Sushi Go has become a staple of the tabletop world. You'll often hear it being referred to as a gateway game and one that anyone and everyone can easily connect with. Of course, with the rise of dice-based games this year, it was only a matter of time until Sushi Go caught the “dice bug”. Sushi Roll was born!
Sushi Roll, in a very broad sense, is quite similar to the original game. For those that have played Sushi Go before, you will find a lot of similarities within Sushi Roll. For those that have not played Sushi Go, do not worry! I will keep this review focused on Sushi Roll and treat it as though you, the reader, have not played Sushi Go before.
The Game and Set Up
Suitable for 2-5 players, Sushi Roll sees players trying to score the most amount of points by collecting various sushi dishes from a conveyor belt (yes, it is just like a miniature Yo Sushi!) and placing them on your player board. The dice have various sushi dishes on them, each with different scoring categories, which allows the game to remain interesting and competitive.
To set-up, each player will receive a player board, with a handy scoring help card on it, as well as a conveyor belt. Dependent on player count, each player will also receive a set of dice. The fewer the players, the more dice each player receives. You will then all the dice and place all of them on your conveyor belt. The red-banded conveyor belt dictates who will be taking the first turn. After that, you are all set and ready to play!
How to play
In turn order, each player will begin by taking a dice from their conveyor belt in front of them and placing it on their “tray”. As soon as a dice is placed onto a player’s tray, it is considered “safe” from being swapped (more on swapping later). Once every player has selected their sushi dice, the conveyor belts are then passed to the left, meaning each player will now have a new set. You will each roll the dice again, place them back on the conveyor and choose a new dice to score. This process will be repeated until all of the dice have been selected and placed on player’s trays. At this point you will then add up the points and score your dice.
You can score points instantly with Nigiri, Maki and Appetisers. Puddings, meanwhile, are all about your end game. Nigiri dice, dependent on the side you have scored, will either score one, two or three. Appetisers have scores that increase, dependent on how many of the dice you have. For example, if you have one dumpling dice, you will score two. If you have three dumplings, you would score eight! The Maki dice only score when you have the most or second most Maki symbols. If you have the most, you score six. If you have the second most, you score three.
You will also have special dice which includes Wasabi, Menus and Chopsticks. If you score the Wasabi, the dice is kept on your tray until you score a Nigiri. When you take a Nigiri dice, you place it on top of the Wasabi and that dice will score x3 at the end of the round. The Menu and the Chopstick sides allow you to gain bonus Re-roll and Swap action tiles dependent on the amount of symbols shown on the dice. Re-roll is self-explanatory, with the action allowing a player to re-roll all of their dice. The Swap action will allow a player to swap a dice from their conveyor belt with a dice from another player's conveyor. As mentioned before, this can’t be used to take dice from your tray or another player’s tray since those dice are considered safe.
The final dice available are the Pudding dice. At the end of a round, a player will check how many pudding symbols they have collected and will take that many pudding tokens from the supply. The puddings will then be counted at the end of the game. The player with the most will receive six points. The player with the fewest, including zero, will receive minus six points.
There are three rounds played per game. The player with the most points after these three rounds is the winner of Sushi Roll. In case of a tie, the one with the most puddings wins.
Final Thoughts on Sushi Roll
I will start by saying, I love this game! Sushi Go and Sushi Go Party are both top-tier games and ones that are always a hit with gamers and non-gamers alike. Sushi Roll takes a fantastic game and turns it into a more tactile version of its former self. It's given it a dice makeover and it works exceptionally well.
The game, in terms of complexity, is very light, with new players understanding the game within minutes of playing. I demoed this at Tabletop Gaming Live and players quickly learnt how the game worked. The lightweight nature makes this game incredibly accessible.
The flow of Sushi Roll is smooth. The game moves at a good pace due to the passing and rolling of dice being simultaneous. What I really like about Sushi Roll though is the competitiveness that arises from such a lightweight game! You will never have a game where all the players play nice. People will swap that one dice you desperately need. Someone will sneak some puddings onto their tray to clinch the six points. There are so many ways to mess people's turns up and better your score and this lends so well to this game.
The theme is of course carried throughout the game, with the custom dice being a particular highlight. Gamewright, as one would expect, have done a lovely job in terms of the components, with all of them being high quality. One thing I really liked was the addition of a canvas drawstring bag to keep the custom dice in. It is a welcome change to your standard plastic baggies.
Sushi Roll is accessible, lightweight and competitive. As a result, it's a game that has a bit of everything for everyone. There may have been several dice games released in 2019, however this goes straight to the top. It is head and shoulders above the rest. For its sheer enjoyment and simplicity, I would recommend this to anybody.
Sushi Roll will definitely follow in the footsteps of Sushi Go as being one of the most popular lightweight games around. Honestly, I think Sushi Roll might just do everything that little bit better!