Sushi draft was one of the games we picked up at Essen on a whim. We had a very relaxed way of visiting Essen: we went through all the halls to pick up our pre-orders, and whenever we saw an empty demo table we would sit down and play a game. If you ever go, that’s certainly the way to do it!
We got to try out a fair few games at the fair that we either ended up buying, or that we were happy not to buy. Sushi Draft was one of the former. The aesthetics of the game didn’t hurt either. Look at that cool tin box, scroll down and look at those awesome round cards! Into the Essen bag it went.
Once home, Sushi draft seemed like the perfect game to take to my parents. Easy to explain, fifteen minutes to play, and fun!
In Sushi Draft you are competing to eat the most or the most varied stack of sushi (this is a theme I can get into!). You get a hand of sushi cards and each round you slam one down on the table, pick one precious card in your hand to keep, and pass the rest to your neighbour on the left.
Slamming and passing continues until you have one card left, and then it’s time to see who has most of each sushi – that person gets the appropriate token. The person with the most varied plate gets the dessert token. Each token has a variable amount of points on the back that you cunningly keep hidden. You play the game for three rounds and then total up your points. Aaaand you’re done!
My parents asked to play it again right away. That’s a win for Sushi Draft!
As for me… It’s a fun quick game, but perhaps not as fun as I’d hoped. I’m not sure… Very light games do better if there’s a big surprise or something unexpected at the end, something to talk about.
For instance, Aquarius is a very light domino’s type game that can turn into riotous fun on the table. Often when I put Aquarius on the table the hardcore gamers snub their noses at it, only to have a lot of loud fun playing it. I called it ‘a stealth delivery game for fun’ a few blogs back.
Sorry to go on a tangent, but that is what I was hoping for for Sushi Draft: something that was easy, quick and got people hollerin’. Whereas the reactions I’ve seen so far are a more down-to-earth, “Oh, you also put down a second tuna sushi. Darn.”
I’ll have to play it more to see it in action with different groups. So far casual gamers have enjoyed it (more than me), and I can also see it work as a light beer and pretzel game on a bar night. I am also very excited about this as a gateway game, I’ll have a much easier time explaining 7 Wonders after I’ve already made people play Sushi Draft.
Finally, there’s an advanced version in the game in which the wasabi icons on the sushi cards come into play. I haven’t gotten to try that out yet, but I hear it makes for a bit more strategic play. So it’s a bit too early still to decide whether or not it’s a keeper.