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KenKen Puzzles: Printable Puzzles and Solver

Updated on January 24, 2011

What are KenKen Puzzles?

Kenken, also known as Kendoku, MathDoku, and Calcudoku, is a puzzle math game created by Japanese professor Tetsuya Miyamoto. It is often compared to Sudoku, though more intensive as kenken puzzles require extra math skills in addition to logical skills.

Picture from Flickr -- KenKen Stumper (Solution provided)

Printable KenKen Puzzles

Here is a list of websites that allow you to access free printable KenKen Puzzles. Various sizes are available. The greater the size, the greater the difficulty (typically)

Printable Kenken Puzzles

KenKen.com's Printables

New York Times KenKen Printables

Reader's Digest

The reader's digest link is a search result page. Just choose one of the pdf files shown. Levels are written in the title such as "harder", "easier".

Free Kenken Puzzles Online

Mathdoku: Randomly Generated Puzzles

How to Play Ken Ken

How to Play Ken Ken

Kenken can be found in various sizes, usually from 4x4 to 9x9. It is always square (so there's no 4x5, only 4x4 and 5x5).

Rule 1: However big the box is determines how many digits there can be. In other words, if you count 9 boxes in a line, you have number 1-9. If you have 4 boxes in a line, it's 1-4.

Rule 2: Each line must have each number. No number can repeat within a line.

Rule 3: Lines can be vertical and horizontal - not diagonal.

Rule 4: Various numbers are grouped together with an operation: - x + or / and a number

Rule 5: The numbers within the operation section must do that operation

so if you see the operation is: 2/ for a group of 2 numbers on a 6 x 6 grid, that means you can do either 2&1 (2/1 = 2), 2&4 (4/2 = 2), or 3&6 (6/3 = 2).

Rule 6: Use all of the rules to help you. Don't focus solely on the operations. The lines rule can be very helpful!

What? Can I see a video of this?

Here is a video of a 4x4 KenKen. It will let your learn the basics. When you move on to bigger puzzles, make sure to count how big they are so you know how many numbers to use!

Learn Kenken Right Here - An easy picture with a fully explained step by step.

Easy KenKen
Easy KenKen

I will give you a full explanation of how to do this KenKen puzzle (that I created and color coded for ease of use). You should save the picture and print it out to go along. Or use MS Paint if you want to edit it right on your computer.

(Note: The solution, along with references to which step is being done, is at the bottom)

Step A: Check to see if there are any boxes with only a number. The yellow box "3", at the bottom right, is all by itself. That means you can pretty much write 3. (In other words, that's a given, but a lot of puzzles like to have completely clean pages so they'll use this tactic). So write 3 in that box.

Step B: Now it's time to check for easy operations. Just above the box you were on is a Green section that says "3+". A 2 is already given. Well, the only number that adds (+) with 2 to get 3 is 1. (2 + 1 = 3). So in that section, write 1 in the missing box.

Step C: Remember, every row/column must have all the numbers. On the column you were just on, you now have numbers 1, 2, and 3. That means that top right box in the pink section HAS to be a 4. Write that in.

Step D: Now that you know the top right pink section has a 4, and it's written that it's 6+, what number adds up with 4 to get 6? Why, 2! (2 + 4 = 6). Write 2 in the other box of the top right pink section.

Step E: On the top row, you now have numbers 1, 2, and 4. That means the only missing box left is 3. Write in 3. (Top left blue section)

Step F: There are various ways to go on, both easy, but one I think is more important to cover. On that left pink box it says "4+". You don't have any numbers in that section - but think about it. The only way you can get numbers to add up to 4 is by doing either (3 + 1) or (2 + 2). If you use 2+2, that means you'll have repeating numbers in the same row. So that's obviously wrong! That means 3 and 1 are the only way to go. Alright, but where do the numbers go. Well, right above, you have the row you finished and you can see it also had a 3,1 section. Since you can't get numbers to repeat, you can't put a 3 under a 3, and you can't put a 1 under a 1. So you clearly have to write in your new 1 under the 3 and your new 3 under the 1. In other words, that left pink section goes "3 1"

Step G: That row you were just working on (second from the top) has all numbers except for 4. So write 4 in that empty box

Step H: Look at the left green section, the one with a 2 in it. It says 2-. That means there's a number out there where its different with 2 is 2. (X - 2 = 2) So what's X? 4! (4 - 2 = 2) Write 4 in the empty box in that left green section.

