November Writing Challenge Day 4: Sushi Roll

I’m blogging every day this month. Some will be game-related, but this challenge is different than my most recent play-a-game-and-blog-about-it challenge. I’m writing a single post every day: no topic guidelines, with some posts being a collection of random thoughts. Click here to read yesterday’s post.

Sushi Go! was one of the first “hobby” games I bought when I first started getting into tabletop gaming. I put hobby in quotes because even though you can easily find Sushi Go! at Target and other retail outlets, back in 2015 I didn’t know that. I thought only gamers would buy this game of odd-looking cards.

I’m glad I bought it and will always play a quick game of it or its bigger brother, Sushi Go! Party, which has a lot of new cards for a different gaming experience every time you play it.

Recently, Sushi Go! publisher Gamewright released the dice version of Sushi Go!, the appropriately named Sushi Roll. Instead of the cute cards of the original game, it’s all dice in this version.

After a half-dozen plays I have two main things to say about Sushi Roll:

  1. It’s not as pretty as the original . There’s no way to transfer those gorgeous drawings from the cards onto the dice. But the dice do contain the familiar icons of the dumplings, shrimp tempura, and desserts.
  2. I now prefer it to the original in terms of set-up (which can be way too long with Sushi Go! Party) and play time. Sushi Roll is a quick game: roll dice, pick one to keep, pass to your neighbor, rinse, and repeat.

Like the original, you’re trying to collect sets for more points. For example, whoever has the most maki rolls on their dice will score six points at the end of the round. Same goes for halibut, etc. It’s fun rolling all of the chunky dice and trying to get what you need to complete a set such as shrimp tempura. If you didn’t have a lucky roll of the dice, you can still turn in a menu to re-roll any number of dice.

You can also use chopsticks to steal one die from another player. Just turn in your chopsticks token, take another player’s die, and put one of your dice onto their player board. After three rounds, victory points are added and the most points wins.

Sushi Roll is another winner for Gamewright for both fans and non-fans alike. And maybe it’s just me, but I’m totally craving sushi right now.

November Daily Game Challenge: SteamRollers

This is Day 30 of my Game-and-Blog-Every-Day-in-November Challenge. Search my blog for “Daily Game Challenge” for previous entries.



It’s no secret that I love roll-and-write games. Rolling dice and marking a sheet of paper reminds me of childhood games of Yahtzee and it’s great having so many designers embrace the mechanism lately. SteamRollers was actually released in 2015, but was picked up by Stronghold Games and reprinted in May of this year. It’s been on my wish list since I played my buddy Tony’s copy at our local GenCant event, and I was fortunate to pick it up via trade at Strategicon in September.

You and your opponents build a railway network on your scoresheet and attempt to deliver goods to the various cities on the main board. On your turn, roll dice and select an action: build a track, upgrade your engine, deliver a good, or take a special action card. You score points based on the goods you’ve delivered, your railways, and bonuses.

I was an insta-fan of SteamRollers; I loved the mashup of pick-up-and-deliver and roll-and-write. It’s light and quick, and there are ways to mitigate bad rolls via the special action cards. Games last anywhere between 20 and 45 minutes, depending on player count, and the solo game is a good challenge. Fans of more in-depth train games will appreciate how quickly the game plays; if you don’t have a whole day to spend building up railroads and upgrading engines, SteamRollers may be the next best thing.

November Daily Game Challenge: Alien Frontiers

This is Day 27 of my Game-and-Blog-Every-Day-in-November Challenge. Search my blog for “Daily Game Challenge” for previous entries.

Alien Frontiers


Dice chucking and worker placement are two of my favorite board game mechanisms. Put them together like in Alien Frontiers and I’m an insta-fan.

In Alien Frontiers you’re trying to colonize the alien planet by sending your ships to perform actions and produce resources, while also planning how you’re going to spend your resources. It’s basically a race to place your eight colony tokens on the planet, with points awarded for the player controlling each territory, along with bonus points for having certain cards.

