Just as we need to exercise our bodies to keep healthy, we need to exercise our brains too. The brain is like a muscle; if we don’t use it, it can become sluggish. Thankfully, our brains thrive on puzzles and games, which are enjoyable activities too.
Far from sweating your way through a home workout, sitting down to a game of cards or a complex board game is great fun and beneficial. These are our favorite brain-teasing games that you can play online completely free of charge.
Card games have long been a favorite of people looking to work out their grey matter. Poker is a good choice as the rules are easy to understand but the strategy takes a little while to perfect. The more you learn, the more fascinated you’ll become by things like pot odds.
Better still, the game is readily available at lots of different websites, so for those looking to play free online games, you couldn’t be better catered for. There are a load of different variations of this game too; Texas Hold’em is by far the most popular and the one you’ll see being played at just about every tournament.
Those with aspirations of making it to tournament level should definitely dedicate the majority of their time to this game. If you enjoy a bit of variety though, you can also play Omaha, five-card draw, high or low Chicago, or seven-card stud.
Just like poker, chess is a true classic. Varietals of this game have been found dating back to as early as 700 CE, with a particularly remarkable one, the Afrasiab Chessmen, intricately carved out of elephant ivory.
Heading down a rabbit hole of ancient chess pieces is certainly an interesting way to spend the afternoon, but perhaps even better is playing a few games yourself. Chess is a particularly good game to play online as you can always match yourself to someone of a similar ability.
This means that if you’ve outstripped the players at your local chess club, then you can always find a challenge. Chess.com is a popular site to use as it has an enormous player base and plenty of options for customization.
3. Cryptic Crosswords
Cryptic crosswords are a unique and challenging variant of the traditional crossword puzzle. Unlike standard crosswords, where clues are straightforward definitions, Cryptic crosswords involve wordplay, anagrams, and other linguistic tricks. For those looking to exercise their brain and improve their linguistic prowess, you can refer to Cryptic crossword tips.
Although you might think this is an ancient Japanese game, you couldn’t be further from the truth. The very beginning of Sudoku is disputed, but the earliest records we have of it are from a turn-of-the-century French newspaper.
These puzzles quickly spread to America where Wayne Gould was credited with editing them and creating Sudoku as we know it today. Gould worked for the New York Times where these puzzles got published regularly.
It wasn’t until the puzzles were in circulation in the New York Times that they made their way to Japan. It was here that the Japanese named the puzzles Sudoku and the public went crazy for them.
This was largely down to the fact that the Japanese alphabet doesn’t lend itself to crosswords, making Sudoku an accessible alternative for everyone. It’s now easier than ever to play Sudoku online and you can even challenge yourself to the daily New York Times puzzle on their website if you want to have a go where it all started.