Whenever we have a family get-together, there’s bound to be fruit salad involved. In season, out of season – doesn’t matter. And when there’s fruit salad, there are some VERY strong opinions about what fruits belong in the bowl.
Of course, you have your staples that nobody is going to refute. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries – in fact, all of the berry species are welcomed with open arms. And then you have your other staples like grapes and pineapple, followed by the less-common bananas, apples, and kiwi.
But when it comes to honeydew and cantaloupe, you better watch out. Besides the obvious puns about melons getting married, these two fruits are fairly polarizing in regards to taste. Personally, I used to be in the cantaloupe camp, but I’ve firmly defected to Team Honeydew over the past few years.
What’s this have to do with board games? Actually, not much at all. In fact, I want to tell you all about Point Salad, a brand new game designed by the trio of Molly Johnson, Robert Melvin, and Shawn Stankewich. For whatever reason, I thought that throwing gasoline on the fires of fruit salad debates would be a fitting segue into this cutthroat set-collection game.
You won’t find any fruits here! It’s time to veg out with Point Salad!
Point Salad: A Fine Harvest
Point Salad is a fast-paced card game where players draft vegetables from a shared tableau. At the same time, you’re also going to be drafting your own win conditions! You may recognize the title from one of my two Gen Con articles, and it’s one of the two games that I picked up in Indianapolis.
The cards are double-sided; one side features a gorgeously-simple rendering of a vegetable, and the other side displays a method of scoring points.
For example, you might have a card where you are awarded five points for every two lettuce cards you draft. Or, you might get 10 points for having the least number of carrots.
On your turn, you get to take one of two primary actions:
- You can draft one of the three point-scoring cards in the top row, or
- You can draft two of the six vegetables face-up in the tableau
In addition, after you draft a card you may take a free action of flipping over one of your point-scoring cards to its vegetable side. If you do this, you’ll no longer score points based on that card, but you’ll add another vegetable to your pile which can be used when scoring with your other point cards.
I LOVE this mechanic. It allows you to pivot your strategy and flip over a point-scoring card that doesn’t align with your other cards. Some of them, after all, give negative points for having certain vegetables.
Once all of the cards are drafted, you total your points using your point-scoring cards as a guide. Highest points wins!
Staking Our C.L.A.I.M on Point Salad
Alright, not much to talk about here in terms of components. This is a card game so it literally only comes with cards. No tokens, doodads, meeples, etc. Just a stack of cards featuring the six different vegetables in the game.
As far as the quality goes, the cards are top-notch. They feel like they have a linen-finish, but it may just be linen-adjacent. In either case, they are a solid weight and don’t feel flimsy.
We may just have a pile of cards, but we still get an insert to keep everything cozy and snug in the box. Not to mention that the insert has plenty of space for a FRUIT SALAD EXPANSION. Make it happen AEG.
Even though we’re dealing with cards, Point Salad doesn’t feel like it relies heavily on luck at all. There are always nine cards out for selection and 99% of the time you can make something work with what you’re given. This is especially true since you’re creating your own point-generating rules!
When you play with two people, it is suggested to play a handful of rounds so that you end up using the entire deck. Luckily, the rules give a breakdown of how many of each vegetable you should include. That way, you know exactly how many cabbages are remaining among the unused cards.
The box is bright and stands out well. I especially like the reflective quality of the logo and vegetables, which really POP against the patterned green background. Great shelf presence from this one for sure.
I’m not sure if it was intentional, but the art style reminds me a lot of Stardew Valley which I keep repeating every time I talk about the game. Now I’ll have to start mentioning Point Salad when someone brings up Stardew Valley.
What a great time to be a Nerd.
The best thing that Point Salad has going for it is SPEED. Here at Nerds on Earth we already have an article about some quick games you can play, and this should probably be tacked onto that list.
If you start a stopwatch when you open the box, you can have a firm grasp on the rules and have cards setup for the first round in under ten minutes. Each round lasts about just as long, meaning that you can squeeze in a two-player, three-round marathon in about a half hour.
This game appeals to anyone looking for a solid introductory card game that teaches quickly. It’s also made for people who love set-collection games and card-drafting mechanics.
If you’re looking for something with a bit more meat or more meaningful choices, I’m afraid you won’t find it here. As of now, Point Salad is strictly vegetarian.
Have you ever wanted to scream, “HOW DARE YOU TAKE MY CARROTS?!”
Haven’t we all?
For being a lightweight, simple card game, Point Salad is deceptively devious. Everybody’s vying for the same limited crops in the garden and you’re bombarded with the task of drafting vegetables you need while denying others of their much-needed produce.
You’ll be constantly shifting strategies and cursing under you breath as other players draft tomatoes right from under your nose. Since the game plays so fast, you can get your revenge in a matter of minutes.
Point Salad: All Signs Point to a Classic
There’s a reason why this game was such a hit at Gen Con this year. The biggest negative is that perhaps it plays a little TOO quickly, or that there doesn’t seem to be much substance when compared to other vegetable-themed games.
Regardless, this fun little card game has wormed its way into my list of favorites. Therefore, I’m awarding Point Salad with the Nerds on Earth Seal of Awesomeness!
And, for what it’s worth, it’s definitely a Flavor Seal.