Issaquah man develops sudoku-inspired game to teach math skills

January 22, 2013

By Christina Corrales-Toy

Victor Zou (right), the creator of Sukugo, poses with his wife and business partner Lucy Lu and a Sukugo game board, in their Issaquah home. Sukugo is a family-friendly board game that can help develop a child’s math skills, Zou said. By Christina Corrales-Toy

Issaquah resident Victor Zou first tried sudoku on a long bus ride while headed for a company retreat. He was intrigued by the numbered logic puzzle, but put off by the solitary and bland nature of the game. Sudoku, he said, could be so much more.

So, Zou set out to create a product that could be the centerpiece of family game night and challenge kids and adults alike to use both sides of their brains. The result is Sukugo, a versatile and colorful sudoku board game that develops users’ logic and reasoning.

“Our left brain is really good at math, numbers and logical reasoning, but our right brain is more about color and creative thinking, so I wanted to combine these two together to really make an enjoyable game,” he said.

The Sukugo set consists of a 9-by-9 sudoku game board and more than 200 brightly-colored game pieces. Instead of simply writing numbers in blank squares, Sukugo users can affix the game piece in the appropriate spot, making full use of their sense of touch and sight.

The board is also big enough that families can work together to solve the puzzle.

On the Web

Learn more about Issaquah resident Victor Zou’s sudoku-inspired board game, Sukugo, at www.sukugo.com.

The game is described as a social version of sudoku and is appropriate for all ages, but its best use may be its ability to engage children in a fun, educational activity that enhances their school performance, said Lucy Lu, Zou’s wife and business partner in the venture.

“It really teaches kids numbers and logic by playing a game,” she said. “It allows you to have fun together as a family while building your child’s independent thinking.”

Sukugo is particularly adept at strengthening math skills, Zou said.

Lu and Zou’s two children, students at Briarwood Elementary and Issaquah Middle schools, have particularly benefitted from Sukugo, Lu said, teaching them patience and perseverance.

Sukugo is a versatile, sudoku-inspired game board that is meant to increase a child’s logic and reasoning skill in a family-friendly, interactive way. Contributed

Sukugo is a versatile, sudoku-inspired game board that is meant to increase a child’s logic and reasoning skill in a family-friendly, interactive way. Contributed

“It definitely made them have a better, longer attention span,” she said. “Sometimes, when you see a tough math problem or puzzle, you’re kind of scared, but this builds up their confidence and teaches them to work through things.”

Sudoku isn’t the only game that can be played on the Sukugo game board. Users can also play checkers and go, a chess-like board game that is popular in Asia.

Both Lu and Zou moved to the United States from China several years ago. Lu said Sukugo is proof of his American dream, and now he hopes to share it with the greater community.

“Sukugo is helpful for our family,” he said. “I want to see more American families benefit from this logic teamwork game.”

Sukugo is still a relatively new product, but Lu envisions it being used in schools and homes to help improve students’ math skills and bring the family together for safe, educational fun.

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