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best games for brainiacs

The Best Games for Brainiacs

by Martha Simmonds

Every now and again it’s nice to relax with a game that involves no thought at all, where you can just sit back and let autopilot take over. However, other times it’s nice to have something to really get stuck into. Whether it’s a fiendishly difficult logic puzzle, a test of your mathematical skills, a stretch for your vocabulary, or really anything that gets that grey matter working. If you’re feeling like your brain needs to wake up and work then we’ve got some suggestions for games that are as enjoyable as they are engaging.


Many people think that Sudoku is an ancient Japanese game, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, Sudoku was invented in the 1970s in the United States, by a man who worked for a local newspaper. He released the puzzles every week and, before long, people were buying the newspaper just to play the puzzles.

When his puzzle style made it to a national newspaper, they began to spread abroad. In fact, they found a huge following in Japan as, owing to their unique alphabet, crossword puzzles are almost impossible to make or solve there. Hearing of the Sudoku boom abroad, the newspaper used the name that they were played under in Japan and that’s how the puzzles were invented.

If you’ve got a brain for numbers then you’ll enjoy the process of filling in the nine squares with numbers from 1-9. You can find simple puzzles to begin with, where a lot of the numbers are already in place for you, and move on to the more difficult puzzles as you gain confidence.


Poker is a great game to learn as the basics are incredibly simple to pick up but, as you learn more, the strategy really comes into play. Beginning with learning the order of play and making sure you’ve got your poker hand rankings committed to memory is a solid start. Once you’ve achieved this, you could either go online to practice your newfound skills, or you could organize a tournament with friends.

This is one of the few games on this list that can be really sociable, especially if you’ve got other similarly brainy friends who are keen to play together. Better still, once you’ve got the hang of Texas Hold’em, for example, you could move on to one of the dozens of other variations of poker. There’s always something new to learn with this game, which is one of the reasons it’s so popular with such a huge number of people.


Wordle has taken the world by storm recently and if you’ve not played before then it might be a little difficult to see why. The New York Times releases this puzzle daily and, whilst it might seem simple, it’s anything but. You begin with five blank squares and within these squares, you need to work out a single word. Each turn you can enter any five letters that you like, but, after six attempts at discovering the word, you’re locked out of the puzzle.

There are plenty of different strategies, like starting with words that are heavy in vowels, or have consonants that appear frequently in short words. Some people have a single word that they religiously start their games with; opera and route are two of the most popular.


Finally, chess is without a doubt the oldest game on this list, but it’s stood the test of time because it is so endlessly playable. Chess is a real test of logic and the theories on winning the game are practically endless. Huge tomes have been written just on which opening gambit is the best to use, so, for people who like to study their game strategy in detail, you can’t do much better than chess.

Not only that, but getting involved in some studying is a great way to improve your focus, which will in turn improve your chess game. Just like poker it’s possible to play both online and in real life, so finding the method that suits you will be key to your success in this fiendishly challenging game.

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