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50 Great Puzzle Types to Challenge Your Brain With

The best challenging puzzle games

Nothing like a good workout! And your brain also needs one once in a while, or let’s make that every day. It might look like you’re just playing, but every time you put your mind to solving a puzzle you’re forcing your brain to work hard and this is a very good way of keeping it sharp.

Let’s have a look at some of the most famous puzzles ever invented. How many did you play?




Acrostic Puzzle

This game is a combination between a word puzzle and a crossword puzzle. Invented back in 1934, acrostic is played by first guessing at some clues, just as you’d do in a crossword puzzle. The next step is to identify the letters that correspond to each a number and use them to decode a phrase. These addictive puzzles are sometimes called crostics, anacrostics, double-crostics or even triple-crostics, depending on their complexity.

Anagram Puzzle

One of the easiest and most entertaining word games ever. Anagram will have you rack your brains trying to come up with another word or short phrase that uses all the letters in a given word/phrase, but in a different order. It’s a great game to exercise your vocabulary, either on your own or the fun way, with a group of friends. The first who comes up with a valid anagram scores one point.

Back from the Klondike Puzzle

Nothing to do with the famous Klondike Solitaire. It’s not a card game, but a classical and extremely challenging puzzle. Back from the Klondike resembles a labyrinth, if you want, and you have to find your way out starting from the middle. Instead of paths, you have to use the numbers on the squares to tell you how many steps you are allowed to make. Do you think you can make it out?

Ball-in-a-maze Puzzle

This is what is called a dexterity puzzle and it looks more like a child’s toy. The classical Ball-in-a-maze puzzle is made out of wood and the goal is to guide one or more steel balls to the center navigating through the labyrinth. You can do this by tilting the board itself or in some variants you use little knobs to steer the ball. And, yes, there are also digital versions of this classical puzzle.

Burr Puzzle

Think of a construction game if you like, as the Burr puzzle uses interlocking pieces to build a model, and there are enough models to keep to keep you scratching your head for hours. The traditional Burr puzzle has pieces made out of notched wood sticks or blocks, but modern sets have plastic or metalic pieces. The original game only had six wooden sticks you had to put together, but modern variants have dozens of blocks and the models are quite complex.

Puzzle video games

You could probably spend the rest of your life solving the incredible amount of puzzles available on the Internet and still not go through all of them. To solve any of these puzzles you need to use logic, pattern recognition and sometimes test your thinking and memorizing skills to the limits. Some of the most popular puzzle video games require matching pieces together by shape, size or color, finding a hidden object or simply fitting the pieces together to create an image.

Cross Sums aka Kakuro Puzzle

The Kakuro puzzle looks pretty much like a traditional crossword puzzle, only instead of letters you use numbers. It looks like a normal grid with black and white cells, but instead of word clues you have sums. The numbers in each line or column must add up to the number printed at the top. Given that you have to have the correct sum both horizontally and vertically, that’s pretty challenging. In Japan, Kakuro puzzles are almost as popular as Sudoku.

Crossword Puzzle

Timeless fun. The old crossword puzzle your grandpa used to solve in the Sunday paper has successfully adapted to the digital era and remains as strong as ever. People love doing crossword puzzles as it’s a great way of testing your knowledge on many different topics. A traditional crossword puzzle consists of a grid with white cells, each line and column dotted by the occasional black square to mark the end of a word. The player gets a set of clues and has to fill the grid with the solution to each of these word puzzles.

 Cryptic Crossword Puzzle

Cryptic clues take the traditional crossword puzzle to a whole new level.It’s not just about filling in the grid, the clues themselves are a sort of puzzle, that’s why this puzzle is called cryptic. The clue is not a definition, but a cryptic reference which might or might not contain an anagram for the solution word as well as some form of word play.

Cryptogram Puzzle

This is a type of puzzle that uses a cypher you need to discover to get to the solution. Not quite the Enigma code, but close enough as cyphers were originally used to encrypt sensitive military or political messages. Sometimes cryptogram puzzles substitute a letter for another, but in some variants the letters are replaced by numbers. The player needs to discover the rule to decrypt the message which can be a saying or a memorable quote.

Disentanglement Puzzle

If you want to keep a kid occupied on a long trip buy him an disentanglement puzzle. Or buy one for your partner, as adults will spend just as much time trying to disentangle the two pieces of this type of mechanical puzzles. There are countless variants of this puzzle, some involving ropes or wires, some nails or rings. What makes solving these puzzles so tantalizing is that you know there must be a solution, a simple one probably, and you just cannot figure it out.

Eight Queens Puzzle

This is something chess lovers will appreciate, how to place eight queens on a board. There’s a catch, of course, no two queens can threaten each other. If you’re a chess fan you’re probably already trying to figure it out in your head, but this won’t probably work. You need to sit down with the queens and move them around until it’s all peace and quiet.

Einsteins Puzzle

This is also known as Einstein’s riddle or the Zebra puzzle. What you’ll need to solve this it’s lots and lots of paper, and lots of patience, too. The puzzle consists in a set of clues about some people living in houses all painted in different colors and you’re given a set of information about each of them. You need to use logic to determine who lives where and who owns a zebra. Complicated, but fun and it makes you feel smart!

Eternity Puzzle

What would you say if someone told you there was a $1 million dollar prize offered for solving this puzzle? And that someone actually won that prize? The simple description of this puzzle will leave you scratching your head – the aim of the game is to fill a large equiangular dodecagon with 209 polydrafters all made of twelve 30-60-90 triangles each. Confusing enough?

15 Puzzle

Also known as Magic 15 or Gem Puzzle, this is a fun and easy game. It consists of a plastic or wooden frame with sliding numbered tiles, from 1 to 15. There’s also an empty slot which allows you to move the pieces around. The point of the game is to arrange the sliding tiles in order. Once you’re done, scramble the pieces and pass the game to somebody else to give them a bit of a headache, too.

Wolf, Goat and Cabbage Puzzle

This is a classical logic problem and belongs to the class of so-called river crossing puzzles. It has many variants involving other animals, small children or even cannibals. The constant of the game is that a person can only take one item or character in the boat when crossing the river, leaving the other two on their own. What can you do, take the cabbage and leave the wolf and the goat behind?

Geometric Magic Square Puzzle

Or Geomag, for short. This puzzle is a variation of the much better known magic square, in which all the numbers in a row, column or diagonal must add up to a target number. A Geomag puzzle uses geometrical shape and the rule is they must fit it together to form a target shape.

Globe Puzzle

If you like jigsaw puzzles, you should try the spherical version. It’s the same thing only the shape is different. And sometimes, so is the material this puzzle is made of, for obvious reasons. The best version is that with the globe made out of steel, while the puzzle pieces have a magnetic layer to keep them steady in place.

