Minesweeper


Instructions

Welcome to minesweeper.rocks! Learn how to play Minesweeper and what to look out for. Below you’ll learn tactics to improve your Minesweeper skills. Happy gaming!

The Goal of Minesweeper

The Minesweeper board consists of a large number of identical gray fields, containing a certain amount of mines. To win Minesweeper, you must uncover all the safe fields and mark any potential mines. It is crucial to play efficiently to finish Minesweeper successfully in the shortest possible time. If you hit a mine, all mines are activated, and the game is lost. Simply restart Minesweeper by clicking on the smiley.

Key Assignment

To reveal a field in Minesweeper, simply click on a hidden field with the left mouse button. You can mark fields as mines by right-clicking on them, and a flag will appear on the field. This field can no longer be opened. If you click on the same field a second time with the right mouse button, a question mark will appear. This allows you to mark fields where you are unsure what is hidden underneath. This marking does not block the field, unlike the red flag marking. In other words, you can uncover the field as if it were a normal field.

If you use the left and right mouse buttons at the same time, all other hidden fields around a number are uncovered (this is also known as “chording”). However, this requires the prior marking of all relevant mines in the surrounding area.

Difficulty Levels of Minesweeper

To select the difficulty level, click on the “Mode” dropdown menu and select a difficulty level. By default, Minesweeper has three preset difficulty levels:

  • Beginner: 81 fields with 10 mines
  • Intermediate: 256 fields with 40 mines
  • Expert: 480 fields with 99 mines

Alternatively, you can determine the number of playing fields and mines yourself. Select “Custom” and then specify how many fields to display in width and height. The maximum is 30 fields each. Finally, you have to determine how many mines you want to place on the field. After that, click on the smiley to start Minesweeper with your settings.

How to Find Mines in Minesweeper

If you uncover a safe field in Minesweeper, a number appears. This number tells you how many potential mines there are in the fields around the revealed field. Generally, one field is surrounded by eight other fields. Fields at the edge of the board have only six surrounding fields. Fields in corners have only three surrounding fields.

Examples


This case is relatively simple. The field at the corner must be a mine as the remaining fields around the 1 at the corner are already uncovered. You can mark the field with a click on the right mouse button.

Logically, the field to the right of the marked one cannot be a mine as the 1 in the middle, and the 1 on the far right indicates the previously discovered mine. You can uncover the field next to the marked mine.

Since the number to the left of the discovered mine is a 2, and there is only one potential mine field left, the field above the mine must also be a mine. You can mark it with a flag.

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Minesweeper Strategy

To master Minesweeper as efficiently as possible, you can use different techniques. For example, there are patterns that indicate the most probable location of mines. Sometimes with Minesweeper you just have to guess. But even here you can increase the probability that you are right. With time playing an important role in Minesweeper, there are several tactics to increase your speed.

Recognizing Minesweeper Patterns

There are certain patterns in Minesweeper that instantly show you where mines are. The patterns will help you save valuable time. So, pay attention to certain combinations of numbers. You can quickly solve many simple situations by memorizing certain patterns. If Minesweeper has a number bordering the same number of fields, you can be sure that all fields are mines. The following examples illustrate this logic:


The yellow marked 1 only borders one field. This field can only be a mine.

The yellow marked 2 borders two fields. This means that there must be mines behind both fields.

The marked 3 is surrounded by three fields. These fields can only be mines.

The yellow marked 4 borders on four fields. This means that there are four mines in the surrounding fields.

The yellow marked 5 is touching five fields. These fields must be mines.

The marked 6 is surrounded by six fields. Six mines are in the surrounding area.

The yellow marked 7 is surrounded by seven fields, which must be mines.

The yellow marked 8 borders eight fields. You get it, right?

Basically, all patterns in Minesweeper have their origin in two standard patterns: 1-1 and 1-2. If you see two 1s next to each other starting at the edge, then the third field in the row above is empty. This also applies if the 1-1 pattern starts in an open field. The first 1 is surrounded by two fields. This means that the mine must be hidden in one of the two fields. The second 1 borders three fields and since the two previous fields are potential mines, the third field must be empty.

However, if the field next to the 1 is a 2, meaning if there is a 1-2 pattern, the third field above is a mine. As explained earlier, the first 1 borders two fields that could be a mine. The 2, on the other hand, borders a third field with a hidden mine. However, this requires a number to the right of the 2. Here are some examples from the Minesweeper practice to clarify this:


If you look at the first 1, there must be a mine hidden in one of the first two fields. If you also look at the second 1, a mine is hidden in the first three fields above. Since the first 1 is not bordering the third field, it is empty.

A mine must be hidden in the first two fields above the 1. The 2 borders on three fields, which means that two mines are hidden in three fields. Next to the 2 is another number. Since the potential minefields of the 2 and the number next to it intersect, there is a mine in the third field above the row of numbers.

In this example, the 1-1 pattern starts in an open field. As you can see, the third field above the row is empty again.

Here is where the 1-2 pattern comes into play. This version is a tad more complicated, but the principle is the same. The 2 marked red and the field to the right share a potential minefield, so this must be a mine.

Minesweeper patterns 1-2-1 and 1-2-2-1 are very common, and it is highly recommended to memorize these patterns. If you analyze these patterns more closely, you will recognize variations of the original 1-2 pattern:


This 1-2-1 pattern consists of two 1-2 patterns.

The 1-2-1 pattern is obtained by applying the 1-2 pattern from the left.

And if applied from the right.

