Created by Japanese math teacher Tetsuya Miyamoto in 2004, Kashikoku-naru-Puzzle translates literally as "A Puzzle That Makes You Smart". Hitting that exact right combination of mathematical calculation and logical reasoning, it soon became an international sensation under the name KenKen. As the story goes, "Ken" translates as Cleverness, so KenKen (or, I guess Ken^2) is Cleverness-Squared. That's an apt description for this arithmetic grid-based brainteaser. At JayIsGames, we're always on the lookout for quality online versions of pen-and-paper games, and Nextoy has provided with 6 daily, devious, and easily-printable KenKen. Why? Because they Ken Ken Ken!
If Sudoku is a number game that doesn't require math, KenKen is its second cousin that does. There are enough similarities that anyone familiar with the former should have no trouble picking it up. First, you choose a grid size. The object is to fill the grid satisfying three requirements: 1. For each row to contain exactly one of each digit from 1 to the grid width (for example 1-6 for a 6 by 6 grid), 2. For each column to likewise contain exactly one of each digit, and 3. To fill out each bold-outlined "cage" with digits that can create the specified result with the specified operation. For instance, a cage with 4 boxes and "240X" in the corner might have 2, 4, 5 and 6 in it (since 2 x 4 x 5 x 6 = 240) or perhaps 3, 5, 4, and 4 (3 X 5 X 4 X 4 = 240). Remember, a cage can have numbers repeated in it, as long as it doesn't violate the first two rules. Likewise "1-" might have 6 and 5, 4 and 3, 3 and 2, or any other combination of numbers that fits. Here's puzzle-meister Will Shortz's explanation, but really, KenKen is easier to learn by experience than explanation.
I'm not so sure whether brain training claims are all they're cracked up to be, but KenKen is an elegant puzzle that is a worthy addition to the newspaper canon. As addictive as any game and as well-presented as an Conceptis release, the six new puzzles a day hardly seems like enough, though I appreciate their range of sizes and difficulties. In short, whether you're familiar with KenKen or are encountering it for the first time, this is a fine translation to the flash medium.