I played Jenga a week or so ago, my first play since childhood. My adult gaming mind is curious to know if anyone has done a strategy analysis on the game.
Jenga is something like a NIM game + dexterity. The game starts with a number of layers (let's say X) of which X-1 are accessible for withdrawing a piece, each of which has three pieces. Withdraw a piece and place it on top. After three moves, there are now X+1 layers and the new second layer is now available.
Each time you withdraw a piece you have the following choices:
- Withdraw the center piece from a complete row: no further withdrawals can be made from that row.
- Withdrawn a side piece from a complete row: the other side piece may or may not still be withdrawable, depending on slight center of gravity changes in the layers.
- Withdraw the other side piece from an incomplete row: no further withdrawals can be made from that row, with a caveat. The caveat is that the last and central piece MIGHT be withdrawn if the layers are highly stable and the player is very dexterous.