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Subject: While I do like sushi, this game I do not care for. rss

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David Kahnt
United States
Youngstown
Ohio
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It's fun, it's healthy, it's good exercise. The kids will just love it. And we put a little sand inside to make the experience more pleasant.
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In the game Wasabi! you are collecting sets of ingredients in order to finish hidden recipes that are behind your player screen.

To do this you lay tiles down onto a grid (the size is determined by the number of players).

The players score points based on the length and order of ingredients of their orders. Simply put an order of 2 long is less points then the 5 length orders.

This seems simple enough as well as straight forward.

But it lacks something.

I'll give Z-Man games credit for the beautiful publication of the game. It is easy to see why people like the look of this game. It's all there: the colors, the cool wasabi cubes, and the nice tiles.

But for me, that's where the good of the game stops.

The game fails on a few levels:

1) There is a mechanic that when you finish a recipe, you receive one of the bonus cards. These cards essentially break the rules (like cards in many other game). The problem with this mechanic in the game is that if you are behind, it is hard to recover. In essence the rich get richer and the poor stay poorer.

2) Another reason why I don't care for the game is alluded to above: a runaway leader problem. It is easy to get stuck behind with this game. There is hardly any way to dig out of the hole you are stuck in. And that is exactly what it feels like... you are trapped in a hole and trying to dig your way out of it.

3) A third problem with this game may be fixed with more experienced players. There is no way to know all the combinations available to the players. Perhaps there's an errata I am unfamiliar with that lists all the possible menu items, but that the game did not come with them listed is a bad decision. This plays out into the game by not knowing how or where to stop potential recipes trying to be made by opponents. How am I supposed to see what my opponent is making if I don't know what potentially he is making. Now granted, this is much like in Ticket to Ride where one person is going from city to city and with many plays of the game you can kind of predict where they are trying to get to and stop them, so I forgive the game a bit for this problem.

Overall its my opinion that this game is lacking. I find that the runaway leader problem is too great and perhaps breaks the game a bit. That is not to say that I don't see why people like this game, I myself like set collection games and found myself a bit disappointed that I didn't care for Wasabi!.

Final Rating: 5/10

-DK
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Dan Poole
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I don't like it either. It reminds me of scrabble with fish.
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Jason Miller
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To encourage competition in this game, I tell new players that taking a mix of recipe lengths is best, and completing small recipes is a good start.
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Alan Rqthstar
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Laurel
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DKahnt wrote:
3) A third problem with this game may be fixed with more experienced players. There is no way to know all the combinations available to the players. Perhaps there's an errata I am unfamiliar with that lists all the possible menu items, but that the game did not come with them listed is a bad decision. This plays out into the game by not knowing how or where to stop potential recipes trying to be made by opponents.
I find this game fun with family, but this alludes to one of the most confusing design choices I've ever seen. The recipe screens include a player aid that lists all the recipes in the game... but none of the ingredients for those recipes, making it a completely useless list.
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Howell
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Well I been watchin' while you been coughin, I've been drinking life while you've been nauseous, and so I drink to health while you kill yourself and I got just one thing that I can offer... Go on and save yourself and take it out on me
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All valid points my friend. In fact, if you get a bad opening recipe draw at the beginning of the game you will not win. Its that simple. Yet for some reason, I like this game. Maybe the eye-candy makes up for the lack of solid gameplay. At any rate, I'm sorry you didn't enjoy your play of the game. I won't make you play it again.
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Ken B.
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I got this in trade after hearing about it on The Spiel--their infectious enthusiasm can make you interested in almost any game they discuss.

However, I found the game almost exactly as the OP described... suprisingly dry and definitely lacking. The graphic design screams "quirky fun" but it just doesn't seem to take off.

I think it holds the record as my "shortest owned" game as I've already sent it on in trade-after having it for only a couple of weeks.
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Mike Mitchell
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I like this game...
I don't think it's the greatest game I've seen, but I enjoyed playing it quite a bit.
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Nick McElveen
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Spot on review.
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Michael J
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I don't think it's hard to get bonus cards, even if you are behind. As long as you keep a healthy share of 2 item recipes in your hand at all times you can almost always net a bonus card quickly. Since you can never have more than 2 cards in hand at any time, you never have many less bonus cards than your opponent.

