“Over 100 ways to score points” is a pretty scary thing to put on the box of a game that also claims to be simple and quick to play. And yet, that’s what you’ll see when you flip over the Point Salad box: the promise of a scoring system that could scare off quite a lot of casual gamers. But nobody needs to worry, Point Salad is an incredibly accessible game, and those 100-odd ways to score points? It’s basically one way, but with a huge number of easy to understand variations. Phew!
Point Salad is a game about building up your own deck of vegetables and using them to score points in a way that’s unique to your own set of cards. What scores you points won’t help out your opponents, but while that means you’re all chasing different objectives it’s still a pretty frantic ride to the finish. with players desperately trying to grab one last carrot to score big, or preventing another player from getting the big points payout on one of their own objectives. Considering everyone’s cards are face up, there are no secrets here – everyone can work out what everyone is trying to do, but the chances are you’ll be so focused on your own objective you won’t really have chance to worry too much about the others around the table.
As such, Point Salad can sometimes feel more like a sociable single player game than a multiplayer experience. It’s not, of course, because other players are taking cards that you might’ve had your eye on and might be celebrating big points wins in a not-at-all subtle way, but considering your only goal is to score more points than anyone else the best way to do that is to score big yourself. And as soon as you get over two players in the game the likelihood of ruining other peoples’ games while still keeping your own set of cards growing is pretty slim; unless you’re out for total destruction and don’t care about your own score (which is a bit of a needlessly nasty way to play) you’re far better off just making sure your points are racking up at an appropriate pace.
Does this make Point Salad a hollow experience? Not at all. It’s great fun to play, and with the added benefits of being easy to learn and quick to get through a game the chances are you and your friends will have a couple of games, enjoy it, and revisit it another time. It’s not going to be the most used game in your collection, but for something new and different that you can teach to everyone and still play a couple of games within an hour it’s most definitely worth a look.