Points Salad (2019) Review
Hello, please take a seat. On the menu of the day, a salad of points. Just that. Here is a 100% Vegan approved game ! (yes the joke must have been made thousands of times)
Point Salad a game from Molly Johnson, Robert Melvin and Shawn Stankewich and first published by Alderac Entertainment Group, and now in France at Gigamic in the metal box range. Because yes, it is a small deck of cards.
Here is the recipe for a good point salad.
Depending on the number of players, you’ll remove a certain number of cards of each type.
Once done, mix everything you have left. Do not hesitate to insist on the mixture. It is important that all the cards are well shuffled to avoid any residue from the previous games.
When your mixture becomes homogeneous, divide your cards into three piles, face up. Please note, the cards are double-sided. Each side is important. On one you will have the vegetables, which will be necessary to achieve your goals and on the other, the recipes that indicate how you earn points. It is not necessary to count the cards of each of your piles as the distribution of each pile is done quickly by measuring.
Take two cards from each of the pile previously made, and put them directly below the respective piles.
The preparation phase is now complete. We will be able to move on to creating the dish.
On your turn, you have the choice between two actions. Once this is done, it is the other player's turn and so on. Point salad is a dish that can be enjoyed by several, from 2 to 6 players.
The first possible action is to "eat" food. Take two cards face up and put them in front of you. Your turn is over. Before the other player starts, replace the cards taken with the top card from the respective deck. This means that the recipe that was previously visible will turn into an ingredient and a new recipe will be available. Keep this information in mind.
The second action is even simpler ... for a dish to be successful, you must follow a recipe. You can then choose to take one, and only one, recipe card instead of two ingredients. The recipes are the objectives of the game. They will tell you the combinations to complete to hope to gain points, but watch out for those that make you lose them. Everything will depend on the ingredients that you manage to recover during the game.
To help you in your quest, once per turn, you can also transform a recipe (and I did say a recipe and not food!) Into a vegetable. And this definitely! No turning back , choose well because you will lose the recipe on the other side and the points it brought you.
You’ll continue like this until all the cards in the game are collected by the players. If during one turn, one of the three piles empties completely, do not panic, it is enough just to divide the largest pile remaining in two. And so on. When there are no more cards, we go to a tasting.
The tasting corresponds to the final counting of points. Each ingredient can be used for any of your recipes. Please note, each recipe will be counted only once, however each ingredient can be used on several recipes. You don't spend your cards to meet your goals. A carrot card can be used for several recipes.
Thus, each player counts the gains or losses, collectively or not, of each recipe card they have. This will give you your final score. Whoever has the most points wins the game.
On the recipes, you’ll find points by type of vegetable, by set of specific vegetables, but also even or odd numbers. There are also majorities on specific vegetables or minorities ... And finally you can lose points if we have recovered certain types of ingredients. There are a variety of recipes and ways to score points.
Point Salad was released at GenCon 2019. Immediately, it knew how to find its audience and made a little buzz. So much so that it was located fairly quickly. Highlighted by a lot of youtubers or players, I was quite curious to try it.
Point Salad is a quick and easy card game. Simple in its rules, as you saw earlier, it can be explained in five minutes, watch in hand. There is no return to the rule, no questions of rules or points of contention. Everything is clear right from the first play. You take the cards, you settle in and you're ready to play. Fast because indeed, one can easily have a tendency to chain games together, encouraged by the fact that each one of them is very short. Allow fifteen minutes (or less) to finish one.
The possibility of making choices allows you to think a little about your way of playing and imposes certain decisions that are not always easy to make. As I pointed out to you, it is sometimes difficult to choose between taking a recipe or ingredients that tempt us at the risk that the recipe that we wanted will disappear.
However, the importance of chance makes this pseudo strategy disappear relatively quickly. We no longer find ourselves playing in a “mechanical” way without necessarily having a long-term vision of the game. We find ourselves more looking for the right opportunity. This is especially true for more players where there is so much change that it is relatively impossible to predict anything. The two-player game, although limited and quickly redundant, may offer a little more control over how to play.
The installation of the game could also have been a little faster. Removing the cards of each type according to the number of players requires you to carry out some slightly superfluous manipulations. Even if the idea is certainly to allow a limited game time, ultimately we come back to wonder why not play with everything since the game remains short all the same. Even if you play (for example) often in pairs, you will have to repeat this manipulation regularly. Why ? It’s simple. The recipe cards are not the same behind the ingredients. Thus, to avoid falling into the excessively redundant side between each game, it is important to re-sort the cards randomly.
