putting the fun in functional

Happy Salmon Holidays!

Few months ago I went to SPIEL ’16 [web] in Essen; the biggest board game fair in the world. Ever since I’ve been obsessed with a new game I discovered there, Happy Salmon [BGG].

It’s one of the fastest games I’ve ever seen. One can explain it in one minute and play it in the next. Considering it only takes two minutes, it brings a huge amount of joy and instant gratification, making it my default energizer in workshops, trainings and other sessions now.

Before you start a game both the name and the package already bring joy to the table. Happy Salmon comes in a fish-shaped container as you can see above. Once I explain the Happy Salmon move, people really start cracking up. But no time to lose, the more fanatic you play, the sooner you’re fin-ished! It’s a huge hit with fellow coaches as well as the company I introduced it at, so the eight packages I bought at SPIEL are already running short. I can tell you there’s little as much rewarding as seeing colleagues at your current client greet each other with the Happy-Salmon-signature-move, haha.

Happy Salmon will surely be in my backpack when I give a workshop or visit an event next time. For more ideas to put the fun in functional take a peek at My toolbox [blog]. Below you can see Happy Salmon being scaled to over 20 people.

Also published on Medium.


  1. nativewired

    Dec 30, 2016 at 21:13

    Guess I know one of the games I will learn at p4a 🙂

    • Heard Eddy brought the game to Agile Testing Days indeed. 🙂 Went to SPIEL with him, so he also was an instant fan!

    • nativewired

      Jan 2, 2017 at 19:05

      Yeah but I missed out on playing it with him; so guess I have to settle for you 😀

  2. Thorough review of Happy Salmon. By thorough I mean you could play four rounds with sorting in between, but it really discusses all aspects of the game, including user comments near the end!

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