What Is Sudoku Game? | The Basics Explained

Ever wondered – What is Sudoku game? Learn the basics of sudoku and get tips to become a pro at solving them in no time.

What Is Sudoku Game?

Are you looking for a way to boost your creativity and problem-solving skills? Look no further than Sudoku—a classic puzzle game that has captivated players around the world since its debut in 1979. 

At first glance, it may seem like a daunting challenge but give it some time and effort and you’ll soon discover why so many are enchanted by this number-placement logic puzzle! In this blog post, we’ll explore what makes Sudoku such an addicting yet satisfying brain teaser. 

We’ll discuss its fascinating history, rules of play, strategies for success, plus all the wonderful things it can do for your cognitive health. So let’s dive right in and start our journey into discovering – What is Sudoku game.

What Is Sudoku Game: The Popular Number-Placement Puzzle

Sudoku, a logic-based number-placement puzzle, is known for its addictive challenge. The objective is simple: fill a 9×9 grid with digits, making sure that each column, each row, and each of the nine 3×3 subgrids contain all the numbers from 1 to 9. 

With a partially completed grid provided by the puzzle setter, you’ll have the exciting task of finding a single solution.

Believe it or not, variations of Sudoku were featured in French newspapers as early as the 19th century. It wasn’t until 1986, however, that the modern Sudoku gained widespread popularity thanks to the puzzle company Nikoli. 

Published under the name “Sudoku,” meaning “single number,” it quickly captivated puzzle enthusiasts. 

It made its way to the U.S. newspaper circuit and even The Times (London) in 2004, all thanks to Wayne Gould, who developed a computer program for generating unique puzzles at lightning speed. 

With its origins and rise to fame, Sudoku has become a beloved pastime that tests logic and problem-solving skills.

History and Evolution of Sudoku Puzzles


In the late 19th century, number puzzles began to emerge in newspapers. French puzzle setters started experimenting with magic squares and removing numbers from them. 

One notable puzzle, published in Le Siècle on November 19, 1892, featured a partially completed 9×9 magic square with 3×3 subsquares. Although it wasn’t exactly a Sudoku, it shared key characteristics, such as having each row, column, and subsquare add up to the same number.

Fast forward to July 6, 1895, when La France, a rival newspaper, refined the puzzle further, creating a version that closely resembled modern Sudoku. They called it “carré magique diabolique” or the “diabolical magic square”. 

This version simplified the 9×9 magic square puzzle by using only the numbers 1-9 in each row, column, and broken diagonal lines. 

Although the subsquares were not explicitly marked, each 3×3 subsquare indeed contained the numbers 1-9. The introduction of the additional constraint on the broken diagonals resulted in a unique solution.

These Sudoku-like puzzles became a regular feature in French newspapers, such as L’Écho de Paris, for about a decade.

Unfortunately, the popularity of these puzzles faded during World War I and disappeared from newspapers. However, their legacy lived on, and the Sudoku that we know today emerged from these early predecessors.

Modern Sudoku

Howard Garns, the brilliant mind behind the earliest known examples of Sudoku, crafted this addictive game in 1979. Despite his retirement as an architect, Garns continued to challenge puzzle enthusiasts with his ingenious creations.

Sadly, Garns never witnessed the global phenomenon his Sudoku would become, as he passed away in 1989. However, his legacy lives on as we unravel the story of Sudoku’s journey to prominence.

Enter Maki Kaji, president of the renowned Nikoli puzzle company, who introduced Sudoku to Japan in April 1984. Published in the esteemed Monthly Nikolist, the puzzle captivated readers with its elegant simplicity. 

The name “Sūji wa dokushin ni kagiru,” meaning “the digits must be single,” perfectly encapsulated the essence of this mind-boggling game.

Over time, the name was shortened to Sudoku, becoming a trademark in Japan. Today, you may also know it as Number Place or simply Num(ber) Pla(ce). 

With its rise in popularity, Nikoli revolutionized Sudoku in 1986 by imposing a maximum of 32 given numbers and introducing symmetrical puzzles with rotations.

Now, Sudoku graces the pages of prestigious Japanese periodicals like the Asahi Shimbun, captivating readers of all ages. 

Embark on an exhilarating journey through the world of modern Sudoku as we explore its origins and evolution. Prepare to be astounded by the complexity and simplicity of this timeless puzzle phenomenon.

