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This year at the NY Toy Fair there will be a lot to see. Manufacturers showing off the newest innovations in toys and games… We’re excited to see what they have to show us, and one of our favorite publishers, Gamewright, has given a sneak peek!


Check out the new cover art!
Turns out in addition to the publication of Farm Fresh Games’ Super Tooth which we announced earlier, there are some other amazing things coming our way.

First off, Sleeping Queens will be getting a brand new 10th Anniversary Edition! This new edition will come in a tin (like Sushi Go!) and will be complete with never-before-seen queens and kings and exclusive stickers! So, if you are like me and your child has managed to bend every card as the Rose Queen and the Star Queen talk over an imaginary picnic lunch, this is a great way to upgrade.

Rory’s Story Cubes is getting another release of it’s popular Mix expansions which were released around Christmas. So, as you roll your story, you can search your house for clues, or take a stegosaurus on a boat, or have Batman meet his fairy godmother! I’m pretty excited to check out Enchantment, Clues and Prehistoria for myself!

To give you a background, Gamewright is known for its commitment to surprisingly fun family games. We don’t have to suffer through Candy Land and Cootie for the 10,000 time. They take concepts that are fun for children and they mix them with strategy and gameplay that even boring, old adults can be entertained by. So, needless to say, while we’re excited about the games we’ve played before getting some new life, we’re REALLY excited about the new games they have coming out!

Sneaky Cards - Play it Forward
Have you ever thought about doing something silly, like taking a picture with someone you’ve never met, or dancing where EVERYONE can see? Well, Sneaky Cards – Play it forward, is a game that lets you do just that. It’s a scavenger hunt where you pass an activity on to the next person… playing it forward. It’s a very interesting concept game where every move is a social experiment!

Outfoxed! A Cooperative Whodunit Game
So, one thing we know Gamewright excels at is cooperative games, with titles like Forbidden Desert and Forbidden Island it’s almost a given that we’d be interested in Outfoxed! Outfoxed! is a cooperative game for players ages 5+ where the players are… chickens. Chickens chasing clues to catch a fox that has absconded with a prized pot pie (let’s hope it’s vegan), what family can resist working together to solve such a heinous crime? I know mine can’t!

Go Nuts! The Completely Cracked-Up Dice Game
The only thing that can follow a game full of poultry intrigue, is one about squirrels. Go Nuts! is a dice game where you want to collect as many nuts as you can, while dodging cars, and before your opponents can send the dogs after you! It almost sounds like Zombie Dice for fans of the fluffier game protagonists.

Flashlights & Fireflies - A Game of Shine and Seek
We don’t know too much about Flashlights and Fireflies. According to Gamewright: “Get ready for a backyard dash-through-the-dark in this game of firefly-powered flashlight freeze tag! First, catch fireflies to power up your flashlight. Then shine it on other players before they sneak back to home base. All along, watch out for bats, raccoons, and other nighttime critters that are out to trip up your tracks. Be the first to reach home and you’ve outshined the competition!” I would guess that it is a board game, but I’m not sure – I guess we’ll need to find out once we see it!

Dragonwood - A Game of Dice and Daring
Now here is where I get really excited. Dragonwood is a game that promises to be reminiscent of all of my fantasy-based tabletop roleplaying games. Building a hand of adventurers while fighting goblins and orcs and dragons (Oh my!) with a constantly changing strategy? This game could be amazing! And knowing Gamewright‘s dedication to making games that encourage the whole family to play, I have to say I’m excited to play a roleplaying-like game and to NOT have to be the Dungeon Master!

So, that’s Gamewright‘s line-up for 2015! I’m looking forward to most of these titles from what I’ve learned so far, I can’t wait to get a chance to actually play!

Wondering about other Gamewright games? Check our our reviews here!

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Super Tooth

In September, backers of the Super Tooth Kickstarter received their games and began playing in the prehistoric world of the dinosaurs.   As backers we were SUPER excited to get to play! Who wouldn’t love to play a game matching cartoon dinosaurs?

Of course, if you weren’t among the 239 backers for this project, you’d have to know someone who was to play.  Sadly, if you didn’t know a backer you’d never know the joy of protecting your pair of Apatosaurs by feeding a Parasaurolophus to an errant Spinosaurus.  Upset?  I know I would be.

