Minesweeper is a classic game like Solitaire and Tetris. As a single-player puzzle game, Minesweeper has its origins in the 1960s and 1970s. It first appeared in the early mainframes but did not gain popularity until the 1980s. The modern Minesweeper, which has been available on Microsoft Windows OS since Windows 3.1, was created by Curt Johnson. Initially developed for IBM OS/2, they ported it to Microsoft Windows and released in 1990 as part of the Microsoft Entertainment Pack 1. The game has not been available on Microsoft Windows since Windows 8. But it remains popular. Research shows that Minesweeper has thrilled millions of people with its simple yet deep and strategic gameplay for over 30 years. Despite its popularity, few have been successful at solving Minesweeper. Want to know how to play Minesweeper? In this guide, we’ll teach you how to play Minesweeper.
The main objective of Minesweeper is to reveal or clear every square in the grid without clicking on a mine accidentally. Players need to do this in the shortest time possible. To clear a mine or reveal one, you need to click a square(s). Each square will reveal one of the following:
When most people start playing Minesweeper, they’ll click any random place since it’s their first time playing the game. In fact, they usually start by clicking one of the four squares in the corner. Chances are the first square you clear/reveal will not contain a mine. Often, the first square you click will reveal nothing. As you click adjacent squares, the chances of you revealing a mine or number increases. This is where the game gets interesting.
Is there a trick to Minesweeper? Well, there is no trick. Contrary to belief, playing Minesweeper is simple. As a player, there are five actions you can take in Minesweeper.
Opening a Square
To open a square, simply left-click with your mouse. If you start with one of the four squares in the corner, it’ll reveal nothing.
Marking a Square With a Question Mark
After opening your first square and revealing nothing, the number of squares with mines and their location is now unknown. To avoid revealing a mine and ending the game, you can mark a square with a question mark. To do so, right-click on the square twice. