Wanna know how to play sudoku? Well, you gotta keep reading then…
Puzzles are like a workout for the brain. They are a perfect pastime to keep you hooked on them for hours and show some amazing cognitive benefits over time.
In the garb of fun-filled activities, solving puzzles helps improve memory, reasoning skills, and mood! After all, who doesn’t enjoy a good puzzle?
One such classic puzzle is sudoku. You might have heard of it from that one sudoku wizard friend who seems hopelessly obsessed with this puzzle and can solve any such puzzle in sight.
But we can vouch that this is an obsession you won’t mind once you get the hang of the puzzle. Solving sudoku puzzles is a gripping activity and requires a lot of logic.
If you are one of those who, inspired by the sudoku wizard friends, get random urges to master this game or someone who has just discovered it and found it interesting, we might have something for you.
Don’t put it off this time. Give in to your urge, learn how to solve, and master the game! Here is a complete guide on playing Sudoku and everything you need to know about this game.
1. The What, When, and Where of Sudoku Puzzle
We have all seen Sudoku puzzles in newspapers, more often than not, just bypassing them to move to the more important news. But this game has a history of its own.
As we know it today, this puzzle was first published in an American puzzle book in 1979 as a 9×9 grid and was called Number Place.
However, the name Sudoku was first used in Japan in the 1980s and rose to popularity in no time. The full Japanese expression of Sudoku (Sūji wa dokushin ni kagiru) states the basic rule of the game: a number can appear only once.
Japanese speakers found a new and equally engrossing alternative to the regular crossword puzzles that weren’t very well suited to their language. To date, Sudoku books and magazines remain among the highest-selling puzzle books.
No looking back after this! The meteoric global popularity achieved by Sudoku puzzles led to them making a place for themselves in every known newspaper and the organization of world championships.
2. The Sudoku Grid
Just like a crossword puzzle, Sudoku is a grid-based game for numbers. The classic Sudoku puzzle is a 9×9 grid filled with numbers in places.
More difficult Sudoku puzzles have more numbers missing from the grid. So if you are a beginner, try picking up a puzzle with more space-filled spaces.
The level of difficulty also depends on the number of squares or cells. There are puzzles with lesser or more squares than your regular 9×9 grid. So a smaller grid is called a Subdoku, while a bigger one is known as Superdoku.
The more challenging puzzles are the ones with more squares. So, Sudoku solver, once you get the hang of the puzzle, make sure to level up regularly and flaunt more advanced techniques and problem-solving skills.
3. Sudoku Rules
Here comes the most important part. After all, what’s a game without proper rules? Read on to find out the main Sudoku rules.
So the rule that forms the whole foundation of a Sudoku puzzle involves the placement of the numbers in each square so that a single number cannot appear more than once in the same column, row, and demarcated square.
Avoiding repetition is the key. Every row and column, as well as the marked regions, must contain all the numbers once. Don’t forget that every puzzle has only one solution. So every time you fill in one of the boxes, it’s either a hit or a miss, with nothing in between!
Now, easy as it might sound, there is a trick to solving such puzzles. While you can always go on a guessing spree and place the missing numbers randomly, the game’s true essence lies in finding the right solution.
So, in a nutshell, one number appears one time in each row, column, and market square. Keep these golden rules in mind, as they will help you later understand how to play Sudoku.
4. More Types of Sudoku Puzzles
Once you become a pro-Sudoku solver and can easily solve the puzzle, you might want to pause and ask, “what now?”
Well, we’ve got you covered. There are several other types of Sudoku puzzles for you to try your hand at after mastery of regular Sudoku puzzles and Superdoku. Let’s take a look at some of the more challenging puzzles.
4.1. Diagonal Sudoku Puzzle
We know by now that the basic rule of Sudoku is that each number should appear only once in every row, column and box.
But in diagonal Sudoku, we place the numbers in the squares so that the two longest diagonals from corner to corner also have every number from one to nine placed just once.
If you are up for more challenges, then here’s what you can try. Diagonal Sudoku puzzles sometimes also have some of the squares in gray colour (also arranged in a diagonal pattern).
As per the rules, along with placing the numbers without repeating in the main diagonals, rows and columns, these gray squares should only contain either odd or even numbers as specified in the instructions.
Such puzzles are known as odd Sudoku or even Sudoku. Now, that’s a sure-shot way to make it EVEN more interesting.
4.2. Irregular Sudoku Puzzle
The basic rule remains the same, and the irregularly shaped regions make this type of Sudoku a quirky and fun activity.
So a classic 9×9 Sudoku grid has nine distinctly marked regions comprising 3×3 squares. Every square is supposed to be filled with a different number.
However, these regions of doesn’t necessarily form a square in the case of an irregular Sudoku puzzle. They can be grouped in any possible way while we have to fill in each square without repeating any number in the group, row and column.
Here’s another quirky one. Instead of squares, an Isosudoku puzzle has hexagonal units in the form of a 9×9 grid divided into 3×3 regions.
