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Pass the Trash Board Game Review and Rules

Pass the Trash Board Game Review and Rules

Created back in 1966 Hungry Hungry Hippos is one of the most well known children’s games of all time. I assume most people have played the game of gobbling up marbles at least once in their lives. With how successful Hungry Hungry Hippos was, Milton Bradley wanted to try to create another classic with the 1987 game Pass the Trash. Pass the Trash has the same premise as Hungry Hungry Hippos but instead of trying to eat marbles you are trying to get rid of your marbles into the trash trucks. Unlike Hungry Hungry Hippos, Pass the Trash was not nearly as successful as the game was never reprinted. That is a shame because while Pass the Trash has most of the same problems as Hungry Hungry Hippos, it also adds in more strategy and skill leading to a game that is better than its inspiration.

How to Play | My Thoughts | Should You Buy? | Comments

How to Play Pass the Trash


  • Attach one chute to the gameboard for each player. If less than four players are playing, place the guard rails in front of the sections of the board that aren’t being used.
  • Attach the two trash trucks to the middle of the gameboard.
  • Each player takes ten marbles and places them in the bin in front of them.
  • Choose which player will start the game. They will say “Ready, Set…Go!” and then all of the players will start playing the game.

Playing the Game

All of the players play the game at the same time. In front of each player there are two hand buttons.

The button on the left advances the trucks counterclockwise. When one of the trash trucks are not under a player’s trash chute they should keeping pressing their left button in order to advance the trucks towards their chute.

Move Trucks in Pass the Trash

The blue player doesn’t have one of the trucks underneath their chute. They are going to want to keep pressing their left button until the truck is under their chute.

The button on the right launches marbles up your trash chute. When one of the trucks are under their chute they press their right button (pretty hard) in order to try to shoot their marbles into the truck.

Shooting Marbles in Pass the Trash

One of the garbage trucks are underneath this player’s chute. The yellow player is going to try to press the right button as often as possible.

There are two trucks in the game. One of the trucks has a hole in the bottom which should direct any trash shot into it towards the player on the right. The other truck will hold the marbles for the rest of the game. While you are generally going to get rid of your marbles through the trash trucks, any marble you shoot into another player’s bin stays in the bin that it is shot into. If any marbles bounce out of the gameboard, they are removed from the game.

End of Game

When a player has no more marbles in their bin or chute, they shout out “I Win”. If no marbles enter their bin before this happens, they win the game.

Winning Pass the Trash

The green player has gotten rid of all of their marbles so they have won the game.

My Thoughts on Pass the Trash

Hungry Hungry Hippos and Pass the Trash might not look that similar but at their core both games share a lot in common. Hungry Hungry Hippos has you collecting marbles while Pass the Trash has you getting rid of marbles. This might seem to be quite different but the gameplay in both games is more alike than different. Basically the goal of the games are to press your buttons as quickly as possible in order to grab/get rid of your marbles. This means that your opinion of Hungry Hungry Hippos will likely translate to Pass the Trash.

While Hungry Hungry Hippos deserves credit for being released first, I actually think Pass the Trash is the better game. I say this because there is actually quite a bit more strategy/skill in Pass the Trash. Basically the only potential strategy in Hungry Hungry Hippos is trying to time when to hit your button in order to pick up a marble that is in the middle of the gameboard. In Pass the Trash there are actually a couple things that add some strategy and skill to the game.

The most obvious is aiming to launch your marbles into the back of the truck. While the trucks don’t move that fast, you need to find the right time to launch your marbles to maximize how many you can get rid of. There really is no point in launching your marbles if they aren’t going to land in one of the trucks. The marble will likely just roll right back into your bin. If you time it right you can actually get rid of two or three of your marbles each time one of the trucks go by. If you launch your marbles too early or too late though you will some of that time.

There is also some skill in applying the right amount of pressure to the button to launch your marbles. Pass the Trash is not a game where you can be timid. You have to apply quite a bit of pressure to the button in order to launch it far enough that it will reach the hole in the chute. You can’t press the button too hard though. If you apply too much pressure the marble will hit the end of the chute and then start rolling back down the chute. It takes some practice being able to apply the right enough of pressure to the button to consistently shoot the marbles out of your chute.

