‘Point Salad‘ is definitely one of those games that you shouldn’t judge by it’s cover. I mean, it’s a pile of vegetables (and the always hard to pin down tomato) on a plate – doesn’t that just scream fun?
Anytime I pull the box out for a new group of friends, that is the usual look I get from them because very few people hear the word “salad” and get excited, but once you get them to sit down and teach them this very simple yet very strategic game, you will find it easy to convince them to play it a few times in a row.
The goal of Point Salad is to gather point cards and vegetable cards and hopefully the combinations you collect will add up to some epic points by the end of the game.
In the center of the table, you set up the “market”, where players will draft their cards from. Players can either pick vegetables – lettuce, cabbage, tomato, carrot, onion and pepper – or they can choose their salad bowl, which determines the value of the vegetables in their own hand. Sometimes it is just a 1 to 1 (1 tomato = 1 point) and other times, you have specific combo requirements (for every cabbage, lettuce and pepper you have you get 4 points). You can have as many bowls and vegetables as you want, but it takes some strategy to strike a balance and score the best point salad.
You can play with 2-6 players, though all my experience has been with 4 play games. Once you’ve taught that initial game and everyone has learned the basic strategy, the game moves relatively quick, with players eyeing up the cards in the center market pile, hoping no one else snatches up the one they want. This is one of those games that can seem very chill, but depending on the personalities of your group, can become cut-throat if someone decides to thwart another player by taking cards for their combo – of course, unless they have a point card in their hand, they also hurt their own chances of winning.
While the age on the box says 14+, you could play this game with younger children. I think the 14+ mostly comes from the ability to do all the math for the scoring at the end, but you could easily modify the deck to just have the simpler point collection (you only use the full set of cards for 6 players). The community on BoardGameGeek voted the game for ages 8+ which feels about right to me.
As games go, it is relatively inexpensive, with the retail at about $20, but you can snatch it up on sale for less (Miniature Market currently has it for $15.99). And I highly recommend you do! This game is great for the start or finale of a game night with friends and small enough to easily throw into a backpack for taking on the road. If you enjoy games like Sushi Go, then Point Salad will be a winner for you!