While it can be a challenging game, learning how to play Sudoku is easy and can be accomplished by anyone. Sudoku is a fun brain-teasing exercise and one of the main benefits of this hobby is that it keeps your mind sharp. This helps with overall health and wellness, as well as with vitality and mental clarity. It has been long known that games that exercise the mind can help aid in memory function as well.
In addition to keeping your mind sharp, Sudoku is also a great way to relax and unwind. The really nice part about learning how to play Sudoku is that you can take your Sudoku puzzles anywhere. While it is usually a one-person hobby, this highly addictive game can still provide ample opportunities to meet others who share the same interest and passion in Sudoku.
The History Of Sudoku
The game of Sudoku is a number placement puzzle game that was first introduced in France in the late 1800’s. While the game remained quite popular with the French for decades, its popularity decreased dramatically around World War II when newspapers discontinued the printing of game boards in newspapers. The game was reintroduced in the United States and Asia in the early 1980’s and gained worldwide popularity and an incredible following in the early 21st century.
Now, Sudoku can be found in magazines and newspapers galore. Even though it has a rich history, there are new games and versions being created every day. This constant evolution the puzzles makes it new and exciting no matter how long you play it. Since numbers are universal, it is also a hobby that can transcend country and language divisions, allowing you to engage with people from different cultures and backgrounds while learning how to play Sudoku.
Did You Know?
- There are 6 sextillion possible puzzles, but only 5,472,730,538 of them are valid (when reduced to essentially different solutions) – you’d need a few lifetimes to solve them all!
- The first World Sudoku championship was held in Italy in 2006.
- A well-formed Sudoku puzzle is one that has only a single unique solution.
Getting Started With Sudoku
The Sudoku game board consists of a square grid with 9 rows and 9 columns, for a total of 81 squares. The game is also broken into 9 smaller grids with rows and columns of three boxes. When starting the puzzle, about a third of the boxes will be filled in with a number. From there, it is the player’s responsibility to fill in the rest of the numbers while following the rules of the game.
When learning how to play Sudoku, the rules are fairly simple. The fundamental rules require each row, column, and small 3×3 grid (each of which will contain 9 boxes) to each contain one number ranging from 1 through 9. Also, in each row, column, or small 3×3 grid, no number can be duplicated, so each number will be used once in each segment of the board.
Learning how to play Sudoku takes little preparation and can be played by anyone at any location for almost no cost. All that is needed to play the game is a Sudoku grid, a pencil or pen, and maybe a piece of scratch paper for notes. Sudoku grids and games can be found in a wide variety of publications. Many newspapers and magazines across the world will routinely contain a few different puzzles in their games and entertainment section. When playing the game in a newspaper or magazine, most players will have to wait until the next issue comes out to receive the solution.
For those who are looking for access to more puzzles when learning how to play Sudoku, there are a few options. Most bookstores and magazine stands will also sell Sudoku puzzle books. These books often contain hundreds of puzzles, which range in difficulty, as well as including the solutions to the puzzles. Playing online is another great option for learning how to play Sudoku. There are various websites that contain thousands of puzzles and can be played for free. Online Sudoku websites provide a player with the solution instantly and often contain a feature that provides a player with free hints throughout the game.
How To Play Sudoku
Find a source for your Sudoku games. Your choices include:
- A newspaper or magazine game
- An online game
- A book of games
The benefit of online gaming is that you can search for games that are specifically geared to your own individual skill level. Answers and help are also readily available – especially useful for beginners learning how to play Sudoku.
Begin filling in the game area. Most players fall into one of two categories: those who fill in a section at a time and those who move all across the game space, filling in numbers as they go. No matter how you choose to play, it is best to check your work as you go to make sure that you are not duplicating numbers.
If you can, take a number at a time and try to see all the slots where that number can fit. The more numbers you can narrow down in this way, the easier the game will become. If you want more of a challenge, consider timing yourself to see how quickly you can complete the game.
Once you have completed the game, you may want to look over your work to learn how the game was set up. Understanding the different ways that the games can be structured will help you unlock future, more difficult games.
Sudoku Tips and Tricks
The following tips and tricks can help you get the most out of learning how to play Sudoku…
- Determine which number will not fit in a specific square. When playing the game, the whole point is to determine which number fits in which square. By figuring out which numbers will not fit in a specific square, you can eliminate options and more easily narrow down the possible numbers.
- Try solving where a number goes as opposed to filling in a square. All players should recognize that each number from 1 through 9 will need to be placed 9 times on the board. Sometimes it is easier to fill in the board by trying to place each number, as opposed to aiming to fill in a specific square or row of squares. Once you have determined all nine of the spots for a specific number, filling in the rest of the board is easier.
- If you need hints consistently, consider playing games online, where hints and help are more readily available.
- Timing yourself can add another dimension of difficulty and competition to the hobby. Some find that timing the game helps improve their concentration as well.
Expanding Your Sudoku Hobby
While Sudoku is a rather straightforward (straightforward, we didn’t say simple!) game, there are ways to expand the hobby and make it more fun and engaging. The best way to grow your Sudoku skills is to start with the easiest puzzles and over time build your way to the higher skill levels. Once you’ve mastered the basics of how to play Sudoku, the following ideas are ways you can take your game-play to the next level…
- As you continue to develop your skills, it could be a good idea to start timing yourself and attempt to beat your own records.
- When playing online, game play can become more competitive as your times to complete the puzzle will be matched up against other players from around the world.
- Find a playing partner with whom you can compete by both doing the same puzzles to see who can finish them first.
- Try writing your own game sequences
Related Sudoku Resources:
The following online resources provide more information about how to play Sudoku…
WebSudoku – Website that offers free Sudoku puzzles with different difficulty levels. The site also has a forum where you can share tips with other Sudoku gamers.
Dialy SuDoku – Another website that provides free puzzles and a tool for creating your own game grids.
Sudoku Tips – Interactive site that showcases free games and a wealth of tips on Sudoku rules and solving puzzles.
Related YouTube Videos
Check out the following videos to learn even more about starting this hobby.