15 Fun Puzzles to Solve

Whether they're used as a leisure activity or incorporated into logic classes, puzzles have been a human pastime for centuries. Equal parts entertainment and education, puzzles keep people from getting bored while expanding the mind through deductive play. Puzzles have even been shown to improve a person's problem-solving skills over time.

In this list, you'll find fifteen of the most fun puzzles on the planet and some great examples of each. From riddles to crosswords and everything in between, there are puzzles in this guide to intrigue even the most jaded solver.

Table of contents


Escape Rooms 

Escape rooms are a type of situational frame puzzle that has become increasingly popular over the past decade. While in the room, the person doing the puzzle has to find clues, solve smaller puzzles, and accomplish tasks to progress. 

Escape rooms are a fairly new invention and weren't a documented leisure activity until the early 2010s. Today, these puzzles enjoy popularity across the United States, Europe, and parts of Asia. 

While many digital puzzles have their origins in a physical puzzle type, escape rooms are one of the few examples of that relationship going the other direction--the first escape room was a video game built on a flash emulator by the video game designer Toshimisu Takagi. (Source: Big Escape Rooms)

Here are some of the most fun (and famous!) escape room puzzles found in the world: 

  • Escape Room Nederland (Bunschoten, The Netherlands): This escape room complex features three separate escape rooms for a 60-minute experience. Food and drinks are offered, and guests are also invited to watch their attempt after they've managed to escape.
  • Claustophilia (Budapest, Hungary): Claustophilia is an escape room set in a treasure hunter's apartment. Guests are introduced to a series of charming but complicated puzzles that take just a little under an hour to complete. 

  • The Basement (Los Angeles, United States): The Basement is a horror-themed escape room that involves live actors. This makes it an exciting mix of haunted house and mind-bending puzzle where guests are stalked by a cannibalistic killer at every turn. 
  • The Office (Philadelphia, United States): The Office is an escape room for up to ten players that operates on the premise that those in the escape room are trapped at work indefinitely. For those puzzle solvers who are having trouble, puzzle masters in this challenge stand by watching remotely on camera to offer tips. 

Sudoku Puzzles

Sudoku might seem like a relatively new puzzle type, but sudoku originates in an older puzzle game known as Latin Squares that was invented in the eighteenth century. Soduku began in Japanese culture in the mid-eighties, where it was known as Sūji wa dokushin ni kagiru or "the digits are limited to a single occurrence".

The objective of a Sudoku puzzle is to fill every square of a three by three grid with all the numbers 1 through 9 in such a way that each number is only represented one time. Most Sudoku puzzles only contain a single solution, and each puzzle often presents three starting numbers positioned at different points throughout the grid. 

Here you'll find some examples of Sudoku to do at home: 


Nonogram puzzles (also known as "paint by number" puzzles) involve coloring in spares on a puzzle grid according to numbers listed in the key until a picture is formed by filling the squares. Nonograms are often gridded in black and white, but there are also more complicated colored versions of these puzzles. 

Nonograms are a type of Japanese crossword puzzle that originated in the late 1980s. When they were originally introduced, they were known as "window art puzzles". They were later renamed nonograms in recognition of the puzzle maker Non Ishida in 1990. (Source: Puzzly Game)

While nonograms and picross puzzles were originally limited to print media, these types of puzzles gradually made their way into electronic puzzles too. Mario's Picross, a nonogram-based video game on the Nintendo DS, has released eight separate titles. 

Below you'll find some of the best nonogram collections for you to try your hand at this Japanese puzzle yourself: 

Calcudoku: Hard Mode Sudoku

Calcudoku (also known as KenKen or Kendoku) is another type of math-based logic puzzle similar to sudoku except that it builds on the premise to form a more complicated mathematical puzzle base. Kendoku math puzzles were originally designed to help train the brain's analytical capability without the necessity for mathematical instruction. 

The main way that calcudoku complicates sudoku is by including the order of operations and arithmetic in the generation of the target numbers. (Source: Puzzle Mix) It's generally a good idea to become adept at sudoku before moving on to more complicated forms of math-based puzzles like calcudoku. 

Rubik's Cubes

The Rubik's Cube was introduced to the puzzle world in the mid-seventies by the Hungarian puzzle maker Erno Rubik. Unlike sudoku puzzles, which are based on arithmetic or higher forms of math, Rubik's Cubes are based on simple geometry. 

