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10+ Disadvantages of Playing Sudoku (What You Need to Know!)

Last Updated on January 7, 2024 by Gamesver Team and JC Franco

woman solving sudoku problem
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It’s widely thought that playing Sudoku can level up your brain power, boost decision-making skills, and, arguably, keep certain mental illnesses at bay, but are there any downsides? It is hard to believe that it is all good, right? Of course, there are disadvantages to playing Sudoku, you probably just haven’t heard of them yet.

Here’s a brief list of potential disadvantages of playing the numbers puzzle game that’s a worldwide phenomenon.

These are 10 plus disadvantages of playing Sudoku:

  1. Frustration (in the early days)
  2. Addiction
  3. Time-consuming
  4. Distraction
  5. Sense of incompletion (You will never finish all the puzzles)
  6. Sudoku is a threat to crossword
  7. Can lead to unbalanced lifestyle
  8. Responsibility shirking
  9. Can lead to anxiety
  10. May lead to people abandoning their mental health strategies
  11. Becomes less challenging

It all sounds a bit bizarre, doesn’t it? Let’s take a closer look at these disadvantages of playing Sudoku, to understand them better.

1. Sudoku Can Increase Frustration Levels.

When you first start out learning Sudoku and experimenting with puzzles, you will probably find even the easiest ones challenging. This has been known to cause a great deal of frustration for newbies. Even long-term Sudoku players can experience increased frustration when they level up to the next difficulty or encounter a puzzle that they just can’t solve. The trick is to keep calm and take a break if you feel frustration rising.

woman in the office working with a laptop sudoku
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2. Sudoku Addiction is a Real Thing.

Most people think that because Sudoku is a numbers game, it is not a harmful addiction to have. Any kind of addiction can prove unhealthy for someone, even shopping or exercise addiction.

Being enthusiastic about something and being addicted to it are two different things. Enthusiasm gives a person something positive, while addiction takes something away from that person. Something is considered an addiction when the individual feels that they cannot live without it or when an individual starts neglecting the things they usually place value on, just to get a fix of their new addiction.

3. Sudoku Requires Patience – It is not for Everyone.

Solving a Sudoku puzzle does not take the average person just a few minutes. It takes time, patience, and attention. If you are not a patient person, you might find yourself being very disappointed and even angry with the game. If you are unable to grasp the concept of the game, you are not going to have any success with it. Unfortunately, Sudoku is not for everyone, and it can be quite a downer to realize that it is not the game for you. Patience is key!

4. Sudoku Poses as a Distraction.

Have you ever been unable to stop thinking about an activity? Perhaps you are addicted to a television series and can’t get it off your mind. Or you have a good book that you would rather be reading right now or a text buddy you would like to be messaging. Just as a TV series, good book, or texting can distract you from what is going on around you, so can Sudoku. Distraction can be dangerous. Imagine completing a Sudoku puzzle while waiting at the traffic lights, or trying to complete a puzzle while working around a hot stove.

man driving a car distracted by a smartphone sudoku
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5. Sudoku Can Leave Players with a Sense of Desperate Incompletion.

As you may or may not know, there are over billions of valid Sudoku puzzles currently in existence. If you are addicted to Sudoku, you probably want to try them all, but you just won’t ever be able to. There are so many puzzles to play that you would not be able to complete them in a few lifetimes! As such, it can leave some people with a sense of incompletion, knowing that their challenge is somewhat insurmountable.

6. Sudoku is a threat to Crossword.

One of the biggest drawbacks for many avid puzzlers is that once they encounter Sudoku, their interest in crosswords seems to dwindle. It comes as no surprise, really. And there seems to be a definite concern in the community that Sudoku will start a decline in the number of puzzle aficionados taking the time to learn about abbreviations, homophones, anagrams, and reversals – which of course are only really useful in a good crossword puzzle.

With Sudoku, there is a concern that people, in general, will not want to put in the effort to broaden their general knowledge skills for the purpose of entertainment, when Sudoku can be fairly quickly learned without the need for general knowledge at all. For all intents and purposes, Sudoku is, arguably, a threat to the crossword community.

