Thrift Treasure:  Kakuro for Dummies

Thrift Treasure: Kakuro for Dummies

Sometimes $1.38 buys you a gem, other times you’ve thrown your money away. This week we’re showing you Kakuro for Dummies. It doesn’t really fall into either of these categories, it’s more of a diamond-in-the-rough.

The entire family enjoys a good Sudoku puzzle, so when we discovered this offering from University Games we were excited to give it a shot. Let me tell you, it is HARD. I’ll get into that in a moment.

Kakuro for Dummies - ContentsFirst we needed to figure out the basic rules behind this type of puzzle. The instructions included were good and there are tutorials with easy game boards to teach you, but ultimately we resorted to reading up on it on Wikipedia.

Each row and column must add up to the number printed on the puzzle using single-digit numbers. Each number can only be used once per row.

Kakuro for Dummies - StartingCertain number combinations are easy to determine and those are your starting points. In the example above I needed a three using two squares. 1+2 are the only possible answers. The adjoining row sums up to five, which must be either a 1+4 or a 2+3. In order to complete the puzzle, no guessing should be necessary; there should always be a logical reason for your choices. For this photo I ‘guessed’ to show you the placement.

Kakuro for Dummies - StuckYou continue on filling up the board until all of the spaces are filled, thus completing the puzzle. But this is just how the puzzle is completed, not how this game is played!

Each player becomes ‘responsible’ for a section of the puzzle and you race to fill in your squares. The first to complete their section correctly wins. As you’ve seen though, your answers may be predicated on someone else’s number selection, so while it looks right to you, if theirs is wrong yours will be too.

I see this being an extremely fun and challenging game for those already familiar with how Kakuro works, but for us it was just a bit too difficult out of the box. We did enjoy the puzzles so we downloaded a free app for our iOS devices that had hundreds of Kakuro puzzles of varying difficulties for us to practice on. There are also good app selections for Android devices as well.

Dare to try it yourself? Find it on Amazon for well under $10! Be sure to check out other offerings from University Games on their website or by following them on Twitter.

Kakuro for Dummies - Pinterest


About Scott

A former manufacturing executive, Scott now balances his family life with ownership and backend administration of websites such as, and a number of other online properties. He also is an occasional writer and full-time board game fanatic.

17 comments on «Thrift Treasure: Kakuro for Dummies»

  1. Beth says:

    Thank you for sharing that game. It looks like fun as I am a huge Sudoku fan.

  2. My mother has always loved puzzles like this and I love the how to books for dummies series.

  3. My husband likes games like that, but I don’t like games that involve numbers….or thinking LOL.

  4. I’ve not previously heard of Kakuro, but growing up my mother used to do puzzles all the time! I wonder if this is one she was playing.

  5. My husband also like games with numbers. Kakuro, is a game I’ll have to ask my husband about if he hear of it.

  6. I love these games. They’re great since they offer some easy answers and some challenging answers as well. They’re a great way to pass the time or exercise your brain.

  7. becca says:

    This is a game my son would enjoy though for me it looks complicated.

  8. Luchie C. says:

    I got lost somewhere among the numbers. (LOL) Agree, these games sure are a challenge… an even extra challenge for me that is. You have introduced me to the term Kakuro though. Before this I only knew of Soduko.

  9. Annemarie says:

    I have never heard of Kakuro but it looks like fun, I will have to check it out.

  10. Eliz Frank says:

    It always great to learn something new. I’ve never heard of this game but will share with my kids as they love games…

  11. Wow, how fun and cool. lol I would love this. I used to do them and then stopped awhile ago. My daughter is trying to learn how to do them now .

  12. Nikki says:

    I’ve played Suduko (I cannot spell that word!), but never tried this game. Thanks for sharing, I’ll have to check it out!

  13. Krystal says:

    I’ve never heard of this game before! Looks fun.

  14. heather says:

    I’ve never heard of this before, but we love sudoku here, so I’m going to have to check it out!

  15. This looks tricky, but I LOVE sudoku puzzles! Haven’t played them much since I had my daughter. :/

  16. Oh this is a gem for our family for sure! My husband LOVES soduku but he says it is getting rather easy. I think he needs this for a challenge!

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