The Global Phenomenon

In 1997, a Hong Kong judge named Wayne Gould stumbled upon a puzzle in a Japanese bookshop. Intrigued, he spent the next six years developing a computer program to create unique puzzles quickly. 

Recognizing the rich history of puzzle publication in British newspapers, Gould pitched his creation, Sudoku, to The Times. 

On November 12, 2004, the newspaper launched Sudoku (or Su Doku as it was initially called), and it didn’t take long for the puzzle to capture the interest of readers across the nation.

The rapid rise of Sudoku in Britain was nothing short of remarkable. From relative obscurity to front-page news, the puzzle became a regular feature in national newspapers, attracting media commentary and even inspiring parody. 

The Guardian’s G2 section, for example, proclaimed itself as the first supplement to feature a Sudoku grid on every page.

Recognizing the varying appeal of easy and difficult puzzles, The Times introduced both versions on June 20, 2005. Furthermore, Sudoku’s popularity expanded beyond print media. 

Channel 4 included a daily Sudoku game in their Teletext service, and on August 2, the BBC’s program guide Radio Times showcased a weekly Super Sudoku featuring a 16×16 grid.

In the United States, The Conway Daily Sun of New Hampshire became the first newspaper to publish a Sudoku puzzle by Wayne Gould in 2004.

The Sudoku craze even made its way to television. On July 1, 2005, Sky One aired the world’s first live TV Sudoku show called Sudoku Live. Hosted by Carol Vorderman, the show featured nine teams competing to solve puzzles, with one celebrity on each team. 

The grand prize winner, Phil Kollin of Winchelsea, England, took home a significant cash prize. Meanwhile, viewers participated in an interactive competition, which was won by Hannah Withey of Cheshire.

The success of Sudoku on TV prompted the BBC to launch SUDO-Q, a game show that combined Sudoku with general knowledge. However, this show focused on 4×4 and 6×6 puzzles and only lasted four seasons before ending in 2007.

The Sudoku phenomenon didn’t stop with traditional media. In 2006, a Sudoku website published a tribute song to the puzzle, created by songwriter Peter Levy. The song gained so much popularity that it had to be taken down due to heavy traffic. 

Broadcasters in the UK and Australia picked up the song, and the Japanese Embassy even nominated it for an award. Levy had discussions with Sony in Japan about releasing the song as a single.

Sudoku also found its way into the digital realm. It became incredibly popular on PCs, websites, and mobile phones. The game was included in various Linux distributions and was released on video game consoles like the Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable, and Game Boy Advance. 

Sudoku even made its way onto e-readers like the Nook and Kindle Fire, as well as several iPod and iPhone models. Just two weeks after the launch of the App Store on Apple’s iTunes Store in 2008, there were already nearly 30 different Sudoku games available for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

One of the most notable video games featuring Sudoku is Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day! The game praised for its Sudoku puzzles, sold over 8 million copies worldwide and prompted the creation of a sequel, Brain Age2, with over 100 new Sudoku puzzles.

Sudoku’s popularity even had unexpected consequences. In June 2008, an Australian jury trial worth over A$1 million had to be aborted when it was revealed that several jurors had been playing Sudoku instead of paying attention to the evidence.

From its humble beginnings in a Japanese bookshop, Sudoku has spread like wildfire, captivating puzzle enthusiasts from all corners of the globe. 

Its journey from Japan to Britain, the United States, and beyond is a testament to the enduring appeal of this addictive and intellectually stimulating game.

Master Sudoku with Three Essential Rules

Master Sudoku with Three Essential Rules

Learn the key rules of Sudoku and become a pro at solving this popular number puzzle game. With just three rules to follow, you’ll be able to strategically fill in the cells and conquer any Sudoku puzzle like a pro.

Rule #1: Each row holds the numbers 1-9 exactly once

Start by visualizing the Sudoku grid as a 9×9 layout, with rows running from left to right. Your goal is to place the numbers 1-9 into the empty cells of each row, ensuring that no number is repeated.

Rule #2: Each column houses the numbers 1-9 exactly once

Similar to the rows, the columns of the Sudoku grid play a crucial role. Fill each column with the numbers 1-9, making sure that there are no duplicates in any column.

