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Top 5 Point Salad Games

Point Salad - Point Salad

Welcome friends, travellers, meeples. Let us tell you about five games which all fall under the category of “Point Salad.” Now, this isn’t a top five on games called Point Salad. To my knowledge, there’s only one of those and (spoiler alert) we’re talking about it later. Actually, there’s two, if you include the Korean exclusive Eevee version…

No, we’re talking about games that ARE a point salad. What do I mean by that? Well, a game that is a point salad is a game in which there are many different paths in which to get points. Let’s take Carcassonne as an example. You can use your meeple as a knight, defending the city, or as a robber, attacking the roads, or a farmer out in the field at the end of the game. Though if I’m using the salad analogy, Carcassonne would probably be your bag of mixed leaves from your local supermarket of choice. Not a bad thing, but sometimes you want a salad with all the exotic ingredients. What we have in mind for you are a quintet of games which are full of delicious point-y goodness, just open to explore. Lettuce take a look. (Sorry.)

Point SaladTom Harrod

You can’t have a list of point salad games with the eponymous Point Salad, itself! I’m going to go out on a limb here and state that AEG’s card game is the most meta game on this list. I mean, come on… It’s a point salad-style game: called Point Salad! Designers Molly Johnson, Robert Melvin and Shawn Stankewich knew exactly what they were doing when it came to theme here.

Your aim is to try and score as many points as possible, in the form of collecting Veggie Cards. True to its point salad roots, there are a ton of different ways you can score points. Multiple paths to victory, with no two games playing the same, twice. Set-up sees you display three stacks of cards. All cards are double-sided; one side has a unique set collection scoring method stated on it. Meanwhile, on the reverse of the card is one of six types of vegetable you’d find in a salad. Two from each deck sit salad-side up, so six cards in total.

On your turn, you can either claim one of the three scoring cards, from the top of the three decks. Or, you can take two Veggie Cards from the six-strong market – presumably, because they match one of your current scoring cards. As a bonus action, you may flip one of your point-scoring cards over to its veggie side (but not vice-versa).

With a deck of 108 cards (you use them all in a 6-player game), Point Salad has oodles of variety! Some cards are fiendish, because they have both positive and negative scoring methods. For example, one card rewards you 3VP per carrot you’ve claimed, but it’ll cost you 2VP for every onion you’ve got. If you’ve got a second scoring card that pays out for having onions, you’ve got a tricky choice to make…

Mille FioriFavouriteFoe

“Mille Fiori” is a glasswork pattern creating technique which means a thousand flowers. But when it comes to this game, it should mean a thousand points! Rather unusually for him, Reina Knizia has designed a game that is trying very hard to give you ways to increase your VPs. Every part of every section on the board is an opportunity to gallop round the scoring track!

At its core, Mille Fiori is a tile laying, area majority game. And the board is a beauty. It is divided up into the different areas which feature in the glassmaking production, trade, and shipping cycle.

Using cards from your hand, each turn you use one to either place one of your diamonds onto the board, or you discard it in order to move your ship along its own track. If you are placing a diamond, you can choose whether it goes into a workshop, a residence, the town, a trade shop, or the Harbour. Each area has a different scoring criteria. For example, in the residence area, you score the points on the space, and if your token is preceded by a line of your own coloured tiles, you score those again. By contrast, the Harbour lets you move your ship for free, but also lets you place a tile in one of the five rows. Once the row has 3 tiles, the fleet is ready and each tile in that row scores points for the players depending on how many trade goods in that row have also been covered by tiles.

Mille Fiori is very pretty and it’s also sneaky clever. Because it is great to play a game where you end with eleventy billion points (even if someone else gets eleventy billion and one!)? But, as everybody around the table has the same opportunities to ramp up their scores in so many ways (and to combo for even more points!), it’s not easy peasy as a result of its own generosity. In fact, what you do can quite often assists other players who can build off your placements to gain them (or block you from getting) more points. And placement decisions become thinkier as the spaces on the board reduce (even more so at higher player counts).

