Sushi Roll Review
- Another sushi game you didn't know you needed
Players: 2 - 5
Playing time: 20 minutes
Designed by: Phil Walker-Harding
Published by: Gamewright
I'm sure you've all heard of the popular card drafting game Sushi Go! by now. If you haven't then where have you been? If you have, you would have been just as excited as I was when I found out Gamewright were going to be releasing a dice version of the family friendly smash hit. Is it worth having both games in your collection? Let's find out.
- 40 Scoring Tokens - 30 Dice - 20 Pudding Tokens - 18 Menu Tokens - 12 Chopstick Tokens - 5 Conveyer Belts - 5 Trays - 1 Dice Bag
The components in Sushi Roll are very minimal, which is great because it means it can be set up in a matter of minutes. There is cutesy artwork displayed throughout, especially on the colourful, engraved dice that are used for the entirety of the game. The player boards act as a quick reference guide for players as well as a personal tableau. They display a graphic of each dice available and the probability of each symbol that can come out. This is one of the biggest differences from Sushi Go! as you're able to plan out a strategy a lot more efficiently and not be faced with any nasty surprises.
One of my favourite components, and the most thematic, are the conveyor belts given to each player. These hold all of the current dice in play and after all players have chosen a dice from it, players pass it to the next player mimicking an actual conveyer belt. This reminds me of the popular sushi restaurant Yo! Sushi and I think the mechanic is super fun and fitting for the game.
Sushi Roll will feel familiar to you if you've played Sushi Go! (I've never played Sushi Go! Party but I imagine it's very similar). It displays the same pick and pass mechanics but this time, with dice!
Depending on the player count, players pick a specific amount of dice from the bag supplied. Then it's time to get rolling... all players must roll their dice and place them on the conveyor belt in front of them, without changing their faces. Then starting with the first player (which will be decided by the player who has the conveyor belt with the red outline), they can either:
Use any number of menu and/or chopstick tokens - players are given menu and chopstick tokens at the beginning of the game with the opportunity to earn more during the dice drafting phase. Menus allow the player to re-roll any number of dice they want. This is really useful when you are waiting for that one dice to earn you massive points. For example, having 3 sashimi gives you a massive 13 points, but you only have two and the round is about to end so using a re-roll token could be really beneficial to you.
Chopstick tokens allow you to swap one dice on your conveyer belt for a dice on another players. This can be used to obtain a dice you really need for a combo or it can be used to stop another player getting a dice they need to gain a lot of points. This step is optional and can be skipped at any time. Choose 1 dice - starting with the first player, each player takes one dice from their conveyer belt one at a time. Doing it this way means that players can use their tokens to obtain something someone else wanted, which is different to Sushi Go! as turns are played out simultaneously. When deciding what dice to go for, it's always useful to check the tableau you have in front of you. It tells you exactly how many points certain dice are worth and the probability of that dice coming out. I like to go for the dumplings and tempura strategy as they give you good points while being likely to always come out.
Some dice don't necessarily give you points though:
Pudding - these only give you points at the end of the game if you have the most puddings over three rounds. If you have at least one but not the most then you lose points. I try my best to stay out of the great pudding war between players because it's so risky and stops you from pulling dice that are guaranteed to give you points.
Menu/Chopsticks - taking a dice with this symbol on it instantly gives you more tokens to play on your turn. This could be a really interesting strategy to take as anytime you see something you want on someone else's conveyer belt, you can steal it!
Wasabi - these are worth zero points unless you place a nigiri dice on top of it. This then triples the points of that nigiri.
Once each player has taken their turn and there are still dice available to pick, players should simultaneously pass their conveyer belt to the next player where they will re-roll all of the dice again. Repeat this process until all dice are claimed and score at the end of the round. The person with the most points at the end of three rounds is declared the sushi master!
I've played Sushi Go! a few times, I don't have it but it's always a favourite when I go to see friends. It's family friendly, easy to learn, quick to play and it scales well at all player counts. Sushi Roll is all of this but reinvented. I love the addition of dice instead of cards, they're a lot nicer to play with and I think everyone just loves to roll some dice!
I like how Sushi Roll plays compared to its predecessor. Taking turns one at a time means that players are engaging with each other a lot more and are playing the game as a whole compared to just focusing on what they're doing. It also opens a bigger strategic element as you can see what dice are available at all times and this might make you change your mind about a strategy you were going to do. You can see what will be coming to you in future turns and prepare, but if you can't wait then you can use menu and/or chopstick tokens to make sure the dice you need doesn't get away from you.
It can be frustrating sometimes as a lot of the game is based on luck, you can only do so much with the available dice and even using re-roll tokens doesn't mean you're going to get what you want. For this reason, Sushi Roll shouldn't be taken too seriously and if a strategy doesn't work out, try a new one! If you're not one for luck based games then it's probably best to give this one a miss.
Sushi Roll is extremely fun to play and the perfect filler game. I also love showing this one to new people and playing with different groups to see what strategies they go for. If you already have Sushi Go! then I still think it's worth picking this up as it has enough variance to warrant owning both. The theme is fun and perfect for any sushi lover!
Disclaimer: Sushi Roll was kindly gifted to me by Coiledspring Games but I am not being paid for this review and all opinions are my own.