Jenga was invented by British student Leslie Scott, who had spent her childhood in Africa playing with a set of locally made building blocks. She brought the game to England in the 1970s and introduced it to her friends at Oxford University. She called the game ‘jenga’ which means ‘build’ in Swahili. She started selling the game and took out copyright on the rules. Jenga was promoted in the United States by Robert Grebler and was first manufactured there by Milton Bradley (now part of Hasbro) in 1987.

Each Jenga set has 54 wooden blocks. Each block is three times as long as it is wide, and is slightly smaller in height than in depth. The blocks are stacked in a tower and each storey consists of three blocks. Each alternate storey is laid in a crosswise direction. There are 18 storeys in a Jenga tower. The person who builds the tower moves first by removing one block from any storey below the highest one and placing it on the top. Each player then follows suit and play continues until someone causes the tower to collapse. The aim is to make the tower as high as possible. The tallest tower on record made with Jenga blocks was forty storeys high.