Sudoku Gameboard
Copyright(c) 2016 by Gregory Zafros

WHY THE SUDOKU GAMEBOARD?

Welcome to the Sudoku Gameboard.  I know that it is a pretty bold statement to call something the best  and I know that there are a lot of very good sudoku websites out there.  So why is this one the best?  It's because it has been designed right from the beginning to make it easier for YOU to solve the puzzle rather than relying heavily on the computer to do it for you.    The Sudoku Gameboard still requires you to do the puzzle, but it helps you by presenting the sudoku information in a simple, logical, and intuitive fashion.   You only need to try the Sudoku Gameboard to realize how it simplifies YOUR solving the puzzle.  The challenge of doing a sudoku remains, the drudgery is gone.

Let me explain.  You can solve most very simple sudokus right on the printed sheet of paper or the newspaper (What's a newspaper???) or being technologically savvy, on the computer screen.  For more difficult sudokus, however, you need to start tracking "candidates" which are the possible answers for an individual cell.  Many computerized sudoku programs help you with this by displaying the candidates in the unfilled cells.  Sudoku Gameboard does this also.  The difference is that most other players display the candidates in three rows of three values each.  If you have done any sudokus on a computer you have probably seen this. 

This is all fine and fancy for display purposes, but does it help you solve the sudoku.  Well yes, sort of.  But let's be honest.  This three by three matrix is a pain.  While it does show you the numbers, it is difficult to comprehend and to make comparison between cells quickly and easily.  Some of you probably get eye strain or a migraine using the  3 by 3 format. The Sudoku Gameboard on the other hand,  presents candidate information on a single line in an easy to read format.  It won't take a rocket scientist to realize which one is better.  Finding clues, like pointing pairs or triples is easy with The Sudoku Gameboard as you observe numbers in a more natural fashion.  

If time is money, you will become a rich person by using The Best Sudoku Player.  Check out the instructions below.  Then give it a try, and have a good time.

USING THE SUDOKU GAMEBOARD (The Player)

To solve anything other than the simplest puzzles you will need to know the basic solving techniques such as singles, pointing pairs, hidden pairs and other basic techniques.  As you advance to the more difficult puzzles you will need to become familiar with the more sophisticated techniques such as x-wings, xy-wings and xyz-wings.  You can learn these techniques from a variety of sources on the internet.  Just search it out.  Once you have mastered these techniques you will be able to solve puzzles either by hand or using a computer player.  Using The Player will allow you to solve most puzzles quickly and easily .  I guarantee it.

FINDING A SUDOKU

The Best Sukoku Player does not provide you with sample sudokus.  You can find some all over the place so no need for a sudoku generator here.  One that I use is located at: 

http://www.opensky.ca/~jdhildeb/software/sudokugen/


You may want to check it out.  It will open in a separate window which you can set side by side with the Best Sukoku Player.

So, let's see what The Player looks like and how it works.

Notice that the nine rows and nine columns are well displayed and the nine "Boxes" very discernable as well.  Let's take a minute and talk about the elements marked in the picture above:

Game Name:  Click on this area and you can enter a name for the puzzle to define it source and/or other information.  For example "Game 27 Page 8" or "From Sunday Paper".

Guide Link:  That, of course, gets you here so you have probably already clicked on this button.

Count Bar:  This shows the count for each number that has already been entered in the puzzle.  When you enter a number, the count bar is automatically updated.  This is especially useful when you start a puzzle as you might want to start looking at numbers with a high initial count.   When all nine entries for a particular number have been entered in the puzzle, the number count displays the number 9 in Red.

Number Bar: This bar is used for entering a number into a cell or modifying the Candidate List for a cell.  To enter a number for the cell, click on the cell close to the dot.  The cell will change from its shaded color to white, indicating that it is ready for you to enter a number.  Simply click the number you want on the Number Bar and that number will be entered into the cell.  Simple as that.  If you have a number pad on your keyboard and would prefer, you can enter the number directly by pressing the number on the keypad.  When you enter a number into a cell, the candidates list is automatically adjusted for Rows, Columns and Boxes. 

