Hungry Hungry Hippos Game Review

The Basics:

  • Ages 2 and Up
  • For 2 to 4 players
  • About 30 seconds, give or take 5 seconds or so

Geek Skills:

  • Counting
  • Hand/Eye Coordination
  • Dexterity

Learning Curve:

  • Child – Easy
  • Adult – Easy

Theme & Narrative:

  • None

Endorsements:

  • Gamer Geek rejected!
  • Parent Geek rejected!
  • Child Geek approved!

Overview

Hungry Hungry Hippos is a pretty straight forward game. Each player takes control of one of possible four hippos that reach out to the center of the game board and capture small marbles. The marbles are presumably “swallowed” and deposited into a small space beside each hippo. Note the location is “beside” the hippo, not “behind” the hippo.

Game play requires almost no strategy or tactics, but timing can be an issue as the marbles roll around the board a great deal. If a player is fast enough and watches the marbles carefully, they can maximize the number of marbles captured. A higher developed hand/eye coordination and dexterity will not always win the game, however. Another approach to the game is to simply make your hippo reach out and capture the marbles as fast as humanly possible. Using this method, accuracy is almost reduced to zero, but the sheer number of times the hippo reaches out to capture the marbles greatly increases the odds of a marble being “swallowed”. If this method is used, the game length is greatly reduced, as is most adult’s patience.

Once the board is cleared, each player counts the number of marbles captured. The player with the highest marble count wins the game.

Rinse and repeat ad nauseum.

Final Word

This game is easily one of my least favorites but continues to be a big hit with my boys. I don’t care for it because it doesn’t have much in the way of redeeming value . What lessons can we learn from overly gluttonous herd of aquatic African herbivorous mammals? None, I argue, other than the fact that such behavior will most likely lead to health problems later in life and a general reduction in the hippo’s self-esteem.

But this is an argument coming from an adult who is playing a game that only has kids in mind. This is not a bad thing, to be certain, but it can be a real annoyance for the adult to play the game over and over again with kids. On the bright side, a single game will only take about 30 or less second. On the other hand, expect to play a lot of games in rapid succession.

As mentioned above, the game does require counting, hand/eye coordination, and dexterity, but I think the child (and adult) are better served by going outside and kicking or throwing a ball.

My argument is null and void for as long as my boys love the game. I can’t blame them, as I loved the game as a child, too. It’s easy to have a lot of fun very quickly in the game, but the magic wears off pretty fast. It is for this reason I highly recommend the game be used as an “opener” for your game activities. It’s fast to setup, play (a lot of), and wets the appetite for a more challenging experience.

Note also the age range. I suggest 2, at the earliest. The game box says differently, but you simply don’t need much in the way of skill or experience to play the game. This is another shinning point in an otherwise pretty dull offering. It’s a very easy game to play.

As long as the boys like it, I’ll have the game around, but expect to see the game in the very first garage sale when the opportunity presents itself.

Sorry, hippos.

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About Cyrus

Editor in Chief, Owner/Operator, Board Game Fanatic, Father of Three, and Nice Guy, Cyrus has always enjoyed board, card, miniature, role playing, and video games, but didn't get back into the hobby seriously until early 2000. Once he did, however, he was hooked. He now plays board games with anyone and everyone he can, but enjoys playing with his children the most. Video games continue to be of real interest, but not as much as dice and little miniatures. As he carefully navigates the ins and outs of parenting, he does his very best to bestow what wisdom he has and help nurture his children's young minds. It is his hope and ambition to raise three strong, honorable men who will one day go on to do great things and buy their Mom and Dad a lobster dinner. Cyrus goes by the handle fathergeek on Board Game Geek. You can also check him out on CyrusKirby.com. Yes, he has a URL that is his name. His ego knows no bounds, apparently....

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