Trial by Wood

Let’s take a moment and examine Jenga.

The Tower serves two major purposes in the game that are only tangentially related to determining who succeeds, who fails, and who is removed from the game.

The first is as a physical representation of the tension and pacing in the game. The Tower sits in the middle of table (or to a reachable side) and looms over the players. It is an ever-present reminder of the impending doom. Both it’s height and instability are clearly visible at all times. And this is even more evident through the sense of touch. The tactile nature of the tower engages the player on a more visceral level.

The second is to use this physical embodiment of tension and work with the player’s fear. For this to happen, the player needs to be invested in their character (something the questionnaire should help in). But if they are invested, each time they reach for that Tower and it twists or shakes, they will feel it like a shock.

Continue reading