Happy Cube Puzzle

This toy is fairly recent invention, only created in 1986. It’s called ‘happy’ because that’s how you feel when you finally put it together. The game consists of six square foam mats which you must arrange so that they form a cube. They have different models on their edges, which makes this game quite challenging. There different versions, but in most cases they only have one solution.

Induction puzzles

There are many puzzles that fall into this category and you need to make logical deductions to solve them. One of the best known puzzles in this category is the Muddy Children. The idea is that there’s a group of nice little children and a custodian tells them that at least one of them has a muddy face. Since they cannot see their own face, the kids will use logic to determine the state of their face.

Jigsaw Puzzle

Many grown-ups love jigsaw puzzles just as much as children do. The aim of the game is to fill in a frame using oddly-shape little pieces and recreate the image on the box. It can be anything famous paintings, landmarks, cartoon characters or puppies. The difficulty of the games varies, with jigsaw puzzles for kids having large easy-to-fit pieces, while those for adults have thousands of little pieces and they take many days to solve.

Kendoku Puzzle

This is basically a version of Sudoku for brainiacs. The game consists of a grid, 4×4, 5×5 etc and you have to fill each row and column with numbers, making sure each numbers appears only once. The catch is that Kendoku also has a few heavily outlined cells and the numbers in these cells must produce a target number by using various math operations.

Knights and Knaves Puzzle

A classical logic puzzle in which you have two types of characters, the knights who speak truthfully and the knaves who lie all the time. The point of the game is to find which are the knights and who are the knaves by analyzing their answers to one or several questions. More complicated versions can ask you to deduce the answer to other questions besides that.

Magic Square Puzzle

This game is over 2,000 years old and the first known examples can be traced back to Ancient China. It’s a fairly simple game, at least if you start with the basic 3×3 grid which you have to fill in with numbers. The rule is that the numbers on each row, column or diagonal must add up to a target ‘magic’ number. That’s just the basic version, more complex ones have bigger grids or additional rules.

Mahjong Solitaire

One of the most popular online games, you can spend hours trying to match the tiles in a Mahjong game. There are countless versions of the original game played with Chinese characters. You can find versions with tiles illustrated with cute animals, flowers or the ever-popular jewels. Oddly enough, this game has evolved from a four-player game with totally different rules.

Mathematical Puzzles

Maths made fun! This is a very large category of games that require the use of maths ans a bit of logic to solve a problem. Ever heard of the problem in which you are given three jugs with different water capacities and you have to find a way to fill up one of them or make sure they each hold the same quantity? This is just one type of mathematical puzzles, but there are way more.

Maze Puzzles

The good old maze started as a pen and paper game, in which you had to find your way to the treasure in the middle or find your way out by carefully avoiding obstacles and dead ends. Today there are many types of maze puzzles, a great number of them online. Some modern versions of this classical games are tridimensional, using bridges, while other have movable walls.

Morpion Solitaire Puzzle

Also known as Join 5 or simply Line Game. You can play it on your own, hence the name Solitaire, but it can also be played by two people and the one who manages to draw more lines wins. All you need for this fun little game is a sheet of paper with dots on it. The dots must be placed following a certain pattern. Each player has to connect five dots in a straight line.

Nurikabe Puzzle

This is what is known as a determination puzzle and is sometimes referred to as Islands in the Stream. The game consists of a rectangular grid in which some of the cells have numbers on them. These numbered cells are part of an island. The player needs to determine the shape of each island, which must contain a number of cells equal to the number on the main cell around which it is drawn.

Packing Puzzles

Packing problems fall into the category of optimization problems and use math to determine how many identical items can be packed into a container. There are basically two types of packing puzzles. The first category requires the player to determine the maximum number of objects that can be stored in a container, while the second involves packing a given amount of objects in as few as possible containers.

Paint by Numbers Puzzles

The aim of this game is to reveal a certain image by coloring in a pattern. Each area has a number on it and you must use the appropriate color. Traditionally, these games are sold in kits containing a set of images, paintbrushes and pots of colors bearing numbers corresponding to those found in the patterns. Obviously, you can find paint by numbers games online as well.

Peg Solitaire Puzzle

This is a centuries old game, which is played on a board with holes in it. At the start of the game, all holes have pegs in it, except for the one at the center of the board.  The player is allowed to move vertically and horizontally, jumping over one peg which is then removed. The aim of the game is to remove all the pegs on the board.

Pentomino Puzzle

Also known as 5-omino, this a puzzle inn which the goal is to fill in a frame, usually rectangular using polygonal shapes made out of 5 squares of equal size. The tiles have various shapes and can be rotated at will so they fit together. The puzzle looks like a Tetris sort of game, but the aim is not to make the lines disappear, but to cover the whole area without overlaps or gaps.

Pirate Loot Puzzle

Just as the name says, this is a game involving pirates discussing how to divide the loot, in this case 100 gold coins. There are five pirates and each of them can propose a plan by order of seniority. If the plan is rejected by the others, the proposer is thrown overboard. If you think this is easy, you might be surprised as the pirates have their own plans and might reject what seems a reasonable plan.

Prisoners and Hats Puzzle

A famous induction puzzle in which the players have to use logical deductions to guess the color of the hat they’re wearing. A variant of this game is The King’s Wise Men Hat Puzzle. Both games follow the same rule. An announcer, the warden in the prisoners’ game or the king in the other one, states that at least one of the persons has a color of a certain color.


Rebus is a puzzle that confronts the player with a set of images, mixed in with letters and the aim is to guess the word or phrase they stand for. In the olden days, rebuses were used in heraldry, with the images painted on shields making up the name of the bearer. In modern times, rebuses are featured in magazines or game shows.


Who doesn’t like riddles? They exist in every culture and consist of metaphoric clues one needs to figure out to arrive at the solution. The oldest recorded riddles date back to Babylonian times. Some classical riddles have achieved international fame and can be found in any language, like the old Riddle of the Sphinx or the Two-legs, three-legs, and four-legs.

Rubik’s Cube

Invented in 1974, Rubik’s cube is considered the most popular puzzle game in the world. The original Rubik cube had six faces, each with 9 squares of the same color, but today there are countless versions in various shapes. The aim of the game is to unscramble the cube, and arrange all the faces to be of one color. If you’ve never managed to do this, now it’s the time to impress your friends as there are many sites that can help you solve the puzzle by guiding you through the moves.

Situation puzzle

Situation puzzles are extremely popular these days. Decades ago you could find situation puzzles in magazines, but today there a plenty of websites offering a never-ending supply of such problems. Typically, the host of the game (aka the one who reads it from the web) presents a situation and the other players have to ask Yes/No question to understand what happened. Very similar to the Twenty Questions game, extremely popular in the United States in the 19th century.

