Don’t worry, Asher, you only have to create this salad, not eat it.
This is a SNAP review for Point Salad, a fast moving set-collection game. Up to six chefs can compete to make the best salad in 15 to 30 minutes.
Point Salad was designed by Molly Johnson, Robert Melvin, and Shawn Stankewich and it’s published by AEG and Flatout Games.
Asher is so grossed out by the veggies that he’s got to leave. But I’m going to talk about the art.
The art in Point Salad is exceptionally clear with a flat 2D rendering of each veggie type. The six vegetables are all marked by different colors as well as their shapes – although we do occasionally mix up the purple cabbage and the pink onions on the point cards, where they’re small.
Speaking of the point cards, they convey a lot of information with little or no text, and without feeling cluttered! This is one of the most accessible designs I’ve ever seen for a game with multi-use cards.
So, let’s talk about the mechanics, or how you play Point Salad.
After choosing the appropriate number of each vegetable for the player count, shuffle the deck and split it into three roughly equal piles, point-side up. Flip out the top two cards from each pile to make a “vegetable market”.
On your turn, you can pick one of the three available point cards, or two vegetables from the six that are in the market. Either way, your chosen cards go down on the table in front of you. You can also flip one of your point cards to its vegetable side, if you want, but you can never flip a vegetable back to the point side.
So choose wisely! You’re trying to get the most points for your veggies.
As soon as a turn is over, refresh the market if necessary. Play continues around the table until all the cards have been taken – both from the point card piles and the veggie market.
Then use your point cards to see how much your collected veggies are worth.
Who has made the most valuable salad?
So, what did we expect from Point Salad?
This is a game that has won lots of board game awards, including a 2021 Spiel des Jahres Recommended. We had seen it back in 2019 but not actually played it. We like the pun in the name, but a pun is not enough to build a good game on.
I did expect it to be fast-moving and pretty simple to get into. It’s just a set collection card game, right?
This is not “just” a set collection game!
The way the point cards work, you’re always looking at goals that change based on what’s available. Every turn, you have a choice between veggies or a point card – and that point card likely won’t be there next time.
So you ask yourself, are there veggies out there I need? Or can I get a goal that works for me with the veggies I already have? Some of the point cards give negative points, so that goes into the calculation, too.
You do get some ability to predict what’s coming – because the veggie back side indicated on the corner of the “front” point side.
At the end of the game, you’ll be thinking about your opponents’ goals. Since the game doesn’t end until every card is gone from the market, you can force other players to take veggies that are bad for them.
The setup is a bit more than I expected for a simple card game. You have to count out a specific quantity of each veggie for any different player count. But this additional setup is totally worth it! It means that there’s always a balanced amount of veggies no matter how many players you have, while allowing for variety in different kinds of point cards.
One more surprise – there is so little required reading in this game! Each vegetable card has its name, of course, but the only thing young players need to read to be able to play are numbers up to 10 and a few instructional words: Most, Fewest, Even, Odd. Adults can help with reading these words, but kids will get better at recognizing these the more they play.
This is why we recommended Point Salad as a game that can help struggling readers!
Check out the link for my list of ways to use board games to help teach and reinforce reading.
Do we recommend Point Salad? Yes! We heartily recommend Point Salad here at The Family Gamers. It’s great for casual family play. And since it allows 6 players, it accommodates for a slightly larger than average family, like ours.
Non-reading kids can play this game independently although they may want help with a word here or there.
So, what are we going to rate Point Salad?
We’re going to give it 4 and a half chopped veggies out of 5 – just don’t make me eat them!
And that’s Point Salad, in a SNAP!
The Family Gamers received a copy of Point Salad from AEG for this review.
This post contains affiliate links, which do not change your price, but help support The Family Gamers.
SNAP review music is Avalanche, provided courtesy of You Bred Raptors?
Age Range: 14+ (we say 7+)
Number of Players: 2-6
Playtime: 15-30 minutes