BUT there is a light at the end of the tunnel (and it isn’t an asteroid), Farm Fresh Games has announced that Gamewright  has picked up Super Tooth  for publication and distribution in 2015!  The new printing  will be premiered at the New York Toy Fair and will be available in stores that sell Gamewright games shortly after that!

Wondering what all the hype is about?  Check out our review of Super Tooth here!

 

Source
Wondering about other Gamewright games? Check our our reviews here!

 

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Ages: 6+ 2-6 Players 15+ minutes COMPETITIVE

Like Snow White and Aurora who came before, they slumber forever, until the curse breaks.

Twelve beauties, twelve sleeping ladies rest evermore, Dragons, and knights, wands and potions raise the stakes,

Can the Kings wake them like the stories of lore?

To save them they will do whatever it takes,

For the wonderful, beautiful queens that snore

Will it be you who wakes the Queen of Pancakes?The Sleeping Queens must stir, need I tell you more?

Hurry Up! Or, for someone else, the Rose Queen wakes!

Sleeping Queens is a card game where each player competes to wake four to five of the twelve silly queens “sleeping” on the board. Players may wake a queen by using a king card, with a lucky draw using a jester card, or they can steal someone else’s queen with their own errant knight.

Knights are not invincible, though, if the opposing player you wish to capture a queen from has a dragon, they protect their queen! If you think your opponents are getting too far ahead of you, you can use a sleeping potion to put a queen to sleep…that is ONLY if they don’t have a magic wand to stop you!

On your turn you can take two possible actions, play a picture card (Jester, King, Knight, Sleeping Potion), or discard to draw. You have three discard options, a single card to draw one, a matching pair of cards to draw two, or an addition equation to draw three or more cards. So, If you had a 2, 2, 2, 1, 7 you could discard your entire hand and draw 5 — since 2+2+2+1 = 7. You MUST announce this when it is played in equation form! This can give a really fantastic introduction to pair recognition and simple equations to younger children, and help to enforce the skills in slightly older kids. What’s cool with this setup, is that this could be a VERY easy mechanic to change for other skill development. Subtraction equations, low level multiplication and division – you could even have 5 card sets where both sides have the same value!

Imagine a hand with 2, 3, 6, 1, 5 → 1+5 = 6 = 2 x 3! There are so many possibilities on making modifications to help cement fundamental math skills! Also, this game is very easy for younger children to grasp, though expect the equation piece to be quite lightly used until they have observed you doing it regularly and have picked up on those patterns! You could also disable that mechanic if you feel your child isn’t quite there yet!

Each queen has a point value ranging from 5 – 20 and in order to win you need a reach a certain number of points (40 or 50 depending on players) or a certain number of queens (4 or 5). Which can be tricky when every other player is vying for the same 12 queens! The first player to reach this goal wins!

This game is a fantastic time as it is simple, easy to learn, graphically beautiful and has a large amount of replayability (even with a group of adults). The one issue is that there is no text or indicator for queens with alternate abilities. The Rose Queen awakens another queen with her, the Cat and Dog Queens fight and cannot be held by the same player; however those changes to play are only noted in the instructions and not on the cards themselves.

Rose Queen, Cat Queen, Dragons and wands? Was this game designed by a six-year-old or something? Actually, YES! Sleeping Queens was created by 6-year-old Miranda Everts who enlisted the help of her sister to create this game after she had trouble sleeping one night!

Wondering about other Gamewright games? Check our our reviews here!

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I don’t know about you, but since my family first played Gamewright’s Sushi Go! it’s been on our list of favorite games! Now, it’s about to get even more interesting! In celebration of the game’s success in partnering with publishers in 6 countries, Gamewright is giving players a new challenge.

In order to satisfy all palates and to add a more complex method of play, a 4 pack of soy sauce promo cards will go up for sale on BoardGameGeek.com. The soy sauce card allows players to gain 4 points for having the most variety in cards played in a turn. So having the kind of plate you’d expect at an all-you-can-eat-sushi-buffet can net you some points!

The promo packs will be selling for $5 and will be released soon! If you aren’t sure what Sushi Go! is, but love the idea of mixing your triple point wasabi with some 4 point soy sauce into a spicy, muddy oblivion check out our review here!

If you already know you love Sushi Go! check out some of our other Gamewright reviews!

