Sushi Go Scoring Profiles Explored
Sushi Go is a wonderful little game. Designed to represent a sushi restaurant, in which meals go around on a conveyor belt, this hand drafting masterpiece has players choose the best meal for the most points. It is one of the quintessential games of the modern board game renaissance, and one that does one specific type of mechanic really incredibly well.
We’ve been playing quite a lot of Sushi Go Party recently, the larger and more expanded version of Sushi Go, and it has got me thinking a lot about the scoring profiles of different types of sushi in the base game. With that in mind, and in this incredibly brief article, I thought we would take a look at those scoring profiles next to one another.
These we are going to visualise in a couple of different ways (because data, amiright?) just to explore them in a bit more detail.
Sushi Go Scoring Profiles
So, with that in mind, we need to formulate the grounds for this exploration – which is a posh way for saying “we’re looking at a 5 player game”. The reason for this is because a 5 player game is the maximum number of players in the standard version of Sushi Go. What at 5 player games means is that players will receive 7 cards a round. One of those they will have very little choice over (as they will just play what they are given) and so we are looking at the scoring based on six cards.
Maki Rolls, Puddings, Wasabi, and Chopsticks
Now, there are two types of sushi (and two sushi accompaniments) going in that we are unable to look at in this kind of exploration. The first is Maki Rolls, and the reason for that is they don’t have a defined “x cards = x points” structure. Instead, they have a far less prosaic “x number of icons on the cards = x points” structure. This actually makes the Maki Rolls the most complex card in the game. We will look at them at some point, but for the sake of this article, we will put them to one side.
The second type we need to acknowledge are the Puddings. Puddings are a bit of an unusual one in Sushi Go as their scoring comes at the end of the game. It is then 6 points for the person with the most Puddings and -6 for the person with the least. I don’t even know where to begin analysing how those impact the game, so like with the Maki Rolls we’ll put them aside for the time being.
Coincidentally we’re also not going to look at Wasabi because Wasabi is a multiplier and does not give points by itself. The same can be said for Chopsticks, which were included in a later set.
A Quick Note On The Edition
Just as a quick note, we are using the latest edition for the card quantities. You can find the rules to that edition here.
How Are The Cards Currently Scored?
Okay, so before we begin – a brief run down.
There are 7 types of cards in the latest edition of Sushi Go. They each score differently, and this is how:
- Maki Rolls – Scored by the number of Maki Roll icons on the card. The player with the most icons (note: not cards) gains 6 points. The person with the second most gains 3 points.
- Tempura – Tempura are worthless on their own, but get two and they are worth 5 points.
- Sashimi – Sashimi are worthless on their own or in pairs. Get three and they are worth 10 points.
- Dumplings – Dumplings are scored based on how many you have, and that scoring is cumulative. The first is worth 1, the second is worth 2, the third if worth 3 etc. This means the scoring for Dumplings goes 1, 3, 6, 10, 15 before resetting. The 6th Dumpling is just worth 1 point.
- Nigiri – Nigiri are worth straight up points in Sushi Go. Squid Nigiri are worth 3 points. Salmon Nigiri are worth 2 points. Egg Nigiri are worth 1 point each.
- Wasabi – Wasabi is a x3 multiplier for Nigiri when played first.
- Chopsticks – Chopsticks are a weird one – they allow you to play Chopsticks and then, in future, put the Chopsticks back into a hand you receive two cards in return.
- Puddings – Puddings are scored at the end of the game. They are -6 points for the player with the least, and 6 points for the player with the most.
Looking Closer At The Sushi Go Scoring
And now, the moment you have all been waiting for – the graph.
So, the above show the cumulative points for each type of the six remaining types of sushi per card. To break this down a bit more, if we look at Tempura, one card gets you nothing, but two cards get you 5 points. Three cards you will still have 5 points, but with four Tempura you will have 10 points.
With Sashimi, you will have nothing with cards one and two, but you will get 10 points with card three. Cards four and five will still leave you on 10, but if you get 6 cards, you will get 20 points. This is by far the best ROI in regards to overall cards to points.
Things get a little more interesting when we look at cumulative points per type of sushi in a line graph.
As it can be seen, Egg Nigiri tops out at 5 cards (there are only 5 in the base game) and is a bit rubbish. Squid Nigiri tops out at 15 points, however, it also has the highest value stable growth profile. By this we mean, up to 5 Squid Nigiri (you have got to be incredibly lucky to get all five!) each Squid Nigiri is worth 3 points.
I don’t think it is a surprise to anyone playing Sushi Go that Sashimi offer the highest points to cards ratio. They are a risk, and that risk can pay off. In fact, the only way to out do it is with using Wasabi. Through two Wasabis and two Squid Nigiris it is possible to get 18 points. With three of each it is 27 points, which outdoes the Sashimi by quite a way.
In fact, we can actually map this out to some degree. If we assume three Wasabi and three Squid Nigiri, as well as three Wasabi and three Salmon Nigiri, what does that mean for the points?
Let’s take a look.
Adding Wasabi Back In
For this I’ve removed Egg Nigiri and added the Wasabi back in.
As it can be seen, Wasabi massively improved the Nigiri. Salmon Nigiri becomes a close competitor for Sashimi, and meanwhile, Squid Nigiri is worth a phenomenal number of points.
Conclusion: Sushi Go Scoring Profiles
So, there we have it, a bit of an analysis today, looking closer at an absolute classic little corker of a game – Sushi Go. This hasn’t been so much of a strategy article as it has just been looking at the scoring profiles. I hope you found it interesting though.
On that note, what are your favourite sushi types to go after in Sushi Go? Let me know in the comments below.
When I play, I usually try to consider how many points I’m getting per card – a successful Sashimi is 3 1/3 for example. Because of that, my favorite card stack to go after is the Squid on Wasabi – 9 points for 2 cards!
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That is a really good way of look at the cards – and it makes perfect sense!
Sushi Go is a lot of fun.
My usual strategy is to play Maki Rolls first, which gives me an early lead, until I have a sense of how many sashimi and tempura cards are in play. Also puddings — play them early for the end of game bonus, and this forces other players to do the same in order to avoid having the fewest.
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Ahh yes – the Pudding Push 🙂 and I like both those strategies. Solid all the way through.
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The Pudding Push. I like that 😉
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I really love Sushi Go! and its expansion, Sushi Go Party!. Great review and tips!