Sushi Go is a card-drafting game—meaning players are working to gather sets of cards worth different point totals. Instead of everyone drawing from one communal deck, each player starts with a hand of cards and picks one card to add to their set. Then they pass the remaining cards in the hand to the player on their left. This pass-and-play dynamic means you must keep track of not only the cards you have and need but also those your opponents have and need. Predicting the cards your rivals want and spoiling their plans is what keeps this game maddeningly fun.
The objective of the game is simple: Score points. Each card is worth a certain number of points. Sometimes you need multiples of one card for it to be worth anything. That makes Sushi Go a game of dilemmas. Do you grab a shrimp tempura card knowing you still need one more? Do you let that delicious piece of sashimi go by so you can get more maki on your plate? What if another player grabs it before it has a chance to circle back? The internal dialogue is never ending.
The game ends after three complete rounds of passing hands around the group, which can consist of two to five players. Whoever has the most points at the end of three rounds is the winner—usually a 20-minute endeavor. The quick gameplay makes Sushi Go perfect for filling time at a bar, where I first learned to play, and it is largely the reason my friends and I keep coming back to it.
Another reason this game remains a delight to play is the adorable art that jumps off each card. Combined with its unique hand-passing component, Sushi Go genuinely gives you the feeling of sitting at a sushi bar, watching rolls pass by on a conveyor belt as you agonize over which ones to snag before someone else does.
If you find yourself getting tired of the basic cards, or you have more than five people you want to play with, Sushi Go Party builds off the original game by adding a lot of new cards for players to choose from. Sushi Go Party is more than twice the size of the original. So it’s significantly less portable than the base game—but you’ll be able to accommodate up to eight players.