Rubik's Cubes are solved by twisting the cube until each side of the cube contains all tiles of a single color. Even though the Rubik's Cube attained the height of its popularity as a puzzle form in the eighties, it is still the favorite classic puzzle for many puzzle masters. 

In world competition, "speedcubers" or competing Rubik's Cube enthusiasts compete to see who can complete the puzzle the quickest. 

Here are some interesting facts about one of the world's most famous puzzles (Source: Mental Floss): 

  • Every Rubik's Cube can be solved in twenty moves or less.
  • The inventor of the Rubik's Cube, Erno Rubik, is actually not that good at solving them. He reported to media that he originally took over a month to solve the original Rubik's Cube puzzle.

  • Each Rubik's Cube contains 43 quintillion combinations.

  • Rubik's Cubes were so popular in the eighties that they even got their own short-lived Saturday morning cartoon show.

  • Rubik's Cubes are actually a keystone of the artistic movement Cubism, where the cubes inspired artists to use their tight geometric squares and bright primary colors to create a mosaic effect in art. 

Crossword Puzzles

Crossword puzzles have been around for a little over a hundred years. These puzzles involve a white and black grid of squares that contain the answer to various word puzzles. The clues to the words in the puzzle are located in a key off to the side of the crossword, and this key is used by the puzzle solver to fill the grid in. 

While crossword puzzles have enjoyed immense popularity over the century they've been around, they haven't always been legal for people to do. During World War II, crossword puzzles were banned in Paris since they were considered a means for spies to pass encrypted information to enemy agents. (Source: Gamesver)

The popular board game Scrabble is based on the mechanics of crossword puzzles, as is its electronic equivalent, Words With Friends. These games put the principles of crossword puzzles into competition against other wordsmiths. 

Below you'll find an array of crossword puzzles suitable for any puzzle enthusiast: 


While Boggle is also played as a competitive game, the mechanics of Boggle involve its function as a word-based puzzle. In Boggle, a covered tray filled with dice that are covered with letters is shaken until the dice are well-mixed. 

Once the tray is shaken, the tray is laid down and the person solving the puzzle has to come up with as many words as possible out of the letters facing upwards in the tray before the sand runs out on a timer. In competitive Boggle, the person who wins is the person who comes up with not only the most words, but the most complicated words. 

Spot the Difference

A "spot the difference" puzzle is a puzzle where two scenes or images which appear at first glance to be identical actually have subtle differences scattered throughout the image that the puzzle solver is supposed to find. 

A little-known way of easily solving a solve the difference puzzle is to cross your eyes. This causes the two pictures to overlap and the differences between them to flicker in and out of visual focus. Spot the difference puzzles are meant to test a person's change blindness--this is a failure of perception where large changes can be made without attracting a person's attention. (Source: Science Direct)

Hangman Word Puzzles

Hangman is a pen and paper word puzzle game that is played either between two players or a player and a group. 

In Hangman, the objective is for one person or the group to guess a phrase or word that has been chosen as the answer by the person drawing the Hangman. Enough correct letters must be guessed to guess the answer before the person drawing the Hangman has enough time to draw the gallows and a stick-figure. 

Each time an incorrect letter is guessed, the letter is written off to the side and crossed out, and a piece is added to the Hangman. If a full gallows and stick-figure are drawn before the phrase or word can be correctly guessed, the Hangman solver loses. 

While Hangman is a popular schoolyard game, it is also the functional basis for the famous game show Wheel of Fortune. Wheel of Fortune is basically a hybrid of Hangman and Vegas-style roulette games. 

Disentanglement Puzzles

Disentanglement puzzles are a type of mechanical puzzle where the objective is to untangle one set of puzzle pieces from another set of puzzle pieces. These puzzles are broken into several categories such as wire-and-string puzzles, closed-string puzzles, wire puzzles, and plate-and-ring puzzles. 

Some disentanglement puzzles are deliberately designed to appear simple to solve, but are actually impossible to solve. These puzzles are also known as figure-eight puzzles. In disentanglement puzzles, most solvers try to solve the puzzle through mechanical manipulation alone, but there are also mathematical formulas related to disentanglement theory. 

