How to Play Hungry Hungry Hippos

With its brightly-colored hippos and marbles, few games are as iconic and hands-on as Hasbro’s Hungry Hungry Hippos. This game is easy to learn, and offers fast, mayhem-filled fun for 2-4 players ages 4 and up. Once you’ve assembled and attached the hippos around the “pond,” you’ll be ready to get started!



  1. Assign a hippo to each player. Place the hippos and pond on a flat, open surface, where all players have easy access to a hippo. Let each player pick the hippo they’d like to play as—in the newest version of the game, there are yellow, orange, green, and blue game pieces to choose from.[1]
    Play Hungry Hungry Hippos Step 1 Version 2.jpg
    • Believe it or not, the hungry hippos all have names! According to Hasbro, the green hippo is named Veggie Potamus, the yellow one is named Bottomless Potamus, the blue one is named Sweetie Potamus, and the orange one is named Hungry Hippo.
    • Vintage versions of the game might have a purple or pink hippo instead of the blue one. In this version of the game, the purple hippo is named Lizzie, the pink hippo is Happy, the orange one is Henry, the green one is Homer, and the yellow one is Harry.[2]
  2. Release 1 marble into the pond. Choose a player to press the black, square button near their marble release pond—this is known as the marble release lever. Wait for a single marble to roll into the center of the pond.[3]
    Play Hungry Hungry Hippos Step 2 Version 2.jpg
  3. Push down the lever along the back of the hippo to grab the marble. Once the marble rolls into the pond, pump the lever up and down to open your hippo’s mouth. Do your best to “eat” the marble before any other hippos do, continuing to press the lever until the marble gets “eaten.”[4]
    Play Hungry Hungry Hippos Step 3 Version 2.jpg
    • You can press the lever repeatedly, or wait for the marble to roll toward your hippo—try out different strategies and see what works for you!
  4. Release a second marble from the next player. Working in a clockwise fashion, invite the next player to press their marble release lever. As you did before, press your hippo’s lever up and down to “chomp” and collect the marble.[5]
    Play Hungry Hungry Hippos Step 4 Version 2.jpg
    • The marble will go into the well attached to the side of your hippo.
  5. Continue releasing and catching marbles until there are none left. Go in a clockwise direction, with each player releasing 1 marble at a time. Keep pressing your hippo’s lever as you try to “eat” the marble before the other players.[6]
    Play Hungry Hungry Hippos Step 5 Version 2.jpg
    • There will be 20 total rounds, since there are 20 total marbles.
  6. Count up the marbles to declare a winner. Check your hippo’s well to see how many marbles your hippo “ate” during the game. The player with the most marbles is the winner![7]
    Play Hungry Hungry Hippos Step 6 Version 2.jpg
  7. Create a harder game by releasing all the marbles at once. If you and your friends are seasoned Hungry Hungry Hippos players, invite everyone to press their marble release levers at once. Then, everyone presses the levers on their hippos until all the marbles are “eaten.”[8]
    Play Hungry Hungry Hippos Step 7 Version 2.jpg
    • To start the game fairly, ask the person with the nearest birthday to yell “go” before everyone presses their buttons.
  8. Raise the stakes with the golden marble. At the end of the game, see which hippo ate the golden marble. The player with the golden marble wins the game![9]
    Play Hungry Hungry Hippos Step 8 Version 2.jpg

[Edit]Assembly and Setup

  1. Pull off the hippos from the storage tray. All 4 hippos are secured to a square, blue tray. To remove the pieces, pinch the sides of each hippo, lifting them up and off the tray.[10]
    Play Hungry Hungry Hippos Step 9 Version 2.jpg
  2. Remove the marbles from their storage compartment. Flip the blue “pond” over—this is the large, blue tray where you’ll be playing the game. Pull off the blue, circular lid along the bottom center of the pond and remove all the marbles inside. Then, stick the lid back into place.[11]
    Play Hungry Hungry Hippos Step 10 Version 2.jpg
    • You should have 19 red marbles along with 1 gold marble. Don’t worry—the color difference doesn’t mean anything unless you’re playing a special version of the game!
  3. Secure 1 hippo to each side of the pond. Place the blue pond in your play area. Line up each hippo along all 4 edges of the pond, aligning the hippo’s front tabs into the grooves on each side. Then, press down on the hippo to secure it in place.[12]
    Play Hungry Hungry Hippos Step 11 Version 2.jpg
    • Each hippo has a small well attached to its side—this is where all the marbles go once the hippo “eats” them.
  4. Fill each marble release tray with 5 marbles. Look to the right of each hippo—you should see a thin, curved slot along the edge of the pond. Fill each slot with 5 marbles before you start playing.[13]
    Play Hungry Hungry Hippos Step 12 Version 2.jpg
    • The golden marble can go in any random marble release tray.[14]
  5. Pull on each hippo’s neck so they’re ready for gameplay. Press down on the hippos with your thumb. Using your opposite hand, pinch and pull the hippo’s head and neck forward. Then, push the hippo’s head down, so it’s ready to get chomping.[15]
    Play Hungry Hungry Hippos Step 13 Version 2.jpg
    • As a test, press the back lever a couple times. The hippo’s head should lift and drop as you pump the lever.


  1. Remove the hippos and marbles from the pond. Grab all the spare marbles and collect them in 1 area. Then, flip the pond upside-down. Look for 2 plastic tabs beneath each hippo—pinch these together with your fingers to release the game piece.[16]
    Play Hungry Hungry Hippos Step 14 Version 2.jpg
  2. Put the hippos back on their storage tray. Press the hippos into place over the side tabs on the tray, so they stay put. Arrange each hippo on a corner of the storage tray; then, pull out the neck of each hippo, so its head rests on the side tray of each game piece.[17]
    Play Hungry Hungry Hippos Step 15 Version 2.jpg
    • For instance, the green hippo’s head rests on the orange hippo’s tray, the orange hippo’s head rests on the yellow hippo’s tray, and so on.
  3. Store the marbles in a tray along the bottom of the pond. Pull off the circular storage cap along the bottom center of the tray. Place all the marbles inside the storage container, and secure the lid back into place. At this point, slide the storage tray and pond into the original packaging box until your next game![18]
    Play Hungry Hungry Hippos Step 16 Version 2.jpg



  • The game is a lot more fun with 4 players, but you can still have a great time with just 2 people. Assign 2 hippos to each player, and let the marble-eating madness begin![19]


  • Hungry Hungry Hippos has some small plastic marbles, which can be a choking hazard for kids under 3 years old.[20]


[Edit]Quick Summary

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