Red Rising Hannah Blacknell

For me, Red Rising is a very different game to anything else I have played, as well as a 'Point Salad game'. Normally you are crafting a hand to either keep (like rummy) or you are playing cards to get other stuff. But in this game you are doing both! On your turn you play down a card to one of four locations on the board, and activate its deployment ability. Then you either take a card from one of the other three locations and gain the benefit of that location or draw blind off the top of the deck and roll the die and take that benefit.

Your aim is to of course get the absolute most points, your points come from the native points in your hand of cards. But also at the bottom of each cards there are conditions which will gain you more points, these can be colour or character specific. You also gain end game points by how you managed the benefits of each of the location. If you had the Sovereign Token from Luna at the end then you get 10 points, as well as potentially scoring additional points from your cards. You get points for how far you got along the flight track, and 3 points per helium resource you collected too.

At the Institute, it is area majority, the person with the most cubes there gets 4 points per cube, 2 points per cube for the player with the second most and everyone else gets one point per cube.
You need to craft a brilliant hand, and also score well on all the other areas in order to unlock the mega scores of 400+. You need to keep your head in the game in every area as the game end is triggered by level 7 being reached in all three. This can mean that the end of the game sneaks right up on you.

CoimbraCraig Smith

I recently introduced my partner to Coimbra. After three of the four rounds, he looked at me inquisitively and asked why the game was so low scoring. “I don’t get why there is such a big score track” he muttered as we set up for the final round.

Bless him. If only he knew what was to follow.

The truth is that during a game of Coimbra there are ways to score points, largely through collecting the green dice or immediate bonuses from cards or monasteries. A significant chunk of them, however, come at the end. I kept reminding him that there were a lot of points still to be added on, but he thought I was just antagonising him.

Firstly, you add up all the points you’ve accumulated from the voyages you’ve been on. Secondly, you look to the influence tracks, and earn points depending on your position on each of these tracks. Then you look at any cards in your tableau that may have any end game bonuses on them. Then there’s the diplomas! Some cards have diplomas on them in one of five different colours. You get points for any groups of diplomas you can make. Finally, you add up your remaining coins, guards and crowns, divide the number by two and add that to your score.

Sure enough, as we added up the various scores, my lead got gradually smaller and smaller before it finally disappeared. He’d beaten me by three points. Later on he admitted that whilst the scoring mechanisms made it a hard game to learn, he really enjoyed it. Now he’s more familiar with the various ways of scoring points, I’ve no doubt he’ll be an even more challenging opponent next time.

Paladins Of The West KingdomCallum

The only salad I deal in, is a point salad. And for me point salad is all about cashing in on a multitude of different things so quickly my mind spins! However, a game of this ilk that I completely get and can get to the table regularly is Paladins of the West Kingdom. This game has no end of options for what you’ll do to score. And score you will… many times! There’s no sure fire method to victory or scoring the most points, but all actions drive you to some heavy pointage.

In Paladins of the West Kingdom, you’ll draft and place workers in a series of places on your player board. This in turn will enable you to increase three stats: influence, faith and strength. These three attributes contribute heavily to point values, but aren’t the only options. There’s also the opportunity to use other actions such as fighting barbarians (or converting them), sending Monks or

Outposts into the wilds, recruiting towns folk, building Castle Walls or Absolving folks’ sins. These are scaled in terms of how many points they grant and what added benefits they give, too. It’s a real buffet and the game’s meaty enough to get your teeth into as well, making it less point salad and more point banquet!

Why’s Paladins of the West Kingdom so good as a point salad game, then? Well… there is no one path to victory. You draft paladins with unique abilities and workers to place each round so you’ve got to roll with the punches of what you get. If you’re wanting to play a Faith heavy game, you’ll be gutted when all your options lead to Influence. However there are some ways to manipulate things in your favour, though will lead to Suspicion and result in the potential for negative points! For a point salad game, Paladins does hold a decent theme to it too. Couple that in with Garphill Games’ always outstanding artwork and component quality and it becomes a no brainer.