Sliding puzzles

There are endless versions of this simple game which traditionally consists of a frame, usually rectangular, and a number of sliding tiles or blocks.There is always an empty slot allowing you to move around the tiles. Some are math-based and require you to arrange the numbers so as each column or row adds up to the same number, but there are also letter-based sliding puzzles. The sliding puzzles for children involve recreating a certain image, an animal or a cartoon character.

Snake Cube Puzzle

This mechanical puzzle is sold as a ‘snake’ made out of 27 or 64 small cubes, called cubelets tied together by an elastic band that runs through them. This elastic allows the cubelets to rotate freely and the point of the puzzles is to arrange them in a cube. In other versions, the target shape is not a cube at all, but a character, a robot, for instance.

Sokoban Puzzle

The original Sokoban video puzzle was released in 1981 in Japan, but today the concept is used in a myriad of other games. Sokoban literally means ‘warehouse keeper’ and the character in the game has to put several crates in their designated storage spaces. It’s a modern variant of traditional sliding puzzles as it requires the player to make use of empty spaces to push the crated into place.

Soma Cube Puzzle

This is basically a wooden toy, which consists of seven pieces in various colors that must be arranged to form a cube. Six of the pieces are made up of four equal-sized cubelets arranged in various shapes, while the remaining piece has only three cubelets. This puzzle is so challenging many mathematicians have dedicated long hours to finding all the possible solutions to it. Very similar to the Bedlam or the Diabolical Cube.

Stick Puzzles

Broadly known as Matchstick puzzles, these games require to move a certain number of sticks in a given pattern to transform into something else, the target pattern. Sometimes it’s about transforming the shapes, but there are also mathematical puzzles created with sticks. The game can also be played with straws or little wire pieces. Some versions use the sticks to create three-dimensional configurations.

Sudoku Puzzle

If you’re bored and want something fun, try a Sudoku to give your brain a workout. Sudoku is basically a 9×9 grid which you must fill in using numbers from 1 to 9. Each row or column has to include all the numbers and, to make things a bit more complicated, the grid is divided in nine squares of nine cells, which again must contain all the numbers from 1 to 9. That’s the traditional game, but there are many variations to it and the Internet is full of them.

Tangram Puzzle

The name translates as ‘seven boards of skill’ and it does take a lot of skill and a keen eye to recreate the target images by using the seven tiles of Tangram. Traditionally, the tiles are made of wood and come in various geometrical shapes. The game is usually sold with a booklet filled with puzzles, that is the various images the player needs to replicate. There are also many online versions of the game.

Three-cottage Puzzle

This is a classical mathematical puzzle, also known as the three utilities problem.You have three cottages that each needs to be connected to three utilities, usually gas, water and electricity. The little houses are placed in a row and you have to make sure the lines connecting them to the utilities do not cross other lines. The real question is not what’s the solution, but rather is there a solution to this puzzle?

Tower of Hanoi Puzzle

A very old and very simple game which is extremely challenging. The game, sometimes referred to as The Towers, consists of three wooden rods and discs of various sizes. At the beginning, all discs are stacked on one rod in ascending order, with the smallest one on top. The aim of the game is to move all the discs to another rod and arrange them in the same way. There are, of course, a few rules which make the puzzle more complicated than it seems.

T Puzzle

This game is somewhat similar to Tangram, but consists of only four tiles of various shapes. The aim of the game is to put the pieces together to form a capital T. It’s not an easy game as the the tiles come in irregular shapes and it’s hard to figure out how to fit them together. Another version of this very old game is the Latin Cross.

Verbal Arithmetic Puzzles

Also known as alphametics or cryptarithmetic, this type of game falls into the mathematical puzzles category. Traditionally, you have a sum of two words and a solution. The digits are replaced by letters and the point of the game is to determine the value of each letter. Solving the puzzles requires little maths, but you need to make logical deductions and exhaustive tests to determine what number each letter stands for.

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Qualities of a good jigsaw puzzle

Qualities of a good jigsaw puzzle

When you go shopping for a jigsaw puzzle you look at the pictures on the boxes, obviously. We all have our preferences, some like famous buildings, animals, landscapes while the young ones are more attracted to funny cartoon characters. Next you look at the difficulty level to decide if you’re up to it or if the recipient of your gift would be. The question is how do you judge the quality of a puzzle? What makes a puzzle good and what makes it bad? Let’s have a look at the qualities of a good puzzle.


Wood or cardboard

Definitely, most of the jigsaw puzzles you’ll find at a store are made of cardboard, but people who are really into this prefer those made of wood. After all, centuries ago when jigsaw puzzles were invented they were made out of wood and they were not for fun, they were used to teach children geography.

Those who prefer puzzles made of wood, well plywood, say this is more resistant and it can be cut into more varied shapes than cardboard.

A different type of material with magnetic coating is used for spherical puzzles, describing the Earth or other planets. The thin magnetic layer helps the pieces to the metallic globe.


Quality of the image

When you look at the image of a jigsaw puzzle there are two aspects that need to be considered. One of them is pretty subjective – whether you like it or not. If you study the items on display at the store you will see many landscape images and you’d say those are most popular. Oddly enough, they are not. People prefer jigsaw puzzles with some characters and action on them. Those fly off the shelves and you get stuck with castles, sleepy rivers and forests in various shades of green.

Speaking of shades, those are very important when it comes to the level of difficulty of a puzzles.

A jigsaw puzzle for younger children need to have vivid color and the various parts of the image need to be in different colors so the kid can figure out easier which piece goes where. There’s no confusion when Winnie the Pooh is yellow with red shirt, while Eeyore is purple.

On the other hand puzzles meant for grownups use various shades of a color so you need a good eye to tell them apart. The grass will be a lighter green than the leaves of the trees who go the whole range from light to dark green. That’s what adults who love puzzles expect, a challenge, something to keep them guessing. If the puzzle is too easy where’s the fun?


Is the number of pieces indicative of the difficulty level?


The first thing you’ll check out on the box is the number of pieces in the jigsaw puzzle. One meant for toddlers might have as few as 4 pieces and this is how it’s supposed to be as you don’t want the kid’s introduction to the marvelous world of jigsaw puzzles to be a frustrating experience. As children grow, the number of pieces increases.

However, if you’re looking at puzzles meant for grow-ups, a 3,000 pieces one is not necessarily more difficult than a 1,000 pieces one. Sure, the former has more pieces to sift through, but it all depends on the image and how well the pieces fit together. An image with various colors is easier to deal with for a keen-eyed adult than one in very similar shades. It’s way easier to put together a field with colorful flowers than the walls of a huge castle in various shades of white.

It is impossible to say which one is better as it is a matter of personal taste.


