Game Review: Tip the Cows vs. Pass the Pigs

If you need a travel game or an easy distraction for small children or small groups waiting for something else, these are two good options.  There are subtle differences between the two games; it’s not just the titles!

These are two portable games that are easy to learn and fun to play!

Tip the Cows vs. Pass the Pigs

How do you play Pass the Pigs?

This was originally a dice game, but in 1977 the rubber pigs were created.  It is still a game where you roll two things, but unlike a die, where each side has an equal chance of being rolled, some rolls are much more unlikely than others!

100 points wins.  Each player rolls until they decide to stop and keep their score, or until they get a turn ender (Pigout, Makin’ Bacon, or PiggyBack).  The best roll is two left-leaning-jowlers for 60 points!

Possible rolls:

  • Pigout (0 points this round) – Both pigs on sides; one with dot up
  • Sider (1 point) – Laying on side
  • Trotter (5 points) – On all four feet
  • Razorback (5 points) – Four feet in the air
  • Snouter (10 points) – Tripod with front feet and nose
  • Left Leaning Jowler (15 points) – Tripod with left foot, left ear, and nose
  • Makin’ Bacon (Lose all points) – Pigs are touching
  • PiggyBack (Out of Game!) – One pig riding on another
  • Doubles (2x total points) – Both pigs are same and not touching

How do you play Tip the Cows?

Tip the Cows was made in 1989 and is pretty much a copy of Pass the Pigs.  The game recommends rolling in the box, which provides a little bit of spring with the false bottom pasture scene.  The bounce helps the cows which are made of a stiffer rubber.  There are some differences in how they can land and the position names. 

Tip the Cows is played for the best points in seven rounds.  The best roll is Sacred Cows, which should be 200 points, but is actually an instawin!

Possible rolls:

  • Sider (1 point) – Laying on side
  • Udders Up (5 points) – Four feet (and more) in the air
  • Hoofer (10 points) – On all four feet
  • Grazer (15 points) – Tripod with front feet and nose
  • Holy Cow (50 points) – Seated on rear end
  • Milk Dud (Lose ½ points) – Both on sides with the red dots up
  • Cowlick (Lose all points) – One cow face touching another cow
  • Doubles (2x total points) – Both cows are the same and not touching
  • Sacred Cows (Instant Win) – Two Holy Cows

Which one is better?

Either game is great for people not looking for a complicated board game.  If you need to occupy young children, it is a good game for them to work on math skills; counting and adding up points.  If you are at a bar, you can play on a table or bar top for fun or drinks!

Pass the Pigs is older, but the games are very similar.  Tip the Cows has an instant win option, and although I have seen a few Holy Cows, I have never seen Sacred Cows!  Pass the Pigs has an Instant Lose option.  I have seen lots of Pigs Makin’ Bacon, but have never seen a PiggyBack!

I prefer the pigs since they are more rubbery and funnier.  We also have a giant version of foam piggies that are about the size of grapefruit and can be thrown on the floor if you have a large space.  Also, the pigs game can be bought in a handy carrying case that has a place for the pigs, small pad of paper and a tiny pencil.

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

  1. Have you played either game?
  2. Which do you prefer?

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