Jenga or in “Tower” is a simple and understandable game for any age, for both kids and their parents. The game was invented in England by the creator of board games – Leslie Scott. The first company that launched the game in mass production was one of the Hasbro units, namely Parker Brothers. In Swahili, the word Jenga means “To build something”.
An unlimited number of players can play Jenga but it is preferable from two to five. Players take turns pulling out the blocks from the tower’s bottom and stacking them on its top. The rules of the game forbid getting blocks from the top three sites and use both hands for pulling them out. Thanks to such manipulations, the tower growth in height but with each rearranged bar it becomes increasingly unstable.
To play the game, the size of each bar should be 3 times longer than its width, while its height should be equal to 1/2 its width. For example: length = 75 mm, width = 25 mm, and height respectively = 12.5 mm. In total, to play the game you need 54 blocks of wood. First of all, you have to build a small tower with 18 “floors” of the wooden “bricks”. Each floor should consist of three bars. The important moment of constructing the tower is that bars of each next floor should be placed perpendicularly to the bars of the lower one.
After the tower is built, participants start the game. The right of the first move by the established tradition belongs to the player who built the tower. What is the move in Jenga? Each player pulls out the block from any place (except for the three upper floors) and puts it on top of the tower. It is forbidden to use two hands. It is allowed to stop pulling out the bar out of the construction if the player thinks that the “building” may collapse. It is also allowed to push some blocks to check which one is the most accessible. The move is considered complete if the tower remained stable for 10 seconds after the removal of the bar. The game is considered complete when the construction collapses. In the case, if only the part of your “building” collapsed, it is allowed to continue the game.
Buy or do it yourself?
Probably one of the most frequently asked questions is whether it’s difficult to make a homemade Jenga game? Prior to answering this question, we want you to think about two things:
- How much time do you have;
- Do you want to save money or not?
Actually, the first question is the most important because many people want to make this game on their own in order not to save money but to spend time with their children during this enthralling process. Let’s consider what are the main steps to make this game on your own and how much it will take.
First of all, you will need the following materials:
- a wooden beam (its size should be calculated according to the proportions given above);
- wood hacksaw;
- sandpaper with a 100-grain size for the primary wood processing and 320 for the final);
- brush if you want to varnish the bars or to paint it in different colors.
So, everything is already on the table. How to make Jenga blocks? Firstly, for the convenience of cutting, it is recommended to tightly bind the bars with a scotch-tape. Then mark with a pencil the places where you are going to saw off the bars. This will help you speed up the process and not make a mistake with the size. In total, you need 54 bars but it’s better to make a small margin.
After the blocks are sawn-off you should polish each of them in order to avoid splinters and scratches, from interaction with the rough tree. Primary treatment with a large-grain sandpaper allows adjusting small errors in the size of the blocks that may occur while sawing. You can use the caliper for more accurate measurements. These manipulations are necessary to ensure that the bars are maximally identical. This process will not take much of your time but will allow the tower to be more stable.
Final treatment with the sandpaper will give ideal smoothness to the bars. It will be nice to take in hand each of them and play with it. In addition to this, after the final stage, you can be sure that your child will not scratch hand or to get a splinter. To ensure that the bars last longer and become even more beautiful, they can be varnished or painted.
As you can see, there is nothing difficult to make a homemade Jenga and the number of pros is much higher than the cons. You will not only save you money but also spend priceless time with your child making a game together. The process will be interesting for both of you and the final result will please your whole family. And agree, the unique homemade game is valued much more than the one from the store. Create, play, spend time with your family, and build a tower of which your children will be proud of!
My friend made a homemade Jenga set using premium two-by-fours. It came out well but it was obviously very heavy and a little impractical. I think next time he tackles the project he’s going to take more time selecting his materials.