Activity Workshop
 

Puzzles and Games

Don't feel quite active enough today for any outdoor excitement? Well, don't worry. Your grey cells also need exercise every now and again, so here is a selection of indoor activities you can try online.

Puzzles

Nonograms are the deceptively simple logic puzzles from Japan, based on completing a blank grid with shaded and non-shaded squares to make pictures. Not at all easy at first, but there are puzzles here of various difficulty levels to get you going, as well as a tutorial and examples. It also includes a java-based puzzle solver, for when your brain is too sore.

Sudoku is a more recent arrival on the puzzle scene, but riotously popular in newspapers and books across the continent. These puzzles revolve around arranging the numbers 1 to 9 in a grid of 9 by 9 squares. It sounds repetitive, but the hidden patterns can become fiendishly addictive. Here we offer a java-based helper to let you solve puzzles online, 10 puzzles of different difficulty levels and a tutorial guide to get you started. There's also now the more fiendish X-Sudoku, or Samurai Sudoku, with 5 normal Sudokus overlapping each other.

Kakuro is another puzzle with Japanese origins, again involving the numbers 1 to 9. The difference is that here you get clues and the numbers in the squares have to add up to the given clues. We'll start you off with the basic rules and some simple examples.

The classic Monkey on a Rope puzzle has been discussed for years. What happens when the monkey tries to climb the rope? No java in this one, just fiendish Lewis Carroll puzzlery.

The BBC published some entertaining cryptography puzzles in 2016, most of which aren't high-level cryptography but more basic code-cracking.

Another thinking puzzle, the Four Dogs puzzle involves four dogs (obviously) chasing each other round a room. Try it out yourself in the pub.

Finally, there is a selection of short Brain teasers to give you a furrowed brow.

Games

Everybody knows Battleships, whether the good old-fashioned pen-and-paper version, or the elaborate and noisy plastic-and-electronics version. Well here's another way to play the old favourite, with the added advantage of a computer opponent to test your skills against. This java game can also be played in 2-player mode over a network, in case you haven't got pen-and-paper handy.

Another childhood classic, Boxes is that one where you have a grid of dots, and take it in turns to draw lines between them. Relive the multicoloured biro fun.

Also tangentially related to these games, the Vocabulary tester is a fun diversion involving language. This time it's educational too though, as you can use it to learn German, Polish and even Welsh vocabulary.

Lastly we look at Yahtzee, but since there are already so many resources available to let you play this intriguing dice game, we just point you to those rather than make yet another version.