Tips and Strategies
· Don't focus on one square: A Sudoku puzzle has nine 3x3 boxes. Too often new players focus on one box at a time without paying close enough attention to adjacent boxes. Remember: every 3x3 box has four other 3x3 boxes that directly affect it.
· Look for the most numbers: Always pick the column, row, or 3x3 box with the most numbers already filled in as your starting point.
Also keep an eye out for numbers that appear in several boxes. For example, if the number 1 appears in five boxes, use this number as a "guidepost" to figure out where 1 could be located in the other four boxes.
· Take advantage of "shortcut" features: Sudoku has some great time-saving features that will help you solve puzzles in record-breaking time. Hit the space bar to toggle quickly between pen and pencil modes. When entering a number in pen mode, you can left click and scroll through a list of numbers 1-9 instead of typing.
· Scan columns and rows: If you scan across rows and columns of the whole grid, you will find number placement becomes much easier. This is especially true if you have two possible numbers for a given square.
· The pencil is your friend: If you’re not sure a number is correctly placed, pencil in the answer with the option to change it later. Don’t be afraid to pencil in several numbers in one square – sometimes this can help you narrow down choices when the puzzle is almost complete.
· Get hints: Pressing the hint button will often help you make an informed decision, although this feature will not give the answer outright. Instead, you will see possible numbers for a given square outlined in red. Hints are always based on fixed numbers, not the numbers you enter.
· Check your progress: If you want to know how you're doing, bring up the game menu and click on the Progress button. The Progress feature will highlight any mistakes in red and let you know how many cells you have left to solve.
If you don't see any highlighted mistakes, congratulations! You obviously have made perfect choices so far.
· Don't be afraid to guess: Even the best Sudoku players sometimes need to make educated guesses. It's better to make a guess and keep the game moving than to waste minutes trying to solve a tough square. You can always click on the progress button to see if your guess was indeed correct.
· Eliminate the time crunch: Select the Pause button from the game menu if you need to slow things down. However, you will not be able to see the board when the game is paused.
You can also click on the timer button in the game menu to hide/show the timer, although there is no way to shut off the timer completely.