Rule #3: Each 3×3 box encompasses the numbers 1-9 exactly once

Focus on the smaller 3×3 subregions, known as “boxes.” Each box must contain the numbers 1-9, without repeating any number. By mastering this rule, along with the first two, you’ll guarantee a unique solution for every row, column, and box.

Embrace these three vital rules and experience the satisfaction of solving Sudoku. No need to worry about diagonal lines, as the two 9-cell diagonals do not require the numbers 1-9 to be present.

Sudoku is a challenging yet enjoyable puzzle that requires logical thinking and attention to detail. With these rules by your side, you’ll be able to successfully solve any Sudoku puzzle and enjoy the sense of accomplishment that comes with completing it.

Strategies for Success in Sudoku

Strategies for Success in Sudoku

Now that you understand the rules of Sudoku and how they shape the game, let’s explore some key strategies to effectively solve Sudoku puzzles. By following these strategies, you’ll not only improve your solving skills but also develop a deeper appreciation for the game.

Avoid Repeating Numbers

The number one rule in Sudoku is to never repeat a number in the same row, column, or 3×3 box. When placing a number in the grid, make sure it doesn’t clash with any existing numbers in its respective row, column, or box.

Eliminate Guesswork

Every Sudoku puzzle has a unique solution, meaning each cell should contain only one number. While you may have multiple options for a cell initially, there’s always one correct number that fits.

Utilize the Power of Elimination

Before placing a number in a cell, use a thorough process of elimination to narrow down the possibilities. Only place a number in a cell when all other options have been eliminated, and there’s only one number left that can fit.

Master the Art of Pencil Marking

Learning how to effectively use pencil marks is a crucial skill in Sudoku solving. It involves making small notations in empty cells to keep track of possible numbers, crossing off eliminated options as you progress.

What’s Next?

Now that you know the rules and strategies for playing Sudoku, it’s time to test your skills by solving some puzzles. Remember, solving Sudoku puzzles is the best way to enhance your abilities and become a better player. To further assist you on your Sudoku journey, we’ve compiled a list of helpful tips and tricks. Click the button below to access the list.

It’s important to note that Sudoku puzzles come in varying difficulty levels. Some can be solved through simple elimination techniques, while others require more advanced strategies. Once you feel comfortable with the basics, challenge yourself by learning these techniques and tackling harder puzzles.

Good luck, and enjoy the captivating world of Sudoku!

Variations of Sudoku

Grid sizes and region shapes 

While the 9×9 grid with 3×3 regions is the most common, there are many other exciting options available. Challenge yourself with 4×4 grids and 2×2 regions, or try your hand at Logi-5 puzzles with pentomino regions. 

The World Puzzle Championship offers unique experiences with a 6×6 grid and 2×3 regions, or a 7×7 grid with six heptomino regions and a disjoint region. 

If you’re feeling ambitious, larger grids are also an option, as well as puzzles with irregular shapes like Suguru, Tectonic, or Jigsaw Sudoku. The Times presents the captivating Dodeka Sudoku, a 12×12 grid with 12 regions of 4×3 squares. 

For those seeking a real challenge, Dell Magazines offers the Number Place Challenger with 16×16 grids using numbers or letters. And for truly epic endeavors, Nikoli invites you to tackle Sudoku the Giant, a colossal 25×25 puzzle! 

Plus, dive into the history books with the legendary Sudoku-zilla, a mind-boggling 100×100 grid puzzle published in 2010.

Mini Sudoku

Discover the engaging world of Mini Sudoku, a captivating 6×6 variant with 3×2 regions that has taken the American newspaper USA Today and beyond by storm. While the objective remains the same as that of traditional Sudoku, Mini Sudoku presents a unique challenge by utilizing only the numbers 1 through 6.

But the fun doesn’t stop there. For our younger puzzle enthusiasts, we proudly introduce “The Junior Sudoku,” a delightful version specially designed to entertain and stimulate young minds. Look out for it in select editions of The Daily Mail and other newspapers.

Experience the thrill of solving puzzles in a new and exciting way with Mini Sudoku and Junior Sudoku. It’s time to elevate your Sudoku skills and embark on a captivating journey of logic and problem-solving.

Adding more rules to the game

One popular variation is to introduce additional restrictions on number placement in Sudoku puzzles. These restrictions go beyond the usual requirements of rows, columns, and boxes. 