The other area where there is some skill/strategy is switching between launching your marbles and advancing the trucks. While you could technically do both at the same time I think it is better focusing on one at a time. Basically when a truck is not under your chute you want to press your left button as quickly as possible to limit how much time the other players have the trucks under their chute. Then when the trucks are under your chute you want to press your right button as quickly as possible to shoot as many of your marbles as possible.

Pass the Trash might have more skill/strategy that Hungry Hungry Hippos but it is never going to be confused for a deep game. You basically end up hitting the buttons as quickly as possible to try and get rid of your marbles. The game has an age recommendation of five and up for a reason. There is a little skill to the game but there is also a lot of luck. The launchers can be pretty inconsistent. Hitting the launcher with the same force each time won’t always launch the marbles the same. There are also times where you may miss the truck but get lucky and still have your marble roll into one of the other trays. With equally skilled players luck is likely going to be the determining factor. Like Hungry Hungry Hippos, Pass the Trash is a game meant to be mindless fun. Therefore the high reliance on luck is not as important as it would be for other games.

Like a lot of these type of children’s games, Pass the Trash is not going to be a game that you will play for long stretches of time. With most games taking five minutes or less, most people are probably going to want to play a couple games at a time. After a while though the game does get pretty repetitive as all you do in the game is press the two buttons to try and get rid of your marbles as quickly as possible. Likely within 20-30 minutes you are going to get sick of the game and are going to put the game away for another day.

For some people the biggest problem with Pass the Trash is going to be how loud it is. Pass the Trash has to be one of the loudest board games that I have ever played. If you think Hungry Hungry Hippos is loud, I think Pass the Trash might be even louder. The game is so loud that I wouldn’t be surprised if you could still hear it a couple rooms away with the door shut. If loud games annoy you I think Pass the Trash is going to drive you nuts. I would seriously consider wearing headphones/earplugs to block out some of the noise. If you would play the game for an extended period of time it would not surprise me if the game would end up giving you a headache from all of the noise.

As far as the components there are things to like and dislike. I actually give the game a lot of credit for being a lot more durable than you would expect. With players rapidly pressing the buttons and marbles flying everywhere the game stands up surprisingly well. As long as you don’t go overboard I would expect Pass the Trash to last. I do wish the game unit could have found a way to lower the noise a little though. I also worry that it wouldn’t be that difficult to lose the marbles. The marbles tend to fly all around the gameboard and they do occasionally fly out of the gameboard. If players don’t look for these marbles right away I could see them getting lost pretty easily. Finally while there is no way the game could have come in a smaller box, Pass the Trash has one of the largest boxes that I have ever seen for a board game. If you are a space conscious person it may not be the game for you.

Should You Buy Pass the Trash?

Before playing Pass the Trash I have to say that it reminded me a lot of Hungry Hungry Hippos. The two games have totally different themes and one has you gathering marbles while the other has you getting rid of them. The games do actually share quite a bit in common though. Both are pretty mindless children’s games that are more fun than you would expect. In a lot of ways I would actually say that Pass the Trash is better than Hungry Hungry Hippos since it has more skill/strategy involved. It actually takes some skill to time your shots properly and apply enough pressure to the button to get the marbles out of your trash chute. The game still relies heavily on luck but it actually feels like you can get better at Pass the Trash. Pass the Trash is pretty simplistic which means it is a game that you are only going to want to play for a short time before you put it away for another day. Pass the Trash might also be one of the loudest board games that I have ever played.

Basically my recommendation for Pass the Trash comes down to how much you like mindless children’s games like Hungry Hungry Hippos. If you don’t like these type of games, you will hate Pass the Trash. If you like them though I actually think you will get quite a bit of enjoyment out of Pass the Trash. If this describes you I would recommend you check out Pass the Trash.

If you would like to purchase Pass the Trash you can find it online: Amazon, eBay