This 1-2-2-1 pattern also consists of two 1-2 patterns.

The 1-2 pattern applied from the left…

…and from the right, you get the 1-2-2-1 pattern.

Since Minesweeper also has higher numbers, you might think that there are a lot more patterns. In reality, there are 1-2-1 and 1-2-2-1 patterns or other combinations of the 1-1 and 1-2 patterns. But how can that be? If you subtract the number of known mines from the adjacent numbers, you get the original pattern. A few examples to help understand:


The left 2 borders a mine. The middle 4 borders on two mines. The right 2 borders on a mine.

2-1 = 1
4-2 = 2
2-1 = 1

The example originates from a 1-2-1 pattern.


The left 3 borders on two mines. The middle 4 borders on two mines. The right 5 borders on four mines.

3-2 = 1
4-2 = 2
5-4 = 1

It’s a 1-2-1 pattern.


All numbers, except the last one, do not border on any known mines. The last one borders a mine.

1-0 = 1
2-0 = 2
2-0 = 2
2-1 = 1

The result is a 1-2-2-1 pattern.


The top 2 borders a mine. The second 3 from above borders on a mine. The third 3 from above borders on a mine. The 1 at the bottom does not border a mine.

2-1=1
3-1=2
3-1=2
1-0=1

2331 becomes 1221.

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Winning Minesweeper by Guessing

Since you can’t use patterns for all situations in Minesweeper, you sometimes just have to guess. Let’s say there is a mine in one of two fields, but it is not obvious which field it is in. Now you could think about it or just quickly guess a field. Since it is important to act fast in Minesweeper, it makes sense just to guess the minefield. Plus, thinking about it doesn’t increase the likelihood of making the right choice. On the contrary, thinking about it is a waste of time. Continue immediately after clicking on an unopened field. Just assume that you guessed right. Otherwise you’ll be wasting time waiting for the result of your choice.

It’s a good idea to start guessing when you need to. To solve example A, it is advisable to first click on the three unopened fields on the outer right. The fields at the edge are clicked first to avoid the risk of accidentally hitting a mine. From here, you can guess if there is a mine in the middle.

Minesweeper is all about finding mines. But the opening of safe fields is just as important. If you are certain that there are no mines hidden, open safe fields before you start locating mines. Example B uses the 1-1 pattern. This means that you immediately recognize that the third field above the row of numbers is not a mine. Clicking on this field is much faster than marking mines. Players who like to mark mines with flags prefer to search for mines first. This makes more sense for them, as they can then open several hidden fields around a number by clicking the left and right mouse buttons simultaneously. But this is a false conclusion as they spend a lot of time doing so.


Example A: First, open the upper and lower fields. Then decide whether the middle field is safe or not.

Example B: In this case, opening the safe fields is much faster. Those fields are marked in blue.

Example C: Since you know the 1-1 pattern, you know that the blue fields are safe. If there are 1s behind it, you can open the orange fields.

Example D: How many mines are hidden in the unopened fields? Tip: Use example A for orientation.

You may have uncovered a part of the Minesweeper board and have to guess your way through it to solve the rest. But don’t worry, you can increase the chance of winning by uncovering random fields. Safe fields are more likely to be found if you click on edge areas. It is also important to choose the method that is most useful to you. If you are faced with two similar approaches, choose the one that is more beneficial to you. Sometimes, a method will resolve another potential scenario or give you a more advantageous view of potential mines. The probability of hitting a mine at Minesweeper is about 21% in expert mode and about 16% in advanced and beginner mode.

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Play Minesweeper more Efficiently

As mentioned before, time is a major factor when it comes to Minesweeper. It is essential to be as efficient as possible and not to waste a lot of time with unnecessary clicks. A common mistake for beginners is to mark every mine with flags. However, Minesweeper is not won by marking all mines, but by uncovering all safe fields. It makes sense to mark mines with flags if you want to uncover several fields by clicking the left and right mouse button at the same time. However, this method is time-consuming, and so you need to decide whether it makes sense to set flags.

There are also players that never set flags at Minesweeper. They believe that marking mines with flags is a waste of time and that this time can be better used to uncover safe fields. Players who prefer to set flags, on the other hand, believe that by setting flags, you can open several fields at once (by simultaneously clicking the left and right mouse buttons on a number surrounded by mines). There is agreement, however, that marking with flags makes more sense with low numbers (1,2,3,4). On the other hand, it makes more sense to avoid marking high numbers (5,6,7,8).

Here is an example: If there is a high number such as 7, a player who does not set any flags only needs one click to open the safe field. The player who uses the flag function would need seven flags as well as clicking the left and right mouse buttons simultaneously. For comparison, there is a low number, for example, 1.
The player, who marks mines with flags, sets a flag and clicks on the number with the left and right mouse button at the same time. In this case, the player who does not set any flags would need seven clicks to open the safe fields.

In advanced mode, each mine is surrounded by one number on average. In expert mode, each mine is surrounded by an average of three numbers. Consequently, it makes more sense to set flags on small boards than on larger ones. Practice also shows that it is advantageous to combine both methods in Minesweeper and use the most efficient method for each situation.


In this example, it makes no sense to mark the rest of the field. It is logical what is behind it.

It is clear that the eight fields are around the 8 mines. Marking them would be a waste of time.

You cannot uncover any more fields by simultaneously clicking the left and right mouse buttons. You can skip flagging them.

Click here for more information about Minesweeper. Do you want to deepen your Minesweeper strategies knowledge? Learn more about Minesweeper strategies here.

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