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Dear Sherpa Jim, I am looking for fun board games. Any thoughts?

Happy Salmon

How about a card game instead this time? How do you feel about fist bumps? The classic high 5? Running around a bit? Yes to all that. How about a cool fish shaped pouch to keep the game in? Heck ya on that one. And now for the neat thing. You get to make a fish out of your arm and slap other peoples arm fish with it.

Happy Salmon is a Party game for up to 6 people that was released into this groovy world of ours in 2016 by North Star Games from designers Ken Gruhl and Quentin Weir.

Goal of the game?

To win! But how do I do that? By getting rid of all your cards first. Easy right?

How to play?

Each player gets their own set of cards. Once everyone is ready, the most impatient person usually says GO! Everyone flips over their stack and starts calling out what action they have. They then try and get a match with one other person for that action. Once they do, they both do said action and get to discard that card form their stack. Everyone keeps calling out their card and doing actions until someone has managed to get rid of all of their cards.

The actions are High 5, Pound It, Switcheroo, and Happy Salmon. 

High 5 should be obvious, it is the classic high 5 you have been giving to your buddies since elementary school. 

Pound It is the standard fist bump we have come to know and mostly love. I prefer to call it a fish bump since I love puns and it fits the theme. 

The other two actions are where the real fun comes from. 

If you match with the Switcheroo action, you and your partner have to switch places by running around the group. This means you should most likely not play this game in narrow spaces. Unless you and everyone else is comfortable running into each other, in which case go for it! It takes all types. 

And last, but not least, Happy Salmon. On this one you and your partner reach out your arms and line up your hand with their elbow. Then you smack your arm back and forth and wiggle your hand like it is a fish swimming up river. It's hard to not smile while doing this one. 

And that is pretty much all the rules. 

Wrapping this up like fish:

Silly, quick, fun, and an excuse to give out a goodly amount of high fives. This game works better with 5 plus players. I would recommend getting both colors of fish so you can play with up to 12 players. Oh did I not mention there is 2 colors of fish pouch to choose from? Yes there is. Each pouch has different colors for the card backs. So sorting is easy when combing two fish to fill the river with players.

I loved this game so much I demoed it for around 2 hours at the GAMA trade show that North Star was introducing it at. Their two person team set up their stand in the free play area but got called away. Since they were super cool folks and I loved the game so much I kind of just hung around and promoted it for them. And I did that for free! Got a couple hundred people to try the game and when asked if they could order it I had to tell them sadly I did not work for North Star, but that they could order it the next day when the main floor reopened. So yes, it’s a fair amount of fun and a good time. 

Hope you get a chance to play Happy Salmon.


Sherpa Jim

board game card game game review happy salmon Sherpa Jim


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