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Gamewright Games

Ages 6 and Up 2-6

Players 20 minutes

Card Game

Flip, stack, slap! Slamwich is a fast-paced, silly, and energetic card flipping game reminiscent of Slapjack, War, Uno, etc. The game comes with 55 playing cards that are die cut to resemble bread and illustrated with various sandwich fillings and toppings. Some of the special cards have artistic illustrations of people.

We love Gamewright games at EFG and were very excited to find this on sale at a local big box retailer. It looked like a great, somewhat goofy game that would appeal to my 5 year old son. Slamwich has an MSRP of $9.99, but if you look on Amazon, you can find it for less. Gameplay starts by dealing out the deck as evenly as possible.

Taking turns, each player takes the top card of their deck and flips it onto a center pile. If a set of criteria is met, players race to slap the pile. The combinations are easy to understand. A Double Decker-If the flipped card is identical to the card directly underneath. A Slamwich– If two identical cards have exactly one card in between them (like a sandwich). Special cards like a Thief or a Muncher add unique criteria and help to make winning more random. If a player runs out of cards, they are out of the game. Whoever collects all of the cards wins.

We’ve played through the game many times with children of various ages. My 8 year old says it’s silly and fun and very easy. My five year old says it’s gross and fast and he usually ends up in fits of giggles because of the unique food combinations. My husband doesn’t like that the kids are faster than he is. But, adults can play all out and not be guaranteed to win (which is always a great teaching by example opportunity).

While not as complicated or thought provoking as some of Gamewright’s other games, it is still entirely playable. We liked some of their other choices for early gamers better than this one, but it’s a good game to have on hand for younger children that requires no reading or number recognition.

Is this game worth running out to buy immediately? Perhaps not. But, it’s a great stocking stuffer or add-on gift for your young gamer. Overall, this is a simple and fun way to reinforce early literacy skills such as pattern recognition and sequencing. While kids are flipping and stacking cards, they’re actually learning how to recognize a series, make combinations, and anticipate what might happen next.

Wondering about other Gamewright games? Check our our reviews here!

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Gamewright Ages 8+ 2-4 players 15 minutes Strategy Game COMPETITIVE

Choosing! Pulling! Sliding! These are all fun words to describe one of Gamewright‘s newest strategy games. Pyramix is a three-sided, clever, and easy to learn strategy game with a unique Egyptian look and feel. The pyramid shaped base and hieroglyphs on the cubes are a nice touch. We recently received this game to review from Gamewright and when we first opened the box, the game set up looked intimidating. There are a LOT of small wooden cubes and a complex looking base all organized into a cute pyramid shape inside of the box. But, don’t be fooled! It is far simpler to set up and play than it looks. The base itself keeps all of the cubes under control! We appreciated that convenience and thoughtfulness in design right off the bat.

The game comes with 56 colorful cubes, a base tray, and a cleverly folded rulebook. While the triangular folded shape of the rulebook fits nicely with the theme, it will make you slightly crazy if you’d like to keep it folded exactly as it was when you received it.

Game play starts with the player with the most triangular nose. This might start a fight, so be careful about those not so nice nose comments. (In our household, I will always go first.) Each player removes one cube per turn (following certain rules) from the base until all that remains is a single layer on the base. The cubes slide down and fill in the openings all on their own. At the end, you use the scoring criteria to tally points. Whoever scores the highest number of points wins. (As an aside, our eight year old son picked up on a cute little trick the first time we played. The ankh has one ‘leg’ and counts for one point. The crane has two ‘legs’ and counts for two points. The eye has three ‘legs’ and counts as three points. The cobra has no ‘legs’ so it isn’t worth anything. We think this is a great way to keep track as you go along.) The cubes on the base layer are divided based on who controls the most of each color ankh.

This game has some unique tensions when playing that are fun and much less heart pounding than Forbidden Island or Forbidden Desert. A lot of the tension comes from choices made along the way. Do you play aggressively to rack up points in the early game, or do you play a slow and steady game that might earn lots of bonus points at the end?

We’ve played through the game with a few different groups since we received it. One group was a mix of adults and children, one group was all adults, and one group was all children with an adult supervisor. Overall, it was a much more challenging game with adults than with children. It was easy for the children to get caught up in collecting ankhs and missing out on what was on the base of the pyramid. Adults were much more competitive, which meant that overall points at the end of the game were VERY close. One disappointment is that it is very easy to take an early lead in the game. Once that happens, and other players see a clear winner, the game quickly goes downhill.

