What does Jenga mean?
What does Jenga mean?
5 (100%) 15 vote[s]
It all started with a gift…
The Jenga history begins with a gift. In the distant 1974, Leslie Scott’s family presented her a set of bars from the city of Takoradi for her 18th birthday. Leslie just finished school in Ghana and needed to somehow pass the time with her younger brother. They began to build a “skyscraper” from the bars and called the game “Blocks from Takoradi.”Leslie Scott - Jenga Inventor

The meaning of the game was simple: the bars were composed of three pieces in a row until the tower with eighteen rows was created. Then Leslie and her brother took turns pulling out the bars until the whole construction collapsed. The one who ruined the construction lost. Simply and interesting. A few years later the Scott family brought a few more sets of bars and taught all their friends to play “Blocks from Takoradi”.

African roots

Leslie entered Oxford University to become a teacher but quickly became disillusioned and completely devoted herself to entrepreneurship. Over the next five years, she showed the favorite game from her childhood to colleagues and friends while one of them, in 1982, did not convince her to try to sell it in the UK.

First of all, Leslie finalized the rules – now the bars could not just be taken away, it was necessary to put each of them on the upper floor of the “building” which, of course, significantly complicated the game. In addition to this, she changed the name. “Blocks from Takoradi” seemed to be so long and simple, so she decided to choose the name from her native language- Swahili and called it “Jenga” that is translated as “to build something”. At this moment the new stage of Jenga game history began.

Way to success

After creating an upgraded version of the old game with the different name, Leslie contacted the Camphill company which gave work to disabled people and asked them to produce five hundred boxes with the game. She took boxes to the London Toy Fair where tried to sell them. Things did not go very well, so Leslie decided to go to the bank and take out a loan. The bank agreed, Leslie patented the game and its rules and began selling Jenga in shopping centers. Business was before Christmas so the game was sold extremely quickly. But even such success was not enough to cover the loan. Then Leslie tried to enter the American market but this was not successful either. The bank claimed its money and Leslie had to sell her own house to stay afloat.

Boys are playing Jenga Game

In 1983, Robert Grebler, Leslie’s friend, found a box with the strange name “Jenga” at home. He liked the game and a year later when his business affairs went badly, he remembered Leslie and offered her to help in selling Jenga in the US and throughout Canada. Then he brought together partners and they agreed to transfer the rights to the international distribution of the game in exchange for the percentage of sales that Leslie would get in the UK.

World popularity

Two years after, Stephen Hassenfeld, co-owner of Hasbro company, having visited the Canadian toy exhibition realized that this game should be produced by his company. Therefore, in the process of transferring rights to this game from one company to another, he intercepted them. Since then, Stephen Hassenfeld personally controlled that the game was sold correctly and in no case changed its name.

Girl is playing Jenga Game

It is also worth mentioning that Hasbro was the first company which used alder for production of bars for Jenga. At the end of the 20th century, alder was not considered a tree at all, it was called a “weed” and was cut down on a massive scale. Only after decades, manufacturers discovered the amazing properties of alder and began to use it for building houses, furniture and, of course, the Jenga bars.

Nowadays Jenga is one of the most favorite games all over the globe and is considered to be a real classic in the board games universe. After such a difficult path to success, it finally took its worthy place.

Feel yourself as an architect and adventurer, keeping the balance of the created masterpiece, and then as a desperate sapper, holding your breath rearrange the bar in the tower… Win, learn, meet new people in our Jenga club, and set new records with other participants!

Related Posts

Human size Jenga

Human size Jenga game

Jenga popularity Nowadays you will hardly find a person who has never heard about Jenga board game. And it absolutely doesn’t matter what is the age of a player, his sex or nationality, people all over the globe have been playing this game for already more than thirty years and it still remains their favorite…

Drinking Jenga Rules

The internationally popular game is excellent not only for kids, their motor, and mental development. It’s fantastic for small groups of friends and strangers that meet and spend some time together. These simple sets of wooden tiles will make your intimate or swinging parties fantastic, outstanding, and fabulous! If you drink alcohol, why don’t you…

How to Make Jenga Blocks Slippery?

Since being invented in the late 1970s by Leslie Scott (in the African Ghana) and successfully introduced in department stores in the USA in 1986, the famous Jenga game has become popular internationally. Nowadays, it’s widely accepted, helping kids, teenagers and young people to have fun, come together more often, communicate and relax, switching off…

Tallest Jenga tower

Our world is constantly developing. We try to create something better than that which already exists. People construct the fastest trains, the highest skyscrapers, and the smartest technique. Such willing to change our world and to reach the goals that ten years, some month ago, or maybe just yesterday seemed to be unreal is one…

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *