Cursing, throwing things, undue irritability: all are symptoms of a person against a brain teaser, but we love every moment of it! Creative challenges as well as solutions push our cognition and problem-solving skills to their limits, much like Play-Doh food dares us to redefine “edible”. Brain teasers and brain games keep your mind active and quick, and that frivolous feeling of success can’t top anything. For our fellow brain warriors, this one’s for you!
Let us delve into the cerebral challenges with the quintessential of all puzzles, retro yet timeless, compelling yet so frustrating, the Rubiks Cube.
As a child, I had one but refused to meddle with it: the puzzle comes solved in the package, so I simply removed it with intention of displaying it as a previously solved piece. (Cheating? Maybe a little.) Once an ignorant friend ruined that plan, I realized why these multi-colored blocks are so popular much after their advent in the early 1970s: they’re really difficult! Once you (somehow) realize the formula involved, it’s only a series of repetitive steps before you attain that elusive uniform color on every side. For the impatient, there’s also the alternative six-second solution:
How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube in Six Seconds
An equally colorful but more open-ended mindbender is a Vertokrut puzzle. It seems initially harmless enough, a flat piece of plastic that you build into shapes. The allure of this brain teaser lies in its limitless capability to transform while still being challenging. The included manual provides shapes and animals to model, but there really are no set rules or methods: your strategy lies in your ability to visualize what you wish to create.
Vertokrut Brain Teaser
For some people, involving more visualization is the preferred challenge over something that demands physical coordination, and for them there is Sudoku.
Handheld Sudoku a.k.a. Shutting the World Out When You’re Out in the World
Sudoku, a.k.a. Shutting the World Out
As a logic-based game, Sudoku consists of several squares, each containing nine squares for one number each (1 through 9). Your challenge is to fill each square, each row, and each column without repeating numbers. For the Sudoku addict, we suggest a handheld Sudoku game, with varying difficulty levels and endless brow-furrowing and growling which also effectively combats strangers interrupting you with small talk and chatter.
Quality puzzlemakers Hanayama have designed and patented some of the most challenging and artfully crafted brain teasers that enthusiasts and novices alike flock to. These cast metal puzzles range from level 2 (your kid nephew’s level) to level 6 (Einstein would have trouble solving these). In addition to coordination, an especially acute sense of planning ahead is required to make any progress; at the same time, it is almost impossible to put these things down. Additionally, these brain teasers make rather attractive desk toys or small coffee table conversation pieces.
Hanayama Enigma Puzzle
Enigma out of the box
A partial collection of Hanayama metal puzzles
If you’re up for more of a financial challenge, i.e., you’re a cheapskate, there’s plenty of free games and brain teasers available through any web search. Dictionary.com offers a variety of word games including a daily crossword puzzle and Word Dynamo, a timed guessing game at the definition of obscure words intended to test your etymological ability and vocabulary set.
Hey, there’s nothing wrong with free, and as long as you’re exercising that dense membrane in your skull, we’re rooting for you and the unnecessary but fun challenge you’re testing your capabilities against. Don’t worry; you’ll figure out those puzzles and brain teasers!