HOW TO PLAY SUDOKU
If you''re reading this, you either love and are awesome at Sudoku, or it scares the hell out of you and seems like the Bermuda Triangle.
First I was the latter.
Now I''m the former!
Once you realize that it has nothing to do with math, your guard will be let down enough to actually "listen" to what in god''s name it is.
And once that happens, you will be a total convert and will soon replace your Nintendo DS with the back page of some crappy local paper. It seems like a step-down, but they tell me that this Japanese favorite somehow strengthens and grows your brains.
Difficulty: Moderately Challenging
Things You''ll Need
Firstly, get yourself into a zen place. This is not something to try after a long, hard work day. If you do, you will set something on fire.
The objective is to fill a 9x9 grid so that each column, each row, and each of the nine 3x3 boxes contains the digits from 1 to 9.
When you start your puzzle, there are a few numbers already filled in for you to begin your torment.
Inititially, you want to "scan". Scanning involves a couple of techniques.
First there''s cross-hatching. This is the scanning of rows to identify which line in a region may contain a certain number--this is done by a process of elimination. Then do the same with the columns. You must check every digit, 1-9.
And then there''s Counting. This involves counting 1–9 in the different 9-box areas, rows, and columns while looking for the missing numbers.
Advanced Sudokuers look for "contingencies" --this means narrowing a number''s location within a row, column, or region to two or three areas. When those areas and numbers are within the same row, they can be used for elimination during cross-hatching and counting.
Ok, those writing those steps hurt my head. This is a toughie because the best way to learn it and do it, is simply to learn it and do it.
Tips & Warnings
Start with a pencil. Seriously. Also tell yourself that it will take time to start to "see" it. It''s like MagicEye--once you feel your brain start to understand, it''s really exciting. But you can''t demand it.
The nice thing about Sudoku-makers is that they create a bunch for different levels. I implore you--if you''re trying this for the first time, start at the beginning where you belong. If you begin in the middle, you''ll just give up. Again. So do it right this time. You''ll be kicking Sudoku ass in no time!