Here are some of the best disentanglement puzzles available on the market: 

  • Coogam Metal Wire Puzzle Set: This disentanglement puzzle set contains sixteen different disentanglement puzzles. These ring puzzles are designed to help refine a person's concentration and focus on a physical task. The puzzles are also made out of rounded, child-safe materials so they can be enjoyed by all ages.
  • Bepuzzled Enigma Hanayama Metal Puzzle: This metal disentanglement puzzle is Mensa-rated and is considered difficult to solve for even practiced puzzlers.

  • Smart Novelty 24-Piece Brain Teasers: This 24-set of metal wire puzzles provides enough puzzle action to keep even the most voracious solver busy. These wire teasers are designed to provide hours of entertainment and make great fidget toys.
  • Satellite in Cage Metal Puzzle: The object of this disentanglement puzzle is to remove the spiky satellite from the cage it's held in. This puzzle has a sturdy design that makes it a good option for children as well as adults to solve.


Mazes are also known as tour-based puzzles, and they involve trying to navigate a convoluted space. The solution to the maze is found by finding your way from one end of the maze to the other. Outside of walking mazes, there are also pen and paper mazes where the object is to draw a line from one end of the maze to the other. 

As puzzles, mazes have had strong symbolism for human culture going back hundreds of years. One of the most famous mazes is the Labyrinth of Crete, designed by Daedalus to hold the minotaur in Greek mythology.

Another famous type of maze in human culture is the hedge maze. These topiary mazes were once a common mainstay of formal English gardens and could be found on the property of many castles and palaces. 

Here are some of the coolest mazes and labyrinths you can visit in the world: 

  • Longleat Hedge Maze: Longleat's claim to fame is that it is the longest and most convoluted hedge maze in the world. Despite its size, this hedge maze is fairly recent compared to many of the hedge mazes in England and wasn't opened until 1975.
  • Masone Labyrinth: The Masone Labyrinth can be found in the village of Fontanellato and features a Roman labyrinth design as opposed to Cretan or Christian. Unlike hedge mazes, the Mason labyrinth is constructed out of bamboo. (Source: Bologna Magazine)

  • Leeds Castle Maze: This hedge maze is renowned for the underground grotto that can be found at its center. This cave is filled with mythical figures and beasts carved out of stone, shell, and other materials.
  • Dole Plantation Pineapple Garden Maze: This maze is one of the only botanical mazes that is installed permanently in the United States. This maze is unique in that it is created entirely out of over 14,000 Hawaiian native plants. (Source: Dole)

Scavenger Hunts

Scavenger hunts are one of the oldest group-based puzzles that still sees popularity in modern life, and these hunts actually originated from older folk games. Scavenger hunts typically incorporate aspects of other puzzles such as mazes, spot the difference puzzles, and riddles. 

While scavenger hunts have been casually performed in homesteads and villages through human history, they enjoyed renewed interest in the 1930s when the famous New York City gossip columnist Elsa Maxwell began throwing scavenger hunts with the rich and famous who attended her gatherings. 

Two popular variations of the scavenger hunt are treasure hunts (popularized by fictional pirates) and annual Easter egg hunts. In each type of scavenger hunt, puzzlers use deductive reasoning to locate the objects being hunted.  

Here are a few more fun facts about scavenger hunts: 

  • A scavenger hunt is the plot of the twentieth-century blockbuster novel Ready Player One. In this book/film, video gamers have to solve a complicated scavenger hunt across thousands of digital worlds to try and solve the riddles of an elusive billionaire game designer to take corporate control of the Internet.
  • Scavenger hunts were so popular in the 1930s that they were mocked in the 1936 film My Man Godfrey, where well-to-do New Yorkers are tasked with finding a homeless man as part of their scavenger hunt.

  • A scavenger hunt is the foundation for one of the main game mechanics for Pokemon, the highest grossing media franchise of all time. (Source: Titlemax)

  • The largest scavenger hunt ever performed on record was recorded by the Guiness Book of World Records was held by Escape Manor Inc. in Ottawa, Canada, in 2017. This scavenger hunt contained 2,732 solvers. (Source: Guiness Book of World Records)

  • Geocaching is a hobby that is built around performing scavenger hunts using GPS navigational data. GPS clues are used for solvers to find and hide electronic caches hidden at different coordinates in wilderness or tucked-away urban areas around the world. Many geocaching scavenger hunts are operated via smart device app. 


Cryptograms are also known as cyphers and involve puzzlers trying to decrypt or translate a piece of encrypted text. The same cryptology that goes into solving cryptograms is used in military-level codebreaking and other espionage practices. Most cryptograms for popular leisure are designed to be simple enough to solve in hand. 

