Dicebreaker Recommends is a series of board game and other tabletop recommendations from our friends at our newest sister site, Dicebreaker, publishing every Wednesday. Check out the Dicebreaker Recommends archive for more.
There’s nothing outwardly thrilling about Point Salad. It’s a card game about making a well-balanced dish from a selection of classic vegetables including peppers, carrots and, of course, the humble red cabbage. But if you take the time to further investigate Point Salad – turning over its crisp lettuce leaves and having a peek – you’ll find a fantastically fun game underneath.
In Point Salad, players take it in turns to choose from a shared grid of cards. Each turn they can take either two of the six visible vegetable cards or one of the three available point cards. The cards are actually one and the same; every card in the game has a vegetable on one side and a set of specific scoring criteria on the other – more on that in a second. Veggie cards are worthless on their own, but when combined with the right point cards they can net their player quite the tidy sum. For example, you might have a point card that means every precious red cabbage you have is worth two points, so you might be looking at grabbing yourself a few more crunchy treats throughout the game.
Here’s where the intense strategy of Point Salad comes into play. As players can only choose to take two vegetable cards or a point card, you need to decide which choice is going to net you more points in the long run. This strategic depth is taken even further when you consider that everyone is taking from a shared tableau, meaning that someone else might take the card you want before it’s your turn – a feature that pretty much guarantees harmless disputes between players will break out at least a few times per game.
Some point cards you pick up might cause certain veggie cards to go into negative points. For example, your peppers are worth two points but every lettuce you have subtracts one point from your total. You can choose to negate this effect by flipping the card to show its benevolent veggie side instead but, depending on which veggies you’ve collected, certain point cards are worth the negative values they bring. The game eventually ends once all the cards are taken and the player with the most points is declared the winner.
Point Salad is nothing particularly complex, but it works exactly because it’s so straightforward to play and teach. It’s a truly engaging card-drafting experience that takes less than 30 minutes to play, yet will stick in your mind for days to come.
Copies of the game are currently a little hard to find in the UK (a restock is expected soon) but you can get Point Salad from the US on Amazon.com.