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Subject: Rules full of loopholes and ambiguity spoil this for me rss

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Simon Taylor
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Rules:
- Few/Some/Many/Loads
- Intuitive/Medium/Confusing

Parts:
- Few/Some/Many
- Plastic/Wood/Card
- Low/Medium/High Quality

Interaction:
- None/Some/Much/Loads
- Shafting/Mainlyshafting/Both/MainlyHelping/Helping

Luck:
- None/Little/Some/Much/Loads

Memory:
- None/Little/Some/Much/Loads

Dexterity:
- None/Little/Some/Lots

'Party' Fun:
- Silly/Amusing/Mild/Serious

Strategies/Methods for Winning:
- One/A few/Some/Lots

Tactics During Game (adapting to situations):
- None/A Few/Some/Lots

Ability to Pick on Winning Player:
- None/Some/Lots

Time (mins):
- under 30/30-60/60-120/over 120


Summary:

You make a tower of wooden blocks, three next to each other on the bottom layer, then three rotated 90 degrees for the next layer, and so on, as pictured below.



Then you take it in turns to take a block out of the tower, and place it on top. You keep doing so until someone puts a block on that makes the tower fall over - and this player then loses and the game ends.

What I like:
d10-1 The rules are really simple
d10-2 It's a physical game that can be played in a small space, and there aren't loads of those
d10-3 It's short to play so you can play a few times and give opportunity for a few people to win

What I don't like
d10-1 I find the rules too open to loopholes and abuse to be a good game for me:
E Do players have to remove the first block they touch? If not, then people can prod a number of blocks until they find one that's perfect which removes a good part of the skill. But if so, then if they happen to pick one that's really stuck in there, then all they can really do is knock the tower over and it just seems bad luck for them and a disappointing end.
E Where can you put a block back on top? It says it has to go in a valid spot on the top layer in the right direction. But it's impossible to put it 'perfectly' covering one 33% part of the top layer; it's bound to be a little bit off-centre - and at what point is human imperfection deemed to be someone putting it deliberately off centre to make it easier for them or harder for the next person.
E What do you do when someone is legitimately only touching one block, and only with one hand, but lifting that block in the air a bit, taking the weight of the top of the stack on that one block, before shuffling it a bit back to aid balance and then removing it. Hard to tell when this is happening as only the person moving it knows if they're doing it if they're subtle.
E How much can the column twist - it always seems to twist a bit as you take a block out - is that allowed? How far? Is 45% of twist acceptable?!
E What happens when someone jogs the table? Is there an acceptable level of 'jog' or is the 'jogger' responsible for a foul even if it wasn't their go? How do you even tell who jogged the table? From how long after someone's turn does it stop being their fault if the tower falls?
d10-2 It makes a loud noise when it falls and annoys other people in the room if they're easily annoyed, and you have to be careful the blocks don't knock into other things as flying blocks of wood can cause damage to fragile items if you're silly enough to leave them nearby.

Here are two examples already in the BGG image gallery of Jenga towers with these issues:

Blocks on top clearly not neatly aligned and column has been twisted during block removal - how far are either of these acceptable?


Ignoring the illegal last move putting a block on top of an incomplete top layer - this one has serious twisting issues also, and could whoever twisted it that far have gone the full 90 degrees round without issue?



Therefore, I think that...
...Jenga is a good game if you have a group that just want a laugh and don't also want to be playing a game that has valid competition. If all your group is like this, it may well be enjoyable. But if one or more players takes the rules seriously/accurately, they'll likely dislike it and cause the game to be unenjoyable.


Although a simple, quick game doesn't necessarily have to have perfectionist rules, there's no reason why it can't - there are plenty of other such games that don't have these loopholes and ambiguous rules that can't be policed, yet are still quick and simple.

For me, these loopholes really bug me the more I play it - I feel I'm not playing a proper game, but a group activity, where the 'winner' is the player who works out how far he can bend the rules while staying within the realms of social acceptability.

Add to that the large slice of luck for whether you happen to pick an easy/hard block to remove (since even good analysis of the tower can't always indicate if a block is good or not), and I don't find it much fun.

There are other quick physical, enjoyable games that I would rather play which is why I score this in the 3 or 4 out of 10.
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Slobodon Ginfizz
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I want to PARTY with YOU, my friend!!! coolcoolcool
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Rob Robinson
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psymann wrote:


What I don't like
d10-1 I find the rules too open to loopholes and abuse to be a good game for me:
E Do players have to remove the first block they touch? If not, then people can prod a number of blocks until they find one that's perfect which removes a good part of the skill. But if so, then if they happen to pick one that's really stuck in there, then all they can really do is knock the tower over and it just seems bad luck for them and a disappointing end.


Tap away at as many pieces as you like, woodpecker fashion, until you find a loose enough one that's to your liking.

Quote:
E Where can you put a block back on top? It says it has to go in a valid spot on the top layer in the right direction. But it's impossible to put it 'perfectly' covering one 33% part of the top layer; it's bound to be a little bit off-centre - and at what point is human imperfection deemed to be someone putting it deliberately off centre to make it easier for them or harder for the next person.


If someone purposely puts it way off one 33% segment, or on a diagonal, I would rule to make them re-place it within reason. Slight misplaced pieces matter not, and can be realigned by the next player. Generally they'd nudge or slide it into place using their own piece as they place it alongside.

Quote:
E What do you do when someone is legitimately only touching one block, and only with one hand, but lifting that block in the air a bit, taking the weight of the top of the stack on that one block, before shuffling it a bit back to aid balance and then removing it. Hard to tell when this is happening as only the person moving it knows if they're doing it if they're subtle.