Shape and quality of the pieces


There’s no doubt about it. A good jigsaw puzzle needs to be made out of thick cardboard so the pieces are not easily damaged. If the little knobs get bent or fall off, the puzzle will be ruined. This is very important when you buy jigsaw puzzles for your children. Those puzzles will be in your house for many years to come and the kids will take them out from time to time to play with them. A thin cardboard cannot withstand heavy usage and the children will be disappointed.

If you’re the type of adult that only cares about solving the puzzle once this might not be important, although people with this hobby will prefer good quality pieces because this is a passion for them and floppy pieces of thin cardboard are blasphemy to them.

Another important aspect is how well do the pieces fit together. Jigsaw puzzles are cut using a special machine called die. A top quality machine will cut the pieces to precision, without rough edges and without tearing the layers of the cardboard, or, God forbid, parts of the image on top. Using a good machine ensures that the pieces fit together perfectly, without gaps or having to force them together. Anyone who’s ever done a jigsaw puzzle knows just how frustrating it can be when you discover two pieces that might fit together in a certain spot and you don’t know which the good one is as both are a bit wobbly. Likewise, when you buy a good quality puzzle you know that forcing the pieces together is bad. You might be able to do it if you try hard enough but you’re obviously making a mistake which you’re going to regret lately.

In a good quality jigsaw puzzle the pieces need to slide gently in place and stay there.


  • D vs. 2-D

Those who care for tradition certainly prefer 2-D puzzles for that’s how they are supposed to be, right?  For people with this hobby much of the pleasure lies in putting all the pieces on the coffee table, sorting them by colors, finding the edge pieces – there’s a whole art to it amateurs wouldn’t understand.

However, over the past decades 3-D jigsaw puzzles have grown in popularity. Who wouldn’t like to recreate the Tower of London or the Sydney Opera House and then have the puzzles decorate the shelves of their living room. Although they are sold as jigsaw puzzles, the 3-D models do not require the same skills as solving a traditional puzzle, it’s not a matter of finding the right piece but rather of following the instructions. You also need to be good with your hands and make sure you don’t bend the thin cardboard when piecing together the puzzle.

Top range 3-D puzzles are also made out of wood and you can build a pirate ship or an airplane, which brings them closer to Lego sets rather than traditional puzzle.

Crystal 3-D puzzles are mainly aimed at adults and come in a variety of models, cats, dogs or pretty birds. These are also meant to be kept as decorations once solved. Don’t be fooled by their name though, the crystalline pieces are usually nothing but translucent plastic.

Which is best of all these models once again depends on what you prefer, testing your eyes and your brain with a traditional 2-D model or your dexterity with a 3-D model you have to assemble rather than solve.


Educational or recreational puzzles

Most adults care about the beauty of the image and the challenge a jigsaw puzzle presents as for them it is a recreational activity. A puzzle needs to be fun and relaxing for them.

On the other hand, there’s a whole range of educational puzzles and parents go crazy for them. The kid thinks he’s getting a new toy, while the parent secretly rejoices the little one will learn geography with the huge map of the world puzzle. Other types of educational puzzles are meant to teach children numbers, basic arithmetic or foreign languages. With such products, buyers are more likely to choose based on the educational value. If you had to choose between a puzzle with the map of the United States where the pieces only bear the name of each state while the other also has the name of the capital city and the state emblem which would you pick?

Like with regular puzzles, when you buy such an item you need to evaluate the quality of the pictures or the clarity of the contours if the kid is to learn where each US state sits on the map. The quality of the pieces is essential for this type of jigsaw puzzles as the child will be using it frequently and it’s the sort of toy that gets passed along to younger siblings. Sometimes it is impossible to assess the quality of the pieces, but if it’s a flimsy cardboard that breaks easily it’s probable you won’t be buying another product from the same manufacturer.

For educational puzzles, those made out of wood are preferable for they’re sure to last longer.


A good jigsaw puzzle needs to bring pleasure and this comes from the beauty of the image as well as from the quality of the pieces it is made of. If youre simply looking for a fun activity on a rainy weekend a cardboard one will be fine, but connoisseurs will always prefer a nice puzzle made with layered wood pieces. In the end, the quality of a puzzle depends on what you make of it. Any type of jigsaw puzzle is good as long as it makes you happy!

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The Surprising Benefits of Solving Puzzles for Adults

benefits of solving puzzles for adults and seniors

Your boss won’t probably appreciate you playing some Mahjong Solitaire during working hours, but solving puzzles is much more than a pastime. Solving puzzles is not a waste of time as they provide a whole range of benefits, including making you more productive, which your boss should appreciate.


Solving Puzzles Keeps Your Brain Fit

We’re used to seeing people going to the gym or jogging in the park to keep in shape, so why should we treat our brain any different? Most of the food we give our brain is passive entertainment, like scrolling on social media or watching TV. That’s junk food for the brain. Puzzles of any kind get the brain moving and sweating until it finds a solution. All the brain cells involved with logical thinking and creativity are fired up when you try to complete a puzzle and that’s the equivalent of spending half an hour on the treadmill or doing push-ups.

Solving puzzles activates both hemispheres of your brain, the left one controls logical thinking, while the right one is responsible for creativity.


Prevents Cognitive Decline

Even an old-fashioned jigsaw puzzle is a great workout for the brain. Analyzing the pieces’ shapes and colors activates the occipital lobe and increases cognitive function. A 2018 study proved that volunteers doing puzzles on a regular basic had measurable improvements in episodic memory, working memory, reasoning, visual perception and processing speed.

Crossword puzzles and number-based puzzles play an important role in preventing age-related memory loss. Volunteers between the ages of 50 and 93 who did puzzles every day scored better on tests designed to measure 14 types of cognition.

Another study discovered dementia sufferers who solved puzzles started losing their memory 2.5 years later than patients who did not put their brains to work.


Improves Problem Solving Abilities

Riddles, sliding puzzles, disentanglement puzzles require critical thinking and also lateral thinking, which can best be described as thinking outside the box. This is essential to learning how to deal with new problems.

When you’re trying to solve a riddle, for instance, you have to formulate a theory and test it. If it doesn’t work you need to explore another hypothesis, while keeping in mind what was wrong with the first thing you tried.

Improved problem solving abilities are important for all adults, active or retired. While a professional will surely benefit from this, it is the elderly that profit most.

As people age it’s hard to cope with new problems. Just think how challenging figuring out how a mobile phone works is for the older generation. It’s a challenge they’ve never faced before, so improving their solving problems abilities helps them work out a solution easier.


Improves Creativity

Many puzzles look easy at first sight, until you realize just how deceptive the seemingly simple problem is. Using brute force and random guessing don’t work with solving most puzzles, unless you’re willing to waste many hours trying.

You need to get creative and analyze the problem from different angles. Take for instance riddles, which are notoriously deceptive and the answers require using logic as well as imagination.

