Sometimes, card games involve a lot of complicated rules and require a long attention span, leaving kids frustrated and anxious. But North Star Games provides fast-paced, active fun in the form of a card game with Happy Salmon. I don’t remember laughing this hard playing a game since we got Pie Face last year. This game leaves players in tears of laughter as they try to quickly high five, pound fists, switch places, or Happy Salmon.
Players start off by separating the different decks of cards by color, and then choose one for themselves. They each hold their deck of cards face down in a pile. At the same time, players flip their decks over and try to find another player in the group with the matching action card. Once they do, both players complete that action, then discard that card and move on to the next. The first player to get rid of all his or her cards wins.
Sound like chaos? It is—but in the best way.
The four action cards are: High 5, Pound It, Switcheroo, and Happy Salmon.
When two players have a High 5 card, they High 5:
When two players have a Pound It card, they Pound It:
When two players have a Switcheroo card, they switch places wherever they are standing/sitting:
When two players have a Happy Salmon card, well, they do this:
Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever laughed harder than I did at the Happy Salmon card. For inexplicable reasons, it is so funny and leaves me near tears every single time it happens.
Once you start playing, your space becomes a whirlwind of yelling, running, and positive-reinforcement-based hand gestures. By the end of the round, everyone is laughing so hard, it’s hard to say that anyone loses. There is also a silent version of the game where players can’t speak (Honestly, it was the most anxiety-filled round of a card game I’ve ever played. Maybe I’m too competitive? Definitely.). Other alternative ways to play include swapping decks of cards instead of physical places when you have a Switcheroo match, which is especially necessary if there is not room or the potential to stand up and switch places.
As you can see above, the cards’ illustrations are really adorable and colorful. The big, fun font makes the actions easy to read, and for younger kids, the salmon on the card also depict the action, so they can act quickly as well. Also, take a gander at that packaging—how cute! All of the cards pack neatly up into the zippered salmon-shaped pouch, making it easy to take along on the go.