Sudoku is a not a game involving math but a game of numbers. You don't really have to work out calculations or do complex algebra. This game requires logic and an elementary degree of deductive reasoning. The main aim of the puzzle is to fill all the blank squares with correct numbers, but with rules to follow. For example in a nine by nine grid each row and column of nine numbers must have all digits from one to nine in any order and every three by three section of the nine by nine square should include all digits from one to nine. Each row and column in the total grid and in the smaller 3x3 boxes should also contain numbers from 1 to 9, without any number being repeated. Likewise simpler four by four Sudoku grids must have the numbers one to four in each row, column and boxes and this will increase depending on the number of squares.
- Starting a puzzle: Tackling Sudoku is not easy, the first step is to see where a particular number can go within certain given parameters. For instance the fact that a particular digit must be entered into the top right corner can be determined by analyzing the nine squares in the box see what is already filled in and then fill in the missing digits in that box such that all the required numbers are filled in and no number is repeated.
- Filling the grid: Each game commences with some squares in the grid already filled in. Your challenge in each game is to fill up the empty squares with the correct numbers. Once you analyze the squares and understand what corresponding numbers may be used it can become easy to fill in the rest. The advantage is the remaining squares are fewer and are easier to fill. Just remember that no number should be repeated in any row or column or within the smaller boxes.
- Sudoku logic: The logic involved in a game of Sudoku is quite simple once you've practiced solving different grades of puzzles beginning with easy or smaller grids such as 3x3 or 4x4 where the digits to be used are from one to three or one to four respectively.
- Filling numbers using a pencil: Not all choices for boxes will be easy to figure out hence it is good practice to use a pencil and eraser so that mistakes can be easily rectified. The noteworthy element of playing Sudoku is that every step solved makes solving the next one easier.
- Playing on the computer: If you find that playing Sudoku on paper is time-consuming, you can also play it on the computer. Sudoku puzzles are available as installable programs and there are thousands of game sites on the internet where you can play different levels and versions of Sudoku.
- Places to find Sudoku puzzles: Other than the internet, you can find Sudoku puzzles in your local newspapers, magazines or other publications. There are also numerous Sudoku puzzle books which you can buy at local bookstores or order off the internet.
A word of caution, Sudoku is a very addictive game; you could develop a tendency to keep playing continuously, even while you are occupied with other tasks. Avoid filling in numbers in the blank boxes if you are stopped at a traffic signal, or are engaging in any activity where your full attention and concentration is a must. Having said that, there is nothing like a Sudoku puzzle to exercise your brain and keep you mentally agile.