In the end, we really enjoyed the way this game teaches strategic thinking, visual discrimination, and pattern recognition in a way that is appealing to tactile and visual learners by including pieces to touch and pull and bright, colorful graphics. Our youngest players also enjoyed the clacking sounds that the cubes made when sliding into the base.

At a MSRP of $21.99 this Mensa Select award winning game is another solid strategy game to add to your collection.

Wondering about other Gamewright games? Check our our reviews here!

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Gamewright
Ages 10 and Up
2-5 Players
Playtime: Approximately 45 minutes
COOPERATIVE

“Gear up for a thrilling adventure to recover a legendary flying machine buried deep in the ruins of an ancient desert city. You’ll need to coordinate with your teammates and use every available resource if you hope to survive the scorching heat and relentless sandstorm. Find the flying machine and escape before you all become permanent artifacts of the Forbidden Desert! ~ Gamewright”

 

Forbidden Desert is a cooperative game for two to five players which pits a team of adventurers against a sandstorm in a burning hot desert. The sandstorm threatens to block players from successfully locating the parts to a flying machine that they need to escape the all of the sun and sand.

It sounds a lot like another game we reviewed, right? Forbidden Island, perhaps? Well, it is similar in a lot of ways, but it is MUCH more complex.

Much like Forbidden Island, the game “board” is actually a series of 24 tiles shuffled and laid out to form a 5×5 grid with a hole in the center. That hole represents the eye of the sandstorm. Orientation of the tiles to form the grid is VERY important. Read the rules. Seriously. If it is set up incorrectly, it will really confuse gameplay. Also, unlike Forbidden Island, where the tiles just look pretty, these tiles actually do something! They’re pretty, too. But actually interacting with the tiles beyond just moving them around or flipping them over adds to the sense of adventure and makes you really feel the archaeology/Indiana Jones aspect.

The game also includes 31 storm cards, 12 equipment cards, 6 adventurer cards (these determine a player’s role in the game), 48 sand markers, 6 pawns, 6 meter clips, 4 flying machine parts (propeller, engine, solar crystal, navigation deck), 1 flying machine model, 1 sandstorm meter, and 1 sandstorm meter stand, and a rules booklet.

Much like Forbidden Island (or any cooperative game), gameplay consists of a sequence of turns. First, the adventurers take their turn. Then the environment takes its turn. On their turn, each adventurer has a series of 4 actions that they can complete. Adventurers can Move, Excavate, Remove Sand or Pick Up a Part. If an adventurer is on the same tile as another player, they can Share Water or Pass Equipment. After each adventurer completes their actions, the environment gets a turn. The adventurer draws storm cards (which increase as the game goes on) that direct the storm to move one to three spaces in a given direction. The tiles move to fill in the hole where the storm was, depositing sand and possibly cutting you off from water or your team members. The complexity in this game is more significant than Forbidden Island, because in addition to the sand cutting you off, you also have to deal with the burning sun from the storm card deck. Add in the need to find wells, gear, location clues, tunnels, and mirages and you end up with a myriad of decisions to make each turn that can cause your group to win or lose the game.

Players WIN when all adventurers get to the Launch Pad! Once you have the four necessary parts, all players must find their way to the Launch Pad tile where everyone can insert the parts into the flying machine, start the engine, and escape for the win. Remember: The Launch Pad tile MUST be unblocked in order to enter it and/or take off for the win.

Players automatically LOSE if ANY player reaches the skull and crossbones symbol on their canteen. Players also LOSE if they get Buried (If you need to add a sand marker to a tile but there aren’t any left in the supply). Players LOSE if they get Swept Away (the sand storm meter reaches the skull and crossbones symbol).

Is the game any fun? Of course it is! The atmosphere is cool. Who hasn’t dreamed of exploring and finding buried treasure? The mechanics are complex, but after a play-through, simple to learn. And, most importantly, the play is challenging and requires thoughtfulness, cooperation and decision making. Being a co-op game that really relies on teamwork, this can be a great break from other more cutthroat games to get the family working together.

