Mosaic Sudoku is played on a 4x4 or 6x6 grid and uses coloured tiles instead of numbers. It is a simpler and more colourful version of the usual game of Sudoku that is played on a 9x9 grid. Instead of using numbers 1 to 9, Mosaic Sudoku uses four or six different coloured tiles depending of the size of the grid.
For both the 4x4 and 6x6 games there is a Normal version and an Advanced version. The data base contains a total of 300 starting positions. The player can select the version of the game to be played and the starting position of some of the tiles is then displayed. Usually the starting position will be selected automatically from the data base progressing from easy to more difficult. Alternatively the player can select a particular game from the data base. In either case the player is then required to place the remaining tiles in the grid to satisfy the rules of the game. In the Normal versions, the rules are similar to that for the usual game of Sudoku. That is, there must be:
One tile of each colour in each row
One tile of each colour in each column, and
One tile of each colour in each box
The Advanced versions have an additional rule:
One tile of each colour in each long diagonal.
A special introductory section ‘Kids’ is provided for beginners, that simply requires the player to match a given pattern of colours. Besides being visually appealing, Mosaic Sudoku is simple and more accessible to a range of age groups than the usual game of Sudoku. It begins with easy puzzles and gradually increases in difficulty within the Normal version and then makes another challenging step in the Advanced version.
In summary the progression of difficulty of the various elements together with approximate suitable ages are:
Kids- matching a given coloured pattern on a 4x4 grid suitable for ages 3 to 5
4x4 Mosaic Sudoku
Normal Suitable for ages 5 to 10
Advanced Suitable for ages 8 to 12
6x6 Mosaic Sudoku
Normal Suitable for ages 10 to 15
Advanced Suitable for ages 12 to Adult
Each of these puzzles has only one solution and this is obtained by applying logic to place each tile in turn. No guesswork is required and no pencilled notes are needed.
Another advantage is that, unlike numbers, there is no right way up to the coloured mosaic pattern. The game can easily be viewed and followed by all those sitting around a table. This means that all can participate in the game either as onlookers, advisors, or even as participants by taking turns to place a tile. In any case it is potentially a more sociable game that can help in the development of both logical and social skills.
Besides the puzzles given, a free play option is included. Some of the possibilities in this option are:
a) Start with a blank grid and try to place the complete set of tiles to satisfy the rules for the various versions. The degree of difficulty ranges from easy for the Normal 4x4 rules to difficult for the Advanced 6x6 rules.
b) Start with a few tiles randomly placed in any version of the game and complete the mosaic to satisfy the appropriate rules. The following numbers of tiles will be randomly located from the data base and will form the fixed starting position.
4x4 normal 3 tiles of different colour will be placed
4x4 advanced 2 tiles of different colour will be placed
6x6 normal 6 tiles of different colour will be placed
6x6 advanced 6 tiles of different colour will be placed
In these cases there will be will be more than one correct solution. As before the best method of solution is to apply logic whenever possible and only resort to an arbitrary placement of a tile when that fails.
Applying imagination to the flexible options available in Mosaic Sudoku will open up numerous possibilities for competition between friends.