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Research >> HappyGiftsForKids >> Jenga for kids >> How Jenga Works and is Played?
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How Jenga Works and is Played?


Jenga is a game that requires a few different skills to win. You would be needing a steady hand, hand-eye coordination, precision, patience, and concentration skills, as well as some technique of yours while playing.

An understanding of building, gravity, and Physics would prove very helpful in Jenga.

Jenga is the first tower building game that was invented by Leslie Scott in the ’70s and was commercially released in 1986.

It’s one of the top-selling games of all time.

How does Jenga work and how is Jenga played?

Jenga, the iconic game is played with 54 wooden blocks that are 3 times as long as it is wide and they’re slightly smaller in height than in their width. The blocks need to be stacked in a tower formation that has every level with three blocks placed adjacent to each other along their long side, and each level should be placed perpendicular to the previous one.

The arrangement of the blocks should follow this. If the blocks in the first story are pointing north-south, the second story block should, therefore, point to the east-west. There is a total of 18 levels to the Jenga tower. Stacking of the blocks could be tiring hence, a plastic loading tray is included.

After the tower was built, the first player is ready to begin. It’s the player that stacked the tower who gets to play first. A player in Jenga needs to be able to remove a block from any level except the completed top level of the tower at the time of the turn, and placing it on the topmost level to complete a turn.

Either of the player’s hands could be used but only one hand may be on the tower each time. Blocks could be tested if they are loose enough to be removed. It should be returned to its place if the player will decide not to remove it.

Any block that is moved out of place may be left out of place if it would pose a threat for the tower to collapse if it is removed. The turn ends when the next person to move touches the tower, although he or she can wait 10 seconds before moving for the previous turn to end if they believe the tower will fall in that time.

The game officially ends when the tower falls in any way possible like if any piece falls from the tower, other than the piece being pulled out to move to the topmost level.

The loser is the person who made the tower fall or whose turn it was when the tower collapsed. The winner is the person who last made a move before the loser.

What are the important things you need to know to win in Jenga?

  • Push and don’t pull the blocks - The best technique is to push the block out gently to maintain the stack’s intact as compared to pulling the block that would threaten the balance of the tower.
  • Remove the center blocks first - Don’t remove blocks from the bottom but instead start removing the blocks from the center thus it would make the tower stays balanced. The structure is weakened if you take the blocks from the sides. A good strategy is getting as many blocks at the center hence forcing your opponent to get from the sides.
  • Move blocks from the sides to the center after being done with the center blocks - Be sure to tap the side blocks toward the center to maintain stability and keep the tower balanced. Once the block is in the middle, take the block you used to tap it into place.
  • Your moves should be from left to right or right to left. When you remove a block from the left, place it on top of the tower to the right. The same goes for blocks removed from the right, put them on top to the left. This is a great way to keep the tower balance.
  • The Jenga blocks are not all the same. Make sure you remove the thickest blocks last. Some blocks are slightly thicker or heavier than others. They should be removed last, as they are more likely to keep the weight of the tower better than the thinner and lighter blocks.
  • A good technique is to use your left hand if your right-handed and vice-versa. Why so? It’s best to play Jenga with your non-dominant hand. The rules imply that you can only use one hand at a time; therefore, you can’t use both of your hands. Using your hands alternately would develop your manual dexterity and it would also maintain the structure’s stability.
  • You need not feed your head with too many advanced moves. Each turn would be different depending on your opponent’s move. Focus on one move and turn at a time.
  • Take it slow and don’t be in a hurry to make your move. There is no time limit in any move in Jenga, so take your time and plan your next move wisely. However, do not take too long since you wouldn’t want to give your opponent too much time to study his or her next move.
  • Jenga is a game of chance and circumstance. You don’t need to plan each of your moves since you won’t be able to predict what your opponent’s move would be doing. It’s always an in the moment move to be able to counteract any move of your opponent.
  • It is important to always be focused on the game and not to get distracted while playing Jenga. Focus on the game at hand and not on the time. You need to pay attention to both your moves and your opponent’s moves.
  • Strategize and try to distract subtlety your opponent by throwing a joke or two while your opponent tries to remove a block. You could tease or make your opponent laugh to lessen his concentration and focus.
  • Always test the tower before choosing a block to remove. Gently try pushing the blocks with your finger to see which are ‘loose’ and take those first. Leave those stubborn tight blocks in place as they’re more likely to make the tower fall if disturbed.
  • The goal of the game is to maintain the stability of the tower and not to build the highest structure. Make sure you don’t cause the tower to weaken its foundation.
  • The rules of Jenga state that you can only use one hand at a time but using your forearm is allowed. You could use this to your advantage.
  • Take blocks closer to the top.
  • The only restriction for removing blocks is taking from the top two rows. All other levels are allowed and a tip is to choose blocks closer to the top. This will help keep the tower intact and stable by maintaining the foundation.
  • The key to winning Jenga is to remove your block successfully without the toppling the tower but at the same time making it more unstable for your opponent’s next move. If you see that the left side of the tower is leaning, then take from the right side. Have a sense of symmetry.
  • To be able to remove a tight block, try to use the door method wherein you’ll swing the block open and then close it again to loosen it up and move it to closer to the edge. This will make it easier to remove it.
  • After using the door method, you are most likely to be able to remove the tight block by holding it with your thumb and ring finger while using your index finger and nail to support it.
  • A steady hand, strong fingers, and being precise and on point are essential when playing Jenga. Hand-eye coordination is very important as the game depends on your physical skill to win. Try doing exercises that would enhance this skill plus it would also improve your manual dexterity as well.
  • Being good in Jenga entails a lot of practice. Getting good at removing blocks without the tower falling is because of practice. You could practice on your own and all the probable moves that can arise in each Jenga game. You’ll get better each time you play and practice and along with remembering all the sure methods to be a Jenga expert.

After Thoughts

Jenga is a game for learning about opposing forces, gravity, balance, and stability. Each game of Jenga would always be unpredictable. Every game would always be different and there would be no game ever alike.

It’s a game that you decide on the spot which would be your best retaliation after your opponent’s move.

As the tower becomes taller, the more cautious and skilled you should be to avoid making the tower to collapse.

Winning in Jenga would be in your sole hands!

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