[Dread] (the Jenga one) Looking for tips and advice

Cosmic Hobo

Madman with a Boxed Set
Validated User
Pick up the Fate Horror Toolkit. It’s an excellent resource for running horror games. As are the GURPS books Horror and Mysteries.

Others have mentioned Jenga stories and intricate playing card alternatives, but the game (Dread) is designed for a failure / tower fall every 35-55 pulls. People with no or insane Jenga skills skew that baseline, as do overly complicated card alternatives. The simplest playing card hack is to use a full deck and randomly place a joker in the bottom 1/4 of the deck. It’s not as viscerally intense as the Jenga tower, but I’ve seen people go into full-on panic attacks because of the tower. It can be incredibly not fun.

If you get a failure early, just ghost the character. They’re still involved, but they can’t make any pulls. Their fate is sealed and you can kill them whenever. But it’s also excruciatingly dull to be the awkward player who sits out 90% of the session because of an early fail.

Tricksy and False

Social Justice Murderhobo
RPGnet Member
Validated User
The first time I ran Dread, my players managed to create a high, wobbly tower without knocking it down the entire game. They had a lot of fun "winning" the scenario with no deaths, but I admit I was disappointed. In the final acts of your scenario, if the tower hasn't fallen yet, escalate the number of pulls you require to 2 or 3.


Registered User
Validated User
If you go by some horror tropes, its only a lone person survives the deranged killer. So maybe flip the Dread rules and the person who causes the tower to fall near the end is this lone survivor and the rest of the group is dead. Do this closing scene where each person can haunt/visit the traumatized survivor on their way to whatever media circus or sanatorium awaits them in the future.


... with only a hatchet and a flashbang.
RPGnet Member
Validated User
"I've heard of one GM having two towers, so if one did fall there was little delay getting back into the game (since they didn't have to rebuild the first tower)."

By your leave, I'll file that away for future reference... (y):giggle:
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