2

Jenga, in my impression, is most commonly interpreted as a competitive game, where the person who topples the tower is the loser.

However, one can make the argument that it can be seen as a cooperative game, and the common goal is to make the highest tower possible.

The distinction has a radical impact on the way the game is played.

If the game is cooperative, players are incentivised to take and place bricks in a manner that makes it as easy as possible for the other players.

On the other hand, if the game is competitive, players are incentivised to make the tower as gnarly and difficult for the other players (eg by twisting the top half of the tower when removing the a brick).

Are there any Jenga competitions that shed light on how the game is played in this respect?

  • What does “twisting the top half of the tower when removing a brick” mean? – SevenSidedDie Apr 13 '16 at 6:29
  • @SevenSidedDie You can use the friction of the brick to move the top half of the tower drastically - making it harder for everyone else. – dwjohnston Apr 13 '16 at 6:32
5

Jenga, as designed, is most certainly a competitive game. The rules released with the game have stayed consistent over the years and have never described how to play in a cooperative manner.

Most versions of the rules (such as the 2000 version) have a "Solo Play" variant that might also be able to be played cooperatively with multiple players:

Play alone for practice! Can you top your record height before the tower falls?

  • Carefully remove one block from any level. Use a steady hand to stack it on top.
  • Continue to remove and stack blocks to build the tower taller…and shakier.
  • How tall is too tall? Find out when the tower falls!

One Jenga review described playing a variation of this during a team building event where teams of 3 played cooperatively for a high score:

I first encountered Jenga in a corporate team building activity. The group was split into teams of three. Each team was given a Jenga set. The objective of the game was for each team, following the standard Jenga rules, to try to build the tower as high as they could. The team that built the tallest tower, without the tower collapsing, won the game.

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