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What Is Minesweeper?

Minesweeper is a puzzle game that became a standard feature on computers with an operating system of Windows 3.1 onwards.

This single-player game was designed to teach computer users basic mouse controls, like left and right clicking. It features a square grid of cells that players must click on while avoiding the cells with a mine. 

If a player left clicks a cell that does not contain a mine, it would show a number. The displayed figure refers to the number of mines next to that particular cell. Using the number as a clue, the player can deduce where the mines must be and flag them. 

The player continues to click cells until they click on a mined cell or win the game by successfully navigating the minefield.

Minesweeper’s popularity may be attributed to the positive effects it can have on players. It requires less concentration than Solitaire, making it more appealing to people looking for entertaining and relaxing ways to spend their free time.

Another advantage of the game is that it serves as good mental exercise for people of any age. By playing Minesweeper, players are keeping their brains active and may feel rewarded once they beat the game.

This feeling can contribute to improved well-being, one of the most important effects of playing video games.

By playing the game regularly, players also sharpen their problem-solving skills as well as their deductive reasoning. Since Minesweeper requires people to think of logical ways to beat the game, players need to use their brains to win.

How To Play Minesweeper 

Minesweeper is a fun yet challenging game where mines (or bombs) are hidden in a grid of cells. The safe cells (those without mines) will show a number indicating how many mines are adjacent to the cell. You must deduce where the mines are hidden by finding all safe cells. In the example below, the number two indicates that there are two mines found in the eight cells adjacent to that cell.

Your first click will always show a safe cell. To reveal what’s in a cell, you have to click the left mouse button, while clicking the right mouse button lets you flag a mine. 

Clicking on the right mouse button again will turn the flag to a question mark. You can do this if you are uncertain if a cell is a mine. 

When you click a safe cell, it can either show a number or open other adjacent cells and show their numbers. One technique is to keep randomly clicking until you open a lot of cells, which can give you more clues.

This classic puzzle game has three difficulty levels  beginner, intermediate, and expert – based on the size of the grid. A beginner’s game can have either 8x8, 9x9, or 10x10 cells. Meanwhile, expert-level games can have grids as big as 30x16 cells.

If you are eager to be an expert at the game, read the steps below.

1. Understand the mechanics

To win a game of Minesweeper, you must first understand the mechanics of the puzzle. To start, you need to first left click on a blank cell. When you do, it will either display a number or reveal the numbers of nearby cells.

It is similar to Sudoku games in that players win by eliminating all possible answers until the only correct answer remains.

2. Learn the basic keys

Fortunately, you only need to right or left click your mouse button to play Minesweeper. But in higher-difficulty games, you may need to mark cells that you think could be mines until you can verify them later in the game.

3. Start the game

If you are playing Minesweeper on your windows PC, launch the game by typing it into the search bar at the bottom right of your screen. If this is your first game, you may wish to watch the tutorial. 

If you do not have the game on your computer, you can play the game online. Many websites today let users play different variations of the game, and you can customize the number of mines and the difficulty level.

4. Make your first click

You will need an opening and some starting numbers to begin playing. Most expert players start their games with random clicks to find an opening. 

Clicking in the middle of the grid can produce bigger openings, so try randomly clicking in that area first.

5. Review and mark the obvious mines

If you have opened many cells, review the numbers and flag obvious mines with a right click. Remember that the numbers indicate the number of mines adjacent to the cell, so you will know how many mines to look out for. In the example below, the two cells with flags on have to contain mines because there are the only cells adjacent to the two cells marked with a one.

Try not to flag the cells that you are not sure are mines. Some games limit the flags you can place on the grid so use them wisely. Also, do not flag more cells than the number of mines the game has. For example, if you are playing a beginner’s game with only ten mines, do not flag more than that.

This is only one of several strategies you can use to beat the game. Today, younger players, like TikTok user Paisley, use social media to share strategies to win Minesweeper games.

6. Mark unsure cells

If you do not want to use a flag but want to mark a potential mine, you can use a question mark instead. Double right-click a cell to change the flag to a question mark. The symbol indicates you are uncertain whether a cell is a mine or a safe cell. 

Using a question mark can be a safe strategy to win in games where you found almost every mine but are still missing the last two or three.

7. Click on cells without mines until the board is cleared

To win the game, you have to keep clicking hidden cells without tapping a mine until you clear the board. Otherwise, the game will be over, and you will lose.

If you click on a mine, you will lose and will have to start a new game. Some apps or sites allow players to restart the game they lost with the same Minesweeper board.

Tips and Reminders for Playing Minesweeper

Minesweeper requires players to watch out for patterns and play the game carefully. It punishes wild guesses, encouraging people to be logical and think about their next move carefully.

Fortunately, you can make this game easy by following these valuable tips and reminders:

  • Learn patterns: Once you become more experienced, you will know where mines will be just by looking at the placement of the numbers. In time, you can tell where a mine could be just by looking at the numbers revealed in your first few clicks.

  • Refrain from guessing wildly: You do not have to guess when playing this puzzle game, as  there are clues that tell you which cells to open next and which cells to avoid.

  • Use flags wisely: Some Minesweeper games limit the number of flags you can use, so use them carefully. You can use a question mark for cells you are uncertain about rather than using a flag.

These are only a few pointers that can help you become a Minesweeper expert in no time. Keep these tips in mind, and you will easily navigate the minefield.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Playing Minesweeper

Who invented Minesweeper?

Curt Johnson and Robert Donner were the co-creators of Microsoft Minesweeper. They both joined the company in 1989.

What are some common patterns players should memorize?

There are two common patterns in Minesweeper that players should memorize: the 1-2-2-1 and 1-2-1. These two patterns have the same solution every time. The 1–2-2-1 pattern means there will be two mines next to the twos, while the 1-2-1 pattern means there will be two mines next to the ones.

What is the smiley face for in the older versions of Minesweeper?

The smiley face on top of the grid is the restart button. You click it, and a new game starts up. Although this feature is absent in new variations of the game, some websites kept the smiley face button.

Test Your Skills of Deduction With Minesweeper

Minesweeper is a classic game that can help you sharpen your deduction skills while you have fun. It can be a good video game to spend a couple of hours on and is an excellent brain exercise.

If you want to check out more classic games, check out our free online games that can help boost your deduction skills. 

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