After Judy Dixon and I collaborated on Sudoku, she recommended I create simpler versions for children, or for adults who have never played Sudoku before. Blindfold Sudoku is based on a 9 by 9 grid; it amazes me that visually impaired people can solve these types of puzzles without using the screen. instead they keep all of the relevant rows and columns and squares in their head, as they move to the solution.
To get started playing Sudoku, I don’t recommend tackling the 9 by 9 grid; Sudoku Mini uses a 4 by 4 grid, so it’s much, much easier.
The first version was just like the 9 by 9 game: several of the cells on the grid are already filled out, and you have to complete the rest of the grid so that a number appears only once in each row, column and 2 by 2 square. The 2 by 2 squares are in the upper left, upper right, lower left and lower right.
The game is navigated like solitaire: you move within the 4 by 4 grid by flicking left, right, up or down, and the game tells you the number in the grid, and whether or not that number is part of the original puzzle, or was your guess. To place your guess into a cell, you tap the screen twice, and it pops up a keypad for you to enter the number for the cell you are in. If you aren’t sure, you can put several guesses into that cell, and then later, when you know for sure, remove the incorrect choice. If you guess violates the puzzle rules, the app makes a honking sound, and rejects your guess.
Since Judy and I thought children would like the game too, we came up with including animal sounds, and animal names. For example, one variant of the 4 by 4 Sudoku game is played with a dog that barks, a cow that moos, and frog that ribbits, and a horse that neighs. Another variant says dog, cow, frog or horse for each cell.
Surprisingly, gamers of all ages like the fun sounds in Sudoku Mini. We are planning on doing a 6 by 6 Sudoku, but we’re waiting for more people to request it.