Simple, calming puzzle games to play during zoom meetings?
September 21, 2020 8:25 AM   Subscribe

Because of my ADHD tendencies I find it easier to focus in video meetings if I have a very simple online puzzle game to occupy my mind at the same time. The NYTimes Vertex puzzle works perfectly for this -- but they only release one per day and it takes about 5-10 minutes to complete, so I burn through that pretty fast. Can you recommend other similar puzzles?

It should be very simple so it can be done pretty much on autopilot while listening to people speak in the meeting. Nothing with words, and ideally something with only a single "right" answer (or many equally good answers) so I don't need to worry about optimizing for the best score. Calming pretty visuals are ideal. Thanks for any suggestions!
posted by mekily to Computers & Internet (29 answers total) 50 users marked this as a favorite
It's not quite the same but I use 2048 for this and don't worry too much about my score.
posted by theodolite at 8:30 AM on September 21, 2020 [5 favorites]

As a fellow ADHD person with a similar need to do something with my hands/brain during meetings, I can heartily recommend Candy Crush.

(1) It does not interfere at all with my ability to speak or listen, can be played on total autopilot.

(2) It's not timed so there are no impediments (even unconscious ones) which prevent me from pausing to take notes or whatever. (I used to play this other connect-the-dots type puzzle game which was timed, and there was always that autopilot part of my brain that would say, "Hey, don't answer your boss's question NOW, you'll lose 10 seconds off the clock!" And it would take me a full second or two to consciously get past this nonsense, which made me sound like I wasn't paying attention. Ugh.)
posted by MiraK at 8:31 AM on September 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

Online singleplayer battleship.
posted by Pacrand at 8:32 AM on September 21, 2020 [4 favorites]

My suggestion is the online version of Blendoku.

If mobile games are okay, please do clarify? I have a lot of mobile games I could suggest, like I Love Hue and Hidden Folks.
posted by nightrecordings at 8:33 AM on September 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

There's an ios game called "voro" ..or it could be "vorro" ..that would work for this.
posted by elgee at 8:34 AM on September 21, 2020

Many many different online puzzles here. Nonograms is my favourite.
posted by corvine at 8:49 AM on September 21, 2020

Response by poster: To clarify, I prefer games I can play in the browser on my laptop, rather than mobile games -- makes it easier to switch gears if I need to look up some information on my laptop during the meeting.
posted by mekily at 8:54 AM on September 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

Have you tried the NYT Tiles? I like some patterns better than others (looking at you, Holland) but you can opt out of the daily default by selecting Settings once you start the game.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 9:00 AM on September 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

Simon Tatham's Portable Puzzle Collection contains some very similar puzzles. Bridges, in particular, is quite similar. So is Slant. Personally, I'm mostly a Dominosa player.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:21 AM on September 21, 2020 [4 favorites]


posted by Garm at 9:37 AM on September 21, 2020

Oh Hi!
posted by Captain_Science at 9:43 AM on September 21, 2020

I've been OBSESSED with the game Good Sudoku on iOS recently. I like that it provides hints, and is aimed at teaching you more advanced sudoku techniques over time. I use it for ADHD focus as well.

Just saw that you prefer browser based games- plenty of sudoku on the web as well, just not with the features of Good Sudoku.
posted by bluloo at 9:47 AM on September 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

Most colour matching games are simple and calming. I like this one.
posted by fourpotatoes at 9:53 AM on September 21, 2020

Twenty—Zen Mode
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:09 AM on September 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

Minesweeper, the original and still champion game for this purpose imo! You can play it online in your browser.
posted by babelfish at 10:32 AM on September 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

No ADHD, but I also do this. I play spider solitare and bubble shooter. It really does help me concentrate during meetings. I'm going to explore some of these other suggestions too now :-)
posted by EllaEm at 10:42 AM on September 21, 2020

The visuals are extremely basic, but it's simple to play and can be played on autopilot: Drench.
posted by yasaman at 10:48 AM on September 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

Two Dots. Fun dot-matching game with new interesting mechanics throughout, good graphics, and can easily played without microtransactions. I just finished level 2975 (the last one available) without even using any of the free powerups (iron freecell mode, took me like a year ... heh). This is what I play during meetings if needed. I like this more than Candy Crush, which I also played but at least used to require money to unlock the next set of levels without waiting.

You can even stream the cool soundtrack on Spotify.
posted by freecellwizard at 12:54 PM on September 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

I've been playing Cribbage with Grandpas during my interminable meetings lately.
posted by Eddie Mars at 12:56 PM on September 21, 2020

There was a recent post on the blue about I Love Hue Too: it's a beautiful tiled color-gradient sorting game. I find it deeply calming, and because it's purely visual I suspect it would be a good play-during-a-meeting candidate.
posted by marlys at 1:14 PM on September 21, 2020 [3 favorites] has a variety of puzzles and a very large free archive for most of them. Lo-fi graphics and doesn't always work well on touchscreens. Some of them are more involved than others; my favourite is hashiwokakero, but at some difficulty levels it can become too much of an attention hog to multitask with.
posted by polytope subirb enby-of-piano-dice at 1:36 PM on September 21, 2020

I like picross games. There are plenty online.
posted by lookoutbelow at 2:21 PM on September 21, 2020

Seconding picross games. I will specifically recommend the Picross Luna series - there are three games in the series now, each with a large number of puzzles.
posted by darchildre at 2:51 PM on September 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

I love this web site, and play multiple times per day. It's a brain-calmer for me!
posted by wwartorff at 3:21 PM on September 21, 2020

As someone with ADD, I use kenken puzzles for this exact purpose. There are many levels and basically an infinite number of them, so you can optimise for exactly the level of difficulty you need and keep going for as long as the meeting lasts. Plays in browser, and scratches much the same itch that Sudoku does but I find it more fun.
posted by forza at 3:22 PM on September 21, 2020 [1 favorite] I’ve been playing since 2006. Make an account, and you have 14 years of archives to explore!
posted by Valancy Rachel at 5:15 PM on September 21, 2020

Griddlers and Color Tiles scratch this itch for me.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 5:53 AM on September 22, 2020

I was using Linjat for this, originally found via this post on the Blue, until I finished all the puzzles in all the modes (it took quite a long time).

I've now moved onto 0h n0.

Seconding Simon Tatham's Portable Puzzles too.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 8:08 AM on September 22, 2020

Not exactly a puzzle, but I use Taberinos for that purpose: Here is one version.
posted by callmejay at 11:51 AM on September 22, 2020

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