Flatout Games interview on Point Salad: „108 unique ways to score“
Molly Johnson and Robb Melvin from Flatout Games introduce their card game Point Salad and reveal the best way for beginners to get into game design.
Q: Point Salad is a fast card game where players draft vegetables and point cards from a shared tableau. Please tell us about the game and the players’ goals.
Molly: The goal of the game is to build the best tableau of point cards and veggie cards so that you score the most points. There are 108 unique ways to score and 6 different types of vegetables. Players must choose either one point card or two veggies cards from the market to build their tableau. The market is changing all the time, so sometimes players need to change their strategy to maximize the options available. When all the cards are gone, players add up their point to see who scored the most from the veggies and point cards in their tableaus!
Q: What do you like about the game techniques “card drafting” and “set collection” and how did you link them to the gameplay of Point Salad?
Robert: Point Salad is pretty much taking those mechanics and making them as simple as can be, while still making for interesting and compelling decisions. Teaching someone how the mechanics work is easy. “You have this card, now you want tomatoes.” The ease of teaching them, while each turn is a little bit different, is what we like about how they came together.
Q: How would you encourage younger people who love board games and dream of designing a new game?
Molly: The best way to get into game design is to just start doing it. If you have an idea, make a simple prototype and test it out. You can always use pieces of paper and tokens from other games to try out your ideas. 1000XP have some really inspirational videos on YouTube about buying used games from thrift stores and looking through for pieces and cards to use.
Robert: One hardship we have is the fact we are all currently living in different areas. The distance make collaborating difficult at times. But the barriers to do long-distance design collaboration are as small as ever given the technology available.
Q: What is the gaming community like in your hometowns?
Molly: Shawn and I have been in Seattle for over five years and credit their favourite local game store, Blue Highway Games, with really really inspiring us to get into game design. Shawn has been really involved with the local game design scene, attending weekly designer nights. The scene is super vibrant!
Robert: Winnipeg has board game meets ups and designer groups that have steady turnouts. The fact we all have different avenues to test out new concepts is helpful. Allows us to get quick feedback from different types of gamers.
Q: We would like to know a little more on your personal background. Have you been longtime friends with Shawn and Robb? What do you do for a living as long as you are no fulltime designers yet?
Molly: Shawn and Robb met in university and have been friends ever since. I met Shawn more recently. We have all loved games, and boardgames, our whole lives. Check out our first podcast for some background. None of us are full-time game designers. Robb works in data analytics, Molly works in urban policy, and Shawn is a landscape architect.
Q: A new Flatout game called Calico has launched on Kickstarter in October 2019. What’s that about?
Molly: Yes! The Kickstarter is now live! This is our first crowdfunding campaign. We are really excited about it. There is a lot to learn, but we’ve watched and learned from other campaigns – specifically Joseph Chen and Justin Faulkner’s Fantastic Factories campaign last year. Joseph has written some useful articles about crowdfunding, for those who are thinking about taking that path.