7. Playing Sudoku Can Lead to an Unbalanced Lifestyle.

Unfortunately, while Sudoku can keep the mind active, it might not be so great for those who need to keep up with their physical activities and exercises. Several reports have said that Sudoku is good for keeping Dementia and Alzheimer’s at bay, but it can also lead to the physically fit abandoning their exercise routines for a few hours of puzzling.

man doing sudoku puzzle
Lisa F. Young /

If you ever find yourself passing up the opportunity to enjoy a good run or hit the gym because you would rather lie in bed or on the couch playing Sudoku, you could be at risk of developing an unbalanced lifestyle. Much the same, social gatherings can be ruined by the presence of a Sudoku game. Ever tried to catch up with a friend over a Sunday brunch while they have their eyes and attention glued to a game of Sudoku? Not very healthy, is it?

8. Sudoku Can Cause Responsibility Shirking.

Due to the addictive nature of Sudoku, it seems to affect anyone of any age. However, it has been seen to affect families the most.

Mothers who have the responsibility of spending quality time with their children may put off play-time or be half-attentive until they have finished their Sudoku puzzle. Partners might ignore the emotional needs of their loved one while they pour hours into Sudoku. Much the same, the Au Pair watching children play in the pool or the park may be miles away in her head while she finishes a Sudoku puzzle.

Unfortunately, Sudoku addiction can cause people to pay half-hearted attention to their daily responsibilities.

9. Sudoku Can Lead to Anxiety.

Just as pre-occupying your mind with something like a puzzle can be relaxing and de-stressing, it can also lead to anxiety for some.

Have you ever started playing a computer or console game and made it to a certain point and just could not make it any further? Do you know that overwhelming sense of frustration? Have you ever felt so anxious over being stuck on a problem or on a stage of a game that you throw the remote across the room, pacing around angrily, or feel inadequate? Anxiety can certainly raise its nasty head when a puzzler cannot solve a Sudoku puzzle.

person in blue shirt sitting at office desk looking at laptop and being frustrated sudoku
OtmarW /

10. May Lead to People Abandoning Their Mental Health Treatment Strategies.

We all know that mental health is essential. We also all know that Sudoku is, arguably, promoted as a way to help people keep their minds sharp and active. For those with mental problems such as depression and anxiety, the game can also prove helpful (in certain situations), but in some cases, people might neglect their current treatment plans and try to use Sudoku as a way to get by.

11. Sudoku Puzzles Can Become Less Challenging Over Time.

The rules for Sudoku are fairly straightforward, and once someone cottons on to the concept, and how to figure out arrangements, the difficulty of the game can dwindle. For those who spend a lot of time playing Sudoku, it can become less challenging and that in itself can be rather frustrating.

Just like some drugs lose their potency over time, so can a challenging game of Sudoku, which leaves the user always in search of more. The more you play Sudoku, the more simple the concept will be to you, which leaves you in danger of losing the very thing you were after when you first started playing the game: the challenge.

Do the Benefits of Sudoku Outweigh the Downsides?

We often hear a lot more about the benefits of Sudoku than we do about the downsides. Is this because the benefits outweigh the downsides? Let’s take a look at the potential benefits in brief and decide for ourselves:

  • Sudoku is thought to improve memory,
  • The puzzle solving is said to enhance logical thinking ability,
  • Sudoku boosts problem-solving skills (confident problem solving),
  • The game can increase one’s ability to concentrate,
  • Stimulates the brain and mental capacity,
  • Arguably, it reduces the overall development pace of Alzheimer’s Disease & Dementia.
woman doing crosswords in room sudoku
Djem /

When you consider these benefits, it is clear that if you can keep your Sudoku playing under control and do not allow it to take over your every waking thought, you should be able to get by without having to give up your favorite puzzle game. For most, the benefits far outweigh any potential negatives.

Last Word

The good news is that the disadvantages of playing Sudoku do not affect everyone. There is every reason to believe that you can live a perfectly healthy and happy lifestyle, with Sudoku included.

JC Franco

JC Franco serves as a New York-based editor for Gamesver. His interest for board games centers around chess, a pursuit he began in elementary school at the age of 9. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Mercyhurst University, JC brings a blend of business acumen and creative insight to his role. Beyond his editorial endeavors, he is a certified USPTA professional, imparting his knowledge in tennis to enthusiasts across the New York City Metropolitan area.