Another thing we see a lot of at thrift is the classic wooden game Jenga. Not only is the branded version easy to come across, there are a number of Jenga-like games made by manufacturers small and large. We were fortunate to sit down for a meal with the inventor of Jenga, Leslie Scott, and listen to tales, both good and bad, about the beginnings of the game and where it is today.
So we don’t normally give a second thought to buying a used copy at thrift since there are just so many out there and they’re not particularly hard to find. This week, however, is an exception. We came across Jenga Xtreme, a version we hadn’t seen before, and couldn’t pass on the $1.88 asking price.
As we guessed, the game play of Jenga Xtreme is exactly the same as the original Jenga. Stack all the bricks into a tower and each player takes a turn removing one from the lower portion of the construction and places it on the top, without causing it to fall.
What makes Jenga Xtreme different is the shape of the wooden blocks. Instead of a rectangular piece of wood, these are 3-D parallelograms which cause the tower to bend and twist in unique shapes. Side note – did you know that the original Jenga’s pieces are tumbled at the factory to give each piece a slightly different profile? They’re not perfectly sharp rectangles!
Same goes for Jenga Xtreme! If you examine the pieces closely, you’ll find rounded corners and random nicks in a brand new copy. This is intentional to give the game a little bit of variability and ease the removal of pieces during a turn. And just as in the original, players take turns removing and adding pieces to the top until someone finally causes it to fall. That person is eliminated and the rest of the players win!
Thanks to the different-shaped pieces, Jenga Xtreme is a bit more challenging than the original. Used and new copies can be found on Amazon for as low as $15.95 shipped, or you might also get lucky and find one at thrift if you’re patient!
What is your favorite version of Jenga?