The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.
Share this review on
ABOUT THE GAME:
Jenga is the classic wooden building block game that has become loved around the world. The Manufacturer's minimum age recommendation is 5 years old which seems about right to me. One interesting fact is that the name JENGA was derived from a Swahili word meaning "to build".
HOW TO SET UP JENGA:
JENGA is a game made out of 54 precision wooden blocks. You set the game up by laying 3 wooden blocks side by side as the first level (large part of the block horizontal to the floor) and then stacking the tower up, always switching the blocks so that you have one with the end at the side and then the long horizontal part by the side (which will bring it up to 18 levels high). Most of the new versions come with a nice plastic cover which helps in setting up the Tower, it is however best to ensure that the Tower is reasonably straight.
HOW TO PLAY JENGA:
Now it is very easy to play JENGA, the aim of the game is to remove one block from the Tower and then put it on top of the TOWER. You then continue in turn by removing one block until the Tower falls. There are a number of rules which some people play which I will mention here as well. The first is that we only allow one hand to be used. This stops someone pulling out a block while holding the Tower straight, which makes it more of a skill game. Also you are not allowed to remove a block from the top 3 levels of the Tower, which forces you to look at the lower end of the Tower. We also have the rule that the block that you first touch is the one that you have to pull out, this stops you from testing to see which block is loose before pulling it out.
Now the game is clearly played best by at least two people (so that you at least are not playing against yourself) although we have played it before as Teams which is good fun as well, just take it in turn to remove a block until the TOWER Falls and then that Team is out until the next game and continue playing until only one more Team is left.
MY THOUGHTS ON THE GAME:
OK, now I must admit that I love JENGA. As a game to play at a party to keep you entertained or just in the evening, it is just pure fun. The best part of the game is the anticipation of waiting for the TOWER to fall and hoping that it is not your hand that forces it down.
There is a fair amount of skill involved in that you have to make certain that you do not knock the Tower over while pulling out the block, which means the most important part is your judgement in which block to pull out. I always like to remove two of the bottom three blocks on the Tower to make it slightly unstable and a much more fun game. This also allows you to get a much higher Tower as you have less blocks left and this allows you to make the Tower that much higher. It is very important therefore to look at the Tower before you touch any blocks as once you have made your decision that is final. It is also important to remember to put the block back on top carefully as I have seen the Tower fall because someone has casually dropped it on top.
Now obviously this is not a game that is particularly intellectually challenging and therefore is suited to play with younger children. It should also help them to develop their dexterity and handling ability.
One of the drawbacks of JENGA is that it does take a little time to set up and once you have played a couple of times, it can really be irritating to have to set the initial Tower up again. However if you play with a lot of people and make the loser build the Tower, then you have an added incentive to make certain you win.
Another drawback is if you have someone who is slightly irritating and knocks the Tower down on purpose or because they are frustrated. Very irritating as you then have to build it up again and make certain that they do not come to close to do it again.
SIDE NOTE: I would especially recommend playing giant JENGA (you can hire wooden blocks from some Party shops or build your own out of cardboard Boxes like we did). This makes the game excellent to play with youth groups or outdoors as it is such a good laugh and the Tower gets really high.
All in all I would recommend JENGA as a game that is worth buying and playing whenever you are bored and especially at gatherings with the family. Maybe even a proper JENGA challenge would be good!