Critical Play: Competitive Analysis – Modded Jenga

As my critical play game, I chose a modded game of Jenga where each block contained a dare written by one of the players, and the “punishment” for knocking over the tower was to drink from a red solo cup rather well filled with alcohol. The game seems like a variation of the classic social game truth or dare, except that it builds up its tension as pieces from the tower are removed and the players becomes more intoxicated making it harder to maintain the tower’s balance and dreading the success of the preceding player as it could spell your own failure.

The game promises fellowship and competition to the players involved as fleeting rivalries can be developed by the challenges that are drawn to require the formation of teams, or as the players become more open and provide more insight into their personalities through the obstacles they decide to undertake or secrets they reveal about themselves. During my play session the game dealt with abuse by giving players the opportunity to have a drink or draw a new challenge if a previously removed piece was not to their liking.

Some exciting dynamics that evolved during the session was the bias to associate specific individuals with the seemingly related challenges they continued to draw. Storylines of sorts were developed, as some players seemed destined to play particular roles during the game. One player was “given” the role of a melancholic lover who was seemingly chosen by the game to relieve his heartbreak while another became a wildcard of sorts who kept performing increasingly ridiculous physical feats such as handstands or arm wrestling matches with other players. I believe it was partially the amusement of seeing these apparently random plotlines play out by the sheer will of luck of the game, which kept a lot of the other players involved. But another important detail to note was that the more laughter a dare generated, the more everyone at the table wanted to continue. The game, however died down when the tower began to fall with more frequency, as it was dull and cumbersome to try and arrange the pieces again from scratch.

About the author

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.