It's a gift...
...and a curse.
Not long ago I discovered that I really enjoy dexterity games. The simplicity of the rules usually make them easy to teach, and they tend to be very visually appealing which attracts a lot of non-gamers to the table. So, when I heard about Hula Hippos, I figured it was a perfect game for me to try. But was it as good as the other dexterity games I've been collecting? Read on...
What do you get with Hula Hippos? In the box you get a rulebook, 6 wooden hippos in 4 different colors, and a wooden hoop.
How does Hula Hippos work? Each player gets a set of 6 hippos in one color. Each round someone spins the hoop, and then all the players slide or flick their hippos at the hoop. When the hoop lands, any hippos completely or partially inside the hoop are removed from the game. Rounds continue the same way until one player loses their last hippo, and is therefore declared the winner.
What does Blott think of Hula Hippos? I really enjoy the simplicity of the rules. I can pull Hula Hippos out with a 6-year-old, a teenager, an adult, and a senior citizen and they will be playing with full understanding of the game in 30 seconds. Even better, all of them will have an equal chance of winning the game. It does get a little repetitive, though. I've considered lowering the number of hippos each player starts with just to make the game shorter, because sometimes it can drag on a little longer than anyone wants.
Who will enjoy Hula Hippos? Hula Hippos is a perfect family game. It is flexible and fast. Young kids will love the active nature of the game and probably will request the game several times. However people who like a smattering of strategy in their dexterity games will probably find this one lacking. There's a lot of luck in how the hoop will spin and you never know for sure where it will stop.
Any parting comments about Hula Hippos? It’s hard to beat the quality of components in Hula Hippos. They are nice sturdy wooden pieces that can hold up to a lot of plays. The hoop is designed with a nice rounded edge, so there's no chance of it staying upright. However the hoop does have a tendency to knock away the hippos any time it touches them. So there can be many rounds where no one will score. This is what leads to the repetitive complaint that I made. Yes, it makes it very exciting when you do succeed, but going through round after round after round with nothing happening can get old fast. All in all, I think there are better dexterity games out there, but for the price and the simplicity of this game, it's worth checking out.