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Best Puzzle Games You've Probably Never Heard Of

Updated on February 13, 2014

Puzzles are more popular than ever. People use them to kill time while waiting in lines, to entertain themselves in class, and simply escape from the everyday. Of these puzzles, there are a few that readily stand out. Most of these you will find in the back of periodicals. There are many more puzzles out there though that are potentially more challenging and more fun.

Check out these puzzles before reaching for your next sudoku or crossword.



Known by many names, including Picross and paint by numbers, nonograms are puzzles where players recreate an image using clues on the side of the puzzles. These numbers reveal areas in which there are continuous blocks filled in with at least one space in between.

For example:

A clue like 2, 4, 5 would mean that there are two, four, and five sets of cells that are connected to each other with at least one space in between.

Puzzles are generally black and white, but there are colored versions. In these colored versions, numbered clues are colored with their corresponding color.

Solving nonograms is pretty much a task of figuring out whether or not a cell is empty. There are various techniques that can be employed to determine states including joining, forcing, splitting, simple spaces, and punctuating.

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In Fillomino, players have to fill in a grid with lines such that they create cages. The number of cells within a cage must equal the number that is contained with the cage.

Thus a number one can only exist within a cage by itself. A number 2 would exist within a cage, either with a number two next to it or a blank space.

Dotted grid lines, help players fill in Fillomino grids in a more organized manner.

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Cryptograms are puzzles where letters in a word, sentence, or statement are encrypted. The method of encryption will often be one that can be solved by hand, however, different methods exist that may require complex computing.

The key used for encrypting puzzles is called a cipher. Probably the most basic of these is the substation cipher where one letter will represent all instances of another letter or number.

For instance, given the phrase:


You might discover that "W's" are "R's" and that "M's" are "E's," eventually discovering that the decoded phrase is:

"Word games are fun!"

Cryptograms have a long history of being used in times of war and peace whenever secrecy needed to be maintained. Nowadays, they are primarily used for entertainment purposes and can be found in many different magazines and periodicals.

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KenKen (also known as KenDoku, Calcudoku, and Mathdoku) is both a logic and arithmetic puzzle that comes from Asia. Created in 2004 by a Japanese math teacher, this puzzle employs a grid similar to sudoku.

Like sudoku, numbers can only appear once vertically and horizontally across. Unlike sudoku, these numbers are contained by various cages that are defined with a small number and an arithmetic symbol in the corner. Numbers placed in these cages must equal the number in the corner using the arithmetic symbol. KenKen is similar to Killer Sudoku with the exception of an arithmetic symbol and the fact that the same number can exist within a cage.

Some KenKen puzzles may not have arithmetic symbols on them, increasing the challenge.

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Meaning "build bridges" in Japanese, Hashiwokakero is a number puzzle where you essentially do just that. Puzzles consist of islands (or circles) with numbers on them and bridges (lines) connecting those islands.

To play this puzzle, there are a few rules that must be followed. They include:

  • A maximum of two bridges can be made between islands
  • These bridges cannot cross each other
  • Bridges must be used to connect all of the islands into a single group
  • Bridges must begin and end at an island
  • They can only be positioned perpendicularly in a straight line
  • Lastly, the numbers on the island must equal the number of connections to the island--no more and no less

Although there are many rules to this puzzle, it's pretty easy to grasp once you give it a try. Tutorials and tip sections for many of these games provide great instruction on how to get started.

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In Numberlink, players are tasked with linking one number with the other across a grid. Generally speaking, paths must be a single continuous line that cannot cross any other line.

Most puzzles have a single solution that fills up all of the boxes on a screen, however, this is not always the case. Some Numberlink puzzles also use colors instead of numbers.

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    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

      Interesting, new-to-me games--thanks!