And I don't necessarily think that knowing all the recipe combinations would make the game more fun. You have to deduce what your opponent is doing from his prior and current actions. There is an element of bluffing involved that just would not be there if you knew the exact recipe the were working on. I like this aspect of things. Besides, it's not that hard to figure out where to block. Now, of course, if you want to know the EXACT tile to mess with every time, then I'm not sure Wasabi is the right game for you.

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Mike Beiter
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DKahnt wrote:


2) Another reason why I don't care for the game is alluded to above: a runaway leader problem. It is easy to get stuck behind with this game. There is hardly any way to dig out of the hole you are stuck in. And that is exactly what it feels like... you are trapped in a hole and trying to dig your way out of it.


-DK


I have to respectfully disagree on this point. I do not see this problem.
At least from my experience after playing this game several times, I have seen that there has never been a clear and obvious winner until the last tile is played. It all depends on your strategy… Do you start out quick by completing all your simple low point recipes? OR do you start out slow and calculating to lay down your largest recipes and suddenly go from last place to first?

Invariably in games you will always find people that just aren’t doing as well, and this may not be the games fault, it may be the player’s lack of skill or strategy. If you have a poor strategy, you are going to stay in the hole until you find a way to get out. A good game does not reward people for falling behind, they have to earn it; and I feel that is exactly what this game offers.
We played several 4 player games, and the race was close to the very end. We were doing our best to try and stop the current winner and brought them down regularly with some clever maneuvering. Then on further turns, winners were able to climb back on top.

Bottom line, at least from my experience, you never know the winner till the end, and with some good strategy and quick thinking, no one stays in the hole.
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Nick
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franklincobb wrote:
I think it holds the record as my "shortest owned" game as I've already sent it on in trade-after having it for only a couple of weeks.

Traded it to me, in fact.

I'm trying to no longer purchase games that I haven't played before, but don't mind trading for them as I don't have to put the credit card on the counter again. I traded for it hoping that the wife will like it for the length, simplicity, good looking components and theme. This review isn't very encouraging but I have my fingers crossed.

P.S. Thanks for the trade.
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Reko Ukko
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The game has slowly grown on me. I didn't care that much at first, but it has gotten better. I've had situations where I've done incredibly bad in the beginning, but managed a good comeback later in the game.

It does require a certain mindset to be played, which was my weakest link in the beginning. I had a very tunnel vision -oriented way of playing whereas my opponents quickly learned to have about 4 options to go with at any given point during the game. So whereas my dreams were shattered easily, it didn't really budge the others. After I started taking the game a bit more seriously, it started working for me.

Also, I think it's relatively easy to see what players are trying to do and where since every recipe requires either rice or ... that other stuff, to start with. Most people I play with try to do the recipes with style and even if they don't, you just need to pay attention where in the board they are playing. Of course, you can try to masquerade your plays and it becomes harder, but I think it's not impossible to block players in a similar fashion as in Ticket to Ride.
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Jeffrey Nolin
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DKahnt wrote:

1) There is a mechanic that when you finish a recipe, you receive one of the bonus cards. These cards essentially break the rules (like cards in many other game). The problem with this mechanic in the game is that if you are behind, it is hard to recover. In essence the rich get richer and the poor stay poorer.

2) Another reason why I don't care for the game is alluded to above: a runaway leader problem. It is easy to get stuck behind with this game. There is hardly any way to dig out of the hole you are stuck in. And that is exactly what it feels like... you are trapped in a hole and trying to dig your way out of it.

3) A third problem with this game may be fixed with more experienced players. There is no way to know all the combinations available to the players. Perhaps there's an errata I am unfamiliar with that lists all the possible menu items, but that the game did not come with them listed is a bad decision. This plays out into the game by not knowing how or where to stop potential recipes trying to be made by opponents.

Overall its my opinion that this game is lacking. I find that the runaway leader problem is too great and perhaps breaks the game a bit.
-DK


1) Bonus cards are so easy to get, since everyone has so many 2 item recipes, so I don't understand this complaint.

2) I can see how someone could get off to a good start, but it's really difficult to get off to a bad start. I also don't see it as having a runaway leader problem, especially as it relates to #1.

3) With experience I suppose people get to know most of the recipe combinations, but I don't think it matters for most people, as they would be trying to complete their own recipes rather than block other recipes. Of course, to do both in a turn is a bonus for the skilled player, but it is the goal that a new player should be striving for.
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