The Secret to Beating Anyone at Jenga

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Jenga, which means “to build” in Swahili, is a game of dexterity and mental power. It is a well-loved game by people of all ages.  Even young children get pleasure from playing and building with Jenga blocks.

While the game seems so simple – remove a block and place it at the top of the tower – it is actually a game that requires skill and strategy.  Here are some tips for reigning supreme next time you challenge a friend to a game of Jenga.

Push – don’t pull – when removing blocks
The act of pulling a block will disturb the stability of the tower more than gently pushing or tapping the block.

Remove the center blocks first
Similarly, removing the side blocks first will cause the tower to become less stable.  Focus on the center blocks and leave the side blocks (hopefully) for your opponent.

Move side blocks to the center
This is a crafty move!  When you run out of center blocks, move side blocks to the center (to re-establish balance).  Move the blocks by gently tapping them on the side until they are positioned in the center of the tower. The key is to maintain the center of gravity to prevent the blocks above from falling.

Out from the left, in from the right
If you eliminate a block from the left side, place it at the top of the tower on the right side. Likewise, a block from the bottom right should go to the top left. Use your common sense to determine whether the tower needs to be balanced out. If you see it leaning, place your block on the opposite site to regain balance.

Remove thinner blocks first
Did you know that some blocks are thicker than others?  And it stands to reason that the thicker blocks will be more effective in bearing the load of the tower.  Therefore, you should remove the thinner blocks first.

Think one move at a time
It is impossible to think ahead when playing Jenga. Your next move is really dependent on what your opponent does and how it affects the stability of the tower.

Bigger is not better
Your goal should not be to build the tallest Jenga tower, but instead the most stable tower.  In order to do this, you should place blocks strategically to maintain the center of gravity and not make the tower too tall.

Who knew that there were so many ways to play a seemingly simple game of Jenga?!