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Subject: A well balanced game rss

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Glenn Broadway
United Kingdom
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Whilst this game is ostensibly in the Jenga category it actually holds deeper strategic opportunities. A slight ambiguity in the rules can cause confusion but once worked out this game can provide a good combination of dexterity and brain power.

Without going into too much detail, players take it in turns to remove pieces from a bag and play them on the tower. The pieces are divided into five segments of different colours and the rules state that colours must match vertically (downwards). Pieces can be played horizontally (if they balance) or vertically. If the tower collapses then that player is eliminated and the game starts again. Play is repeated until there is just one player remaining.

As mentioned in the previous reviews the rules state that if a player feels there is no 'legitimate play', and none of the other players challenge them, then they return their piece to the bag and try again. The definition of legitimate play is where the confusion lies. A harsh interpretation would be: "Legitimate means that there is room to legally play a piece, even if it means certain collapse." I'm fairly certain this is the intention, otherwise the option of being forced to make a move by another player would be moot. Remove this part of the rules and things actually start to make sense. A player would need to be certain they were unable to play a piece without forcing a collapse otherwise someone else would surely take the piece, play it and eliminate them from the game (part of the original rules).

Possible variations include:
> Holding more than one piece at a time (good if you are playing with young children)
> Collection of fallen pieces rather than elimination - the player with the least pieces after all 60 have been played is the winner (good because it keeps everyone in the game until the end).

The wooden pieces are appealingly colourful and tactile, although not exacly engineered (which can lead to some wobbly towers). There is also a wooden plinth, a rule sheet and a very sturdy cloth bag (which quickly replaced the box).

Tumba suffers from looking like a Jenga clone when it is far from being such a thing. Perhaps a non-wooden construction would have differentiated it more? It's a fun game with a good combination of strategy and dexterity.
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