Wasabi! Japanese horseradish, anyone? You'll learn to both love and hate the stuff as you become an aspiring sushi chef and compete to create the most delicious and artful recipes.
In Wasabi! players draw various recipe cards for sushi that involve a combination of many different ingredients. Points are earned for the successful completion of recipies, which happens as the ingredients are laid out in order on the game board.
Bonus points, in the form of Wasabi cubes, are awarded if the recipe is laid out "with style", that is, if the ingredients on the board are in the same order as shown on the recipe.
As players compete to place their ingredients in the limited number of spaces on the Wasabi! game board, things can get nasty: there are several cards granting special abilities, which may be claimed when a recipe is completed.
These include swapping the ingredients in two adjacent spaces; stacking one ingredient on top of another; splitting a stack or removing an ingredient; or the Wasabi! card, which covers up to four ingredients, taking them out of play until it is moved.
The clever chef will manipulate the game board to complete his own recipes while intentionally disrupting his opponents' progress. The player with the most points at the end wins.
Wasabi! has extremely high quality components, which is typical coming from Z-man Games. The artwork is delightful and the colorful ingredients are fun to place on the board. To enhance the theme of the game, recipes are hidden behind black menus, and Wasabi cubes are placed in little dishes like you would find at a real sushi bar. The only thing missing are chopsticks.
Game play in Wasabi! is light; strategy is there, but not too intense. This is a great game for casual gamers or when you want to be challenged, but don't want to think too hard. The abilities of the special cards can provide some "in your face" moments as players totally disrupt each other's progress for the sake of their own gain, but overall the tempo of the game is light and friendly.