Those futuristic-seeming sushi places where conveyor belts of food move around — just waiting for you to grab up exactly what you want — are always a great place to explore and try out new bits of food. Sushi Roll is a dice rolling tabletop game for two to five players which takes this conveyor belt idea and really brings it into a fun and inexpensive game.
I should note that I have not played Sushi Go!, which is the card game Sushi Roll is inspired by, and this is my first introduction to this game. I am always a fan of food-based games, especially in the tabletop space, and Sushi Roll did not let me down.
It’s a simple game — each player gets a menu card and a conveyor belt piece, both of these are made of thick, high-quality cardboard. Players then draw a set number of dice from a bag, the quantity which depends on the number of players within the game. Everybody then rolls their dice and places them on their conveyor belt.
Once you all have your dice on top, players take turns to choose one to place on your menu. They then all shift their conveyor belts to the player to their left before re-rolling the dice and then taking turns to score dice. This continues until all dice are assigned to menus, at which point the round ends.
Each menu shows the various ways to earn points, each based on the dice you gain. These dice can be stacked on top of each other, giving you more points and more room for sushi! Dice sometimes need to be stacked; when you get wasabi, it’s worth zero points. Stack a sushi from a white dice on top, however, and you will get three times the points of that sushi on its own (as listed on the top of the card). Some of the dice give you bonuses as well, which I will talk about after explaining the menu.
The menu does give have a few complex ways of scoring. At the end of each round, the person with the most red sushi rolls and the person with the second most will get points depending on their amounts — everyone else with red sushi rolls gets nothing. At the end of the game (three rounds) the person with the most pink dessert cakes gets an extra six points, while the person with the least dessert cakes gets a negative six points. Dessert cakes are pretty different than regular items within the menu, as the players will get tokens to represent the ones they have as soon as a pink die is placed. These different ways of earning points forces the players to watch each other and take into account what is happening around the table.
Sushi Roll has ways to interfere with the other players. At the start of the game, each player gets a few swap tiles and a few menu tiles. Swap tiles allow players to take a die from someone else’s conveyor belt — not their menu card — and replace it with one from their conveyor belt. This can be used to grab a die you might want or take one from a player who might need it. Replacing the die with one that may not be helpful to the next player receiving the belt is also a good strategy if you want to mess up two players at once. Menu tiles allow the player to reroll their entire conveyor belt in hopes of getting something that helps them. Your stocks of chopsticks and menus can be replenished by banking appropriate dice on your turns. At the end of the game, you’ll also get some points for leftover bonuses.
The round ends when all of the sushi dice have been claimed from the belts. Players then add up their points, receive point tokens and return the dice to the bag. The next round begins with the player who has the red lined conveyor belt after the rotation, then everyone gets their dice, does the rolls and then the player starts off the second round.
Sushi Roll is a really, really fun game. Each round is pretty quick and the game as a whole only lasts around fifteen to twenty minutes. All of the pieces are high quality and the quantity of tokens that are provided is generous for the price. You are able to easily understand the game, as well as see what each die is worth, all from your menu, which makes gameplay and scoring simple and fast. Sushi Roll is a game I will be definitely be playing again due to both its ease of setup and fun gameplay. Even if you, like me, have not played Sushi Go!, I’d recommend picking up this high quality, sushi-based game.