Mind-Blowing Minesweeper

by Contributor
October 04, 2022

What is Minesweeper?

Minesweeper is an online game played on a grid. Each square on the grid either contains a mine or does not. The mines are randomly distributed. The object of the game is to locate and not click on a spot that contains a mine. You win when all of the cells without mines are opened. If you land on a mine, boom, the mine explodes, taking you with it!

Where did the game come from?

In the early days of computers, (You remember that don’t you?) many games were developed and released using mines or bombs. It was a game that fit the relative infancy of the computing world. We are much beyond that now, but the game persists. Click on the bomb and you lose!

The developers of the early games borrowed their ideas from even earlier games they had played. Today there are variations of all of those games.

In the beginning, the game was included when you loaded Windows onto your ever-so-slow computer. Today it is a fun game to play but not necessarily a mindless game and can be found on many sites on the internet. Just search and you will find it.

What do the numbers mean on the board?

Each cell on the minesweeper grid will either be empty, contain a number, or be occupied by a mine. The number is the clue as to where the mines are located on the grid. Your job is to find all the mines without clicking on one.

The numbers tell you how many mines touch that particular cell. You may think that since there are four sides to each cell, 4 mines border each cell. Well, you would be wrong. The cells that touch the corners of the cell are also included. Thus there are 8 different cells that a mine could be in around any cell. Not to get too worried, the game usually stipulates either 1, 2, or 3 mines touch a mine cell.

How to win the game.

There are three stages to the cells in the grid: open, unopened, or flagged. Flag a cell by right-clicking on it rather than opening it by left-clicking on it. This is helpful so you can choose the cells you believe contain mines.

Eventually, you will have to decide if the cell is empty or not. Your job is to figure out which cells contain mines. Follow the clues to find all the mines. Any touching cell could be the one with the mine.

Left-click on a cell that is empty and more clues will appear. Sounds easy, right? Wrong! Give it a try and see if you can figure out the answer, mine or no mine. Beware when the cell next to your chosen cell also has a number. The question is: where is the mine?

Minesweeper strategy for you.

The strategy for minesweeper begins with just dumb luck. Click on a cell and just hope it leads to more clues. With that one touch, many cells will open, either empty or containing numbers. So yes, dumb luck on the first click as to how many clues you are given. However, minesweeper never counts the first click if you were to inadvertently hit a mine. That first click is a gimmie!

Now you have to deduce where the mines are and avoid landing on those cells. Often it is easier to flag the cells until you come to a spot that calls for 3 or 4 mines. Since there is only one answer for those spots, work backward to clear out the flags and open the empty spots. Soon the puzzle will become clear and fall into place.

Let’s not forget about “chording”. Press both mouse buttons at the same time and you have accomplished chording. This will open the entire grid without clicking spots one at a time. But beware, one wrong flagged spot and chording will explode the mines.

Ready to play?

An “easy” to solve game will have fewer cells than a more advanced game contains. As more cells and more mines are included in the grid, the game becomes more difficult. The object of the game never changes. Find all the cells that do not contain mines. Click on one that has a mine and you lose. No harm, just start over. 

Beginner is usually on an 8×8 or 9×9 board containing 10 mines, Intermediate is usually on a 16×16 board with 40 mines and expert is usually on a 30×16 board with 99 mines,

Multiplayer minesweeper leads to competition. Each player is timed. To flag or not to flag?  Everyone has their own strategy. It all depends on what works for you.

One person plays Minesweeper at a time. Individuals play the clock against each other. It makes the game more exciting when you know your time counts. 

Talk about dedication. Many individuals enjoy Minesweeper tournaments. Too much stress for me. I will continue to rely on dumb luck and then start figuring. You can do it too, but maybe not win a tournament. The best winning time for one individual to complete three difficulties of minesweeper was 38.65 seconds. It takes me that long to figure out how to use the controls.

It is a game of strategy and expertise. I challenge you!

There are so many senior online games to play. Minesweeper is just one of many. You may also want to attempt Sudoku. Check out Online Senior Games to find more.

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