Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Su(doku), Meet Ken(Ken)

I'm on business travel this week, and in celebration (?) of that, I decided to get myself a book of sudoku. When I looked on the shelf, there was a book of another sudoku-like game called KenKen. So I bought that to try out on the plane.

KenKen is like sudoku in the sense that all the numbers have to appear exactly once in each row and column, but there are bolded "cages" in which the numbers have to make a number in the upper left corner of the cage by using the operator that follows the number (e.g. 17+ means the numbers have to add up to 17).

I read the basic instructions at the beginning of the book before starting to work on the puzzles. It has been so much fun to develop my own techniques for solving these puzzles. I look out for unique cages first: for example, a two-square cage with 3+ must contain a one and a two, and a two-square cage with 15x must contain a 3 and a 5. I then use the column- and row-uniqueness rules to solve the puzzle.

I am fast falling in love with KenKen puzzles. I did 15 of them while on the plane! Okay, so I've only done the easy puzzles, but they are so much fun that it made the ache in my hand and arm from writing too much totally worth it.
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Madeleine said...

I like KenKen too! I discovered them on the N.Y. Times website. They have a nice interface and free puzzles at different difficulty levels.


Anonymous said...

On a related note -

2DOKU is a similar Sudoku-style logic puzzle on the iPhone and iPod touch: http://apprageous.com/

Very fun!

Brian said...

Congratulations. That is a great move. KenKen is about the best brain-training you can get on the fly, and it's so much fun that it is truly addictive.
There aren't many ways to learn it beyond the novice level, so I've put some free vids up at http://mathmojo.com/kenken

That should help you get beyond the novice stage.
You're going to love KenKen.
Go figure!
Brian (a.k.a. Professor Homunculus at MathMojo.com )