Step I: Look at the bottom left blue box that says 2-. Notice that this column already has 1 and 3, so the only two numbers that can go in this section are 2 and 4. And you have a 2 and 4 on the neighbor column. Once again, you have to make sure the numbers you add in don't clash with the unique-numbers on each row/column rule. So 4 has to be on the top and 2 on the bottom.

Step J: As you can see, the last 2 rows both are only missing one number (both happen to be in that middle blue section). The bottom row is missing a 1 and the row above it is missing a 3. Write them in and you're done!

Solution to Given KenKen Puzzle

Solution to Given KenKen Puzzle
Solution to Given KenKen Puzzle

Have You Played KenKen?

Answer Now or Be Forever Burning in the Fires of Hell! (Just kidding...)

See results

KenKen Solver

Get a Computer to Solve it For You!

KenKen puzzles can be quite difficult and sometimes you may not have a solution available. Maybe a friend made it. Maybe you ripped it out of a newspaper and you don't remember which. It doesn't matter, there are online solvers to help you out!

Online KenKen Solver Websites:

NekNek: A Solver for Kenken

KenKen Solver Demo

Charlie de Tar Kenken Solver

Which Newspapers/Magazines have Kenken Puzzles?

According to the official Kenken webpage:

KenKen or Sudoku?

What do you prefer?

How I came to learn about Kenken

I came to find Kenken through a DS video game I borrowed from a Japanese friend; I fell in love with it so much that my friend told me to keep it. I didn't know at the time that it was called Kenken, I actually called it "Gakken", which was the name of the development studio that made the game.

Later on, my mother in law brought home a book of Kenken puzzles, thinking it was similar to Sudoku. Personally, I can assure you that Kenken is sudoku.....on high performance drugs! Kenken requires 2 of the 3 sudoku rules, as well as for you to use all 4 math operations.If you like a real math puzzle, Kenken - not Sudoku - is what you want to go for.

KenKen DS Game
KenKen DS Game

KenKen Video Games

Nintendo DS

There's only one KenKen DS video game I know of, and that's the one that's only available in Japan. Importing is an option since it will play on ANY Nintendo DS/DSi. The game's name is - take a breather - Miyamoto Sansuu Kyoushitsu no Kyouzai: Kenkunaru Puzzle DS Han, which means:

Professor Miyamoto Math Classroom's Teaching Materials:

Kenken Puzzle DS Version

or something along those lines.

Check Out Miyamoto Sansuu Kyoushitsu no Kyouzai: Kenkunaru Puzzle DS-Han (Nintendo DS) at Play-Asia.com

A Personal Review

Although I do still have that KenKen book my mother in law gave me, I keep coming back to the foreign DS game. The KenKen book only does pure kenken, with all 4 operations. This game, however, has various Kenken Types: Addition only; addition and subtraction; multiplication only; multiplication and division; All 4 Operations. And if I mess up, it's a lot easier to clean up by pressing the erase button than to erase a page from a book. Points are earned from the regular certification process and the daily puzzle, which can then be used to unlock more puzzles that are timed for a real challenge!

BlackBerry

KenKen: Train Your Brain

KenKen

iPhone

& iPad & iPod Touch

KenKen: Train Your Brain

KenKen Pro by Will Shortz

Credit of Gamespot

Are There Other Puzzles You Play?

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    • anjamac profile image

      anjamac 3 years ago

      I love them! It took me while to work them out. I'm still on the 3x3 thou...lol

    • profile image

      KarenCookieJar 6 years ago

      This looks hard, I can't wait to try one. I play sudoku, so this will be a fun change.

    • Pmona LM profile image

      Pmona LM 6 years ago

      The only puzzle game I've played, that I can think of, is Sudoku.