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Hungry Hungry Hippos Board Game: Rules and Instructions for How to Play

Hungry Hungry Hippos Board Game: Rules and Instructions for How to Play

Objective of Hungry Hungry Hippos

The objective of Hungry Hungry Hippos is to collect/eat the most marbles with your hippo.


Setup for Hungry Hungry Hippos depends on your version of the game. Older versions of the game are pre-assembled so there is no setup for each game. Newer versions of the game can be taken apart in order to save room. For these versions of the game you have to assemble the board.

  • Remove the hippos from the bottom of the game base by squeezing the side and pulling it out of the tabs.
  • Remove the storage cover from the bottom to reveal the marbles.
  • Flip the gameboard over.
  • Attach one hippo to each side of the board by inserting the tabs into the edge of the base. Press down to lock the hippo in place.
  • Press down on the lever for each hippo a couple times to make sure it is working properly.
  • Fill each of the marble releases with marbles. If doesn’t matter what marble release you place the golden marble in.
  • Each player chooses a color. The hippos names are as follows: Blue – Sweetie Potamus, Green – Veggie Potamus, Orange – Hungry Hippo, and Yellow – Bottomless Potamus.
  • The player whose birthday is next gets to start the game.
Setup for Hungry Hungry Hippos

Playing Hungry Hungry Hippos

The first player starts the game by yelling out “GO!” when they are ready.

At this point each of the players can use their marble release to move marbles onto the gameboard. How you handle adding marbles to the gameboard depends on what version of the game you play.

If you are playing the beginner version of the game, one player releases a marble. Press down on the marble release lever in order to move one marble onto the gameboard. Once a player captures the marble, the player to the left of the previous player releases one of their marbles.

Launching a marble
To release a marble onto the gameboard, you will press down on the black button. This launches a marble onto the gameboard.

For the advanced game which is more chaotic, all of the players will release their marbles onto the board at the same time.

When a marble gets close to your hippo’s head, you should press down on its lever as quickly as possible. This lifts and moves the hippo’s head towards the center of the board. When you let go of the lever the hippo’s head should move back towards its body. The goal of the game is to use your hippo to collect marbles.

Grabbing a marble
A marble was getting close to the yellow hippo so they pressed their lever to try and eat the marble.

All of the players play at the same time. You can take your time trying to time when you press the hippo’s lever. Otherwise you can press the button as quickly as you can in order to try and catch marbles.

Winning Hungry Hungry Hippos

The game ends once all of the marbles have been eaten. Each player counts up how many they were able to eat. The player that eats the most marbles wins the game.

Winning Hungry Hungry Hippos
The yellow player collected seven marbles during the game. If no player collected more than seven, the yellow player wins the game.

If you would like to play again, take all of the marbles and return them to the marble release areas. You will play the next game/round in the same way as the first game.

Bonus Game

Instead of playing to catch the most marbles, you can play to try and catch the one unique gold marble. The player that catches the gold marbles wins the game.

Winning by collecting the yellow marble
The players decided to play the bonus game. Since the blue player collected the gold marble, they won the game.

Disassembling the Gameboard

Older versions of the game stays together and cannot be taken apart to save room. Never versions of the game can be taken apart so the game takes up less space. You will follow these steps to pack up newer versions of the game.

  • Pinch the tabs beneath the gameboard to remove each of the hippos from the edges of the board.
  • Place all of the marbles into the storage tray. Snap the storage tray to the bottom of the gameboard.
  • Place a hippo in each corner of the bottom side of the gameboard. Push down on each hippo until it locks into place.
  • Lock each hippo’s neck in place by pressing down on the lever. Then push up on the neck until it locks into place.

Hungry Hungry Hippos FAQs

If you have any questions about how to play Hungry Hungry Hippos, leave a comment below on this post. I will try to answer any questions asked as best and as quickly as possible.

Components for Hungry Hungry Hippos

Hungry Hungry Hippos Components

  • Game Base
  • 4 Hippos (head, neck, base, lever)
  • 20 Marbles
  • Instructions

Year: 1978 | Publisher: Hasbro, Milton Bradley | Designer: Fred Knoll

Genres: Action, Children’s, Dexterity

Ages: 4+ | Number of Players: 2-4 | Length of Game: 5-10 minutes

Difficulty: Light | Strategy: Light | Luck: High

Where to Purchase: Amazon, eBay Any purchases made through these links (including other products) help keep Geeky Hobbies running. Thank you for your support.

For more board and card game how to plays/rules and reviews, check out our complete alphabetical list of board game posts.