Recommend a good brain game

My husband has been bemoaning the fact that he is growing old and forgetful, and wants a game (PC or board game) that he can use to challenge his noggin and get it working again. Anyone know of a good 1-player or 2-player game that would challenge him? Something like a memory game, or puzzle game would be good, but anything you can think of that challenges the mind would be great.

SuDoKu? It’s available as a board game.

Go. Go. Go. You can learn the rules in maybe half an hour. Learning to play it well will torment you for THE REST OF YOUR LIFE :eek: (I am not kidding)

Second this. I downloaded a SuDoKu game to my phone for $4.99 and it’s probably kept me engrossed for 20 hours since then.

Go looks interesting, although it seems to be primarily a 2-player game. Wiki says that computer as opponent isn’t a good option. Maybe for the 2 of us.

Is SuDoKu really that good? I’ve never really looked into it, although I know it’s very popular now. How is it played?

Sudoku you try and get it so that the numbers one through nine each appear exactly once per:

  1. Each row
  2. Each column
  3. Each 3X3 square

The puzzles start off with just enough numbers to shown to lock it down to there being only one possible solution to the puzzle. From there it’s a process of elimination.

Personally I think the best brain game is learning something new, but Sudoku isn’t bad. I also personally quite like backgammon.

I pretty much agree here. Sudoku is the mental equivalent of doing curls or pushups while watching TV. It’s a strightforward muscle builder.

Also, and maybe this is too obvious, but how about chess? It’s the world’s gretest two player game, and you can get reasonably priced computer versions that are entertaining and suitably challenging for all but serious masters. If he’s interested, I recommend – it’s free to join (though there are paid premium memberships that have more features) and you can play dozens of games with people from all over the world.

An oldie-but-goodie is Mastermind. I know it as a board game, but it appears there are computer/online versions of it, too.


The most addicting mind-bending game I have ever played.
Simple task: Push boxes around a grid/maze/warehouse to a specific location.
The catch: You can only push the boxes. No pulling. Accidentally push one into a corner and its stuck there.
Simple at first, three boxes in one room. Progressively more challenging, 30 boxes scattered in a 5 room warehouse.

You can usually find a free version to download by googling it

Dell (the crossword puzzle folks, not the computer manufacturers) publishes a magazine of logic puzzles every couple of months. Check out Obviously, these are going to be single-player activities.

Scrabble is a pretty good game that can be played by two. A web version of it can be found in the Yahoo Games page, under the name Literati (a word game). An advantage of this (vis a vis brain exercising) is that you compete against a different person every time, and you don’t get used to the opponent’s playing style.

Dr Kawashima’s How old is your brain? for the Nintendo DS is PERFECT here. Daily mental challenges help keep your brain “young”, and there is a test every day to see how old your brain is. It even has 100 built in sudoku puzzles as well. The fact that its on the DS is great because you can play it anytime, anywhere… I personally like to keep my brain fresh while sitting on th’ bog. Granted, you’ll need to buy a DS, but hey, those things are cheap as chips.

Not necessarily a computer game, but I suggest Duplicate Bridge. Most towns of any size will have at least one club sanctioned by the American Contract Bridge League, and lessons are available from qualified instructors. Many of the players are senior citizens, and there is a social aspect as well as rigorous mental stimulation. Google the ACBL for more info.

How about crossword puzzles? I have read that they are helpful in keeping the mind sharp as people get older.

I’ve been wanting to learn Go. Which of the online versions would you suggest?

I’d prefer to play agains the computer, at least while I’m learning.

As for me, I vote for crossword puzzles. I got into them last year, and now live in fear of running out of them. NY Times daily size is my drug of choice, although I do the Sundays too.

Free, online Boggle-

The best are the “Most Ornery” from *Games Magazine. *They’re printed with two sets of clues: Easy and Difficult. Ignore the easy ones.

Get Igowin. It’s only a 9x9 board (computers do pretty well on 9x9s) but it’s good practice. Also, play through this. Here is a list of internet go servers but I don’t know anything about most of them: [link]. I’ve only played on IGS and Yahoo Games and didn’t really like either of them, though Yahoo is probably a good starting point for beginners. You should try to track down some go players in real life though. The reason for this is threefold: other players can give you advice, it’s easier to concentrate on something physically in front of you (at least for me) and people in real life can’t go “brb” and disappear forever just as you’re about to win.


Why focus on just one puzzle? You’ll get bored, words of wisdom from the man who bought 700 cross sums. Get a subscription to GAMES magazine. Also good are the variety books from other publishers. GAMES is a real magazine compared to them though. Especially great are Paint by Numbers. The submarine one is also good. Some other great puzzles are this one and this one. Although those last two aren’t in GAMES. They’re OK online but much better with a pen and paper.

Cryptic Crosswords are really challenging to me. But I also enjoy the one where there are no clues but rather a crossword that has been encrypted. Cryptograms are another great one.

And Brain Age is a great reason to get a DS. Although a bit of advice, when it wants to you say blue just say “ooh!” It has a hard time understanding me when I say “blue.” There’s another game like this, “Big Brain Academy.”

Another nice thing about GAMES magazine is that they’ll review board games, computer games and the like.

How about mental noughts and crosses? We used to play this as kids on the train on the way home from school. You have to keep a mental image of the nine squares in your head and each player calls out the number of the square where he wants to put a nought or cross.