Level of graphics, there is not really much to say. It's colorful, you can see big vegetables ... The game is neither ugly nor beautiful. But it is illustrated effectively and the iconography is well thought out and very understandable. Each card is read very quickly and even if there is text on some, it is a keyword very easy to understand.
The game is fluid, the turns are linked quickly. In addition, the game offers ubiquitous interaction. Even if it is not a direct interaction, you have to be careful what the others choose and how you can possibly slow them down without being penalized too much. The game is never mean. And the fewer mistakes that can be made can be repaired or at least reduced in a fairly simple way.
Depending on the players, the game can also be transformed into a calculation game. All the choices can trigger positive or negative points. So if you play with people who like to calculate everything and find the best way to score, the playing time may increase and the pleasure (especially if you are not one of them) decreased. Where one of the strengths of the game resides is in its important possibility of scoring but also in its fluidity. If we turn it into a slightly longer game, I’m not sure that the interest remains intact. On the other hand, it is not a "fun" game as you’re locked in a game where you have to think (as much as possible) and where the goal is just to make points. Despite its format, it is not an atmospheric game.
Point Salad is therefore a very accessible little game. You can play it with friends (gamers or not), with family, family and friends, between adults, with children, between children,… you will understand, the game can turn in all hands. And if in addition, your children can learn to recognize vegetables, it's even better, right?
Point Salad is therefore still a good pick for Gigamic, which offers a very simple and refined collection game here. No fuss, you are right in the thick of it. Accessible, fluid, fast, easy to learn, playable everywhere, a small price, the game seems to have everything on its side to let itself be tasted and savored. Especially if it's your style of play. As a reminder, you are not in a trick taking game but a family collection game with a pinch of optimization. Between two meals or accompanying stronger games, Point Salad will keep you entertained. After, you’ll see if it can last the test of time ...
Technical Note 9/10
Even if the graphics are not extraordinary, "they do the job". The iconography is very well thought out and the rules are clear. The small metal box format is very suitable.
My BGG score 6/10
Ok - will play if in the mood.
The game is not without charm and is played relatively quickly. Very accessible, it will allow you to add a dose of optimization in your playful learning. Chance is very present and it is sometimes difficult to anticipate things. Replayability may be affected. However, the durations of very short games allow you to qualify everything. Ideal for many.
Combined score of 7.5 / 10
And now it's your turn to play ...
Die Hard: The Nakatomi Heist Board Game
Technical note 9.5 / 10
The material is very good except the individual trays (even if finally it is used very little). The rules are clear and the game is very fluid. The rules are very readable and everything works fine.
My score BGG 10/10
(Exceptional - will always enjoy playing)
More than a racing game, a fun nugget. Fun, catchy, fluid, surprising, tense, original, thematic ... A game that you should not miss, especially if you like racing games.
Combined score of 9.75 / 10
And now, it's up to you to play ...
wacky Races (2019) Review
Do you remember this old cartoon Wacky Races. No ? Ah, but that does not have to stay that way. You must rush out and discover this. So many childhood memories. And this is not new. Indeed, Wacky Races is an American cartoon created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. The cartoon was born in 1968! It even had a sequel / reboot in 2017.
If the title of the cartoon does not necessarily speak to you, the two main protagonists will be known to you. Dick Dastardly and his dog Muttley, during each episode, try to win the race by preparing traps to make the others racers lose. And like the Coyote, these attempts are constantly turning against them. But in Wacky Races, all shots are allowed for the eleven participants, all more colorful than the other.
What was a surprise to see was a game adapted from this license. And from CMON Limited in addition. So that's something that could potentially make us happy, or on the contrary, make us run away. The theme is not necessarily the easiest to adapt.
Wacky Races: The Board Game is a game by Andrea Chiarvesio and Fabio Tola. They created two versions of the game. The normal version is the one you find most easy to access. CMON made pre-orders for a deluxe version with pre-painted figures. This one (rather successful) is scheduled for the end of 2019. The version I got is a normal retail version.
To be honest, what made me crack was clearly the license. Being able to find all the drivers of my childhood and being able to play with them in a board game, it seemed very nice. The illustrations of Giovanna BC Guimarães are very faithful. They put you directly in the arena.
The principle of Wacky Races: The board game is very simple. Each player chooses a driver and takes their model and individual board. Also taking the four "abilities" cards that are placed on that board.
