Advantages Traditional family fun.
Disadvantages Lost blocks, no one wants to put it away.
|Value for Money|
|Playability & Enjoyment|
|Design & Presentation|
A couple of years ago the husband and I decided to give the children a more traditional theme to the Christmas presents, we picked out lots of board games and among the one’s we chose was Jenga. A quick look on Amazon.co.uk tells me that Jenga currently retails at £10.99 with free delivery. There are also quite a few cheaper versions of Jenga called things like, “Towering Blocks” and “Tumbling Tower Blocks” retailing at lower prices, but I personally recommend the original by Hasbro.
My Jenga set came in a cardboard box, the new sets come in a sturdy looking cardboard tube. To be honest I think the new packaging looks better and looks as though it will take more wear and tear. My cardboard packaging soon became very tired and tatty looking and had to be discarded in favour of a Tupperware tub.
The recommended age for Jenga is 6+ but my youngest daughter was giving this a go from about the age of 4, I think it is great at that age as it encourages hand/eye coordination and patience, but also provides great laughs when it tumbles and she spent many hours stacking and knocking the Jenga blocks down.
Jenga consists of 54 hard wood blocks, the blocks are very smooth and I have never come across one that has splintered. Each block has the name Jenga printed down the sides. In the box you get a stacking sleeve, which is basically a cut away cardboard rectangle that helps you stack the Jenga blocks neatly, To build the Jenga tower you lay three blocks facing (for example) east to west, you then layer the next three blocks on top of these facing north to south, you carry on like this till you have built yourself a wooden tower, you then carefully slide the wooden tower out the stacking sleeve on to a level surface and you are away.
The rules of the game dictate that the one who builds the tower gets to go first and then the next player is the one on the left (unless you are all alone and playing with yourself!!). When it is your turn you carefully select a Jenga block that you are going to remove, you then manipulate this block, using one hand only, until it is free. You then restack the block on top of the tower in the correct orientation; you are then supposed to wait 10 seconds to see if you have caused the tower to topple before it is the next players turn. The winner is the person who is the last to stack a block without the tower falling and the player who tumbled the tower has to rebuild it.
The above description does make Jenga sound quite boring, but I can guarantee you it is far from boring. Some variations on Jenga played in our house are “we are drunk let’s play Jenga” we are lucky if we can stack the tower and when we do the game does not last long. “Speed Jenga” you only get ten seconds to select your brick, remove it and restack it and “Shot’s Jenga” where each time you successfully remove and restack a block you get a shot of your favourite short, this game can quickly descend in to the first version.
Some of the official versions of Jenga are, Throw ‘n go Jenga, involving coloured blocks and a six sided die. Jenga truth or dare where some of the blocks have “truth” or “dare” written on them and Jenga XXL which is Jenga but on a massive scale. I would love to have Jenga XXL but it is very expensive.
In conclusion my Jenga set has lasted well, virtually all of the Jenga blocks are in good as new condition, a few have been misplaced, but that does not detract from the game play at all. The only down side was that my original packaging did not last long, but Hasbro seem to of sorted that out with the new packaging. I heartily recommend Jenga as a great family game suitable from 6+ and ideal for this lovely British summer we are having.
Thank you for reading.
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