TableTopTakes: Point Salad
We’re almost to the holidays, and if you are looking for a light little game that you can play with most people, Point Salad might be the game for you. It’s a little game and easy to take with you for the holidays, but let’s see how it plays and if it might be good for you.
In Point Salad you are going to take turns either drafting vegetables to make your salad or taking cards that are going to tell you how to score. The trick is that you need to take the best scoring cards for you, but when you take a card for scoring, you only take a single card, but if you take vegetables, you take two on the turn. So can you figure what is the best scoring option for you and draft cards so that you can out score your opponents. The game is really that simple, once all the cards have been drafted, then each person scores their salad based off of the scoring cards that they have. The person with the most points wins.
There are a few things that I really enjoy about this game. The first being that the play is really simple. You’re either taking two vegetables or you’re taking a card that is going to allow you to score. People who have played games like Ticket to Ride will have some idea as to how this works because you can either take two normal train cars or a wild train car. So it’s a common concept which is good, because how the scoring works is a bit more unique.
The thing about scoring cards is that it’s the base side of the vegetable cards. So if you don’t take a scoring card from the top of the stack, there’s a chance that it’ll flip down and become a vegetable before you can take it on your next turn. It’s a really nice way to give interesting decisions. In fact, sometimes you have to make the tough decision to take a vegetable instead of a scoring card causing that scoring card to turn into a vegetable. But, even with that decision point, it’s not that hard to make it and turns still move by pretty quickly. For me, this is a really clever way to do the scoring, because everyone is going to have different scoring so you might not overlap on what vegetables that you want, but everyone might want different vegetables.
Another thing is that when you are drafting cards, you put them on the table in front of you creating a tableau. That means that I can see what the person to my left is wanting, and the person to my right can see what I want. Maybe on a turn there’s only one vegetable that I want and no scoring that I want. I can then draft that one vegetable and possibly draft something that the person to my left might want. Now, that’s not always the best strategy, but you can get an idea of what people might want. In fact, the better reason to draft a card might be that taking a certain vegetable will cause a scoring card the person to your left might want to turn into a vegetable, and once it’s a vegetable, it can’t be used for scoring again. So if there are three tomatoes and I want to take two of them, I might take the ones that will get rid of scoring that the person to the left of me wants. So it’s a simple, subtle little thing that can add more into the game. But it’s not a massive part of the game being mean to people, because if you do that, you won’t score as well.
I do have one negative about the game. The cards a little bit flimsy, thankfully the game is cheap so you can play it a couple dozen times and replace it if you want. The other solution would be to get card sleeves, which I might, but because you need to see both sides of the cards, that means that the sleeves have to be clear, which you can find, but those sleeves are often a bit flimsier as well. The box is also about twice as big as it needs to be, but I don’t mind that, because I have space for it. But if space is at a premium for your gaming collection, I could see it being annoying.
Finally, let’s talk about the name. Probably something that I could have lead off with, I’ve been talking about how you are drafting vegetables, and it’s all vegetables that you’d live in a salad, so you get points for your vegetables and they are a salad vegetables, hence point salad. While that is true, point salad is something that is used in board gaming. In board gaming it describes a game that you can get points in a ton of different ways. So point, and how does salad fit in, think about a buffet. At a buffet, you can make a salad and you have 20 different toppings, 8 different dressings, and a few different types of lettuce. So like you can get points in a ton of ways, you can make your salad at a buffet in a ton of different ways. So the name, Point Salad, plays off of this idea of basically everything you do gives you points. And while it doesn’t score you as many points as some point salad games do, if you draft well, basically every card should give you some points.
So, is this a good game? I definitely have more positive things about it then negative. For me, Point Salad is a great filler game, even with a higher player count, the game plays quite fast, and you can play a two player game in 15 minutes. I like the tongue in cheek nature of the game as well with the naming and the vegetables. I also like this game for newer gamers because it’s introduces tableau building and drafting, two things that show up in a lot of games. I think for a gaming group of very seasoned gamers who like heavy games, this won’t be a hit, but for most groups it’ll be good fun.
Overall Score: B+
Gamer Grade: C
Casual Grade: A
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