Brutus Rating: 2 little fish hooks in the back.
Pairs well with: Sake or Ahasi beer.
There are two ways to play Sushi Dice. The adult way, and the kids’ way. The adult way goes like this: You go to Essen Spiel with your friends and partner of choice and have a wonderful time (very important stage, this one). While there your friendly robot boyfriend should find the stand where a new game called Sushi Dice is being exhibit and played (note, sushi is for some reason the current theme of choice for casual games – don’t confuse Sushi Dice for Sushi Go! or Sushi Express or some other nori-based nonsense). The game artist will hopefully be sitting at the stand, churning out little watercolour octopus drawings on the inner lids of games bought then and there. Friendly robot boyfriends know that this makes an excellent gift, and will buy it for their neurotic board game girlfriends (ie Bob).
Later on, when you and your wily gang of nerds are relaxing at a German Brauerei with beer and bratwursts the length of your arm, you figure out the (very very simple) rules and have a go at playing. The game can be played by any number (>2) of people, but there are only ever two active players at a time. Each active player gets six dice, with are printed with sushi ingredient symbols. Three of the six dice have a star symbol, and three have a black skull.
Players roll their dice until they match the ingredients of a fishy dish and if they get there first they get the dish card. Whoever has the most cards after an arbitrary length of game time wins. Then the round ends and the dice pass to the next pair of players.
Stars are wild. If you see another player get a skull dice you can yell ‘YUCK!’ and they will have to re-roll all their dice. If a non-active player sees both active players roll a skull they can yell ‘CHOP’ and the round ends.
To signify that you, the plucky sushi chef, have completed an order of whichever fishy dish you’ve chosen, you ring the handily-included bell. Of course, when you play the grown-up version you’re in a tap-house, so it’s unlikely that a group of people ringing a service bell would be very popular. So instead of hitting the bell you instead say ‘Ding!’ This swiftly escalates to shouting ‘DING!’ while hitting the table but that’s still way better than being the dickheads with the bell, right?
Of course, when you play the kids’ version you have to include the bell. Them’s the rules. You also have to become suddenly and tragically blind to cheating. As part of Bob’s plot to indoctrinate the youth of today with geeky values* she has become adept at rooting out decent games which are still child-appropriate.**Sushi Dice is pretty and brightly-coloured, easy to learn, and loud.
Kids like loud***.
DING DING DING!
In fact the children Bob played this game with liked it so much they refused to stop playing it even after all the adults had lost interest.
The two of them played it between themselves for a good while until the accusations of cheating got out of hand (they were both cheating, and they weren’t even playing to win). Then one of them continued to play it by herself, mainly just to be able to hit the bell every time she finished a combination.
(DINGing continues, forever, until all meaning and time is lost to the sound of one hand dinging. And every time the bell rings, Bob’s dog barks. She has created a monster.)
That’s what we can consider a success story.
*Parents! Are you worried about your teenage children growing up to be hoodlums and drug fiends!? Well try this remedy on for size: Magic the Gathering! With this collectable card game your son or daughter will never have the money for drugs, and all their friends will commit no greater crime than failing to shower regularly! Hurray!
** Unfortunately she still hasn’t been able to stop saying ‘fuck’ in front of the kids. You can’t fight nature, man.
*** See the Twilight Imperium review for the moment when loud became unbearably loud.