with the most dessert cards wins.
Pros Of The Game
- Easy to learn and gamers and non-gamers alike
- Brilliant artwork
- Scales well with the number of players, great for social gatherings
- High replay ability with many card combinations
- Provides good strategy and quick gameplay
Cons Of The Game
- Cards are not very durable
- Has elements of luck
- Games comes is a tin, which may bother some
- Won’t be for those looking for a heavier game
Should You Get Sushi Go Party?
Ready to pretend to grab sushi from one of those conveyor belts? Well here your main priority is getting yourself nice and full whilst leaving the other players with scraps. But since everyone else is doing the same thing, the quest for the best meal is on!
Card drafting games are not the easiest to explain to non-gamers, but Party is one of those exceptions that provides a great introduction into that world. It’s really simple to explain, you take a card, pass the rest over to the next players, and try to obtain the most points. You’re set to play! You just learn about what points you can get along the way.
A good entry game for card drafting. What makes this game so easy to learn is its strategy elements being basic, score the best cards and stop your opponents from getting the best card is. You can get a good idea of what they are planning since the cards are left face up, which is good for you if you want to take cards that they need. You score takes punishment if you cannot gather enough cards to make a set, so this is the best way to hold your opponent’s back.
It’s a game that ensures victory is based on the cards you choose to play, rather than how many players are involved. In terms of setting up mechanics for set collections, this game does brilliant. The designers thought this through well. With so many unique, stand-out scoring types, combined with the great design, you’re in for a literal treat.
The artwork is brilliant, cute and suits the quirky gameplay. The use of Nan’s art and colour can stick out in your mind for days after playing. Plus, with so many cards, the level of detail put in clearly shown. You can tell the idea of the style is to be sweet and fun, and you get that straight from the tin.
But although the art on them is great, the cards themselves are not durable. Light gameplay from time to time can cause them to wear down slightly. I don’t whether this is because cards get passed around so much during a game, but this still should have been considered. If the stats on the card ever get erased, then it starts affecting actual gameplay. Sturdier material would’ve been an asset for such an active game.
Modular games, building independent parts in different ways, are a great part of board gaming. Sushi Go Party illustrates this a lot by providing variety and gives players more freedom to set rules and cards which suits their group and type of play.
Easily portable and you can play on the go. You can even just take the deck of cards with you really if you know how to play. It’s a great time-passer to have! The fact that the cards each show their scores can lessen the need to even learn the rulebook, you’ll probably memorise the worth of plenty of foods before the game is even done!
This has to be a top contender for parties and social events, you’d get that vibe from the eight-player availability. It’s more of a filler game, but it sure is an attention grabbing one.
It also balances very well, being sure to only include cards which suit the number of players. Certain cards that are under powered or overpowered are taken out when they cannot work with the group playing. Cards can also score differently relating to player number, making the experience entertaining regardless of who’s at the table, a pleasing feature which other card drafting games should aspire to this.
You’ll also find good replay ability here, it presents several card setups, each varying on the type of game you want to play. Even if you don’t like any of them, you can create your own so long as you meet the cards requirements. Make your own cards sets and staples, you’ll still keep the simplicity of gameplay whilst varying in the difficulty with the combinations you form. This helps craft the game in your favour to maximise interactivity, scoring, and overall, fun! It’s hard to see yourself getting tired with this game.
Of course, if you want a heavier game that’s more intrinsic or in-depth, you won’t find it here. Every part of this, from the theme to the strategy, is light. Good fun and straight-forward play are in Sushi Go Party, so it varies on what mood or setting you’re in to play it.
If you were to compare Party to the original, the old Sushi Go is more portable as well as quicker to play with fewer players. However, it is the same deck each game with no variability, so play one game, get the same game. Party does not have this problem, juggling many balls at once successfully.
It’s a great asset having more cards and being able to form an unlimited menu of card choices and having more players in a number of settings. The score track too is a pleasant feature, compared to the original where you had to write scores down. Outside of a smaller, more transportable tin, there is no reason to get Sushi Go when you have Sushi Go Party.
The way all the pieces are stored in the tin makes it a bit frustrating to put everything back in after playing. Tiles are a bit big to get in their spots, the instruction corners stick out and you can probably only fit three tokens in a space. This is a minor flaw; most likely space was sacrificed for ease of travel with the tin. I do wonder about the tin-hate though, I can go either way, it wouldn’t stop me from getting a game, it just says to me that it’s more of a smaller game when in one.
There is a chunk if luck in this game if that’s something you seek or try to avoid. The cards you are dealt with can either assist you or set back you back from the start. You can control what you draw and set others back with which cards they need, but you will find there are times the cards are just not on your side. This suits for the type of game it is, but not having complete control can be a switch off for some.
Sushi Go Party is a great filler game with amazing charm, perfect for passing time, social events, and just having a lighthearted time. If the style is a bit too light or sweet for you, or you want something more challenging, brain-churning or intense, I’d stay clear of any of the games this franchise produces.
It knows what it’s going for, bright, fun and engaging interaction. It’s well-suited for game night, introducing new players and non-gamers, and expands comfortably for several players. There’s always a spot for a game like this in a household’s collection. I’d recommend this, and I’d recommend the odd takeaway from your local sushi place!
Thank you for reading my Sushi Go Party card game review! How do you find it? Do you play it often? Was it easy for you to learn? Have you introduced it to anyone else? What do you think of the artwork? Do you like the scoring system? Do you prefer a deeper game? Fell free to leave any comments you might have!