Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Go Sushi, Go Sushi Go! (Sushi Go)

All around the Conveyor Belt, 
the Chopsticks chased the Sushi.
The sushi thought twas all in fun.  
Sushi Go in my mouth now.

GAME DESCRIPTION:  Sushi Go is a card game for 2-5 players, and was published by Gamewright.  The players are standing at a Sushi Restaurant, and can only take one dish at a time, so each player wants the tastiest combination of Sushi that they can get.

SET-UP:  Each player is dealt an set amount of cards, depending on the number of players.  2 players get 10 cards, whereas 5 players get 7 cards.  Set the deck aside, until the 2nd round starts.  Assign 1 player as the designated score-keeper.

TURNS:  Each turn, a player takes 1 card from their hand, and places it face-down in front of them.  Once all players have chosen a card, reveal them all.  Then, pass your hand to the next player.

CARDS:  Each card has a point value depending on specific circumstances, such as:

  • Chopsticks:  If you have played this, you may call out "Sushi Go!", and place a 2nd card face-down.  Then, place this back in your hand.
  • Tempura/Sashimi:  To score, you need a set of 2 Tempura or 3 Sashimi.  If you only have 1 Tempura, or 1-2 Sashimi, you score 0 points.  You may also have multiple sets of these cards for more points.
  • Nigiri and Wasabi:  Each flavor of Nigiri scores a set amount of points. If you flip a Nigiri after you have a Wasabi face-up, you may place it on the Wasabi, and earn triple points on the Nigiri card.  The Wasabi is now used up, meaning you cannot use that Wasabi card to earn anymore points.
  • Dumplings:  Dumplings give you points depending on the amount you have.  Once you reach 5, you can no longer gain points for Dumplings.
  • Maki Roll:  The player with the most amount of Maki scores 6 points, with the player with the 2nd most scores 3.  Split any ties, rounded down, between those players who tied.
  • Pudding:  The player with the most pudding scores 6 points, again splitting and rounding points between all players who may have tied.
WINNING:  Once all players have no cards, the round is over, and the cards points calculated, save for Puddings.  Then, discard all cards face-up next to the deck, again save for Puddings.  Each player is dealt a new hand, and the 2nd Round begins.  Once the 3rd round is over, score Puddings with all other points.  The player with the most points wins.  In case of ties, the player with the most Pudding cards wins.

CONCLUSION:  Sushi Go is a deceptively simple game.  The rules are simple, easy to learn, and the game plays fairly fast.  However, the fact remains that you can only play 1 card a turn, and you need to plan extremely carefully.  On top of this, there's the fact that this is a card game, meaning every hand is left up to chance.  If that sounds too stressful for you, and you don't like a lot of RNG and chance based games, pass on this one.  But, if you can accept the fact that you may get ridiculous sets of cards, and can work your strategy around that, then Sushi Go is one of the best card games I can recommend.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

More than a Hill of Beans (Bohnanza)

Buy low, sell high.  The mantra of the world.  And nowhere is it more applicable than here!  Plant those beans and watch the price go higher and higher.  But be careful, because you never know what seeds are going to be delivered.  Oh, you thought you chose what to plant?  Don't make me laugh.  We get what's shipped, so you'll have to rely on your fellow farmers out here in Bohnanza.

GAME DESCRIPTION:  Bohnanza is a card game published by Rio Grande Games, and is designed for 2-7 players.  Players attempts to collect various types of Beans to sell.

SET-UP:  Each player starts with 2 Plots of land to plant Bean cards.  Every player is dealt 5 cards in their hand, and must keep the order in which they were dealt, with the first card in front.  Each time a player draws, that card must be placed as the last card in the hand, at the back.

PLANTING:  At the start of their turn, the player must plant the first Bean card in their hand in one of the fields.  If there is already a matching Bean card, they may place that card on top on that Bean.  If there's no empty fields or matching Beans, they must Harvest and sell a Plot.  Then, they may Plant the next Bean.  If a player has no cards in hand, this phase is skipped.

TRADING:  Next, the player draws 2 cards, and lays them face-up.  The player may set aside 1 or both of the cards, donate 1 or both to other players, or trade 1 or both for something.  The player may also donate or trade any cards from their hand.  You cannot trade or donate Beans that have already been traded or donated.  Any Beans traded or donated must first be accepted, and are set off to the side to be planted once Trading finishes.  However, planting may occur in any order.

END TURN:  Once the turn ends, the player draws 3 cards, one at a time, and places them at the back of the hand, to keep the order in which they were obtained straight.  If the deck runs out, shuffle the discard pile.  The next player to the left begins with the Planting step.

HARVESTING:  Players may Harvest at any time.  You must Harvest all Beans from a Plot.  First, you count the number of Beans planted. Then, look at the bottom of the card.  You get the number of Coins according to the number sold.  Flip over the Beans equal to the number of Coins obtained, and keeps them in a stack.  Then, discard the rest of the Beans.  In some cases, you may not gain any Coins.

3RD FIELD:  At any time, a player may buy a 3rd field to plant Beans.  To do this, they discard 3 Gold coins so that the Bean side is face-up in the discard pile, and place the 3rd Field indicator card in front of them.