Gamewright recommends ages 10+ for the game, and we think that’s spot on for independent play. We played through with 1 adult, a 9 year old and two 8 year olds and it felt like barely controlled chaos. We also played through with a group of very overtired adults and kept confusing the direction of the storm movement because of player orientation around the table. It is probable that younger players certainly can grasp and enjoy the game when playing with the help of adults, but they probably wouldn’t be able to “lead” the team to success as their are too many variables to keep track of.

At a price of $24.99, Forbidden Desert is a great deal and a fantastic second step in the co-op board game genre. Just like Forbidden Island, the randomness of the tile layout as the board leads to huge variety and replay value, as does the multiple combinations of adventurer play styles (especially in combination). The difficulty can be scaled to all abilities based on the sandstorm level set at the beginning of the game, and even at the easy setting can provide a decent challenge for some of the most experienced gamers. This is another win from Gamewright!

Wondering about other Gamewright games? Check our our reviews here!

Love cooperative games?  Check out our other reviews here!

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Gamewright Ages 10 and Up 2-4 Players Playtime: Approximately 30 minutes COOPERATIVE

Seawater splashes around your ankles as you trudge across the Cave of Embers, reaching desperately for the Crystal of Fire. Your partner is frantically laying sandbags to prevent the rising tide from blocking your only escape. The distant hum of a helicopter’s blades sounds in the distance where the rest of the team awaits with the other elemental treasures. You only hope you can make it to them in time before the waters rise and you sink, along with the rest of this…. Forbidden Island.

Forbidden Island is a cooperative game for two to four players which pits a team of adventurers against an ever-sinking island in a quest to obtain four ancient artifacts and escape before the island sinks. Sounds easy enough, right?

Not so much.

The game “board” is actually a series of 24 tiles laid out at random. Each tile represents a location on the island, and has a corresponding location card in the 24-card “Flood Deck.” The game also includes 28 Treasure Cards, 6 pawns and 6 corresponding Adventurer cards (more on those later), 4 sculpted treasure figurines representing the four Elements (The Earth Stone, The Statue of the Wind, The Crystal of Fire, and The Ocean’s Chalice), as well as a Water Level Marker and Meter.

The tiles are laid out in a set island pattern, and six cards are flipped from the Flood Deck. As cards are drawn from the Flood Deck, the corresponding tile on the board is flipped over to a blue tinted version of the same piece. This represents the location “flooding”. If a flooded location floods a second time (via the same flood card being drawn later in the game), that location is lost to the abyss and both the tile and the corresponding flood card are removed from the game.

Players are each dealt (or select) one of the six adventurer cards and place their pawn on a designated start tile on the board. Each player is dealt two treasure cards and the Water Level marker is set to the level of difficulty the players want out of the gate.

Gameplay in Forbidden Island is relatively simple. Players can take up to 3 actions per turn. Actions can be any of four types

  1. move to one adjacent tile (up, down, left or right),
  2. “Shore up” an adjacent tile or the tile the player is on (by flipping it from the blue tinted flooded-version to its normal happy colored version),
  3. Give a treasure card to another player on the same tile
  4. Capture a treasure.

Each Adventurer Card also has a set skill or power that the adventurer can use throughout the game. For example, the Pilot can move to any tile on the board once per turn for one action, the Engineer can shore up two tiles as one action, and the Messenger can give a Treasure card to any player on the board without being on the same tile. These skills are absolutely critical to success in the game, so play the characters wisely!

After taking three actions, the player will draw two Treasure Cards, and then Flood Cards equal to the current water level indicated on the meter. The Treasure Cards are the key to winning. There are four treasures that the adventurers must acquire, representing the four elements – Earth, Wind, Fire and Air. The players must acquire four Treasure Cards of the same elemental type, and then move to one of the two tiles on the board that matches that element – Caves for fire, Gardens for Air, etc. Then the player can use one action to discard those four Treasure cards and acquire the treasure. Also hidden in the Treasure Deck are helpful cards – Sandbag (which can be discarded to allow the player to shore up any tile at any time, without using an action) and Helicopter Lift (which allows the player to move to any tile at any time, without using an action.) Also hidden in the Treasure Deck, however, are the dreaded Waters Rise cards.

