Kakuro for Dummies The Game


Rules of Play








To be the first player or team to correctly finish their portion of three Kakuro puzzles.


Kakuro is the Japanese name for a crossword puzzle of sums (hence the often-used name of Cross Sums). The puzzle grid can be any size.


Solving Kakuro puzzles


You just need to remember two simple rules when solving Kakuro puzzles:


Working out combinations


The digits used to fill in the squares for each block are called combinations. For instance, if a horizontal block has an answer of 3 with two blank squares, you know that the combination to fill that block has to include the digits 1 and 2.




Some combinations are known right from the start. For example, the tow digits needed to sum to 3 are 1 and 2 as stated above. The two digits needed to sum to 4 are another example they have to be 1 and 2 (2 and 2 would break the rule of not repeating digits). Such combinations are called known combinations. Look for know combinations when starting to solve a Kakuro puzzle.


Known combinations can be extremely helpful, especially where two know combinations intersect within a puzzle. For example, say a horizontal block of two squares that sum to 16 intersects with a vertical block of two squares that sum to 17. The known combination for 16 includes 7 and 9. The known combination for 17 includes 8 and 9. The 9 is the digit in common, so that is the digit for the intersecting square.


You can use this same principle for squares that dont involve fixed combinations. Even if you cant come up with the squares final value, you can at least narrow the possibilities. For example, if you have three squares that must sum to 10, which is not a known combination, the possibilities for the squares would include some combination involving 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7. If a sum of 3 using two squares crosses this sum of 10, the only possibilities for the intersecting square are 1 and 2.




As you can see, known combinations are key. To help players along, we have provided four tables, each one summarizing the known combinations. Keep a known combination table handy during play.


Figuring out fixed values


This of this as the process of elimination. For example, if the clue calls for the sum of 7 using three squares (the know combination of 1, 2 and 4) and you already have the 1 and the 2 accounted for, you know the remaining square must be 4.


Using the training puzzles


To use the training puzzles, follow these steps:


  1. Find Training Puzzle #1 and place it in front of you with the black and yellow number tiles handy.

Notice that this puzzle has some squares with small, circled numbers in the upper right-hand corner. These numbers indicated the order in which the tiles should be placed to solve the puzzle. They dont have to be placed in exactly this order, but doing so is good way to start.


  1. Locate square C1.

This square is the intersection of two known combinations the sum of 16 using two squares (7 and 9) and the sum of 17 using two squares (8 and 9). Therefore, C1 has to be 9, allowing you to then solve B1 and C2.


  1. Now locate the square E3 with the ƒ in its upper right-hand corner.

This value can be determined immediately. The vertical block of two squares must sum to 4 a known combination of 1 and 3. However, the bottom horizontal block (E) must sum to 11 with two squares if E3 was 1, E2 would have to be 10, violating the digits allowed by the rules of Kakuro. Hence, the intersecting square E3 has to be 3, allowing you to then solve D3 and E2.



  1. Now locate D5.

Horizontally, this block of four squares must sum to 12. Already, we have used 1. Assuming we use the next two lowest values (2 and 3), that would already give us a sum of 6. Therefore, D5 can be no greater than 6. Therefore, the possibilities here are 4, 5, and 6. Furthermore, we know that 6 cant work, as then C5 would have to be 7 to get a vertical sum of 13, requiring C4 to be a 7 as well to get a horizontal sum of 14. This violates the Kakuro rule of not repeating digits. Therefore, we have narrowed the possibilities for D5 to 4 and 5.


  1. Now look at column 2.

The four squares here must sum to 20 and already we have 7 and 8, summing to 15. We need an additional 14 using two squares. This combination must be 5 and 9 (we have already used an 8, eliminating the combination of 8 and 6, and the combination of 7 and 7 violates the Kakuro rule of not repeating digits). Taking it one step further, we know that D2 must be 5, as this is the only way we can get the horizontal block to sum to 12 (5, 1, 2, and 4). This allows you to solve B2, C4 and C5.


6.      Now focus on B4.

Seven is the only digit that will not work here. After this, the remaining blank squares become clear!


7.      Go to Training Puzzle #2.

Start with any square labeled . Go from there, referring to the circled numbers where needed.


Playing the game


After youve worked the two training puzzles and feel comfortable with the rules and strategies of Kakuro, youre ready for the Kakuro for Dummies game. Heres how to play:


1.      Select a puzzle to play.

Puzzle #3 is the first non-training puzzle. The puzzles are numbered according to the size of their grid, from smallest to largest.


2.      If youre playing with other players, divide up the chosen puzzle.

You will see that each puzzle is divided into four sections. How you choose you puzzle section(s) depends on the number of players:

        With two players, one player takes the top half of the puzzle to complete while the other player takes the bottom half.

        With three players, one player takes the upper half of the puzzle while each of the other players chooses one of the two bottom quadrants.

        With four players, each player chooses a quadrant of the puzzle to complete.

Players should rotate puzzle sections after each round.

3.      The youngest player says, Ready, set, go! and the players race to correctly place their tiles on the board, completing their part of the puzzle.

Follow the rules of the game to place the tiles. Players will not use all of the tiles in any game. Each puzzle will require a different combination of tiles for completion.


Having a dispute over which number goes in a square? Then a player not involved in that dispute must take a peek at the solution and announce the correct number for the square. If all the players are involved in the dispute, then clear the puzzle grid and start over.


4.      After all the blank squares are covered, check the solution to see if the puzzle has been solved correctly.

If so, then the person who completed their section of the puzzle first is the winner of that puzzle. If not, then the first person who completed their section of the puzzle correctly is the winner. If no one completed their portion of the puzzle correctly, congratulate each other on a good try and then take another crack at the puzzle.


5.      If the puzzle is correct, then select another puzzle, rotate puzzle sections, and start again.

The first player to win three Kakuro puzzles is the champ!




2006 University Games Corporation