Board game reviews, news and commentary.
Tenzi Review (Thrift Sift)
Thrift Sift
Updated: Monday, Feb 1, 2016
Year 2011
Age Range 7+
# of Players 2-4
Length 0-5 minutes
Rules Comprehension
Replay Value
Price / Value
Fun Factor*
Weighted Score

Hello, I’m Chaz Marler from Pair Of Dice Paradise, and welcome to Thrift Sift, the series about board games that I pick up second-hand because they look interesting, bizarre, or a combination of both. Now, usually the games featured on Thrift Sift boggle my mind, but today I am in for a treat, because I’ll be taking a look at the dice game TENZI, which is currently rated 4.7 out of 5 stars on! That’s the same rating Pandemic: Legacy has! So, this episode should be a breeze! I can’t wait to take a look at TENZI. Today, on Thrift Sift.

When I came across the game TENZI, I was skeptical. I mean, to the untrained eye, it may just appear to be a tube of overpriced dice. That’s why I decided that I needed a second opinion. So, I turned to the internet to do some reasearch on it. And soon, I discovered its 439 reviews on, with an average rating of 4.7. Wow! That’s the same rating as Pandemic Legacy, which is currently the number one board game on Board Game With this internet endorsement fresh in my mind, I decided it was time to dive into TENZI, which I did by first looking at its components.

TENZI comes complete with: forty 16 millimeter dice, ... um… plastic rectangular tube, tube lid, adhesive label, instruction, instruction serviette ring, a slight feeling of confused disappointment.

Yes, while TENZI may appear to be just a tube of dice, that’s just because I haven’t yet unlocked the fun contained within these components. To discover the joy awaiting within this cluster of cubes, let’s turn our attention to the gameplay instructions…instruction.

To play TENZI, each player starts with ten dice. And then the players simultaneously roll them. And then they reroll some of them. And then this continues until someone’s dice are all the same number. And then that person wins. And then everyone wins, because the game is over.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m all for simple games. But there’s virtually no decisions for the players to make in this game. Other games, like Tumblin’ Dice, Incan Gold, heck even Connect Four are simple games that still allow the players to make decisions that affect the game’s outcome. But, this seems like just mindlessly rolling a bunch of dice. Like a game that you’d make up in fourth grade while sitting in the waiting room at the dentist office.

Alright, perhaps I’m biased. So, wanting to give this game the benefit of the doubt, I played TENZI with people ranging in age from 6 to 56. A bunch of different people. And that wasn’t on purpose. I had to try this game with a lot of different people because absolutely everybody refused to play it a second time.

So, the only place left for me to turn for a second opinion was the comments in the game’s online reviews. After all, we all know that internet comment sections are bastions of rational thought, right? Alright Amazon, educate me with your insight:

A period followed by a space followed by another period rated this five stars in part because, “It's great for younger kids to practice math.”

No it’s not. There’s no arithmetic in this game! You just roll numbers and look at them. Looking at numbers isn’t math. It’s just observation. Observation isn’t math!

Game Fan’s five star review celebrates, “Finally a game that doesn’t take hours to play!”

Hours to play? This game doesn’t take MINUTES to play! Yet every second I’ve spent enduring this game is time I could have spent doing something else… like not playing TENZI.

Lauri R’s five star review includes the recommendation that, since you can “only 4 can play at a time, consider buying two sets.”

Oh my goodness! How many people are you holding a grudge against, Lauri? And why have you chosen TENZI as your method of revenge?

Amazon Customer rates TENZI five stars because “the creativity is endless”.

(Shot of the dice on the table, cough sound) What planet am I on?!?

S. E. Giberman suggest, “Part of the attraction to this game was the colorful look of it.”

Okay, ignoring the fact that you can buy 100 16 millimeter dice online for about half the price as a copy of TENZI (allowing you to play with up to ten people simultaneously, Lauri!), and that the packaging misleadingly suggests that there’s not only more substance to this game (“There’s more to it than that.” No, not really. That’s pretty much it. Quit getting my hopes up, adhesive label!), and that the packaging also suggests that it includes more dice (look at all the extra space, why there must be 150 more dice in there. Nope, just a slip of paper. Quit lying to me, container! ...sinner.), and that TENZI isn’t even a real word, it’s jibberish! (I looked it up!)

Ignoring all those things, the simple fact is that this game involves the same amount of decision making as channel surfing. (No. No. No. No. Ooh, Beakman’s World.) At least with that, your efforts are rewarded by getting to watch a guy in a rat suit be wrong about science for thirty minutes.

So, that’s TENZI. If you’ve ever shaken a jar of mixed nuts to make your favorite ones sift to the top, then you’ve played TENZI. If you’re looking for a family-friendly game that actually involves some interactivity and decision making, I suggest rolling by TENZI and giving Tumblin’ Dice, Incan Gold, King Of Tokyo, SpyFall or Hey, That’s My Fish a try instead.

Thanks for joining me on this Thrift Sift! And for more board game news, reviews and commentary, I wouldn’t mind at all if you clicked that lovely little subscribe button. And, if you’re feeling especially bold, be sure to follow Pair Of Dice Paradise and The Dice Tower on Twitter and Facebook too for more fun and surprises. And until the next episode, thanks, and I’ll see you next time!
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