Think of the riddle with the guy walking into a bar and asks for a glass of water. The bartender takes out a gun and points it at him. The customer thanks him and walks away. What was that all about? Assuming that neither of them was a maniac, you have to rack your brain to understand what water and guns have in common. The answer is hiccups, the guy had the hiccups and the bartender used the gun to scare him. This is just an example of how solving riddles helps you be more creative.


Better Concentration

Number-based puzzles increase concentration as they force the brain to keep track of various digits and see how they can be arranged to solve the problem. Doing a Sudoku requires a lot of concentration as you need to remember why a 3 cannot possibly be placed on that middle row, but neither can you put a 7 there. You cannot possibly write all that information down, the brain needs to learn to juggle with it.

The same goes for jigsaw puzzles as you need to remember where in the pile you might have seen that piece that you now realize it’s part of the dog’s nose. You need to focus on colors, shades and shapes, which requires a lot of concentration and attention to details.


Better Spatial and Visual Reasoning

Anyone who’s ever done a large 1,000 pieces puzzle can surely relate to this, that little gap for which you simply could not find the missing piece. Most players look around in a frenzied panic, hoping the piece is under the table or under the carpet, only to then accuse the makers they’ve sold them a box with missing pieces. As annoying as this situation might be, it’s a good exercise for the brain because simply looking for a piece with a certain shape forces your brain to scan and mentally compare all the pieces on the table against the one by now imprinted in your brain.

Crossword puzzles improve spatial reasoning because you need to keep in mind, literally, all the blank cells and the various possibilities at hand, again literally.

Experts say that improved spatial and visual reasoning will make you a better driver and also help you with a myriad of everyday tasks, like packing your bags in the most efficient way or making more room in a closet.


Boosts your IQ

Since solving puzzles improves your reasoning skills, memory, concentration and all sorts of mental abilities, it also raises your IQ. Now, don’t expect to become a genius overnight, but according to one study, spending half an hour a day doing whatever type of puzzle you fancy can boost your IQ by 4 percent.


Great relaxation technique

This might seem a bit counter-intuitive, but the state you enter while you’re deep into solving a puzzle is akin to meditation. Yes, on one hand you have to make your brain work at full capacity, but on the other hand you have to let it loose, because that’s the best way to arrive at an unexpected solution. If you want, it resembles the state of your brain right before you fall asleep and random thoughts go through your mind. This is way quite often this pre-sleep moment is when you discover the answer to a problem that’s been bugging you for days.


Relieves stress

When you’re concentrating on a puzzle you’re focused, completely focused on the task at hand. It might of course make you angry, very angry at some point, but the truth is that such an activity has a calming effect and is an excellent stress reliever. You can easily disconnect from all the stressful things in your life – what happened at work is forgotten, all the household chores waiting for you are ignored, even the argument with your partner seems irrelevant when you cannot figure out the solution to the puzzle in front of you.


Puts you in a better mood

If you try hard enough, sooner or later the puzzle will be completed and that’s when you feel that dopamine kick that follows every win, at any sort of game. Once you’re done, the feel-good hormone floods your brain and you instantly feel better. The harder the puzzle is the stronger the dopamine boost is.

You’ve accomplished something and you have every right to feel proud. Has it ever happened to you to take pictures of a completed puzzle to show your friends?

Demonstrating your mental abilities and your problem-solving skills is a great ego boost and will improve your self-confidence levels.

There are also physical benefits, not just psychological ones. Reducing your stress levels by solving puzzles can also lower your heart rate and blood pressure.

Long term, lower stress levels boost your immune system, so we could alter the old saying to one puzzle a day keeps the doctor away.


Boosts productivity

Next time your boss is on your case and warns you not to waste your time doing stupid puzzles you might want to show him this and explain all the benefits this activity brings. And this does include increased productivity as an employee with a sharp brain, great problem solving skills, superior concentration and whatnot will inevitably perform his job better. Training your think-outside-capacity will help you devise new solutions to problems and your work, and your boss will ultimately benefit from you ‘wasting’ time on a game.

Some companies have a dedicated gym room where the employees are encouraged to relieve some stress by running on the treadmill, but a table with some puzzles on it would also be beneficial, both for the employees and the company. And it would promote teamwork and better relationships between staff members.

It might be a while until business managers see the benefits in doing puzzles, but until then there’s nothing stopping you from doing a Sudoku on the subway or bringing a novelty puzzle to a party to challenge your friends.

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How Solving Puzzles Shapes Your Child’s Development

puzzles help in child development

They sell them in the toy aisle, yet puzzles are one of the best educational tools parents and educators can use to help children develop cognitive, motor, and even social skills. And keep them entertained at the same time. Here is a look at the main benefits of solving puzzles for children and how you can use these simple toys to help your kid’s little brain cells work faster and better.


Fine Motor Skills

Babies, toddlers, and even older children have trouble using their hands efficiently. The hands themselves are just fine, it’s the brain that doesn’t have enough experience to order muscles around. As an adult, when you pick up the toys you do it automatically because you’ve had decades of practice, the neural paths in your brain are well established and you can go over tomorrow’s schedule in your head while the hands perform a routine task.

For a baby, grabbing that toy is a monumental task as the brain tries to make sense of all the little buttons to push so that the fingers will bend and apply the required amount of force to get a hold of that cute plushie.

Solving jigsaw puzzles is an excellent way to train the brain and improve motor skills. Obviously, the puzzles need to be age-appropriate. There are puzzles designed especially for one-year-olds, with no more than four large pieces, pegged pieces which are easier to pick up.

You will have to show the baby how the thing works by assembling the pieces yourself. See what a pretty picture you have now that the pieces are put together? The child will be shocked to see the cute doggie disappear once you scramble the pieces and will be eager to put it back together.

Learning how to efficiently pick up the puzzle pieces will help the brain master the pincer grip and the benefits will be obvious once the child goes to school and it will be easier to learn how to hold the pen or the paintbrush.


Never start with a puzzle that has more than a few pieces as the child won’t be able to put it together and this will make them very frustrated. Remember that it’s supposed to be fun!


Shape Recognition

Your baby can barely tell his nose from his ears, but puzzles challenge the brain to deal with abstract concepts like shape, which the child will learn only in school. Think of the puzzles for babies that only require to find the place each picture goes. Some have wavy irregular shapes, while others are square and rhomboids. It will be years until the child learns what makes a square a square, but in the meantime his brain will archive the information that squares are different from rectangles. Doesn’t sound like much to you, but for a child that’s monumental.

Besides jigsaw puzzles, look for toys that require the child to find the correct hole in which to place a 3-D piece, like a cube or a sphere.

You can help your child learn even more by naming each shape he picks up and trace its outline with your finger.