For the drivers, we have the joy of finding the eleven from the series:
- Vehicle # 0: Dick Dastardly & Muttley in the The Mean Machine
- Vehicle # 1: Prehistoric Men: Slag Brothers: Rock Slag & Gravel Slag in The Boulder Mobile
- Vehicle # 2: The Gruesome Twosome inThe Creepy Cup
- Vehicle # 3: Professor Pat Pending in The Ring-A-Ding Convert-a-Car
- Vehicle # 4: Red Max in The Crimson Haybailer
- Vehicle # 5: Penelope Pitstop in The Compact Pussycat
- Vehicle # 6: Sergeant Blast & Private Meekly in The Army Surplus Special
- Vehicle # 7: The Ant Hill Mob in The Bullet-Proof Bomb
- Vehicle # 8: Luke & Blubber in The Arkansas Chug-a-Boom
- Vehicle # 9: Peter Perfect in The Turbo Terrific, a dragster
- Vehicle # 10: Rufus Ruffcut & Sawtooth in The Buzz Wagon
Then you’ll create the circuit. This one is composed of map / tiles laid more or less randomly. More or less because the tiles are separated into two halves. At the end of the first half of the circuit (after 8 tiles), there’ll always be the gas station. Then, continue laying the remaining 8 tiles, being careful to add one special tile (choice of four). The number of spaces to finish the race is theoretically always the same (there is nothing prevents you from playing with everything). The normal circuit is composed of 18 tiles.
Each race participant is randomly placed on one of the starting locations. One character per tile, only six in each race (seven if you count the Mean Machine). The goal is to arrive first on the finish line. Logical, this is a racing game. The game announces a 10 to 15 minute per game and it does not lie. We are clearly in the game very fast.
The normal tiles are each a different landscape. Landscape that you’ll find repeated several times. They range from the desert, the forest, the meadow and the farm. Added to this are special tiles with obligatory gas station and another one to choose between either the marshes, the crossroads, the railway crossing and the ACME factory. Of course you’ll always finish at the finish line. Special tiles act as a joker for moving. It is important to know this because all the movement of the racers will depend on the type of tile which they are on.
Each player has three cards in their hand. Each card represents one of the landscapes mentioned. The first action of a player is mandatory. They must discard a card (any one) to move a tile. After this move, they can then discard another card that corresponding to the terrain they are now located on, to advance a second time. This can be repeated a third time (after inevitably the player has no more cards in hand, so their turn is over). The cards played must match (except the first one played) the driver's location to allow them to move one space. Each tile has two spaces, which can accommodate up to two drivers. If a third wants to move onto that space, it is automatically placed on the next free box ( not counting the tile full). Then the player draws back up to three cards.
Finally, at the end of the player's turn, Dick Dastardly and the Mean Machine are moved. This car participates in the race but in a particular way. Indeed, as in the cartoon,Dastardly and Muttly try to trap their competitors to win. Their car is placed on the tiles and not on one side or the other, like the players. It does not count in the limit of two cars and is not played by a player. For his move, look at the discard pile. The last card played indicates where the Mean Machine will go.
For example: a desert is on top of the discard pile. The Mean Machine goes to the next desert tile no matter the distance. If a wild tile is on the way, Dastardly must stop there (except for the Station Service tile because "refueling is for losers"). If there is no movement possible, then the Mean Machine runs out of gas and must give up (because without fuel "you may not be a loser but you can not win").
Fun little detail, if Dick Dastardly & Muttley lead the race, they take the opportunity to place a trap card. You then take the first card of the associated deck and put it on the tile. Thereafter, if the two cheaters must go through this tile, if there is still a trap, it does not count as a movement space. After placing a card, as it takes time, they fall back to last place.
With less than six players, there remains a last step. Indeed, all drivers who do not belong to a player, are considered neutral. They have their own way of moving forward. At the end of a round and just before the first player starts playing again, all neutrals advance one space. Then, you reveal the first card of the deck. If the terrain matches, the drivers involved advance one space. Again a second, then a third time. If a neutral racer reaches the finish line first, they win. In a game with two players, after the neutral stage, Dastardly plays again.
And there you go. Now to finish with the details ... When a player reaches a space with a trap card, the card is revealed and the trap activates. There are eight different types of traps: falling rocks, log, oil slick, false tunnel, broken bridges, sabotage, mud pool, false signam. There is also the possibility of falling on a plan that has failed (which is good for racers).
During the installation, I told you about cards abilities. Each racer (neutrals do not have one) has four cards. These cards can be used at any time of their turn. Just flip your card once used. There are ways to avoid certain pitfalls, the ability to pick or renew his hand, to advance faster, to invert tiles ... These cards can sometimes give you a good boost and sometimes counterbalance a capricious chance. To know that once the last driver has passed the gas station, all the players can reactivate all exhausted cards again.
