Happy Salmon: A Frantic and Fun Family Game

Happy Salmon party game
Open this happy salmon bag for a quick and frantic family game.

I first discovered Happy Salmon at the North Star Games booth during Gen Con 2016. The impressive collection of vibrant fish bags drew me in, not to mention the lively gameplay happening right at the front corner of their booth. Amidst all the shouting, running, and slapping, it definitely caught my attention. This party-style game has a way of engaging people with its active and rapid play. In fact, reading a review of Happy Salmon may actually take longer than actually playing the game.

How to Play Happy Salmon

Happy Salmon is incredibly simple to play.

Happy Salmon party game
Grab your stack of colored cards and let the fun begin!

Each player is given a stack of 12 colored cards. Simultaneously, everyone reveals the top card from their stack. Players then proceed to perform the action indicated on that card, discarding it before moving on to the next one. The objective is to be the first player to successfully discard all 12 cards and claim victory. However, there’s a catch – the actions require two players to complete them! As a result, players are constantly calling out their card actions to grab the attention of others who may have the same card, allowing them to collaborate and complete the actions together. The four action cards are as follows:

  • High 5: Both players give each other a celebratory high five.
  • Pound It: Both players enthusiastically fist-bump each other.
  • Switcheroo: Both players quickly switch places (it’s worth noting that this game is played standing up).
  • Happy Salmon: The game’s name is incorporated into this action, with both players playfully slapping each other’s forearms three or more times.
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As you can see, these actions are highly active – involving fist bumps, high fives, forearm slaps, and even a bit of running around. It’s a frantic game that never fails to elicit laughter.

Happy Salmon party game
Each deck contains three cards for each action.

Can the Whole Family Enjoy Playing Happy Salmon?

One of the reasons why we love North Star Games is their dedication to creating games suitable for family audiences, and Happy Salmon is no exception. It may seem silly, but it’s genuinely a fun game that families can enjoy together.

Complete an action, toss the card as quickly as you can.

Since up to six people can play, it’s an excellent choice for gatherings with extended family. Moreover, the fish-shaped pouch it comes in makes it incredibly convenient to carry around. It’s soft, durable, and can be tossed around without damaging the cards. Speaking of the cards, they are undeniably sturdy. Considering the fast-paced nature of the game, where players must quickly discard their entire deck, the cards need to withstand the beating they receive. Thankfully, the Happy Salmon cards are perfect for this purpose. They’re durably constructed, perfectly suited for the energetic gameplay that Happy Salmon offers.

How Does Happy Salmon Score on Our “Let’s Play Again” Game Meter?

Happy Salmon party game

Happy Salmon scores highly on our “let’s play again” game meter for several reasons. Firstly, the game is incredibly simple and quick. A single round is never enough – each game flies by, leaving us eager to play again and again. Secondly, it’s an excellent choice for releasing energy and getting active. It’s refreshing to play a game that gets everyone on their feet and moving around. Lastly, it’s incredibly portable, allowing you to take it wherever you go. Whether you’re heading to grandma’s for dinner or going camping, you can effortlessly grab the adorable fish-shaped pouch and toss the game in your bag. With Happy Salmon, you don’t even need a table to play.

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Happy Salmon party game
Happy Salmon: A vibrant and engaging family game.

Happy Salmon receives multiple thumbs up from us. You can purchase your own copy for under $13 from Amazon.com.

We extend our gratitude to North Star Games for providing us with a review copy of Happy Salmon.