I love the retro-style sci-fi art of Alien Frontiers as well. It’s a good match for the game, which is now in its fifth edition since its release in 2010.

November Daily Game Challenge: Sagrada

This is Day 13 of my Game-and-Blog-Every-Day-in-November Challenge. Search my blog for “Daily Game Challenge” for previous entries.



Before Azul took the board game world by storm, there was Sagrada. It was the abstract game du jour, getting rave reviews before Azul came along and started taking all of Sagrada’s thunder.

There’s space on any gamer’s shelves for both of these gems. Azul is easier to teach new players and the turns are a lot smoother, but Sagrada has a more puzzle-like feel to it. I’m a sucker for dice chucking so Sagrada’s dice-drafting mechanism was an insta-hit for me. The placement rules can be stifling at times, especially when the dice aren’t rolling your way, but there are tools that can mitigate some of that bad luck.

The solo game is pretty tough, too. There’s no AI, but you’re placing unused dice on the scoring track (each turn you pull four dice, two for you, two for the track). Play is the same as any regular game, except that you’re now playing against the total of those dice on the track. It adds another element to the puzzle and it’s not easy.

I love the challenge, though, and win or lose, solo or multiplayer, your player board always looks pretty … even if your score isn’t.

November Daily Game Challenge: Dice City

This is Day 12 of my Game-and-Blog-Every-Day-in-November Challenge. Search my blog for “Daily Game Challenge” for previous entries.

Dice City


Dug up an old favorite tonight for a solo run-through and it was as fun as I’d remembered. In Dice City you’re trying to build up Rolldovia (ha!) by rolling dice and activating that spot’s ability. As you gain resources you can buy cards to upgrade the locations in your city (each player gets their own board). Each location can be upgraded to gives more resources, abilities, military strength to attack your opponents, and end-game victory points.

Play is straight-forward and there’s lots of ways to mitigate your bad rolls. It’s a solid gateway game with enough to keep more seasoned gamers engaged. I love that everyone gets their own board and can fill it up the way they want, focusing on different types of buildings for their city. It’s been awhile since I played a multi-player game so I’m hoping to get it to the table with my buddies soon.

Every Night Is Game Night: Sagrada


I’m playing a board game every day this month and blogging about it (I did a similar challenge last year)Feel free to join me during my Every Night Is Game Night: My Daily Play & Blog Challenge. And tweet me with what you’re playing these days!

I had a busy weekend that included a graduation party, Star Wars Reads Day, and quality time with our daughter before she begins her final three weeks of college (!), which meant that my time at Gamex was limited.

Thankfully, for the few hours I was there I was able to buy, sell, and play a few games. It was great seeing two of my regular gaming buddies, Oscar and PK, as well as my friend Meeple Lady. We’d originally planned on playing Agricola (still on my Shelf of Shame), but I was feeling the effects of a long day and asked to play Sagrada instead.

There’s been a lot of hype about Sagrada and after my first play I’d say it’s well-deserved. A simple yet thinky puzzle game of dice allocation, there’s a lot to like here, from the nice-looking components to the elegant play. It’s a game that will satisfy both gamers and non-gamers.

Players are trying to build their stained glass windows through the use of colored dice. Dice are randomly pulled out of a bag and rolled, then each player takes one for their window.

(Before I continue, a word to my fellow colorblind gamers: although I did okay with Sagrada, you should try it out before buying; colors are used throughout the game and there are no unique icons for each color to make things easier. I had trouble differentiating between blue and purple. From what I read, Floodgate Games did try to do something about this, but the budget couldn’t accommodate those with colorblindness. It’s a real shame that the game’s accessibility couldn’t be improved. Perhaps in a later printing? One can only hope.)

Back to the game: there are rules of adjacency for each die, so players can’t just put them wherever they want. Additionally, there are secret goals for each player; for example, mine was the total number of pips on the yellow dice on my window so I was trying to snag those yellow dice every chance I could. There are also public goals that I basically forgot about for the first half of the game. These included pairs of certain dice and same-colored dice diagonally.

