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How KAMBA didn’t get its name

The wooden block stacking game ‘Jenga’ was created and launched by an impressive British woman called Leslie Scott. Leslie spent part of her childhood in East Africa where the local language is Swahili. And a little appreciated aspect of the name ‘Jenga’ is that ‘Jenga’ is the Swahili word for ‘build’.

KAMBA is also a Swahili word, it means rope, string or cord. There is definitely an element of this in my new party game: i.e. Everyone metaphorically roped together around the table, in a riotous chain of crazily circulating cards.


But this isn’t the primary reason why I called the game KAMBA:

How KAMBA got its name

My super-supportive family have played KAMBA almost endlessly: From its beginnings as a mere gem of an idea, through to its fun-filled finished format. And I wanted to find a way to recognise their support, patience and general awesomeness.

There are five of us in my immediate family and I took the first initial of each of our names. Then I jumbled them up several times and eventually arranged our initials into the word KAMBA. When I googled it and discovered the Swahili-rope-connection, it felt like it was meant to be. And so it is!

When I meet people who love my first party game (“Articulate!”), sometimes they will tell me “that’s our family game”. Having named my second party game KAMBA after my own family, I’m going to borrow that phrase and claim that KAMBA is in every sense, “our family game”. (Although we love a good game of “Articulate!” too). But we're happy to share: We would love it if you made KAMBA your family game too!

I have invited my family to compose posts for this blog so that you can get their take on all things KAMBA. I have my leg pulled a fair bit and I think you’ll be hearing their points of view before long. Especially K and M – who may opt to have a lot of fun at my expense...


Stay tuned !!

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