When using certain sudoku techniques, you may/will want to make changes to candidates manually.  For example, if you have a "pointing pair" in a row, you will want to eliminate those two numbers from the candidates list for the other cells in that row or column, and possibly in a box if the pair occurs in a single box.  To do this, click on the candidates list in the cell in question.  When you do this, the number bar will change.  Those numbers that remain in the candidate list will be in white and those that are already removed will be gray on the number bar.  To change the status of a particular candidate, simply click on the number on the number bar.  The status of the candidate will be reversed, either removing it or restoring it.  As you do this, the color of that number cell will also be switched. Note that you must use the Number Bar to modify the candidates list.  You can not use the number pad on your keyboard.

Candidates and Cells:  Hopefully, these are self evident.  If not, look up some basic instructions on how to do a sudoku.

Menu Bar

New - This option clears the puzzle and prepares it for a new game.  

Store - Saves the puzzle data that exists at the time this option is clicked.  The data can be reloaded using the Restore option described below.  The "cookies" option must be turned on in your browser.  This option may not work in some browsers versions. Since The Player is somewhat unforgiving when you make a mistake, you may want to make a habit of Storing periodically while you are doing the puzzle.  If you do make a mistake, you can use the Restore option to go back to that point in you work on the puzzle.

Restore - The counter part to the Store option, Restore brings back the information saved using the Store option.  One of the nice features of Restore is that as you enter answers they are  shown in black, Restored data is shown in blue.  Therefore, it is a good idea to Store and then Restore the puzzle after entering the initial data and before starting to solve the puzzle.  That way, as you work the puzzle, you can tell which data you entered and which data is original.

Reset - This option resets the candidates based solely on the cell values.  Any candidates which you manipulate manually are not included.  This option is useful when you thoroughly mess up the puzzle and need to make changes to cell values.  

Singles - Okay, I lied.  The Player does help you solve the puzzle.  However, it does this on a very limited basis.  The Singles option tells you if there are any singleton values in a row, column or box.  Obviously, if a candidate value occurs only once in a row, column or box, it is the value that belongs in that cell  So, Singles tells you if a Singleton exist, but it doesn't tell you what that number is.  That's up to you to find.  

Similarly, you probably realize there if there is only one candidate left in a cell, then that is the number that goes in that cell.  One remaining candidate is a special case of a singleton and something you should constantly be watching for as it is the easiest way to identify the number for a cell.

Wings - The Wings option shows a couple of "tools" that you can use to solve the puzzle.  It gives you some information which could be helpful in finding xy-wings and x-wings.  When you take this option, a separate page is displayed with three tables.  The first table displays the cells with only two candidates (a candidate pair) and shades the cells that are still "open".  This can be useful for finding some, but not all, wings.  

The other two tables display a row and then a column scan of the data displaying rows and columns which have only two occurrences of a number.  x-wings are then easily identifiable. Check the graphics at the end of this documentation for example of how this works.

Back - Back allows you to go back one move.  So, if you enter a wrong number in a cell you can "erase" that and enter the correct number.  You must do this before you click on another cell, so be sure you have entered the number you want before you go to the next cell.

Show - When you start a new puzzle, the candidates lists in the cells are hidden.  This is to make it easier to see the values that you are entering and to work through the first couple of rounds of solving.  After that, you will want to see the candidates because they will then be the main source for solving the puzzle.  Clicking Show will display the candidates as shown in the picture at the very beginning of this guide.  At the same time, the option wording in the menu changes from "Show" to "Hide".  You can switch back and forth with this option as much as you want.

Mode - The default "mode" of The Player as described so far, is called the "Brute Force" mode where you start with all nine numbers in the candidate list and eliminate candidates as you work the puzzle.  The "Mode" option will switch you from Brute Force mode to the "Scratch" mode.  In Scratch mode, the candidates list starts out empty and you work the puzzle by entering numbers into the candidate list rather than eliminating them.  Scratch mode is similar to how many people work the puzzle on paper.  There are a number techniques for Scratch mode, just as there are many for Brute Force mode.  If you switch to Scratch mode, you should stay in Scratch mode from that point on.  If you go back to Brute Force mode you should take the Reset option to reset the candidates lists.