5 Interesting Versions of Sudoku You Can Try Out
The classic 9x9 Sudoku puzzle is a timeless game that everyone can try out and have fun with. But if you do daily Sudoku challenges or even play it more than the usual Sudoku player, then you might find yourself looking for a bit more dynamic changes in your new puzzle game needs. But that’s where the dilemma lies—you still want to play Sudoku, but just not the usual 9x9 grid. Is there a new puzzle you can fiddle with instead?
Introducing Sudoku Variants
Fortunately, there are many answers to that problem! Because of how simple and well-made Sudoku is, there have been many who tried to improve or change how it’s played and its looks. Like, adding another row or column here and there or putting more missing numbers to challenge the player. Regardless of the difficulty, many different iterations of Sudoku involve changing a certain factor or process. The method is done in a way that the similarities to the original are still obvious but the puzzle itself is still bound by logic and you can easily guess what's going on.
While the topic of which new puzzle Sudoku is the best is highly subjective, there is no questioning the fact that the classic Sudoku puzzle spawned many different brain-teasing iterations based on its original formula. The looks and rules may change, but the main goals are still to solve and have fun.
Looking for a break in your daily Sudoku routine and want to try a new puzzle? Here are five different versions of Sudoku you can check out!
1. Playing Sudoku Through Sub Dokus
Sub Doku is an umbrella term for a type of Sudoku game that has less than the standard amount of cells to fill in. The classic has 81 cells in a 9x9 grid, so Sub Dokus have a smaller grid size and are popular among younger players, like children between the ages of 6 to 10. While technically easier to solve than the classic version, these iterations are very useful in polishing techniques you already have or learning how to fill in numbers faster through pattern reading (if applicable).
Some of the more well-known Sub Dokus are:
Twodoku - a 2x2 grid version,
Shidoku - a 4x4 grid version, most popular with kids due to easier difficulty
Godoku - a 5x5 grid version
Rokudoku - a 6x6 grid version
2. Super Dokus
Super Doku is another umbrella term for any Sudoku puzzle variant that exceeds the normal 81 cells in a 9x9 grid. In a game like Sudoku, fewer numbers to guess means solving the game easier, so more cells generally mean harder difficulty, making Super Dokus a preference for experienced players looking for a challenge. Sudoku versions of this type are typically quite large and have more missing digits that need to be filled in, but most of them play the same as the original one.
However, some iterations aren’t shaped like the usual box and rectangles, such as hexagons and nonagons and other figures that may not even have the same row and column structure you're familiar with, making these puzzle types more of a challenge to solve. Some of the more popular Super Dokus are:
Maxi Sudoku - a 12x12 grid with 12 3x4 rectangular boxes inside it
Sudoku Challenger - a Sudoku variant with 16 4x4 regions
Sudoku the Giant - a large Sudoku grid made of 25 5x5 regions
Sudoku-zilla - an enormous Sudoku grid composed of 100 10x10 regions, a true goal for those looking for difficulty
3. Color Sudoku
Color Sudoku, as its name suggests, is Sudoku that works not with numbers, but with colors instead. It has the same rules, where no color repetitions can be made in any box, row or column. A popular game among younger players, it helps kids learn to focus better while scanning a visually appealing game. Don't be caught off guard by the colors—the difficulty of Color Sudoku can also spike up if you're too complacent.
However, it’s also important to point out that it can be a challenge for people with visual impairments to play and enjoy—it is downright unplayable for people who are colorblind. So if a player is unaware that they're colorblind and still can't identify a color no matter how long they've been scanning or how many hints or tips are given, this is not the Sudoku game for them.
Many different platforms are using Color Sudoku with different color palettes, but the typical Color Sudoku game uses the following nine colors:
4. Image or Shape Sudoku
Image and Shape Sudoku work just like the classic one, but instead of numbers, it’s images and shapes respectively. While Sudoku is a simple game to understand, it can be quite intimidating at first glance, making people assume that involves mathematical processes, which it doesn’t. The classic Sudoku is a puzzle game that works on pure logic. And while some players prefer using formulae or patterns, it can definitely be solved by anyone who knows how to read and count. A technique you use in classic Sudoku could work here as well, but you'll need to adjust for a while.
Image and Shape Sudoku works just as well as the classic one by using imagery and shapes if a player doesn’t like to work with numbers but still needs a new puzzle to play.
5. Killer Sudoku Puzzles
Speaking of math, if you enjoy the original Sudoku but want to lean in more on its arithmetic side, Killer Sudoku is the version you must try! It still works with the same rules—no box, row or column can have repeating digits, but this time, there’s an added twist through dotted lines called “cages”. These cages contain numbers that are the sum of the digits placed within them. For example, if a left column has a three-cell cage marked with an 11, then all the numbers you're going to fill it in with must result in a sum of 11. If you’ve played Kakuro puzzles before, these will be very familiar to you.
Many More Versions in the Sudoku Kingdom of Puzzles
There are even more interesting Sudoku iterations that exist with different twists and visuals, but these five are just some of the more accessible ones that you can try out. We recommend getting actual booklets and sheets of Color Sudoku and the like if you want to stimulate your child’s brain, but many free online puzzles on the web are based on Sudoku as well, so feel free to scope out which one you think you’d like to try out to give more spice to your daily Sudoku routine!