Molly Johnson, Robert Melvin and Shawn Stankewich
Let’s cut to the chase: I don’t think the game is for me. Plain and simple. After a dozen plays, I just have little to no desire in playing the game. I feel that the game just doesn’t sit well with adults gamers and also slightly out of reach for my five year old. It’s not that she can’t grasp the game, but more like the game failed to excite or engage her in a way Sleeping Queen or Ticket to Ride can.
Point salad as the game suggests, is a game where you draft cards from a common pool to score points from multiple categories depending on your score card. In a tongue in cheek manner, the theme of collecting veggies matches the multi-category scoring mechanism first popularized by Stefan Feld (see Castle of Burgundy, Trajan, etc.). Each cards is dual sided: one side features a veggie while the flip side is a scoring card which will be used at game end. Obviously, you either keep the veggie or scoring criteria for each card depending on which side faces up. The scoring criteria is very Euro: collect different sets, one of each kind, some of this and not of that to score X points. Nothing surprising here.
The game turn itself is quick and with very little down time. In your turn, players draft cards from 3 decks with each deck showing 3 veggie cards splayed below the deck plus one scoring card that is placed on top of the deck. Your choice is simple, either draft 2 veggies or 1 score card. The game is vanilla and acceptable but for one rule which I despise: drafting any veggie card in a row triggers a refill from the deck, starting with the score card that is facing up. In that way, the score card will be flipped over into a veggie to refill the row. Some will love this denial mechanism since the score card you want is most likely gone by the time it reaches your turn. Players can easily deny you a score card by picking a veggie from that column. Sure, you can deny others by drafting a veggie from a row that your neighbor is eyeing. I would say this rule is silly since it just prevents any sort of planning during game play. If your turn comes and there is a good card, then go for it. If not, you just stare at the ceiling until your turn comes back. The cards turn over so rapidly at higher player count that it’s useless to strategize.
Truth is, after several plays I think I have exhausted all the possibilities and ready to move on, never to come back. I have seen almost all the scoring cards and the set collection is just too darn chaotic for me. I think my 5 year old also agrees.
Additional plays with more players just confirmed what I already thought. The game is too transient to have any strategy and extremely opportunistic. That’s fine except that it is also boring and definitely not for us.
Initial impression: Not for me