Why these delicious dice should be on your games night menu
There can’t be many people who fell in love with sushi as a result of playing a board game, but I am one of them! I had never tried sushi before playing Sushi Go Party and Sushi Roll, but seeing those adorable Nigiri and Sashimi convinced me to try it and now it’s one of my favourite foods!
If you’re unfamiliar with the Sushi Go world, Sushi Go Party is a card game all about passing cards around the table, attempting to score the most points from the best combination of sushi at the end of the round. It’s fun, easy and very appetizing. Sushi Roll works in a similar way using the most adorable sushi dice instead of cards.
How the game works
I feel like I’ve already summed this up in the previous paragraph, but in Sushi Roll, each player draws a number of dice from the bag at random, which they then roll and keep one for themselves, before passing the rest to the next player on the little conveyor belt. All players then reroll the dice passed to them, pick one, pass the rest and so on until no dice remain. Players then score points depending on the combination of dice they have picked. After three rounds you count up the scores and declare a winner!
There are several different types of dice that work in a different ways.
Nigiri (white dice) score either 1, 2 or 3 points depending on which delicious ricey treat is showing. 1 point for egg, 2 points for salmon, 3 points for squid. Combine with wasabi to triple the points!
Maki (red dice) have either 1, 2 or 3 rolls displayed on each face, and the player with the most rolls in total scores 6 points, with second most scoring 3 points.
Appetizers (blue dice) have either dumplings, tempura prawns or sashimi on, and you score points depending on how many you have of each (3 is the magic number). Sashimi is the rarest so scores the most, whereas dumplings are the most common and score the fewest.
Desserts (pink dice) score points at the end of the whole game, depending on who has accumulated the most over the three rounds. 6 points to the player with the most, -6 points to the player with the fewest!
Specials (turquoise dice) provide some helpful bonuses despite not scoring points themselves. You can gain chopsticks (they allow you to swap a dice from your conveyor belt with a dice on someone else’s!), menus (they allow you to reroll your dice if you aren’t happy with your sushi selection) or wasabi (they triple the point value of the next nigiri you select so could get you 9 points for a squid!)
If you’re looking for a meaty epic game to fill your 4 hour board game night then perhaps look elsewhere, firstly because this is less meaty and more fishy (I’ll get my coat), secondly because this shouldn’t test your brain very much and thirdly because it only takes 20 minutes to play!
Sushi Roll is the ideal game to kick off or finish a board game night and although we own many games that fit this category, the charming dice and conveyor belts along with the speedy gameplay make this a firm favourite.
It is extremely pleasing on the eye (the dice look good enough to eat) and unlike with Sushi Go Party there is virtually no set-up at all as you just put all the dice in the bag and each player draws the number required. As much as I love Sushi Go Party there’s a lot of shuffling involved and if you keep the cards in one massive disorganised deck like we do it takes a lot of sorting through as well! But here you can be ready and playing in less than a minute.
It’s also very simple to explain because the concept is so basic and is probably my number one game for teaching the pick and pass mechanism to new gamers. The player boards have a simple but comprehensive breakdown of each dice’s faces so you can weigh up the odds of getting the three Sashimi required for the full 13 points.
Yet underneath the simplicity of the gameplay there’s a fair amount of strategy. First of all you need to keep an eye on what your opponents want, and perhaps scupper their progress even if it means you don’t take the dice you really want. Then you’ve got the chopsticks, which can be used to steal your opponents’ dice before they have a chance to grab them for themselves. For me the game is won and lost on the blue Appetizer dice, because there’s so many points at stake if you fail to get 2 or 3 of the same type so it could be worth taking a blue dice for yourself to prevent your neighbour rolling it next turn.
I prefer the openness of Sushi Roll over the secretive nature of Sushi Go Party. You can always see what dice everyone else has, and what they’ve rolled. That allows for a little more strategy, because with the card version you secretly select a card then all reveal at the same time.
This may not be accurate for those outside the UK but I have to say both Sushi Roll and Sushi Go Party are very cheap to buy. Both come for under £20 which for me is a bargain, there’s a lot of game for not very much money.
So do I prefer it over the card game? For the speed of set up and play I would say yes as it is easier to teach and takes so little time to play. For the variety I would say no, because with Sushi Go Party you have a huge choice of card sets to play with to mix it up whereas with Sushi Roll you only have the dice described above. I would LOVE to see a Sushi Roll expansion to get more dice into the mix which would massively improve replayability. Obviously with any dice rolling game there’s an element of luck- rolling a sashimi on your last turn could be the difference between 7 points and 13 – but I don’t mind a bit of luck!
The only other negative I would say (and I say this for all pick and pass games) is that they don’t work well with 2 players, and ideally you want 4 or more. Small gripe but these games will never come out when it’s just me and Jess playing. Overall though I have a lot of love for the Sushi Go world and if you’ve not explored it before then grab some chopsticks and get stuck in!
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