Genre: Set Collection
Player Count: 2-6
Play Count as of Review: 14
- Point Salad is a simple card game where players are trying to make sets of vegetable cards that align with their scoring cards. On a players turn, they’ll take either two vegetables or one scoring card from the public display. There is no limit to the amount of cards players can have by the end of the game. The game ends when every single card has been collected.
- It is an incredibly quick moving game. Players only have two choices per turn and due to the high turnover of the public market with each players action, it doesn’t make much sense to plan ahead (as the card you are interested in is more than likely gone by the time it is your turn again). If you like to plan ahead, this may not be the game for you. Live in the moment and look at what is available on your turn.
- The game plays fast and loose; do not think this is a highly strategic game. For example, when a card pile runs out, you will just fill it in with cards from another stack. It is not an exact science where you’ll divvy out an equal amount. This does not make the experience less fun but I did feel it was worth sharing as it does create even more randomization throughout the game.
- Point Salad is repetitive. You’ll be doing the same actions over and over again until the game is complete. This makes it very easy to teach but could prove boring for some people that want a little more meat on the bone. Point Salad is a light game and as long as you’re fine with that, Point Salad will be worthy of a play (or six).
- The cards are thin but feature a linen finish. Despite the thin cards, they feel incredibly sturdy and the thin nature makes it much easier to shuffle them. They glide right in and out of the hand thanks to their makeup. After several games, I don’t have much concern about them degrading after multiple plays since the pulled cards are not held in a players hand but instead laid out in a play area in front of the player. The only real handling is the shuffling.
- One side of each card is a bright, colorful vegetable. There are six different vegetables in the game. The name of the vegetable is large and can be found on the top and bottom of the card. The vegetable itself is prominent and easy to see. This helps people that are colorblind or don’t have English as a primary language. The vegetable icon and use of numbers makes this game almost entirely language dependent (more on this in a moment).
- The other side of the card is the scoring possibilities. The majority of the cards utilize set collection where vegetables are worth either a positive or negative value or a set of x amounts of different vegetables is worth a certain amount of points. These cards do stack so having a scoring card that grants two points per carrot and another making carrots worth negative one point each really means your carrots are worth one point each. Vegetables can count for multiple scoring opportunities so scoring them for one card does not mean that they are ineligible for other cards. There are some cards that have some more language on the card, such as asking for the most of a vegetable or the fewest. These are my least favorite cards in the deck because it makes the scoring difficult in my opinion. Instead of everyone scoring their own piles, players need to engage with one another and it slows the process down just a little. In addition to the scoring shown, players will also see the vegetable that is on the reverse side in the corners of the card. This is because players can flip a scoring card to the vegetable side (in the event they no longer want to score it) but doing so makes that scoring card a vegetable permanently. Vegetables cannot be flipped to be scoring cards.
- Point Salad, while being about creating a salad, is also a play on the board game term ‘point salad’, where players can score many points in many different ways. Other notable games in this ‘genre’ include Castles of Burgundy and Five Tribes. There are 108 cards and to my knowledge, there are no duplicate scoring cards. This helps make games feel slightly unique, especially in lower player count games, as the abundance of scoring cards mean you will rarely see the same card in back-to-back games.
- Speaking of a point salad, Point Salad the game has the possibility of having a lot of math at the end. There are times where you’ll have positive and negative values and need to ascertain the point values for all your vegetables. It never felt overwhelming but if you do not like small math, that is a large portion of the game. Depending on how many scoring cards you take will dictate how much work you have to do during the end game.
- The game scales well regardless of the player count. The only change is how many cards are in play. I wish there was an extra card that shared this information because after you have the rules down, this is the only reason to consult the rulebook. It hinders the ability of this game being an easy backpack/travel game in my opinion. Even with the addition of multiple players, I personally don’t feel like the time to play the game increases much. We routinely have four and five player games last around twenty minutes. You can easily use Point Salad as a filler game between larger games or make a tournament of it; playing multiple games in a row with the majority winner taking the crown. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend Point Salad as a two-player game just because the decision making is lackluster and the game loses some of the flavor as your decision making becomes easier (less players taking less cards). It is not a bad game at two but I would much rather play something else at that count instead of Point Salad.