Finally, there are special game-breaker community cards that a player can pay for to help them complete their window. After all of the dice are placed, the next round begins. A game consists of 10 rounds and at the end each player counts up their points and subtracts one point for every empty spot.

I really enjoyed this game, in spite of the colorblind issues. I love chucking dice and trying to figure out puzzles, so this was a natural fit. It reminded me of The Cubist, a similar dice-chucking puzzle game, which I liked, but Sagrada felt like it had a bit more meat on its bones.

Every Night Is Game Night: Tiny Epic Galaxies


I’m playing a board game every day this month and blogging about it (I did a similar challenge last year)Feel free to join me during my Every Night Is Game Night: My Daily Play & Blog Challenge. And tweet me with what you’re playing these days!

(My wife and I had a full day of travel and family fun yesterday so I didn’t play a game and blog about it. I’ll post one extra time this month to make up for it.)

It’s nearly 4pm on Sunday and I’m just getting productive. I’ve got some work to finish today, but I just played a quick solo game of Tiny Epic Galaxies. It’s no secret that I’m a Scott Almes fan: I own and have enjoyed Tiny Epic Kingdoms, Harbour, and I backed Tiny Epic Galaxies: Beyond the Black and Tiny Epic Quest on Kickstarter.

Tiny Epic Galaxies is a dice rolling and area control game that is an absolute blast. Each player is trying to improve their empire while also colonizing planets. During their turn, players roll the dice and land their ships on other planets (to perform a special action), orbiting planets (in hopes of colonizing them via an economic or diplomacy track), gaining resources, or upgrading their empires. Players perform these actions via their dice rolls.

If they roll what they need, then they perform their actions, but if not, there are several ways to mitigate unlucky dice rolls. They get one free re-roll of any of their dice. They may also use two dice to convert one into any action they choose. Finally, players may spend one energy to re-roll any remaining dice.

Victory points are scored as players upgrade their empire and each colonized planet is worth points. First player to 21 triggers the game end. Players also have secret mission cards that gain extra points if the conditions are met.

What really makes the game fun is the follow action. During the active player’s turn, all other players may follow the active player’s action buy paying one culture. This is one of my favorite mechanisms because it limits the amount of downtime for everybody. If I had a few bad rolls on my turn, then I can get the actions I needed on someone else’s turn, as long as I saved up some culture.

I love the solo game: it manages to capture the feel of the real game and has various difficulty levels that range from beginner to epic. I’ve beaten the epic level only a few times and each win felt well-earned.


Every Night Is Game Night: Rolling America


I’m playing a board game every day this month and blogging about it (I did a similar challenge last year)Feel free to join me during my Every Night Is Game Night: My Daily Play & Blog Challenge. And tweet me with what you’re playing these days!

Tonight was my weekly game night and four of us had just started a game when I had to leave due to a family emergency. Thankfully, everything worked out and a few hours later I was back at home so I decided to play a solo game of Rolling America. I wrote about this roll-and-write game for Geek & Sundry recently:

Everybody receives a multi-colored map of the United States, then seven different colored dice are placed in a bag then drawn and rolled one at a time. For each die rolled, all players must write that number in the corresponding colored region of their map. After six of the seven dice are used, the dice are put back in the bag and the next player starts a new round. 

Placing the numbers is where the tension lies in Rolling America since numbers cannot be more than 1 above or below an adjacent number. So, if a player rolls a yellow 3, they must write it in a yellow state and it must be next to a 2, 3, or 4. If there are no available spots, then the player marks an X in that state. After 8 rounds, players tally their Xs and the lowest amount of Xs wins the game.

Each player also receives three special powers that allow them to protect a number (thus allowing it to be adjacent to a non-conforming number), duplicate a number, and use a number in a different region.

I’m not much of a sodoku fan, but I like figuring out the right spot to place the numbers in Rolling America. It’s fun with multiple players and makes for a nice, mellow solitaire affair: it was the perfect respite from the earlier events of the day.