No Fish! card game preview

You know that saying “don’t judge a book by its cover”? Well that is kind of what happened when “No Fish!” from Australian game designer Sean Carroll of 93 Made Games dropped through the letterbox. Immediate reaction was “meh”, it’s a deck of cards. Honestly as a veteran tabletop gamer this should never have happened, many fine hours have been spent with “Saboteur”, “Hanabi”, “Love Letter” and the list goes on. A game about fishing though, that initial reaction, still meh.

So what is “No Fish!” you ask. “No Fish!” is a blind card game, wherein players are dealt their hand and face it away from themselves without looking at the cards (if you have played “Hanabi”, you will know how this works).

No Fish card game 93 Made Games Australia cardsI shall have a fishy on a little dishy… when the boat comes in.

Players take on the roles of fishermen, problem is, you’re such good fishermen your boat is overloaded with fish and it’s time to start throwing them back or you’ll sink. Release the fish from your hand, the first one to do so wins. Releasing fish is done by stating a number / special fish to the other player(s) and if it’s in your hand, all fish of that type are released to the discard pile (by the other player(s) who can see it). Get it wrong and more fish appear in your hand (you draw from the deck), get it right, get a free turn to try and rid yourself of another and so it goes until someone is fish free!

The deck in “No Fish!” also includes ‘special fish’ (Starfish, Toadfish, Flyingfish and Lionfish). These are essentially special action cards, each with a special ability that affects gameplay.

It sounds fairly simple and it is, but it just works. Here’s the thing about reviewing games, you can be wrong, you’re just one person with a singular subjective opinion. That initial reaction, dead wrong, “No Fish!” is a whole boat load of fun. We ended up playing it over and over and over again.

Sure the theme is pasted on, you could be trying to get rid of anything, it doesn’t need to be fish, but then you wouldn’t have the play on words of “Go Fish” that “No Fish!” offers. We imagine 93 Made Games could do a series of these, “Loonacy” style. A viral (“Pandemic” style) version where you’re trying to rid your hand of viruses back to the containment lab, maybe aliens are attacking “War of the Worlds” style and you need to get rid of them back to the mother ship. This list / theme could be endless. We’d actually really like to see that, that’s how much we enjoyed “No Fish!”.

93 Made Games Australia cardgame No Fish! PreviewNo Fish! by 93 Made Games in Australia. Loads of fun.

Honestly there’s not a whole lot negative to say about “No Fish!”. We would LOVE to see a premium version, in a proper slip box, rather than the usual card deck flimsy box, we can only imagine that would add to its retail appeal. That aside though, if you’re after a fun little deduction / memory game that’s quick to setup and play you could do far worse than “No Fish!”. Definitely one to check out when it gets its final retail version.

Addendum: Sean from 93 Made Games tells us he’s tweaking the version we previewed. Nothing huge, a few minor rule changes and slight graphical changes. Hopefully we’ll get to bring you a full review when the retail version is set to go.