Review: Point Salad

Salad (noun) – A dish of raw leafy green vegetables, often tossed with pieces of other raw or cooked vegetables, fruit, cheese, or other ingredients and served with a dressing.

Point Salad (descriptor) – A board game term to describe a game in which there are a wide variety of mechanisms to earn points, often unconnected.

Point Salad (game) – Neither of the above.

I chuckle every time I think of the name, but it had to be said!

What Is It?

Point Salad, designed by Molly Johnson, Shawn Stankewich, and Robert Melvin and published by Alderac Entertainment Group, is a game for 2 to 6 players and plays in about 15 – 25 minutes.

Point Salad is a card drafting and tableau building game comprised of 108 double-sided cards. To begin, based on the number of players, remove a certain number of veggie cards from the game. Then, set up your “veggie market” – to do so, divide the cards into three equal decks (the rule book says “roughly equal” – but count it out in the beginning, it’ll make your life easier). Afterwards, flip over two cards from each draw pile and place them in a column below the pile. This three-by-three grid is now your veggie market.   

During your turn, you will be doing one of two things – you’ll either take two vegetable cards from the market or select a point scoring condition card. Once you have drafted your cards, refill the veggie market by drawing cards from the corresponding draw piles in each column, filling any empty slots, making sure to flip the cards from the point side to the veggie side.

A free action that is always available to you is the ability to flip a single point card to it’s vegetable side. However, you can’t switch it back and you can never switch a vegetable card to its point side. The cards are double sided and they cleverly show what vegetable is on the other side of the card by it’s symbol on the upper left corner of the card. This deepens the strategy of the game because you might decide to hate-draft a point card because you know if you don’t, that card might be flipped over to fill the veggie market and it’s the exact onion card your friend needs to complete his onion empire!

The game continues until all cards have been selected. The players then calculate their score based on their point cards. The player with the highest score wins!

Is It For Me?

While entertaining, playing Point Salad can feel a bit solitary. During the game, you’re generally focused on building your own tableau and amassing specific point and veggie cards. While there are some moments of hate-drafting, you have to be paying attention to what the other players are drafting and oftentimes, people forget to do so or they’re so focused on their own game, they don’t care. But this is also group dependent, I’ve had sessions of this game where everyone was silently drafting their cards. But I’ve also had rambunctious ones where everyone was paying attention and encouraging each other to band together and stop that onion empire!

Ultimately, Point Salad is an enjoyable game. It has a straight-forward set collection mechanic that doesn’t break the wheel. But it doesn’t have to. It’s easy to teach and everyone I’ve taught it to has picked it up pretty easily. It also plays very quickly and I’ve had friends ask to play it multiple times in one sitting.

I generally dislike using the word “filler” because oftentimes it’s used in a derogatory manner in our hobby, but Point Salad is one of the better small games I’ve played recently.

One note, why is the box so big?! When I opened it up for the first time, my reaction was “really, REALLY?!?” – the box could literally be half it’s size and be so much more manageable.

Table-Takes

Here are what some of my friends had to say about the game:

  • “Quick and easy to pick up.”
  • “It was fun to build your own goals.”
  • “It was fine.”
  • Tim’s Take: “It was perfectly acceptable and outside of a name that was funny for about 5 seconds, it was fairly forgettable.”

Beneeta’s Rating: 7 out of 10. While this game is not revolutionary, it is still an enjoyable game to start your game night or to wind it down. It’s also a great game to introduce to new gamers.