01 September 2012

Sokoban for beginners

I have a granddaughter 12 years old, from Italian father and Spanish mother, and she's very clever. She has begun to play Sokoban and asked me: "Which collection do you recommend?" Well, I indicate below (in chronological order) some of the most interesting and fun collections for those who have never played Sokoban, and now begin for the first time.

You can download all collections here:

The first thing you need is a program of Sokoban, which allows you to import and play the collections of Sokoban available (generally in .txt or .xsb format). There are many programs (see "Sokoban for Windows"). The most commonly used by hobbyists are as follows, all are free, that you can download on the Internet:

Sokoban YASC, by Brian Damgaard
Sokoban++, by Joris Wit
YSokoban, by George Petrov
JSoko, by Matthias Meger

All programs have their advantages and disadvantages. Choose the one you like more. I used Sokoban YASC, because it has a great advantage for a player impatient like me: the automatic detection of "deadlocks", which prevents me from many mistakes.

"Soko-Ban", Spectrum HoloByte, 1988 (Apple II version)

Level 29 (Apple II version)

Thinking Rabbit

This is the first collection of Sokoban marketed in the West, by the legendary Californian software company (already missing) Spectrum HoloByte ("Soko-Ban", ASCII Corp., Spectrum HoloByte, 1988, known as the "Original" collection). In fact, the puzzles comes from previous Japanese collections, although some were modified specifically for this collection.

Most of players started to play Sokoban with this collection, and I think it is a excellent way to start the game. Thus, I recommend you start here. 

Yoshio Murase

It is the most classic and famous mini puzzles collection. 52 small puzzles obtained with the help of software, but well selected by Yoshio Murase.

Yoshio Murase website:

Download original collection here:

First Step

"First Step" is one of the collections for beginners more excellent, and one of my all time favorites. Each puzzle is built from an "idea", so that the whole of the 100 puzzles in the collection is a catalog of the basic "themes" of Sokoban.

The Japanese "monry" is the author of another similar collection, "monry-light" (1998-1999, 114 puzzles), of incredible quality, but higher difficulty.

Jacques Duthen

It is my favorite collection. After the "Original" collection, I recommend continue with this set of 78 mini puzzles with only 2, 3 or 4 boxes.

With regard to Sokogen, Jack wrote in the Yahoo group (February 3, 2010):

After I finished my collection "Dimitri & Yorick", I found it very difficult and time consuming to create sokoban levels by hand.

So I wrote a program called Sokogen (which stands for Sokoban Generator) to generate sokoban levels.

It produced many levels, some of which I kept in the collection Sokogen-990602 which I finished to collect on Jun 2, 1999.

You can download the original collection on the Internet Archive, here:

Old Jacques Duthen website (on the Internet Archive):


Bunny Tale (by Adam George, SuperSoft, 2006) is a great compact program, with a nice design, and with two collections: "KidsLand" and "EldersLand", that, in fact, are the collections of Jacques Duthen, "Dimitri & Yorick" and "Sokogen". You can download here.


Aymeric du Peloux

In fact, this small collection of 40 levels is appropriate for experienced players, because there are several difficult levels. If you can not solve a level, leave it, and try the next level :)

If this collection you find it too difficult, you can start by Minicosmos (40 levels).

David W. Skinner
2000, 2002 y 2009

Classic collection and one of the most popular. I include the three first series of Microban, which are perhaps the most beautiful.

Skinner says on its website:

The Microban collection is good for beginners and children. Most of the puzzles are small and illustrate a particular concept. More experienced players should also find them interesting, since there is a wide variety and many can be surprisingly tricky at first glance.

Old website (inactive since some time ago):

Website (mirror):
Sokoban - Puzzles by David W. Skinner

Hirohiko Nakamiya
魔物の番人 (Demon Keeper)
魔物の番人 (Demon Keeper) (2002) is one of the most beautiful and interesting collections that can be played online on the Internet. It is available (in Java) here.

The online collection is about 2002, but many of the puzzles are from previous collections ("Practice levels", "Joy levels" and "Hirohiko Nakamiya", June-July 2000). In total there are 56 levels, divided into 8 stages of 7 levels each (Note: the puzzles of the last two stages 7 and 8 are very difficult.)


François Marques

Beautiful and interesting collection of 50 small puzzles built by hand, very well-studied.

Comment of François Marques on his website: 

Cette collection de 50 tableaux est destinée aux joueurs novices. La difficulté des niveaux est croissante. La série se termine par quelques tableaux de niveau intermédiaire. J'ai soumis ces problèmes à mes neveux de 10 et 14 ans qui en sont venus à bout en une journée (ce qui est pas mal du tout pour des débutants complets). Cependant, si vous êtes expert, résoudre toute la série en moins de 45 minutes est certainement un challenge difficile à remplir.

François Marques website:

To download the original collection:

Ghislain Martin
2001-2006, 2009 and 2012

"SokoStation" is an extensive collection of 380 puzzles, very imaginative and funny, built over the years 2001-2012. Ghislain regularly adds new puzzles to the collection.

Ghislain Martin website:

See in my blog an interview to Ghislain Martin:

Martí Homs
Homz Challenge

Martí Homs is a computer engineer from Barcelona (Spain), and my fellow countryman.

Years ago generated an incredible collection of 764 small puzzles, distributed in several series. In his old website wrote this note:

All the levels have been created by M. Homs, using many generation techniques, such as combinatorial systems, graph theory, restricted genetic algorithms, or brute-force exploring.

I made a selection of 80 puzzles, most of these have only 3 boxes, which I called "Homz Challenge". I highly recommend this collection!

See in my blog an interview to Martí Homs:

Old Martí Homs website (on the Internet Archive):

Jordi Domènech

Collection of 170 micro puzzles with 2, 3 or 4 boxes, sorted by increasing difficulty (the last few levels are quite difficult...). In each puzzle shows the limit of moves to solve optimally.

First steps

"First steps" is a selection of small puzzles of "Magic Sokoban" and other collections for those who start to play Sokoban. There you will find all the typical problems of Sokoban. Enjoy!

Erim Sever
Fourth collection for beginners

All Erim puzzles are interesting and fun, and recommended for the novice players, but I prefer this "Fourth collection for beginners" of 50 levels (within the general collection of Erim Sever corresponds to levels erim186 to erim235).

Erim Sever website:

Přemysl Zíka
Gradus ad Olympo

Přemysl Zíka is, in my opinion, one of the best creators of Sokoban currently. The first half of this selection of his levels is relatively easy, but in the second half there are some levels quite difficult, suitable for experienced players. Recommended!

Přemysl Zíka website:

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