To Sudoku, or Not to Sudoku…

To sudoku, or not to sudoku. That is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer going through a basic numbers puzzle, or risk introducing someone to this very specific puzzle for the first time, there’s the rub!

I’ve encountered a sudoku type puzzle in two escape rooms. Both were in San Diego. (Escape Room Police and Escape Game SD’s Japanese Thriller Room). For many enthusiasts, making a sudoku seems like a very lazy puzzle. I’d agree. However, I did not anticipate what I encountered in Escape Game SD…an adult man who had never seen a sudoku.

Like most Americans, the first time I’d seen a sudoku puzzle was probably in about 2005. Sudoku, or ‘single number’ in Japanese was a fun puzzle, with basic rules, that could be simple or difficult, depending on how much time you wanted to spend on filling out the squares. Great on a plane or a subway ride.

The rules are simple. Each 9 square has numbers 1-9. Each row has numbers 1-9. Each column has numbers 1-9. There you go! Solve the puzzle. When I was with two other EscapeRoomers in Escape Game SD, we found a piece of paper that looked shockingly like a sudoku puzzle.  The real problem came when a rando adult man asked what the puzzle was. I said it was a sudoku puzzle, and he was sudoku’dly puzzled! I was trying to solve the puzzle while simultaneously explaining to this man what a sudoku was!

Just because everyone knows what a sudoku puzzle is, does not mean that everyone knows what a sudoku puzzle is. More importantly, sudoku puzzles do not belong in escape rooms.

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