Non-word search puzzles for ESL grandmother.
October 8, 2014 4:34 AM   Subscribe

I want to buy a few non-word-search puzzle games or books for a friend's grandmother, who is ESL and has age-related difficulties (needs large print, easy-level puzzles). I want to buy something and have it shipped, I don't want to print out puzzles, and nothing electronic format.

I prefer books which have a bunch of the same type of puzzle, so we can explain the instructions to her and then she can work through a bunch. Puzzles which require complicated or nuanced reading or a different explanation for every page are no good.

She likes word searches, but she already has a ton. She likes to try different things. Most other word-based puzzles would be too hard, things like crosswords would just be impossible for her.

She likes Numbrix, but usually can only complete the easy-level ones. She doesn't have many of these, since we have been printing them out one at a time.

She likes simple matching card games (I forgot the name of the one she likes) but something like Set may be too hard. We're also going to buy Quirkle and try that. Multi-player games are OK if they are good, but I'm mostly looking for things she can do without us.

I can find a lot of one-off puzzles that fit these requirements, but I'm having trouble getting large collections.
posted by anaelith to Grab Bag (3 answers total)
I'm a fan of Hashi and Slitherlink (and the honeycomb one, whatever that's called), both of which look like they have a handful of books available on Amazon, but no real indication as to the difficulty level. Anyway, there are lots and lots of number-based puzzles out there that aren't Sudoku.

Also, what's her native language? I sometimes find good puzzle magazines (well, ones more to my taste) when traveling outside the US. Would she be able to figure out the directions in a different language (maybe equipped with a magnifying glass--the directions are usually much smaller than the puzzles)?

They're downloadable PDFs, but Conceptis has a book store. You could print out a variety of puzzles for her and see which ones she likes before buying a book. (Actually, I might do that anyway--Conceptis offers a lot of the types of puzzles that show up in magazines/books anyway.)
posted by hoyland at 5:20 AM on October 8, 2014

She likes Numbrix, but usually can only complete the easy-level ones. She doesn't have many of these, since we have been printing them out one at a time.

I'd look for books of Sudoku for kids, like this or this.

Picture sudoku might also be fun for her.
posted by belladonna at 9:57 AM on October 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Have you come across Kriss Kross (or Criss Cross) puzzles? They might have a different name where you are. They're like an inverse wordsearch: you get a grid and a list of words, and you have to fit the words into the grid. Here's an example. I'm suggesting them because, as with a wordsearch, they don't depend on the solver's vocabulary at all.

Another possibility is Hanjie (or nonogram, picross, griddler) - again, it might have a different name where you are. You have an empty grid of squares, and you have to shade some of them in to get a picture. Each row and column has a series of numbers indicating the lengths of contiguous shaded sections in that line: so if you had a 5x5 grid, the top row might have the numbers (2,1) indicating that there are 3 shaded squares somewhere in that row, divided into a block of 2 and a separate singleton. They can get quite fiendish, but equally they can be very easy.

You might find it helpful to look at the different puzzles on offer from the British Puzzler magazine stable. It doesn't look as if they'll sell you single issues online (all I can find are subscriptions), but if anything there looks like a good choice, Amazon (UK and/or US) will almost certainly have books of that type of puzzle. Here's a book of hanjie, for instance.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 5:00 PM on October 21, 2014

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