A common variation is to include an extra “dimension” where the numbers in the main diagonals of the grid must also be unique. This variant is often seen in puzzles like the “Number Place Challenger” and the Sudoku X puzzles found in The Daily Mail, which feature 6×6 grids.

Different Symbols

Discover a whole new world of Sudoku with the option to replace the traditional digits 1 to 9 with unique and intriguing symbols. Whether you choose geometric shapes, Roman numerals, or letters, the essence of the puzzle remains unchanged.

Want to take it up a notch? Try Wordoku, a variant that incorporates letters into the grid. Some versions, like the one found in TV Guide Magazine, even include a hidden word along a diagonal, row, or column. Uncover this additional challenge and enhance your problem-solving skills.

Don’t limit yourself to just one word – a Wordoku can surprise you with multiple hidden words for an extra layer of complexity.

Unleash your creativity and dive into the world of Sudoku with different symbols. It’s time to elevate your puzzle-solving experience.

Hyper Sudoku/ Windoku

 Introducing Hyper Sudoku, also known as Windoku – a captivating twist on the classic Sudoku puzzle. Picture a 9×9 grid with four vibrant blue quadrants intersecting at square spaces. Some spaces are already filled with numbers, while others await your solving skills.

Invented by Peter Ritmeester and first published in October 2005, this variant takes the beloved Sudoku format and adds four additional interior regions. Within these regions, the numbers 1-9 must appear exactly once, providing an even greater challenge for puzzle enthusiasts.

Renowned for its brilliance, Hyper Sudoku made its appearance in Will Shortz’s Favorite Sudoku Variations in February 2006. It has since captured the attention of puzzle enthusiasts worldwide. With its four shaded interior regions, Windoku resembles a window with elegant glazing bars, adding a visually appealing twist to the puzzle-solving experience.

Prepare yourself for an exciting journey through the world of Hyper Sudoku/Windoku – a puzzle that sharpens your logical thinking while providing endless hours of brain-teasing fun.

Twin Sudoku

Experience the thrill of Twin Sudoku, where two regular grids come together to form a unique challenge. In this captivating variation, a 3×3 box is shared by both grids, creating a fascinating overlap.

While the rules for each grid remain the same as in traditional Sudoku, the digits in the overlapping section are shared by both halves. This adds a whole new layer of complexity and strategy to the game.

Prepare for a true test of your puzzle-solving skills. In some compositions, neither individual grid can be solved alone. The complete solution can only be achieved after each grid has been partially solved. It’s a brain teaser like no other.

Dive into the world of Twin Sudoku and discover a fresh take on the beloved game. Are you up for the challenge?

Others variants

Experience a whole new level of Sudoku with these exciting variants! Explore puzzles that combine multiple grids, like the Gattai 5 Sudoku and Samurai Sudoku. The Sunday editions of The Baltimore Sun and Toronto Star feature the intriguing High Five Sudoku. Discover sequential grids and challenge yourself to transfer values between them.

If you prefer a physical experience, try the tabletop version of Sudoku with a standard 81-card Set deck. For a three-dimensional twist, solve the Tredoku puzzle from The Times or the Sudoku Cube inspired by the Rubik’s Cube.

Venture into a world of endless possibilities with various Sudoku variants. Encounter unique grid arrangements like butterflies, windmills, and flowers. Test your skills with different solving logic, such as the Greater Than Sudoku. Explore the fascinating Clueless Sudoku, where grids are placed in a 3×3 array, leaving a blank center cell for a tenth puzzle.

Ready for a challenge? Dive into the Sudoku Slide Extreme, where you combine sliding tile puzzles with Sudoku. Solve each position and utilize power-ups in the campaign mode. Discover even more examples and variants in the Glossary of Sudoku.

Get ready to enhance your Sudoku experience and conquer these captivating puzzles!


Sudoku is a unique and educational game that can enhance your problem-solving skills and mental acuity. Why not take some time out of your day to work on one of these puzzles? 

It’s an enthralling activity for both adults and children alike, so why not get the whole family involved in solving Sudoku? Who knows, you might end up having even more fun than you ever imagined! 

It’s okay if you have trouble at first – the important thing is that you challenge yourself and learn something new. So why wait? Try a game of Sudoku today!

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How to Play the Game Sudoku?

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