The Day in Gaming, September 9, 2019: Point Salad

I’m posting about a game every day in September! Here’s a link to yesterday’s post.

With cute art and a title that’s both clever for non-gamers and inside joke-y to gamers, Point Salad is a wonderful filler game that has seen lot of table time lately.

Point Salad didn’t wow me when I first heard of it earlier this year, but at my buddy Patrick’s birthday last month I got to play a game and was immediately hooked. In this deceptively simple set collection game, you’re trying to score the most points in your salad/play area.

On your turn either select any two vegetables from the two rows available or select one scoring card from the single scoring card row, then place in your play area. What’s clever about this game is each card is double-sided: one side is a veggie while the other side is a scoring condition. When veggies are taking from the display, scoring cards are flipped to their veggie side to refill the display.

It’s a simple yet effective mechanism that forces you to make a decision every turn: are one of the scoring cards something you want? If you don’t take it, then it’s most likely going to be gone by the time it’s your turn again. Now, if you do take it, then will you be able to grab enough veggies to score?

Each scoring card is different, so every game you’ll be trying to collect something else. Cards give you points for certain veggies, certain combos of veggies, the most veggies of one type, etc. One other small yet useful optional action each turn is the ability to flip a scoring card to its veggie side. This allows you to make use of any “dead” scoring cards if you haven’t been able to collect those veggies.

For a quick game (no longer than 20 minutes at the full six-player count; I’ve played two player games in 4-5 minutes), Point Salad offers a nice bit of tension and tactical decision-making in a short amount of time. I like to joke that it should be titled, “Point Salad: The Hate Drafting Game” since you’ll draft a lot of the cards your opponent to your left may need to fulfill their scoring goals.

It’s not personal, of course. It’s Point Salad.