Spatial Awareness

Space, the final frontier. Your toddler has been trying to conquer space since he was a wee little baby studying the world beyond the bars of his crib. For a baby, making it to the bedroom door is like our dream of going to Mars. And it is much more difficult for a child as his mind is not equipped to deal with such a challenge as it lacks even the most basic concepts like straight or curved line, beneath and above, left or right.

Your child’s brain is an empty slate and playing with a puzzle will help him fill it with valuable information.

Even if you give the child the two topmost pieces of a puzzle, he will still struggle to understand which goes to the left and which to the right. He will use the trial and error method until he finally understands how the two pieces fit together. That’s spatial awareness and it’s essential for navigating the world.

And you will be surprised just how easily a child learns to operate with concepts he doesn’t really understand. A child’s brain is like a big sponge ready to absorb information and file it in the appropriate area from which it can be retrieved as needed.

Obviously, bright colors and nice pictures help a child how to put together a puzzle, but try giving your kid a new one and you will be surprised to discover that the little one has figured out that a straight line cannot possibly fit in with an irregular one and it will take him less time to solve it. Puzzles and educational toys that use the same principle will teach the children not only about shapes but also about size. When a certain piece is too big to fit in an empty space the child makes a mental note on the big-small concept.

Consider a toy that requires the kid to place cubes of various sizes in the right slot. The kid will probably fumble with the pieces and try to squeeze in the largest cube in the smallest empty spot until he realizes this is impossible. This will help him later to evaluate the space beneath the bed to figure out whether he can hide in there or if the toy train can go under the coffee table.

Such information will be later used to actually navigate the world or at least the backyard.


Hand to eye coordination

Have you ever watched a child trying to get a spoonful of his favorite baby food? He can clearly see the bowl right in front of him and his hand is armed with the spoon. He’s probably holding it clumsily, at a weird angle, but the major challenge is getting the spoon in the bowl and then raise it to his mouth. Once again, for an adult, such a movement is fully automatic and you can easily pick at your food while watching TV.

Puzzles help a child improve hand to eye coordination and it doesn’t make a mess like trying to feed himself does. The eyes scan the pieces to find the right one and the hand is then ordered to be a darling and grab the piece and put it in its place.

Imagine there are three pieces left on the floor and the eyes have already decided on the square one. There’s a lot of effort required to point the hand in the right direction, grab the desired piece, and put it where it belongs.

There is also the little problem of actually placing the puzzle piece in the right spot, which requires rotating the piece and wiggling it in place. Encourage a struggling child that he can do it, give verbal directions but refrain from helping outright. If you do it, the brain will lose an opportunity to learn an important lesson, and the next time the kid plays with the puzzle he will struggle again.

Obviously, this refers to all activities that require hand to eye coordination, like buttoning a shirt, for instance. If you constantly do it for your child you don’t allow him to train his brain.

Good hand to eye coordination is required later in school for holding a pen and learning how to write. The child can see how an A is supposed to look, it’s right there on the board, but directing the hand to trace it on the paper that’s a completely different story.



That’s a really tough one! How do you make a small child focus on any task for more than two minutes, unless, of course, he’s set his mind to go through the kitchen cabinet in search of cookies in which case he can devote as much time as necessary?

Puzzle games are an excellent tool to improve a child’s attention span. It’s not just the cute images, after all, if the child’s never seen a rabbit he might not be as impressed as you are with the little bunny.

Puzzles are an enigma and deserve a child’s full attention. Well, not always. It might very well be that your child would much rather play with the toy train at the moment, in which case it is recommended to put the puzzle away and leave it for another time.

When you do get the child to pay attention to the puzzle you will notice that he will become engrossed in it. It’s a challenge and any self-respecting baby is up for a challenge. Especially if he watches you assembling the pieces easily because the baby wants to copy you. He’s been doing this from day one. Watching the way your face moves when you talk and smile is how a child learns to talk. He wants to walk like you and if you have fun doing a puzzle he will want to have fun too.

To keep a child interested in a puzzle, make sure it is not too challenging, but also not too easy. If it is too difficult the child will get frustrated and he will abandon the idea, while if it’s too easy and he’s already mastered the baby puzzles they’re no longer an enigma worth investigating.

As your child grows and masters the basic concepts needed to solve a puzzle buy new and more complicated models, with smaller pieces. Keep in mind that the age group mentioned on the box is more of a recommendation and you’re the one to judge if a 50-piece puzzle is too complicated for your child or not.

Experts say that a 3-year old can focus on one task for 6 to 15 minutes. If the puzzle you’ve just presented to him requires more time he might lose interest. To keep him interested play with him, don’t just put the puzzle in front of him and expect him to solve it on his own. You’ll get there, too, don’t worry, but first, you have to show the child solving puzzles is fun and you enjoy it.

However, there’s a very fine line between being there with him and doing the puzzle for him. If you sense he’s growing frustrated because he cannot find a certain piece, help him, by all means, but keep in mind that solving the puzzle must be his achievement.


General Knowledge

Did you know that jigsaw puzzles were invented in the 18th century England to teach children geography? The first puzzles were drawings of the European continent glued to a hardwood board which was then sawed along border lines, so the children could play with them and find where each country is supposed to be.

There are many geographical puzzles available today, even spherical ones which give children a more accurate impression of the world they live in.

Once your child manages to complete a map puzzle you can glue it on a board and put it somewhere in his room, for future reference. You will find that your child will be able to locate a country more easily if he’s actually worked on that puzzles.

All puzzles can be used to teach the children something, from the most basic picture of a dog – here’s the head, there goes the body and that’s the dog’s tail. And while the child is busy putting the dog together, you can talk with the kid about the whole species, explain dogs’ behavior, and how to safely interact with a canine.

There are puzzles that teach a child about his own body, even very detailed ones that show internal organs.

Another type of puzzles you might want to experiment with are those meant to teach reading, numbers, or addition. For instance, the child needs to pair a piece with a 2 on it with the piece that has a drawing of two ladybugs.


Problem-solving abilities

Most adults have their own method of solving a puzzle, but kids have yet to learn how to work efficiently. It’s the simple things you don’t even think about like putting all the pieces face up or separating them by colors.

Explain to your child why it would be easier to have all the pieces facing up and why all the blue pieces go in the same pile as they make up the sky.

If you’re using a puzzle with words, have him separate all the images (cat, dog, girl, boy) and put the one with letters on them in another pile.

This problem-solving ability will be of great help when the kid goes to school and has to deal with a complex task that requires a good strategy rather than the time-consuming trial and error method.



Puzzles of any type are great for play-learning. You can teach your child new words related to the puzzle he’s focused on without him even noticing you’re trying to teach him something.

With a toddler, use this playtime to practice notions like colors and numbers, body parts, or adjectives like big/small.

