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SUSHI-GO PARTY!

Reviewed by Herb Levy

SUSHI-GO PARTY! (Gamewright, 2 to 8 players, ages 8 and up, about 30 minutes; $21.99)

 

It seems like only yesterday (actually it was last year in the Spring 2015 issue of Gamers Alliance Report) that we reviewed a very cute card drafting game designed by Phil Walker-Harding called Sushi-Go!. But nothing makes for good times like getting more and more people into the mix so, powered by the success of that game, Gamewright has built upon the original and came up with Sushi-Go Party!sushigoparty

With Sushi-Go Party!, the game expands to handle up to 8 players but, more than that, a few additions and tweaks have been added to give this “big box” version an identity of its own.

Play remains true to the original. Everyone is dealt a seven card hand, chooses 1 card to play and then passes the rest to the next player (either left or right depending on the round). Cards are revealed simultaneously and added to a player’s array. After more drafting and more played cards, the round ends and points totaled.

Points are scored in a variety of ways: for a card’s specified value, for having more than one card in a “suit”, having more of a particular type of card than other players etc.  At first glance, you might think that the only differences between this and the original is the larger tin box and a board to keep score. But there is more.

The board in Sushi-Go Party! has slots to hold “menu” tiles. These tiles show which cards are in play and how they will be scored at the end of each round or at final scoring, an important and useful reminder for players to consult during the game. More importantly though, you can now customize play, choosing which sets of cards to use based on the number of players, degree of difficulty desired or your own particular tastes. And new card types have been introduced too, for example:

Eel – If you only have one eel at the end of a round, you LOSE 3 points – but if you have 2 or more, you score 7!

Tofu – 1 of these will give you 2 points, 2 will give you 6 but 3 or more and they are ALL worth nothing!

Spoon – When you first play the spoon, nothing happens. On any following turn, as the other players play their chosen card, you call out “spoon” and then announce a card you are looking for. The other players, in turn going from your left, must check their hands. The first player to have that card must give that card to you and you, in exchange, give the spoon card to be added to that player’s hand.  If no one has the stated card, the spoon is simply discarded.

Special Order – Sort of a wild card in that a Special Order card COPIES any other card previously played by you in the current round.

And more! With so many types of cards, sorting could have been a problem. Fortunately, not here. Another reason for the large tin box is the insert within that has slots to hold each type of card neatly so that arranging your deck to fit your chosen menu is relatively easy.

Because you are playing with more players, a new slate of decisions needs to be faced. For example, with a 7 card hand and 8 players, once you pass a card, you will NOT see it again. You will have to decide if the odds favor a card you need for a pair or set coming your way or go for immediate points now. Also, a card like Miso Soup, worth 3 points if you are the only person playing it in a round, becomes a bit more risky to play since more players in the game increase the chances that someone else will play one too! Multiple Miso Soups played in a round are worth nothing and all are discarded! (With so many potential players in the game, it would have been a good idea to have another set of cards colored to match the 8 game tokens as some token colors are similar and this would have been an easy way to keep track of which color belongs to which player.)

Sushi-Go brought the idea of card drafting to a more general gaming crowd. But, sometimes, your gaming crowd exceeds a typical table of 4 or 5. Rather than resorting to a party game to handle larger numbers, Sushi-Go Party! provides a pleasing alternative. Now, a bigger crowd of players can enjoy a game with some real decisions to make and chances to take. Enhanced by its quality presentation, new cards and the power to customize the game to your liking, it’s time to join the party – the Sushi Go Party! that is. – – – – – –  – Herb Levy


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