When Waters Rise cards are drawn, two key actions happen – the Water Level marker on the Water Meter goes up, meaning that more Flood Cards may need to be drawn each turn, and all of the cards in the Flood discard pile are shuffled and put back on the TOP of the Flood Deck. This means that any tile that recently flooded will flood again soon (and potentially be lost forever)

In order for the Adventurers to win, all four treasures must be captured, all of the players must move to the Fools Landing space, and a Helicopter Lift card must be played to escape from the island.

The tile-sinking mechanic encompasses nearly all of the possible lose-conditions for the adventuring team. If both tiles matching an element sink before the adventurers can acquire that corresponding treasure, the players lose. The loss of Fools Landing – the extraction point at the end of the game – also represents a lose condition for the players. Additionally, if a player is on a tile that is lost and the player cannot move to an adjacent tile, they drown, and the game is lost. (Are you sensing a theme?) Lastly, if the water levels rise too high, the game is lost.

If it sounds like there are many more lose conditions than win conditions, you are absolutely right. This adds to the tension in the game, giving players the real Indiana Jones feeling of snatching treasures up and rushing to escape right as the catastrophe swallows the island whole. Sinking tiles can cut off movement paths, and often times key decisions hinge on a choice between shoring up a sinking tile, or rushing across the board to capture another treasure.

So the real question – Is Forbidden Island fun? And the answer is: incredibly so. The atmosphere in the game is great, the mechanics are simple to learn, and the play is challenging. Being a co-op game that really relies on teamwork, this can be a great break from other more cutthroat games to get the family working together. The game can even be played solo (controlling two adventurers, as some of the game mechanics rely on two Adventurers) for a fun and challenging time. While Gamewright recommends ages 10+ for the game, we think that younger players certainly can grasp and enjoy the game. There are no scary illustrations, and the gameplay is simple enough that the 8 yr old we played with was able to “lead” the team to success while the adults merely consulted. Even players as young as 5 could likely enjoy the game with a heavier guiding hand from the grown ups at the table.

With a list price of only $17.99, Forbidden Island is one of the cheaper european board games out there, and a fantastic introduction to co-op board games before moving on to something more complex like Pandemic, or Flash Point Fire Rescue. The randomness of the tile layout as the board leads to huge variety and replay value, as does the multiple combinations of adventurer play styles (especially in combination). The difficulty can be scaled to all abilities based on how high the water level starts the game, and even at the easy setting can provide a decent challenge for some of the most experienced gamers. For the value, we highly recommend picking up a copy for your family and enjoying hours of fun!

Love cooperative games? Check out our other reviews here! Wondering about other Gamewright games? Check our our reviews here!

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Gamewright
Ages 8+
2-5 Players
15+ Minutes
108 Cards in a cool metal case

COMPETITIVE

In the fast-paced world of a sushi chef, you must be the most creative and the fastest of all to be the best! Will you serve Nigiri with Wasabi, or create Maki rolls in quantities never before imagined?  Did you remember to serve dessert?  Find out if you are cut out to be the best in Gamewright’s newest card game – Sushi-Go!

Players start with cards in their hand based on the number of players, and select one card to play before passing the rest of their cards to the next player to choose from!  The game is played in 3 hands where all but dessert cards are cleared from the table and scored at the end.  The strategy of the game lies in making the most of the cards passed to you, while trying to stop opponents from making the combinations they need to maximize points.

There are cards that act as multipliers, cards that must be in a set of two or three to be counted and cards that give you points for having the largest quantity at the end of a round.  This teaches or reinforces simple multiplication, pattern recognition, and strategic planning. Pudding cards, which are scored at the end of the game and represent the only negative scoring possibility in the game, teach children collection/set mechanics as well as delayed gratification.

The most interesting dynamic of this game is the chopsticks, which are played in one round, and used on a subsequent turn to play two cards at once from the current hand.  The chopsticks are then passed on to be used by someone else.  While this is likely the hardest concept for smaller children to grasp, they will enjoy the requirement to shout out “Sushi Go!” when they are finally used.

Sushi Go! requires little reading and can likely be played using just color, pattern and number recognition with younger children.  In fact, removing the chopsticks and possibly the wasabi multipliers might assist in making this a game that would be easily played by a pre-schooler while not boring the rest of the family!

As is, Sushi Go! is a fun game to play with your children or even with your adult friends, even if you don’t like sushi!

 Wondering about other Gamewright games? Check our our reviews here!
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