As long as you're only using one hand to remove the chosen piece, you can twist, lift, pull or push the piece as much as you want. I wouldn't say it was a winning strategy though wow

Quote:
E How much can the column twist - it always seems to twist a bit as you take a block out - is that allowed? How far? Is 45% of twist acceptable?!


The column will twist, and can be twisted as much as need be. Especially once it gets to the stage where a cross piece is the only support. A falling tower is the only concern.

Quote:
E What happens when someone jogs the table? Is there an acceptable level of 'jog' or is the 'jogger' responsible for a foul even if it wasn't their go? How do you even tell who jogged the table? From how long after someone's turn does it stop being their fault if the tower falls?


Good sportsmanship is the key. Who'd want to play against a cheating opponent? Playing on a solid surface is the best method. We play on a speaker stand in the centre of the room. The player only approaches it when it is their turn.

Quote:
d10-2 It makes a loud noise when it falls and annoys other people in the room if they're easily annoyed, and you have to be careful the blocks don't knock into other things as flying blocks of wood can cause damage to fragile items if you're silly enough to leave them nearby.


Jenga is a riotous dexterity game.I don't think I've ever played it, nor would wish to, in Chess mode.

Quote:
Here are two examples already in the BGG image gallery of Jenga towers with these issues:

Blocks on top clearly not neatly aligned and column has been twisted during block removal - how far are either of these acceptable?


Ignoring the illegal last move putting a block on top of an incomplete top layer - this one has serious twisting issues also, and could whoever twisted it that far have gone the full 90 degrees round without issue?


Legal twist, illegal positioning of top blocks in lower photograph.
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M M
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Jenga is not a game to be won or lost. The rules, and how strictly to interpret them, are fairly irrelevant. If you're going to be uptight about these types of things, you need a different type of game.
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Simon Taylor
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zombiegod wrote:
psymann wrote:
E What do you do when someone is legitimately only touching one block, and only with one hand, but lifting that block in the air a bit, taking the weight of the top of the stack on that one block, before shuffling it a bit back to aid balance and then removing it. Hard to tell when this is happening as only the person moving it knows if they're doing it if they're subtle.


As long as you're only using one hand to remove the chosen piece, you can twist, lift, pull or push the piece as much as you want. I wouldn't say it was a winning strategy though wow


See, I would say it is a winning strategy:

- Pick a block
- Lift it up so that much of the weight of the upper part of the tower rests on the block you're holding, rather than on the lower part of the tower.
- Wiggle the block you're holding so that the upper tower section becomes increasingly mis-aligned with the lower tower section, such that it goes from stable before your turn to very unstable after your turn.
- Then lower the block you're holding so that the weight of the upper part of the tower is back on the lower part of the tower, only of course now twisted and off-centre compared to where it started.
- Then put your block back on top, as far to the unstable side as you can without making the tower fall.

You now have left the next person with a very-unstable-indeed tower to play from, making it hard for them.

And you can do this from your very first move.


Mat628 wrote:
Jenga is not a game to be won or lost. The rules, and how strictly to interpret them, are fairly irrelevant. If you're going to be uptight about these types of things, you need a different type of game.


This is quite true, and what the review was trying to get across.

I compare the situation to a game some of my friends play when we meet up sometimes - they call it 'Rounders', but it really isn't: a third of the rules are from Rounders, a third are from Baseball, and a third aren't from either and are just made up (and different people are playing to different rulesets at the same time) - and one minute people seem to be playing to win but next minute giving someone an evil look for trying too hard to win. Most of them love it. I, and a couple of others in the group, can't stand this half-mix of three different undefined rulesets coupled with playing-to-win-but-not-win-at-the-same-time, and we either go and play something with proper rules and proper attempts to win, or go and do something that isn't a game but doesn't pretend to be one either.

If you happen to be like me, you may well dislike Jenga.

If you happen to be unlike me, you may well enjoy Jenga.

 
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Patty Pilf
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psymann wrote:
zombiegod wrote:
psymann wrote:
E What do you do when someone is legitimately only touching one block, and only with one hand, but lifting that block in the air a bit, taking the weight of the top of the stack on that one block, before shuffling it a bit back to aid balance and then removing it. Hard to tell when this is happening as only the person moving it knows if they're doing it if they're subtle.


As long as you're only using one hand to remove the chosen piece, you can twist, lift, pull or push the piece as much as you want. I wouldn't say it was a winning strategy though wow


See, I would say it is a winning strategy:

- Pick a block
- Lift it up so that much of the weight of the upper part of the tower rests on the block you're holding, rather than on the lower part of the tower.
- Wiggle the block you're holding so that the upper tower section becomes increasingly mis-aligned with the lower tower section, such that it goes from stable before your turn to very unstable after your turn.
- Then lower the block you're holding so that the weight of the upper part of the tower is back on the lower part of the tower, only of course now twisted and off-centre compared to where it started.
- Then put your block back on top, as far to the unstable side as you can without making the tower fall.

You now have left the next person with a very-unstable-indeed tower to play from, making it hard for them.

And you can do this from your very first move.


Looks like you're going to pull the tower on your first move. Good Luck!
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Johannes Sjolte
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Just play the game for fun and don't play with jerks that misuses every little thing in the rules that they possibly can - and you will be fine.
 
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Nick JoJo
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You must be fun at parties
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Tsar Count
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DarkFlame92 wrote:
You must be fun at parties
zombie
 
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