Starting out as a breakout hit card game in 2013, the Sushi Go! universe of games now contains three titles as of writing:
- Sushi Go!
- Sushi Go Party!
- Sushi Roll
All three games are built on the same cute art style and addictive gameplay. But which version should you get? Or can you justify owning all three? The answer depends on what you’re looking for.
“The cheap, fast, and easy way to play!” – Jett
+ Budget price
+ Pick-up-and-play appeal
– Limited variety between games
– Bad 2-player mode
– Cards will wear out over time
– No score tracking in the package
The original Sushi Go! charmed many with its streamlined drafting mechanics that anyone could quickly learn and enjoy. Two successors later, there are still cases for when you’d want the original. For starters, it’s the cheapest of the bunch. You can oftentimes get the game for under $10 USD. Also, if you’re looking for something that’s quick to play and/or easy to teach newcomers, the original is the best place to start.
In a way, its simplicity can also be a deterrent. Since you’ll run through the entire deck in a similar order every time you play, the game’s appeal will wear thin more quickly than the other versions here. This will also cause the actual cards to break down more quickly, though the actual card stock isn’t the greatest to begin with. Scoring can be a pain in the butt, as no scoring aides come in the box. Finally, its two-player rules include a third dummy player that hampers the entire experience.
Sushi Go Party!
“The expansive Sushi Go! experience!” – Jett
+ Maximum of 8 players (vs. 5 in Sushi Go! and Sushi Roll)
+ Tons of new sushi cards and abilities to add variety
+ Board with scoring track
+ Better two-player mode that doesn’t use a dummy player
– Not as portable
– Not as pick-up-and-play due to having to manually configure the decks
– Cards will wear out over time, though its mitigated by the variety of cards in the set
Sushi Go Party! greatly expands on the scope of the original. You can now play with up to eight players, making it a great one to play in large groups. Most notably, a metric ton of new cards greatly extend the shelf-life over its peers. For enthusiast board game players, this is likely to be the version you play the most.
What it gains in scale, it loses in accessibility. Toting around Sushi Go Party! is more difficult due to its larger tin. It’s also prone to fits and starts, as you’ll inevitably run into downtime by frequently rejiggering the tableau of cards and having to explain how each new card works. You can technically play the original variant within Sushi Go Party!, but experienced players of the original will get the most out of it by experimenting with different combinations, which adds time and complexity to the setup. That said, new players may still prefer to buy Sushi Go Party! over the original by virtue of having the original game within it and more.
“Now with dice!” – Jett
+ Use of dice adds slightly different strategic opportunities
+ Tokens for scoring
+ Preferred way to play with two players
+ More durable than the card game versions
– Slower pace of play
– Bit more random than the card variants
– Lacks the variability of Sushi Go Party!
– Biggest box
Sushi Roll takes the Sushi Go! and shakes things up with dice. Instead of playing with a fixed set of cards each round, sets of dice are re-rolled each turn, adding a bit more randomization to the mix. That said, there are some sneaky ways to manipulate the odds in your favour, thanks to tokens that give you re-rolls or to swap dice between conveyer belts.
What can I say, it’s fun to roll dice! You will roll the dice a lot during each session. Its plastic dice and cardboard components are also more durable than the cards in either package, making wear-and-tear a non-factor. It’s also my preferred way to play with two players, as it only makes the slightest rule adjustments to accommodate for the smallest player count.
The biggest downfall to Sushi Roll comes from its overall pace-of-play. Since turns are played one-at-a-time and dice can be re-rolled, the average Sushi Roll game takes between 20-30 minutes to complete. Totally fine for a board game in the general sense, but Sushi Go and Sushi Go Party! can scratch the same itch at a much faster pace.
All three games are great for leveraging the same compelling gameplay and cutesy art style. Unless you only play with two players, you can’t really go wrong with any version. That said, which version(s) you get will ultimately depend on your specific needs:
- Sushi Go! is cheap, fast, and easy to play with anyone
- Sushi Go Party! has the largest potential for variability and replayability
- Sushi Roll won’t physically wear out like the card game variants while also being the best way to play with two players
Next time you’re at the table, I hope you’re enjoying some sushi, whichever version you choose to get!
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