Sophie, Lisa, and I played a couple of games of Sushizock im Gockelwok tonight. This little game is fast becoming our “go to” game when we haven’t much time to spare or are not in the mood for something cerebral. This dirt simple, push your luck, dice game comes in a small box containing 12 blue “sushi” tiles (like thin dominos) numbered 1 thought 6 and 12 red “bones” tiles numbered -1 though -4, and 5 wooden dice each with two bone symbols, two sushi symbols, 1 red chopstick symbol, and 1 blue chopstick symbol.
The blue shushi tiles are randomized and placed in a row in the middle of the table, as well as the red bones tiles. The goal is to have the most points and players grab points by gathering blue (positive points) and red (negative points) tiles. The catch is that you can only count blue tiles for which you have a red tile but you must count all your red tiles. The order that you gather tiles is also important.
For example, if you gathered blue tiles in the order 5, 1, 2, 3 and gathered red tiles in the order -2, -1, then your score would be 3 (5 + 1 – 2 – 1). Remember, you can only count blue tiles for which you have a red. Since you only have two red tiles, only the first two blue tiles count. If you however, gathered another red -1, your score would grow to 4 (5 + 1 + 2 – 2 – 1 – 1). If you gathered yet another red -1, then your score would grow to 6 (5 + 1 + 2 + 3 – 2 – 1 – 1 – 1). If you gathered another red -2 then your score would drop to 4 since you must count all your red tiles regardless of how many blue tiles you’ve collected (5 + 1 + 2 + 3 – 2 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 2).
Tiles are collected in a Yahtzee-flavored mechanic where a player gets up to three rolls of the dice. All 5 dice are rolled the first time and the players must “lock in” at least one die each roll. When the player stops rolling (after 1, 2, or 3 rolls), the dice are evaluated and a tile taken. The player is free to choose whatever evaluation of the dice they choose but if in situations where the evaluation results in nothing valid, the player must take the worst tile left on the table.
So what do the dice mean? The sushi symbols represent the blue tiles and for each sushi symbol you roll, you take the corresponding sushi tile start at the left of the row. For example, if you rolled three sushi symbols, you’re free to take the third sushi tile from the left end of the row. The bone symbols work the same way but for the red tiles. Gathered tiles are stacked on top of one another (face up) in front of each player in two piles (red/blue). If three blue chopsticks are rolled, the player can steal the top tile from any other player’s stack of blue tiles. If more than three blue chopsticks are rolled, the player announces which tile in the stack he wishes to steal (without looking through the stack) and takes that tile and places it on top of his own blue stack. Red chopstick work the same but the player gets to steal red tiles from other players.
That’s the game. When all of the tiles are gone, players discard and extra blue tiles (if any) from their stack, sum the values and announce their final score. Sushizock im Gockelwok is a fun, light, family game that we’re getting a lot of mileage out of. We played two quick games in about 20 minutes. If you can find a copy, give it a shot. It’s a little bit addictive.