If you have an older child, keep him entertained by encouraging him to talk about what he sees in the picture or make up a story about the characters. For instance, if the puzzle represents a scene from Snow White, you might want to go over the story again and talk about the dwarfs or the Queen. This is a great way for the child to practice the language already acquired or learn new words.

Riddles are another type of puzzles particularly useful to teach a child new words. Start with easy riddles where the answer is obvious, like cat, house, or mushroom, and work your way to more abstract problems, like day and night or the four seasons.


Social skills

Whether it’s you who’s playing with the child or you have two kids trying to solve a puzzle together, this type of activity is an excellent opportunity to develop social skills and understand the benefits of collaborating.

Children are notoriously self-centered, but solving a puzzle is a great way to teach them about sharing, teamwork, and helping each other out.

For instance, you can divide the puzzle and decide I’ll do Mickey Mouse and you’ll put together Minnie. Ask your child to help you find Mickey’s shoes and make sure to express your gratitude so that the kid will do the same when you help him.



Any accomplishment gives your child another reason to be proud, starting with the first time he makes it to the bathroom in time.

Solving a puzzle is a major feat for a toddler and he will be thrilled. Join in the excitement, congratulate the kid, and make sure everyone one in the family, including the cat, hears about it.

Children want nothing more than to be older and to be able to do things for themselves because that’s what the grown-ups in their lives do. Solving a puzzle that seemed undoable in the beginning is a step in that direction and every achievement will increase the kid’s self-esteem.

Make sure to always raise the stakes just a bit and throw bigger challenges at your child to keep that self-confidence up.

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Verbal Arithmetic Puzzles

Verbal Arithmetic Puzzles

Let’s do maths with letters.


What are Verbal Arithmetic Puzzles

This type of puzzles belongs to the recreational arithmetic domain and they’re basically equations in which you have to determine the value attributed to each letter. Obviously, all the number in such a puzzle will have to be a digit between 0 and 9.

Let’s have a look at one of the most famous puzzles of this type, which was published almost a century ago, in 1924, in the ‘Standard Magazine’

S E N D  +

M O R E  =


It’s not puzzling at all if you know a little math. The first clue is the M, which as a carry-over can only be 1, which indicates next that O can only be 0, S must be nine and so on.

Here’s another easy puzzle for you:

S U N +

T A N=


As you’ve seen in the first example, B can only be 1. Can you figure out the solution?


Once you have assigned a value to a character replace it wherever it appears in the puzzle and try to figure out the rest of the problem.

Most people will solve verbal arithmetic puzzles by hand, except for mathematicians who love to make everything more complicated and use terms like algorithms and integers.


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Types of Verbal Arithmetic Puzzles

The puzzles that use letters for numbers are called alphametics. These are sometimes combined with Sudoku or Kakuro puzzles, to create some fiendishly cryptic puzzles.

Puzzles in which a digit stands for another are known as digimetics.

Skeletal divisions are puzzles involving long divisions in which the numbers are replaced by symbols.


History of Verbal Arithmetic Puzzles

It’s impossible to say when arithmetic puzzles were invented, probably long ago. What we do know is that the term “cryptarithm” was coined in 1931. In 1942, this was changed to “cryptarithmetic”, which is a bit more clear.


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T Puzzle

How to solve the T Puzzle

If you like Tangram, you’ll love the T Puzzle.


What is the T Puzzle

The T puzzle is basically a tiling puzzles, in which you have only four pieces which you must arrange so as to form a capital T.

In the original version of the game you have four pieces, namely one isosceles right triangle, two right trapezoids and an irregular shaped pentagon. The game would be easy if it weren’t for the irregularly-shaped piece, which will give you quite a headache.

If you’re struggling with the puzzle, don’t worry. Studies have shown that very few people can solve it in less than five minutes, the average solving time being 30 minutes.


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History of the T Puzzle

As far as we know, the T Puzzle was invented at the beginning of the 20th century as a marketing gimmick. Many businesses took to offering pieces of the puzzle, with the company logo on it or various offers. You could collect the pieces, but some businesses gave away the whole pack. Sometimes the pieces were made of ordinary paper, but some invested a bit and made them out of cardboard. Anyway, kids and adults challenged each other to solve the T Puzzle, so it was a brilliant idea to expose people to your brand.

Later on, the T Puzzle kits contained booklets presenting more problems to solve with the same number of pieces.


T Puzzle Variants

A version of the T Puzzle is the so-called Latin Cross Puzzle, although it’s the other way around, as the cross is older, but then the T Puzzle is more popular. The Latin Cross puzzle dates from the early 19th century. Instead of four pieces, it has five pieces, three isosceles right triangles, one right trapezoids and an irregular shaped six-sized piece.

Other versions of the original Puzzle feature slightly different pieces and the resulting T has one arm longer than the other.


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Tower of Hanoi Puzzle

How to solve Tower of Hanoi puzzle

Once you get the trick, solving this puzzle will be a piece of cake!


What is the Tower of Hanoi Puzzle

You might have heard of this game as the Two Towers or the Tower of Brahma.

What you have to start with looks simple enough. A wooden board with three rods sticking out of it. On the first rod you have a number of disks, stacked in a conical shape, with the largest at the base. The aim of the game is to move all the discs to a different rod and place them in the same order.

Here are the rules:

You can only move one disc at a time.

You can place a disc on top of another, but not over a smaller one, or you can move it to an empty rod.


How to Solve the Tower of Hanoi Puzzle

The difficulty of the game depends on the number of discs in the game. The smallest version only has three discs and it has been calculated it can be solved in 7 moves.

If you’re a math head, the formula is that a Tower of Hanoi can be solved in 2n − 1, where n is the number of discs in play.

This is how you solve the 3 discs puzzle. First you move the smallest piece to the third rod and the medium one to the middle one. You now have three rods each occupied by a disc. You then move the smallest piece on top of the middle one and free up the third rod. Put the larger disc on the third rod, free up the middle piece by moving the smallest disc back to the first rod and then it’s easy.

You can use this system with larger numbers of discs, creating smaller conical shapes on the two empty rods until you free up the largest of all. All you need is to pay attention and to always calculate your next move.


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History of the Tower of Hanoi Puzzle

The puzzle was created in 1883 by the French mathematician Edouard Lucas. That’s a fact, but the legend surrounding this puzzle is quite fascinating. According to the story, there’s a temple in India where there’s a room with three rods and 64 gold discs. There, Brahmin priests following an ancient prophecy have been moving the pieces for ages and when they make the last move the world will end. No need to panic though. If you remember the formula to solve any Tower of Hanoi puzzle it has been calculated that, moving one disc per second, it would take the priests 585 billion years to finish, so we’ve got plenty of time left.


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Tangram Puzzle

How to solve Tangram Puzzles

Oldies, but goldies!