Cryptograms first originated in medieval abbeys, where monks used them as a way to create logic-based puzzles for personal amusement in an environment where amusements were hard to come by. But an even older origin of the cryptogram is the cypher, a type of cryptographic code first used by the ancient Greeks for military strategy around 400 BC. (Source: Brittanica)

Here are a few cryptogram collections to see if you can't crack the code: 


The word "riddle" covers a variety of different word-based logic puzzles, and this form of puzzle has been used for entertainment in communities across the world for a large part of human history. (Source: Word Grabber)

The oldest known riddle in existence dates all the way back to Mesopotamia, the oldest human civilization on planet Earth. Riddles are often based on metaphors and are sometimes used to illustrate a moral example or story. 

One famous use of the riddle puzzle is by Zen Buddhist monks, who present riddle parables to their apprentices that are called koans. (Source: Ashida Kim) These riddles are supposed to give insight into the Buddha's teachings and are discussed philosophically after meditation between master and student. 

These are some riddles you can try to solve for yourself: 

Jigsaw Puzzles

The original form of the classic jigsaw puzzle was invented in the 1760s when mapmakers of the time used a saw to cut maps engraved onto planks of wood into dissected pieces that could then be placed back together. Since their introduction, map-based jigsaw puzzles have been used as an educational toy by generations of children to teach them geography. (Source: Puzzle Warehouse)

Solving jigsaw puzzles as a leisure activity saw an uptick in popularity in the early 1900s. Since that time, jigsaw puzzles have become a puzzler's mainstay. Puzzles became even more popular up into the 1930s, where they were seen as a much-needed distraction from the historical troubles of the time. 

While puzzles were initially cut with each piece representing a figure or shape, mass production of puzzles led to the development of the interlocking jigsaw puzzle, where pieces of the puzzle are cut into randomized shapes that can then be put back together. 

Here are some of the best jigsaw puzzles available on the market: 

Bonus: Best Puzzle Video Games 

Many traditional puzzles are completed by pen and paper or with physical objects like jigsaw puzzle pieces or wire puzzles, but what about digital puzzles? With the advent of digital technology, more and more new puzzles are showing up in video games and software apps rather than physical mediums. 

Puzzles have always played a large role in video games, but since their increase in popularity over the past thirty years, digital puzzles have become their own genre. These games vary in nature from platform-based puzzles to deductive-reasoning murder mysteries. 

Here are some of the most popular (and famous) digital puzzle games: 

  • Return of the Obra Dinn: Return of the Obra Dinn is a world-famous murder deduction video game designed by Lucas Pope. The objective of the game is to use deductive puzzles to solve the murders of sailors on the Obra Dinn after it ends up back in port with no one left alive on board.
  • Portal: Portal is one of the most famous video games in the world, and with good reason. This platforming-based physics puzzle game by Valve operates on the mechanic of the puzzler using a pair of portals and a portal gun to transport themselves around a platforming puzzle in order to solve it.

  • The Witness: The Witness is a puzzle-based exploration game inspired by the classic puzzle game Myst and produced by Theckla Inc. The game is solved through a series of grid-based puzzles that are presented to the player with no further instructions.
  • Tetris: Tetris is probably the most famous puzzle video game in the world. While it enjoyed immense popularity in the eighties, this puzzle game has had a strong following ever since. Tetris induces such an intense state of focus it can cause an actual visual hallucination known as the "Tetris effect" or "gaming-induced transfer phenomena". (Source: Live Science)

  • The Talos Principle: The Talos Principle is a puzzle game where the solver is an android who is being tasked to solve puzzles in order to prove human levels of intelligence. While the game is based around environmental puzzle-solving, it also has a strong narrative about the ethics surrounding artificial intelligence. 

Traditional pen and paper or tabletop puzzles are still popular in puzzle circles, but video games and other digital media are stepping up to the plate to provide new puzzle mechanics and effects that can't be produced physically (like portal or time travel). Video games can also add narrative, visual impact, and effects to puzzles to make them more exciting or fun to solve. 

Puzzles Are Great for Enjoyment and Education

Puzzles are one of the oldest forms of human entertainment, but they've also been a large part of how humans teach logic to other humans, and with good reason. Puzzles provide a wide variety of different logic-based tasks that can not only keep people from becoming bored, it can make them smarter and more resourceful at the same time. 

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