WHAT’S the secret to inventing a game that becomes a household name?

Former Taunton School student Leslie Scott knows the answer – simplicity.

Leslie invented the phenomenally successful Jenga and has now released a book, About Jenga, telling the history of the game and dissecting its success – with a few handy hints along the way.

She spoke to the County Gazette about how Jenga came about and why it was still such a hit across the world 27 years on.

She said: “We always played games in our family and it came from playing with my brother’s building blocks.

“He was a lot younger, only about five, and we used to set up the blocks and play as a family.

“It was only when I moved to Oxford I realised this wasn’t something everyone did.”

So Leslie set about protecting and marketing the game.

“I had it copyrighted for the first year but then it got very expensive – just as I couldn’t afford it,” she added.

“So I had the name trademarked, which is a good way to protect yourself.”

Leslie, who was born and raised in Africa, named the game Jenga – meaning “to build” in Swahili.

She first created the game in 1983, producing and selling it herself, before it was picked up by a Canadian toy firm in 1986.

Leslie spent five years boarding at Taunton School and has fond memories of the town.

She said: “My business partner still lives in Somerset so I do get to come down now and then.

“But it’s strange seeing Taunton and how much it has grown. It’s very different now.

“What now is Brazz used to be a very basic greasy café and we all used to sneak out of school and meet there.

“So it’s strange seeing it look so nice now!

“For a long time Taunton is all I knew of England and it’s still what I think of when I think of England.”

Leslie, who splits her time between Oxford and Africa with her zoologist husband and two children, has created around 40 other games and is the co-founder of Oxford Games Ltd.