“Roll the dice and take your chances” were the words ushered by Jack Nicholson as part of a dramatic monologue in the movie ‘A Few Good Men’. When he referred to eating “300 yards from 4000 Cubans” who were trained to kill him, he was sadly referring to breakfast rather than sushi. If it had been the latter, this would’ve been an amazing opening to a review Sushi Roll. Instead, it is one of those typically kooky Board Game Review introductions that almost works, but fails at the final furlong. Thanks a lot Jack Nicholson for ruining it by not eating raw fish. In attempt to salvage something from this introduction I will ask you if you can handle the truth?
Sushi Roll is the third in a group of games by Gamewright on a similar theme. Progressing from the popular card games Sushi Go and Sushi Go Party with this dice drafting game.
Sushi Roll has a common pool of dice. Each of the 2-5 players blindly draws dice, rolls them and then places them on the conveyor belt board in front of them. They then proceed to take turns in selecting one dice. Play then moves on by passing the conveyor belt around the table. Players are then faced with a diminishing selection of dice to choose from. The conveyor belts go round until they are empty.
Each dice drafted will either give you a bonus or points, collecting these dice in sets will generally increase the points they are worth. Different dice offer varying scoring opportunities. Your menu in front of you has a really useful quick reference with how all the dice score. So even if the decision-making is tricky, knowing how the dice score is a breeze.
In addition to the dice, there are two types of tokens. Chopsticks allow you to swap a dice on another player’s conveyor belt with one from your own. Whereas the menu allows you to reroll as many dice as you want.
After each round you score. The player with the most points at the end of three rounds is the winner.
What it’s like
The first thing you will notice is that everyone is constantly involved. You will be scouting what dice are around you, what you might be getting next and how it will score. So play generally passes round the table quite swiftly. A round will end before you know it.
Knowing when to play the tokens can give you an upper hand. Being in control of the first player conveyor belt is an advantage, but the number of times you will be in pole position is evenly distributed among all players.
The box says the game is for 8+ but Max (5) gets the game entirely. While some of the subtle tactics will be lost on him, he can play and have fun with it. Blind drawing and rolling the dice is a delight for all ages.
While you can play this two player, and you will sometimes, it wouldn’t be my go to game, Sushi Roll has a sweet spot at four or five players.
In the strategy there is plenty of opportunity to muck up the plans of other players. This is a part of the game but you generally concern yourself with your own board as a priority. However, the particularly spiteful may even use a reroll token to roll dice in the hope of getting other things a player after them might not need. Don’t be that person.
There is something very satisfying about rolling dice. I like that the luck element of dice rolling is slightly mitigated in Sushi Roll by the pick and pass mechanism and the tokens.
The custom dice are ridiculously good. Seeing the anthropomorphic faces on maki rolls, nigiri and sashimi will cheer you up on a grey day. My personal favourite is the slightly sleepy dumplings, reminiscent of me on a Sunday afternoon!
The tokens are fine. You won’t get excited about the scoring tokens or the chopstick and menus but they do the job. If something needs to be upgraded it would be these. The conveyor belts are perfectly utilitarian.
If there is one thing that grates, it is the oversized box this comes in. It could easily be the size of Sushi Go Party. I don’t think they can even argue that it is to leave room for expansions!
The menu player boards are great. They tell you the scores really clearly and easily, they also handily tell you how many sides of the dice contain a particular item, helping you work out if it is worth the risk of a reroll.
Final thoughts on Sushi Roll
Here is the controversy: I prefer it to Sushi Go Party. Yep I know that is a classic party game for lots of players and a firm favourite for many people. Sushi Roll may only seat up to five players, so perhaps it is an unfair comparison. However, the quick set up and tear down time of Sushi Roll and the fewer different scoring options, makes this more accessible. Setting up the right menu for Sushi Go Party always takes an age. This is up and running in under a minute.
We all really enjoy Sushi Roll. It is a brilliant, easy to learn game. Great for those new to playing board games and more seasoned tabletop hobbyists alike. It is light, there is luck, but there is also strategy and it works really well as a so-called entry level or gateway game.
Number of players: 2 to 5
Board Game Review Recommended Age: 6+
Publisher’s Recommended Age: 8+
Playing Time: 25 minutes
Setting Up and Take Down Time: 1.5 minutes
Designers: Phil Walker Harding
Sushi Roll is a light strategy dice rolling game. The dice really do make it, they truly are a beauty to behold and roll. Sushi Roll is certainly a game you will be pleased you own.
Artwork and Components
Value for Money
- Amazing Custom Dice
- Great family game for all ages
- Light strategy
- Luck of rolling the dice mitigated
- Box is too big
- Similar to Sushi Go
- Not as good at two players
- Ability to muck other players up
Buy Sushi Roll
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