Get slap-happy with Happy Salmon

Happy Salmon party game

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

I first came across Happy Salmon at the North Star Games booth at Gen Con 2016.

It was hard to miss all the cool fish bags in their booth. Plus they had a table right in the front corner where people were playing Happy Salmon non-stop.

With all the shouting, running around, and slapping, it definitely caught my attention.

It’s a party-style game that has a way of pulling people in with its active and quick play.

In fact, reading our review of Happy Salmon may take longer than playing a game of Happy Salmon.


How to play Happy Salmon

Happy a Salmon is super, super simple to play.

Happy Salmon party game

Grab your stack of colored cards and begin!

Players each take their stack of 12 colored cards in hand. At the same time, everyone turns their hand over so the first card in the stack is face up.

Players then have to perform the action of that card. 

Once they’ve performed it, they discard the card and do the next one in their stack.

The first player to get rid of all 12 of their cards, wins the game.

The catch is that the actions require two people to complete them! 

So players are constantly shouting out what card they have to get the attention of other players who may also have the same card so they can do them together.

The 4 action cards are:

  • High 5: As you’d guess, both players give each other a High 5.
  • Pound It: Both players fist-bump each other.
  • Switcheroo: Both players switch places. (Did I mention yet that this game is played standing up?)
  • Happy Salmon: The name of game is built into this action. Both players slap each other’s forearm 3 or more times.

As you can see, these actions are definitely active – fist bumps, high-fives, slapping arms, and running around. It’s a frantic game and one that evokes laughter with it.

Happy Salmon party game

Each deck has 3 cards of each action.


Can the whole family enjoy playing Happy Salmon?

One of the reasons we love North Star Games is because their games are focused directly at family audiences. And Happy Salmon fits right in.

It’s may be a silly game. But it’s a fun one for families to play together.

Happy Salmon party game

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

Since up to 6 people can play, it’s a great game to take along with you get together with extended family as well.

And the fish pouch it comes in makes carrying it along super easy. It’s nice and soft and can be tossed around without damage to the cards.

Speaking of which, the cards are good and sturdy.

Happy Salmon party game

The thick and sturdy cards are perfect for the pace of the game.

For a frantic game with players holding their whole deck and tossing cards all over when discarding them quickly, the cards have to stand up to the beating. And the Happy Salmon cards do exactly that. They’re perfectly suited for the type of game play Happy Salmon engenders.


How does Happy Salmon score on our “Let’s Play Again” game meter?

Happy Salmon party gameHappy Salmon scores high on our “let’s play again” game meter for a few reasons.

First of all is that the game is so simple and quick. One game is not enough. Each game flies by and we’re left wanting to play again and again.

Second is that it’s a great game for getting the wiggles out. It’s nice to play a game that gets us on our feet and moving around.

Third is how simple it is to take along to play anywhere. If we’re heading out the door to go to grandma’s for dinner, it’s so easy to grab the cute fish by the tail and toss the game in the car. It’s even a good game to take along camping. With a game like this, there’s no need to even be around a table at all.

Happy Salmon gets multiple thumbs up from us. And you can get a copy for under $13 from

We’d like to thank North Star Games for a review copy of Happy Salmon



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