With the rise and popularity of games like Castles of Burgundy and Sushi Go! came the phrase “point salad”. Games of its ilk are defined by mechanics that drive players to score points through a number of different means. By the end, you’ve essentially created a point salad with different kinds of points all contributing towards your total.
Taking that phrase to its logical conclusion, AEG has published a game called Point Salad. In it, you’re collecting vegetables and salads in order to create the best tasting set of salads at the table. Is Point Salad the definitive point salad game?
Play begins with a tableau of cards in the middle. One row features salad cards, while the remaining two rows feature vegetable cards. Salad cards will determine how much your vegetables are worth based on the terms listed on the card. You will then use vegetable cards to fulfill the requirements of your salad cards.
On your turn, you will draw either one salad card or two vegetable cards. Your goal is to create the highest scoring combination of salad cards and vegetable cards. This is where things get interesting.
A salad card might reward you with five points for having two onions in your set. Another may give you bonus points for collecting tomatoes, but remove points for each pepper you have. As you add more salad cards to your set, the options for what vegetables you want to grab shrinks. By virtue of certain salad cards deeply prioritizing certain types of vegetables over others, it becomes tougher to draw vegetables freely without compromising your set.
In a worst case scenario, you can convert a salad card into a vegetable card. However, this move is permanent and doesn’t work the other way. Over the course of 15-30 minutes, you’ll be constantly adding ingredients to your salads while changing which types to create in order to get the most points.
Unless you’re entrenched with board game lingo, I don’t think the theme of making a salad is going to sell many on playing Point Salad. However, it’s a competent set collection game that constantly presses you to react to the ever-changing landscape. Doesn’t take much effort to learn and the ever-changing stipulations will force you to approach every game differently. Can someone make a charcuterie version of this game in order to appeal to my dietary preferences?