The secret of Jenga

Jenga can become a sweat-on-the-brow game, unknowing when the tower will weaken, lose balance and fall. The way you set it up is by stacking the planks by threes in perpendicular rows – in the box – tip the box over and bam, Jenga tower.

What I’m about to tell you may blow your mind. What is thought of as a game of steady hands is actually a puzzle. Imagine playing this game where the stack is wavy, making S-shapes, or even spiraled? Preposterous. What if I told you that you had your nostalgic 80′s game all wrong? It’d be like saying Monopoly was a metaphor for Nazi Germany.

The key to achieving Jenga-Zen is to keep the vertical center line of gravity from coming off its foundation.

That means rows of three can hang off one plank on one side. And the S-shaped tower? It actually frees up more planks so you can remove them from the sides. But like the game where Jenga’s deepest secrets became a glaringly obvious to me, you may have to try it yourself to realize the moral to this story.

Tallest Jenga tower? 40 and 2/3rds rows.