# How to Play Sudoku for Beginners – Sudoku Rules Explained

Sudoku is a fun and rewarding game that anyone can learn to play.

Despite being a number puzzle, no math is required to solve Sudokus. Instead, all you need to do is place the numbers 1-9 in the grid according to the rules.

There are only a small number of rules to play Sudoku. Once you know these rules, you’ll be able to start solving easy puzzles straightaway.

So, let’s take a look at what the rules are so you can play Sudoku.

## The rules of Sudoku

**There are three Sudoku rules: Firstly, each row must contain the numbers 1-9 exactly once each. Secondly, each column must contain the numbers 1-9 exactly once each. Lastly, each 3×3 box must contain the numbers 1-9 exactly once each. That’s it! **

But let’s take a look at these rules in more detail…

### 1. Each row must contain the numbers 1-9 exactly once each

The Sudoku grid is divided up into a 9×9 grid. This means there are nine horizontal rows going from the left side of the grid to the right.

These rows each contain nine cells and some of these cells will already have numbers placed in them. These are known as ‘given digits’.

The first rule of Sudoku is that you must place numbers in the empty cells of the rows so that each row has the numbers 1-9 exactly once each.

### 2. Each column must contain the numbers 1-9 exactly once each

Just as there are nine rows, there are also nine vertical columns. Each of these columns must also contain the numbers 1-9 exactly once each.

Because the columns each consist of nine cells, once you place the numbers 1-9, you will be left with no double-ups.

### 3. Each 3×3 box must contain the numbers 1-9 exactly once each

Finally, the Sudoku grid is also divided up into 9 3×3 subregions, or ‘boxes’, each of which must also contain the numbers 1-9 exactly once each.

Combining this with the first two rules, this means every row, column, and 3×3 box must contain the numbers 1-9 with no double-ups anywhere.

Despite popular misconception, there is no additional rule requiring the two 9-cell diagonals to also contain the numbers 1-9 once each.

## Playing Sudoku

Now that you know the Sudoku game rules, let’s look at how these rules determine how you play Sudoku.

Understanding this will help you with solving Sudoku puzzles and also give you a better appreciation for the game.

### Do not repeat any numbers

Not repeating numbers is the most basic rule of Sudoku.

Whenever you’re able to add a number to the grid, you should always make sure you will not be repeating a number that’s already in the row, column, or 3×3 box.

### Never try to guess the solution

Each Sudoku puzzle will have one unique solution. In other words, each cell is only supposed to have one number in it.

When you start solving a new game, you will be able to place different numbers in the same cell without repeating them, but there will only be one number that belongs in the cell.

Do not place a number in a cell until you have gone through the process of elimination and there is only one number left that the cell can contain.

This is where learning how to pencil mark becomes invaluable.

## Next steps

Now that you know the rules for Sudoku solving and how to play Sudoku, you’ll want to actually start solving some puzzles.

After all, trying to solve Sudoku puzzles is the best way to learn how to play Sudoku and get better. To help you on this journey, we’ve also put together a list of tips and tricks. Check out the list by clicking on the button below.

Before you start, it’s important to keep in mind that there is a wide variety of different difficulty levels. Some Sudoku puzzles are designed to be solvable by only using the process of elimination while others will require one or multiple solving techniques.

Once you’re comfortable with how to play Sudoku, you can expand your capabilities by learning these techniques and trying to solve increasingly difficult puzzles.

There is also a variety of different Sudoku variants that provide unique twists on the standard Sudoku ruleset that make for more interesting and challenging puzzles. For when you feel up to it.