Jenga

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Abstract

Jenga is a popular block game played by two players. Each player in her turn has to remove a block from a stack, without toppling the stack, and then add it the top of the stack. We analyze the game mathematically and describe the optimal strategies of both players. We show that 'physics', that seems to play a dominant role in this game, does not really add much to the complexity of the (idealized) game, and that Jenga is, in fact, a Nim-like game. In particular, we show that a game that starts with n full layers of blocks is a win for the first player if and only if n = 2, or n = 1,2 (mod 3) and n ≥ 4. We also suggest some several natural extensions of the game.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 13th Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms, SODA 2002
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Pages243-246
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)089871513X
StatePublished - 2002
Event13th Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms, SODA 2002 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 6 Jan 20028 Jan 2002

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms
Volume06-08-January-2002

Conference

Conference13th Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms, SODA 2002
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco
Period6/01/028/01/02

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