WINNING:  The game ends once the deck has run out of cards 3 times.  If this happens during Trading, the player may draw 1 or 2 cards, depending on the amount left, and the game continues until Trading has finished.  If this happens when a Player is drawing for their hand, the game ends immediately.  All players discard their hands, and Harvest all beans currently in their Fields.  The player with the most Coins wins.  In the case of a tie, the player with the most cards in their hand and the most Coins wins.

CONCLUSION:  This game is interesting.  On the one hand, I like the level of strategy and the finagling required to be able to get the right Beans before anyone else.  I also like the adaptation the rules have, depending on the number of players.  On the other, the forced order of Bean cards can make it frustrating for any new players, especially since the rest of the game plays like a more "traditional" game, with trading and scoring.  This is a game that while it has a good theme and strong mechanics, they're hindered by some weird, forced choices.  Still, this is a game worth playing every once in a while, especially among more competitive players and friends who don't mind stabbing each other in the back once in a while.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (Small World)

When you've become a jaded adventurer like me, you've seen it all.  Flying Dwarves?  Seen it.  Merchant Ghouls?  Meet some for tea every Tuesday.  Swamp Elves?  Just as haughty as those found in forests. But...even Diplomat Trolls?!  Surprisingly civil, once you get to know them.  I guess it really is a Small World after all.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Let's Play That Again, Bob (Last Word)

The timer counts down, never revealing how much time you have left, but the ticking is still going.  Your mind races for something, anything to come up with.  Sweat glistens on your brow, and still the timer is going.  Suddenly, you shout "TETRIS!"  and the buzzer goes. The votes are tallied, and the announcement is made.  You have indeed gotten the Last Word.

GAME DESCRIPTION:  Last Word was published by Buffalo Games in 2005 for 2-8 players.  Each player attempts to get their word spoken before the buzzer goes off.

SET-UP:  Each player chooses 1 colored pawn, and is dealt 1 Subject card to be kept hidden.  Place the pawns on the start space of the scoreboard, and flip over the top Letter card.

SUBJECTS:  Each player tries to name something that matches the Subject card in their hand and starts with the current Letter card.  Once they name that thing, the subject is revealed.  Then, the timer is pressed.

TIMED:  Once the timer is hit, each player then tries to name a thing that matches the current Subject and starts with the current Letter. The last player who can successfully finish naming a real, matching word that hasn't been said before the timer goes off moves forward 1 space.  Then, flip the next Letter card.  The player who played their Subject card draws a new card.

HOT POTATO:  Hot Potato cards play similar to normal rounds.  The difference is that once a player names their word and plays their subject card, the next player sitting clockwise says the next word.

CHALLENGES:  Occasionally, someone will slip up and say something dubious or completely ridiculous, or even finishes their word just as the buzzer goes off.  In this case, all players vote on whether the word was acceptable.  If the challenged player wins, they get the point.  If not, the previous word is given to the player.

CONCLUSION:  This is another game published by Buffalo Games.  And just like the last one, it is incredibly simple, with the free-for-all being the thing that tips it from a generic game to something vaguely interesting. It's great for an ice breaker or for those groups that don't really play a lot of board games.  The difference here is that unlike the last one, there's a lot of energy going on through this game. It's a little more competitive, and becomes just that more compelling to play.  Now, I don't really like simplifying my reviews into numbers, but this definitely scores higher than Likewise, if only that its just a little more energetic.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

What on Earth is a Pretty Candy?! (Likewise)

What's the first thing that comes to mind when I say "Weird Pizza Topping"?  Maybe anchovies?  How about pineapple or bacon?  What about corn?  Well, if you guessed any of these answers that were thought up, then you might feel Likewise.

GAME DESCRIPTION:  Likewise is a party game published by Buffalo Games for 3 to 6 players.  Players attempt to guess the most common choice everyone else would pick based on a set of clues.

SET-UP:  Each player takes a colored Paddle and marker.  Shuffle the red Subject cards and orange Description cards, and place them on the Scoreboard, and write each players name on the scoreboard in the name space of the color paddle they chose.  The player with the next birthday goes first

PLAY:  Roll the die to determine what "mode" is played, then flip 1 Subject and 1 Description card:

  • Likewise:  Everyone writes a secret answer that matches the Subject and Description, and reveals their answer when everyone has chosen something.  The players with the most matches each score 1 point, marked on the scorecard.
  • Doodle:  Instead of writing, draw something that matches the Subject and Description cards.
  • Wiseguys: The player who rolled picks a player, and discusses the Subject and Description cards.  Then, they play as a team for this round, giving only 1 answer.

TIES:  If 2 different answers have the same amount of matches, then every player who guessed one of those answers gets a point.  If 2 or more players get to the Winner Circle on the scoreboard and have the same amount of points, keep playing until one player has the most points.  The winner is the player with the most amount of points once at least one player gets to the Winner Circle

CONCLUSION:  This is a quick, easy to play, little party game that has a some interesting ideas.  It's short, so don't expect too much in the way of actual in depth gameplay.  It's good for an ice-breaker, or just to kill time or your group wants to play something a little different.  The way the game is set up allows for a more relaxed way to play, which can hinder or help the mood of the game.  The Subject and Description cards add an interesting element to a pretty basic game.  It's good as a travel game to play in the car or down time at a convention, but like I said, at the core is a very basic party game.