As it goes, every number should appear just once in each row, column, and region. But you also have to ensure that no number is repeated either in the longest 9 square-diagonal or in any shorter ones.
4.4. Kropki Sudoku Puzzle
All right, folks. We need your undivided attention and every bit of logic in your possession here. Things are about to get much more complex, so stay with us.
Of course, every row, column, and 3×3 square should have all the numbers from 1-9, with one number appearing just once, but there’s a catch.
This type of puzzle has either black or white dots on some of the lines of the Sudoku grid. A white dot means that the difference between the numbers placed in the two adjacent spaces should be 1.
In the case of a black dot, the number on the adjacent space is half of any of the numbers. Now, what if the possible numbers are 1 and 2? You got all our respect if you managed to solve this one.
4.5. Little Killer and Killer Sudoku Puzzle
One hell of a name, right? These add just the right amount of challenge to your regular Sudoku puzzles.
A little killer Sudoku puzzle has numbers written outside the grid with an arrow. This arrow indicates the direction in which numbers from 1-9 should be added without repeating so that they add up to the number mentioned outside.
In a Killer Sudoku puzzle, we see marked sub-regions along with the 3×3 squares with a corresponding number. Filling in the correct number in each square will result in the numbers of the sub-region adding up to the mentioned number.
4.6. Lucky Seven Sudoku Puzzle
Another mind-blowing type of Sudoku puzzle, the Lucky Seven style of Sudoku, has several groups of squares connected by gray lines and some boxes coloured gray.
Along with avoiding repetition in each row, column, region, AND diagonal, the numbers in the squares joined by gray lines form some series.
Sounds complex, right? But wait! You got some extra help here. As per the rules, only an even number can be placed on a gray square. Hope that helps!
5. How to Solve the Puzzle?
You’re about to learn how to play Sudoku! We know quite a bit about Sudoku by now. So it’s time we jump right into the solving parts. Get the pencil and pick up the puzzle books, newspaper, or piece of paper with the puzzle you could never solve in school.
Once you know the trick to solve this puzzle, there is no way you will arrive at the wrong solution, provided you are attentive enough. What’s more? You won’t require the solved puzzle to check if your solution is correct. It only gets easier if you are doing it right.
Now you must wonder if this process will only require you to guess the numbers and put them in the column. But no. To solve a Sudoku puzzle, every square needs to be filled with much thought.
The magic mantra we have so excited by this time is nothing but the process of elimination. Now that we are clear with the Sudoku rules, you can easily solve the entire puzzle with minimal effort with this one technique.
5.1. Scan the All the Rows
The key to solving the puzzle is finding the right number to fill the boxes (duh!). So let’s go step-by-step. Firstly, we take up each row in groups of three, divided by the marked regions of the large squares.
Look at the first three rows. Do you see the same number that appears in two of them but not in the third? Try to start filling such numbers.
Eliminate the squares in the row with the missing number where it is impossible to place without repetition. To do this, check the corresponding column and region to see where the number appears in other places.
Place the number once you are sure about its placement. Repeat this with the other two row groups as well.
5.2. Scan All the Columns
After dealing with each row like this, it’s time to apply this process of elimination to the columns. Here as well, we take up every column in groups of three.
Find a number that appears in only two of the columns. Check if a certain number fits in a certain space by eliminating the squares where it cannot be placed without repetition.
This will fill up quite a few squares, only helping you solve the rest of the puzzle more easily.
Try to get as many spaces filled as possible by this process. By filling in some numbers, you are eliminating every square in the wrong place for the other numbers.
Start again by checking each column in groups of three. Eliminate every square where the number won’t fit. You will surely find newer common numbers in two of them among the numbers you add.
The same goes for the rows. Check the common numbers and eliminates them. The more spaces you fill, the easier it gets! Continue this process till every single square is filled.
5.4. Keep an Eye Out for Mistakes
As a beginner, you are bound to miss out on some boxes or unintentionally place a number in the wrong square because you skipped a number.
Now that you can play Sudoku, it is recommended that you double-check the filled numbers to avoid confusion later on. Do keep in mind that, as easy as it is to finish the puzzle if you place the right numbers, one wrongly placed number can mess up your flow.
Also, it is quite tedious to trace back the steps to see where you went wrong, and you would have to refer to the solved puzzle. Now, we don’t want that, do we? Therefore, always double-check every entry before moving ahead.
Not just a Sudoku puzzle, we understand that starting with anything new is a taxing process. So here’s something you can do to ease the learning curve.
Before finding the commons in every row and column, you can note down the possible numbers that can be placed in the blank spaces with a pencil.
Along with helping you to solve the puzzle easily, this also prevents you from taking a random guess to get the puzzle solved.
The Bottom Line
Voila! You can play sudoku now! Start with the easy ones and then move on to more difficult puzzles. The more you solve, the better you get at it. Note the difficulty level of the puzzle you solved, and keep track of your achievements!
Now that you know how to play sudoku share this with your friends and ask them to take the prestigious Sudoku puzzle challenge! Don’t forget to share your thoughts about this highly intriguing game with us and leave your feedback on how this article helped you.