Wired Magazine

How to beat anyone at Jenga by Dan Smith

Dan Smith of Wired asks Leslie Scott, the creator of Jenga, for her top tips on how to win the game.

Political Jenga? They’re all playing it!

A Taste of the Cuts to Come

‘The Chancellor’s speech at the Conservative conference in Birmingham on Monday was political Jenga.’ The Motley Fool

Dr Vince swings back to the 60s with his vision for BIS

‘…but for now at least he is a key block in the coalition’s game of political jenga.’ Left Foot Forward

The Looming Political Jenga moment

‘The United States and the State of California are facing looming political Jenga moments.’ Political Vanguard

Indiana Jenga!

Iain Douglas-Hamilton, the founder of Save the Elephants, has just received the world’s leading award for animal conservation – the Indianapolis Prize.  It’s a hugely prestigious award,which is presented with justifiable fanfare at a glittering gala awards ceremony. As Chairman of Save the Elephants, my husband, Fritz Vollrath, was very keen to accept the invitation to attend the award ceremony – and I, as one of Iain’s (and his wife Oria’s) greatest fans, wanted to be there, too. So we whizzed off to the US on Thursday, and returned to the UK early this Monday morning. We were away for barely three days – but three days that were chock-full of new and never to be forgotten experiences. Many of which took place at the Indianapolis Zoo.

The Indianapolis Prize is a visible component of the internationally recognized conservation efforts being undertaken by the Indianapolis Zoo. As guests of the zoo, we were taken on an amazing, behind-the-scenes tour of its less public but vital conservation efforts, which, for example brought me face to face (literally) with a handsome doe eyed walrus , and standing shoulder to knee (my shoulder, her knee) with a beautiful, laconic African elephant. This was the first time I have seen, let alone touched (and been kissed by), a walrus in the flesh, and it was the first time I have been so up close and personal with an elephant; the magnificent, wonderful animals that I love to watch, from a respectful distance, when in Kenya.

To round off an enchanting day at the zoo, I was surprised (pleasantly, I hasten to add) to come across the zoo’s custom made version of Jenga pulling in the crowds.Devised to illustrate to small children the interconnectivity of life in an Amazonian rainforest, each block represented an animal or plant. If a block was removed – the kapok tree for example – any creature supported by that tree found itself either without a foot hold, or hanging on with great difficulty.

Staffing rotas are like Jenga.

Take out a block, and it can all collapse.

According to Sam Lister in last week’s Sunday Times, compiling a hospital department’s staffing rota is now like a game of Jenga. It involves piling up hundreds of ‘shift’ blocks in careful positions to ensure the junior doctors’ working weeks are compliant with the European Union.

This was just one of several examples I came across this week of Jenga being used as a metaphor (or more accurately, as a simile). Others included one in which Charles Kennedy’s tie is accused of looking like it had been ‘the victim of a terrible Jenga accident’ (Guardian 8th Sept).

Spot the new Jenga metaphor has become a game in itself.

Atomic Jenga

Atomic Jenga could turn domestic refrigerators green

For some materials, magnetism is like an atomic version of Jenga. Remove a few atoms from one place and their magnetic properties remain standing, but pull out others and these properties collapse. The discovery not only changes our understanding of magnetism, it could also speed the development of eco-friendly magnetic refrigeration.

The New Scientist 11th August 2010

Competitive Jenga – the film

Have just come across this 4 minute ‘documentary’ about Charles ‘biscuit’ Sinclaire, ranked number 4 Competitive Jenga player in the upper midwestern state.

The film’s blurb declares that ‘The world of Competitive Jenga is full treachery and deceit… or it could just be that ‘biscuit’ its rising ‘star’ is.’

A must see for all Jenga players every where!

‘It’s like a game of Jenga that’s got out of hand’

……so says Karl Pilkington of a collection of Egyptian pyramids in ‘An Idiot Abroad’ (Sky 1), which Ricky Gervais professes ‘Is the funniest documentry I’ve ever seen.’

Anagram & Ex Libris

Though Jenga was the first ( and the most commercially successful) of the forty or so games I have produced over the years, and of course remains a firm favourite of mine, Anagram & Ex Libris are  two others that I never tire of playing.  Sara Finch and I collaborated on both, and both games were  published by Oxford Games Ltd in 1991.

Oxford Games manufactured and sold the games until early 1999, when Lagoon Games acquired the license to publish the complete Oxford Games Collection.

Now, almost twenty years since Sara and I first devised and published the games, Oxford Games Ltd will be reprinting and marketing EX LIBRIS – the games of first lines and last words, and ANAGRAM –the ingenious games of juggling words.


Researching, writing and publishing my first book, About Jenga, has opened both new and old doors. Some so old and so long unused that I had assumed their locks & hinges rusted tight and rendered useless.

So it has been with considerable surprise, and great pleasure, that About Jenga seems to have prised open so many creaky old doors into my past.

For example; as a result of coming across the book, John Durham of the Camphill Village Trust  has made contact, and will be coming to visit me later this month. In 1982, then living and working in Camphill’s Botton Village, John was instrumental in manufacturing the first ever sets of Jenga.  John and I had continued to bump into each other for many years at gift fairs, (he with Camphill’s range of wooden toys and I with Oxford Games Ltd) long after Hasbro had acquired the license to publish Jenga. But since Lagoon Games took over the Oxford Games Collection in ’99, I had not been to a gift fair in the UK until this year. And, in the lazy way we all allow these things happen, I had lost contact with John.

I’m thrilled that he has made the effort to push open that old door.

And I’m delighted, too, that as a result of About Jenga, I have reconnected with other old friends, Peter & Tessa Sulston. As I mention in the book, Peter, then working for Oxfam, introduced me to Camphill.

Now running their own art college in Cornwall, the Callington School of Art , I hope to drop in on the Sulstons later this year on my way down to visit my daughter, now at art college in Falmouth.

Investor’s Business Daily

Having read ‘About Jenga’, Victor Reklaitis interviewed me a few weeks ago when I was in Los Angeles for a book signing event at Chevaliers’ Books, hosted by Bob Peirce, Chairman of BritWeek.

I thoroughly enjoyed Victor’s always friendly, but challenging interview. And I really appreciate the resultant IBD article ‘Leslie Scott Raised Her Game’, primarily because Victor went to the trouble of interviewing and quoting two key figures in the story of Jenga’s success; Alan Hassenfeld of Hasbro, and Hal Ross, the toy expert’s expert.