What is a Tangram Puzzle

Tangram falls into the dissection puzzles category and it’s aim it to use seven wood blocks of various shapes to create geometrical shapes.

The seven pieces of the puzzles are called tans and, in a traditional you have five triangles of various sizes, a square and a parallelogram.

A Tangram puzzle box contains a booklet with many shapes the player is challenged to recreate. Obviously, the images only offer the general outline so you have to figure out where each tan fits.


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Tangram Puzzle Paradoxes

Tangram fans refer to almost similar shapes as paradoxes. There’s for instance the famous Monks Paradox, which presents itself as two very similar shapes resembling a monk, made using the same pieces. However, one is missing a foot, something you might not even notice at first sight. Where did the foot piece go? At a careful examination you will discover that the missing piece was used to give the monk a slightly larger body.

Another example is the Clipped Square Paradox. Naturally, the Tangram pieces can be arranged in a square, that’s how they are sold, neatly placed in a square frame. However, you can also use them to create an almost identical square with a missing corner. The secret is that the second square is a bit larger, but not my much.

If you think that all you have are seven pieces, you’ll be amazed to learn that there are over 6500 Tangram problems registered to this day.


History of the Tangram Puzzle

It is believed that Tangram was invented in China in the late 18th century. It must have been brought into the Western World by sailors on merchant ships. An American shipping magnate is known to have owned a Tangram puzzle in 1802, but the puzzle only became popular after reaching England, after 1810. The Tangram puzzle soon conquered Europe and rich families had expensive sets in which the pieces were made out of glass or tortoise shell. During the First World War much of Europe went into a second Tangram craze, at least the part of Europe that was not on the battlefields.

Tangram Puzzles are still popular these days, although you can now obviously play Tangram online, both the traditional version and various other games using different pieces.


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Sudoku Puzzle

How to solve a sudoku puzzle

If you have to wait at the doctor’s or have a boring three-hour flight ahead of you, get some Sudoku Puzzles to make time fly.


What is a Sudoku Puzzle

Let’s talk about the traditional Sudoku puzzle first. What you have is a 9×9 grid which you must fill is using numbers from 1 to 9. The first rule is that each number can only appear once in every row or column. Additionally, the grid is divided in nine 3×3 squares in which again the digits must appear only once. Some of the digits have already been filled in for you.


How to Solve a Sudoku Puzzle

The complexity of the problem and the headache depend on the difficulty level. In easy mode you will have more numbers already filled in which makes it easier to guess the solution. Actually, guess is the wrong word here, because you have to use logic to solve the puzzle. The best thing to do is to find the row, column or square with the most numbers in it. For beginner levels this might mean having 7 out of the 9 numbers already locked in place, which leaves you with deciding the positions of the other two. Don’t place them at random, look at the other rows and columns and make sure they don’t clash. Say you have to place a 2 and a 3 in an almost complete row. Look at the first empty square and check the column it’s part of to see if there’s no other 2 on a different row. If there is one already, this means you must place the 3 in the first empty square and the 2 in the other one.

You must always check and double check before placing any number on the grid.

Another method is to analyze each digit, see how many 1s are there on the grid already and maybe you can find the correct spots for the others. If you have multiple possibilities, don’t make hasty decisions and wait till you get more information.


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Sudoku Puzzle Versions

Killer Sudoku is a combination between traditional Sudoku and Kakuro, which means that you not only have to place the numbers in a certain order but also make sure they add up to a target sum.

Hyper Sudoku makes your life more complicated by adding other 3×3 squares which must follow the same rule.

Twin Sudoku consists of the grids that share a 3×3 square.


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Soma Cube Puzzle

How to solve the soma cube puzzle

A 3-D puzzle with solid wood blocks some might find similar to modern Tetris pieces.

What is a Som Cube Puzzle

This puzzle falls into the category of solid dissection puzzles. As the player, you don’t have to dissect anything, but rather put the blocks back together to form a solid 3x3x3 cube, with no voids on the inside.

The game has seven blocks, six of them are made of 4 small cubes of equal size, known as cubelets, while the remaining one consists of only three little cubelets. All the blocks are of a different shape and since they resemble letters they are known as V, L, T, Z, A, B and P.


How to Solve a Soma Cube Puzzle

Many mathematicians find such problems as the Soma Puzzle fascinating and devote a lot of time to studying them and, of course, their solutions. Computers do help a lot! According to experts, there are 240 solutions to solve a Soma Puzzle, too many to list here. However, here is an essential clue. It has been discovered that in all the 240 solutions there’s only one place for the T block, that is on the bottom with its long edge along the front and the its “tongue” in the bottom center cube.


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History of the Soma Cube Puzzle

The cube was invented by Danish polymath Piet Hein in 1933, for a lecture in quantum mechanics. It’s name is a reference to the drug Soma heavily consumed in the fictitious world invented by Aldous Huxley in his famous ‘Brave New World’ novel, which had been published the year before. And yes, solving such puzzles is an addiction!

However, it was only in the 1960 that the Soma Cube was commercially produced and sold in the United States. Inevitably, some of the versions used plastic blocks instead of the old-fashioned wooden ones. In some sets, players are challenged to form other geometrical shapes after mastering the cube.

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Sokoban Puzzle

How to solve the sokoban puzzle

A sliding puzzle for the 21st century generation.


What is the Sokoban Puzzle

Actually, Sokoban was invented in Japan in 1981 and it’s puzzle video game. Remember that at the time video games were still in their infancy and they borrowed a lot of ideas from traditional games, in this case the sliding puzzles.

The term Sokoban is derived from the Japanese word for warehouse worker. You play as the warehouse employee and your job is to move crates to their designated place. Some of the squares on the screen represent the floor, while others form walls which restrict your movements. To solve the puzzle you must create paths to slide a crate to a designated space. Keep in mind that you can only push the crates, but not pull them. There are usually several crates to maneuver so you must pay attention to those as well and make sure you don’t push any of it against a wall in a position from which you won’t be able to move it later on.

The good thing about video games is that you can start all over again as many times you want and learn from your mistakes.


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Sokoban Puzzle Variations

The release of the first Sokoban puzzle was a huge success in Japan, so over the following years many variants were released. The 1982 Sokoban version featured walls you could destroy to clear a path. Another version, Hexoban is played on a hexagonal grid, rather than a square one. Multiban implemented multiple characters, so you decide who does what. Sokomind Plus introduced new restrictions – each crate has a number on it and must be placed on the empty corresponding slot.

Later versions allow the character on the screen to also pull a crate, or to use such features as holes, teleports an one-way passages.

The idea behind Sokoban has been incorporated in numerous computer games, which sometimes complicate the situation for the player by adding ice patches or holes in which the character might fall and die. However, he can sometimes use the same box or crate to cover a hole so he can move around safely.


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