Sudoku Challenge is prolific game designer Reiner Knizia’s answer to the widely distributed (and I mean widely), and often excessively-challenging Sudoku puzzle. And it turns out to be a surprisingly fun answer, even for people who don’t know or especially like Sudoku.
After the board (a traditional 9×9 Sudoku matrix) is seeded (in something similar to the traditional Sudoku manner), players take turns drawing and placing number tiles on the Sudoku grid. Following the Sudoku puzzle rule, you can’t put a tile in the same row or column or region (traditional Sudoku matrices are divided, tic-tac-toe-like, into 9 regions) where the same tile has already been played.
Your score (and hence the challenge) is determined by how many tiles are in the same row, column and region. As you can so clearly imagine, the potential to score higher on each turn, or to run out of legal moves, increases as the available spaces become fewer and fewer.
We found the game less demanding, and more fun than a Sudoku puzzle. Maybe because it’s a lot easier to play with movable tiles than with pen or pencil. Maybe because it’s more fun to play together than alone.
Speaking of together, if you have school age kids, turn the board over. It’s Zoodoku, a children’s version of the game using a set of animal tiles. More visually demanding, but a smaller matrix, with fewer intersections, and gentler rules.