So what about this Wacky Races: the board game? From the start, we know what to expect. The game is not meant to be a complicated game. Its duration for one, its short rules, the possibilities of gameplay, it is a family game, easy and quickly. Wacky Races is a driving game for the family, very simple and possibly too simple. Compared to its price, one wonders if the publisher has paid too much on the license. Still, the game has good ideas.
Already, the respect of the series is a very appreciable thing. Thematically, visually, we are there.
It's a good thing to have eliminated Dick Dastardly & Muttley and made them an aggressive neutral player. The idea of traps is interesting, but quickly finds its limits. Already, this does not necessarily happen much in one game and can disadvantage the same player several times. The number of traps available is quite small, it does not allow for big surprises when discovering the cards and created a lack of variety which is heavily missed.
The game system is pretty good, but relies far too much on the luck of the draw. If you have the right combos at the right time, you will advance much faster than your competitors. It also plays on neutral management. Very good idea, but unique to each game, this system will create tension ... or nothing if the cards do not really allow them to move forward. We understand that the idea of making a simple family game was paramount, but the trouble is that in this state, it is limited like if we had rolled a dice, and that on the right number we advance (and again the die would be more fun). Cards can become very frustrating and very unfair. And it's not really the idea of abilities that will save things. On paper, that's fine. This allows for a slightly different and personalized drivers. In fact, the powers are very similar and with little variety.
The duration of the game, quite short, allows to reduce some feelings evoked without removing them. Rules for a championship mode (rather anecdotic) are included.
The miniatures are rather successful. A lot of details and we are plunged into this crazy world. On the other hand, the rest of the material is quite surprisingly poor. It is true that the publisher has accustomed us to good or very good. And there, see the cards / tiles very thin and not detailed, it surprises. The trap cards are very simple and do not have their own illustrations. The decor of the tiles is quite hollow, without relief and flavors. The cards capacities are at their limits ... The players boards are also very thin and their machine construction plans, which look strongly reminiscent of Victorian Masterminds (also a CMON title) could have been a little more worked. Except the miniatures, the rest leaves me really doubtful.
Moreover to return on the racers. It's a pleasure to know that there are eleven of them. But ... why are we so limited to only six players (so seven cars in play at the same time)? Why could they not have proposed more tiles to make longer circuits and thus incorporate additional drivers and make it more like the cartoon ??? No ... here you will only have the right to only have six drivers at the same time. What a disappointment. A few more tiles, a few more special tiles, that would clearly not have been luxury.
I am very annoyed with this game. I would like to love it, I would like to advise it, I would like to share with you my joy to play it ... But ... I can not. Deception would be a fairer word. I expected maybe too much. It happens sometimes. And yet, when the game starts and you are the required number, it turns out well. With children or family, it works. But between players, spent the discovery ... the atmosphere starts on a flat calm. Where is the fun? Where is the madness of the series?
The game is clearly not bad. But it really lacks something to make a good game. As it stands, the thing that can make you come back is the nostalgia side. The desire to plunge you back into this crazy world. To face Dick Dastardly & Muttley, to drive the The Army Surplus Special or the Compact Pussycat ... Finally, it did not need much more. More varieties in the powers, more variety in the traps, more varieties on the special terrain, more tiles, the possibility to play with all the drivers, more devious tricks to play, the possibility may be to lessen chance with a small side risk taking (and again it can pass thematically) ...
That's it, you know what to expect. To be honest, despite its many faults, I enjoy playing it. Even if I can not convince others to play another round. The game is still quite pleasant. Without necessarily leaving a playful imprint, it will satisfy you during this short period of time.
If you are a fan of this cartoon, you can even find your child's soul. The actions, the atmosphere stick thematically. But if you are big players and looking for a challenge, I can only advise you to think twice. A family run game, very well with children even as a game for an appetizer. But who misses the finish line because of road exits a little too frequent. Too bad, it really had potential.
Technical note 7/10
Apart from the cars that are very successful and the illustrations, the rest leaves something to be desired. Tiles too thin, not very detailed and varied. Fine cards and offering little variety. Player boards with little interest ... The rules read well.
My score BGG 6/10
(Ok game, only with the right audience)
My love of the cartoon stands out on my note. A family game that will not go down in history, despite interesting ideas and a very pleasant background. A disappointment compared to expectations. Quick and easy to play. To advise with children or with family.
Combined score of 6.5 / 10
And now, it's up to you to play ...
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