Point salad is a term that is used in the board game space that means that you can earn points in a lot of different ways. This encompasses what the card game Point Salad is all about. It’s an extremely straightforward and quick game that will have you earning points through all sorts of different combinations of cards. But does Point Salad have anything else going for it other than a clever name? Let’s jump in and find out.
What is Point Salad?
Point Salad is a card drafting game where you draft vegetable cards and point cards. The game advertises that there are over 100 ways to score points and this is absolutely true.
Each card in the game is double-sided. One side is a vegetable card and the other is a point card. Players will draft these cards from either the vegetable card columns or the point card row. Each point card shows which combination of vegetables you need in order to score points. But there’s a catch, some point cards give you negative points for having certain vegies in your collection. And as the game goes on and the vegetable cards dwindle it becomes harder to avoid losing points.
Point Salad is made by Alderac Entertain Group. They are best known for the Smash Up series and the Thunderstone Quest series.
- Ages: 8+
- Players: 2-6
- Play Time: 15-30 Min
- Designer: Molly Johnson, Robert Melvin, Shawn Stankewich
- Artist: Dylan Mangini
- Publisher: AEG
- Year Published: 2019
How to Play Point Salad
What’s Inside the Box
Point Salad is a card game so there isn’t much inside the box:
- 108 Cards: These cards are double-sided, with one side being the vegetable card and the other the point card. There are six types of vegetables in the game.
- 1 Rulebook: How else are you going to learn to play?
The setup for Point Salad is incredibly easy. Depending on the number of players, you remove veggie cards from the deck and place them in the box. The remaining cards are shuffled and split into three roughly equal piles with the point card side face up. Two cards are flipped over from each pile, making a column below each pile. This creates the veggie market. And that’s really it for the setup.
On your turn, you can choose to either draft:
- Point Card: You can choose one point card from the top of any of the piles to add to your collection.
- Vegetable Card: You can choose any two vegetable cards to add to your tableau.
On your turn, you can also flip any one of your point cards over and place the vegetable in your tableau. It’s important to note that you cannot flip a vegetable card over to its point side.
Once your turn is over, you refill the veggie market and if any of the point card piles are empty then you split the largest point card pile in half to replenish that too.
The game ends once all of the cards in the game have been drafted. The player with the most points wins.
Our Thoughts on Point Salad
Art & Components
Point Salad is an incredibly minimalistic card game. The artwork isn’t going to blow your mind and it isn’t a selling point. The good news is that this makes the game extremely easy to set up and to put away. Since this is a card game, there aren’t any other components to talk about, so on to the gameplay.
The biggest draw for Point Salad to me is how quick and easy it is to play. Being able to set this game up and teach it within five minutes makes this an excellent introduction to the set collection genre. Not to mention that it plays up to six people so unless you play with extremely large groups then you are likely going to be able to play Point Salad at almost every occasion.
I will say that the setup is a bit of a drag if you are playing with only a couple of people. In a two-player game, you play with less than half the deck and you have to count each of the six card types and remove them from the deck. This can be extremely tedious and for a card game which one of it’s biggest strengths is how quick it is, is a bad thing. We usually just wind up using all of the cards so we can start playing right away. It does make scoring a bit more difficult since each player winds up having so many cards, but it kind of adds to the fun of the game.
The gameplay is extremely simple. On your turn, you either take a point card or two vegetable cards. This keeps the game moving quickly. In terms of strategy, there really isn’t that much the game offers. On one hand, you can choose to either go for a narrow approach and focus on one or two vegetable types or you can go for a wider approach and collect all of the vegetable types in hopes of scoring for all of them.
By the time you come up with your next move, the odds are that someone else is either going to take the vegetables that you needed or the point card you want will have to be flipped to replenish the vegetable market. This can add some tension to the game as you sit there eagerly waiting for your turn, but does little to add to the strategy of the game.
Point Salad has very little player interaction. The communal card system does offer some opportunities to block others from getting vegetable cards they need. This happens a lot whenever I play the game and it can really tick people off. I find it to be all in good fun, but just a warning to those who get triggered easily.
Does luck play a factor? Sure. It’s a card game so luck plays a part. For example, you may be collecting onions and point cards just don’t seem to show up that often resulting in a low final score. This happens in some games, but Point Salad is so short that you can just play again and you will likely do better.
Overall, I found the game to be extremely enjoyable and replayable. All of the different point cards make each play slightly different since you don’t know which cards are going to pop up. The gameplay is super simple and results in just the right amount of tension in between turns to keep your attention. The game is so quick by the time the game ended I wanted to play it again.
There really isn’t a theme for Point Salad. Just that its name is kind of a pun for scoring points in various ways. At best you can kind of make a connection that the point cards are customer orders and your tableau of vegetable cards is the salad. This isn’t written anywhere in the game or on their site. So, what we are left with is a game without any real theme, but it’s not necessarily a big deal. The lack of theme doesn’t make me like Point Salad any less.
If you like set collection games or if you are looking for a quick game that can play up to six people then this is a no brainer. You can burn through a round of Point Salad in under 20 minutes and that includes the setup time!
Similar Board Games to Point Salad
- Exploding Kittens: There’s a good chance that you’ve already played this one before, but if you haven’t then it’s about time you did!
- Sushi Go Party: This is a fun set collection game that plays very quickly and has adorable artwork.
- Codenames: This is a fun word association game that everyone I’ve ever played with has enjoyed.
- Bears vs Babies: This is a silly set collection game and is made by the same people that made Exploding Kittens.
- Goat Lords: This game may be a rip off of Cover Your Assets, but it adds some humor and fun take that mechanics that are really fun.
Point Salad may not have much of a theme or much going for it in the art department either, but what it lacks in these categories it makes up for in fun and gameplay. Who cares what the theme is when the game is over in a matter of minutes. The game moves at such a quick pace that you won’t even have time to look at the art as you are planning your next move, hoping that someone doesn’t take that point card from you. Point Salad is exactly what it needs to be, a quick card game that you can play any time and have fun doing it.
Point Salad may not offer much in terms of art and theming, but it makes up for it with its gameplay.
- Easy to learn.
- It’s lack of theme makes it forgettable.
- Not much strategic depth.