Larger blocks improve game play for adult users. Works well indoors or outdoors. Suitable for players of all ages and motor skill levels.
Inferior counterfeit or generic products reported. Finish on blocks not completely smooth. Flimsy cardboard stacking guide.
Contains 54 stackable wooden blocks and a stacking sleeve. Popular with younger players. Easily portable for game nights.
May arrive in a rectangular package, not the round version shown. Thin cardboard stacking guide, not sturdier plastic. Finish not as smooth as original Jenga.
Arrives with a well-constructed carrying case. Includes alternative game play ideas. White board for score keeping, plus numbered blocks for additional rules.
Blocks are very heavy; players should protect feet. Noticeable friction between pieces. Blocks are not consistent in weight and dimensions.
Unpredictable base vibrations add challenge to game. Longer game play than Jenga Boom. Shaking element does not automatically topple tower.
Uses cheaper plastic blocks, not original finished wood. Base can be difficult to shut off. Frequent collapses means time-consuming rebuilds.
Wooden blocks have the same high quality finish and weight as original Jenga pieces. National parks information can be very educational for younger players.
More expensive than other Jenga-inspired sets. Blocks contain factoids on national parks, but player interest may be variable.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Jenga, the original tumbling tower game of block pulling and stacking, is the perfect party game. Every turn of the game is suspenseful, and as the tower rises and becomes less stable, everyone — children and adults alike — is kept on the edge of their seat.
Though classic Jenga game is still a blast, there are many variations available, including popular giant Jenga sets that can be played outside. These are a great choice for adults or older children. Other twists on the classic game include themed versions, different block shapes, and colorful editions that have players roll a die to determine which color block to pull.
Basic Jenga games are inexpensive, while some of the giant games can be a bit pricey. Finding the right Jenga game for you depends on your preferences and how many people you plan to entertain. To learn more, continue reading our shopping guide.
Jenga uses 54 blocks, traditionally made of hard wood. It was invented by game designer Leslie Scott, who first played the game with her family in Ghana in the 1970s. The official game arrived in North America in 1986 and quickly exploded in popularity.
The name “Jenga” comes from the Swahili word for “to build.” Though some modern editions use plastic or cardboard blocks, the popular wooden blocks are made from alder trees, which primarily grow in the northwestern United States.
The world record for the tallest Jenga tower was set back in 1985 by Robert Grebler: 40 tiers high with two blocks on the top tier.
Build your Jenga tower on a flat surface by placing blocks in tiers of three blocks each, alternating the direction of the blocks.
Using one hand, players take turns pulling blocks from the tower from any tier besides a tier below an incomplete upper tier. You are allowed to test blocks for looseness (regardless of what your competitive friend or family member may say). After you successfully pull a block, place it on the uppermost tier. After ten seconds have passed, the next player’s turn begins. Whoever causes the tower to fall loses!
Jenga games vary in the size of the blocks and the basic rules. For a simpler game, the classic hardwood Jenga set is your best bet. If you are looking to mix things up, you have several options.
Is bigger better? When it comes to Jenga, that is absolutely the case. Larger Jenga sets — which can reach up to eight feet tall — manage to make the stakes feel inherently higher, literally and figuratively. Watching a giant tower crash and listening to the clack of the blocks is fun, and a larger size of this games makes it a better choice for a party.
Most giant Jenga sets use wooden blocks that range from 6” to 18” in length. These may be made of wood or cardboard. While giant Jenga can be fun for adults or older children, supervision is required for young children who may be injured by the large blocks. The tower might also become too tall for small children to reach.
Though it is usually played competitively, you could also work together with players to see how high you can build the tower.
Building the tower can take some time, but it’s all part of the fun. The stacking sleeve included in some sets makes this step easier.
Inexpensive: Classic wooden Jenga games typically cost $7 to $15. They may come in rectangular containers to help form the shape of the tower, or they may come in a cylindrical container that includes a sleeve to form the tower.
Mid-range: For $15 to $30 are Jenga games with a twist. They may have unusually shaped pieces, new rules, or different themes.
Expensive: Jenga sets for $30 to $100+ are usually giant Jenga games with wooden or cardboard blocks. In general, the bigger the pieces are, the higher the price. More expensive sets in this range may include a carrying bag.
Each player’s turn ends in 10 seconds or after someone else touches the tower. Just because you pulled a block doesn’t mean you’re in the clear!
Middle blocks may be the easiest to remove, but leaving a middle block alone can create an unstable situation that causes your opponent to topple the tower.
Two lone middle blocks on top of each other are extremely unstable. Consider pulling blocks from below two lone middle blocks to prevent the tower from falling.
Choosing where to place a pulled block is just as important as choosing which block to pull. If you notice the tower leaning one way, consider putting the block on the opposite side to stabilize it. If you are confident you won’t cause the tower to fall, you can place your block so the tower becomes even less stable.
As soon as the top layer is complete, the tier below it becomes fair game. Take advantage of this when it’s your turn.
Sometimes pulling a block out quickly is a safer bet than pulling it out gradually.
Or, to really shake things up, there’s Jenga Quake, which features plastic blocks and an electronic vibrating base that makes for more suspense and unpredictability. These twists on the classic game can tie in with your favorite TV show or change the rules just enough to make the game feel fresh. While these appeal to a smaller crowd, they may be perfect for your game group.
And while we included several classic Jenga editions in our top recommendations, there are a few other Jenga products worth pointing out. If you already have a giant edition but are missing the bag, the Giant Jenga Carry Bag makes hauling the giant blocks around much more convenient.
For a simple twist on the game, there’s the Jenga Octagon Game, which features an octagon-shaped tower with unique plastic pieces in three colors.
For a classic version of the game with an elegant touch, there’s Jenga Premium, which features 54 hardwood blocks in three colors, an acrylic base for the tower, and a sleek black box. This is a great choice for the Jenga fanatic or for anyone looking for a more decorative version of the game.
Another fun twist on the game can be found in Jenga Pass Challenge, which is played off the table. Instead, the tower rests on a plastic base that players must pass after their turn.
Q. Do all Jenga games come with a stacking sleeve?
A. They do not, particularly the giant Jenga sets. The sleeves may be made of cardboard or plastic; plastic is usually more durable and easier to use.
Q. How tall do Jenga towers get as players stack blocks on top?
A. Depending on the skill of the players, most Jenga towers will roughly double in height throughout the game.
Q. How old do children need to be to play Jenga?
A. Most classic sets are recommended for players ages six and up, while giant Jenga is recommended for players ages 12 and up.
Q. How many people can play Jenga?
A. Jenga can be played as a solitaire game to achieve the highest tower possible or with any number of people.
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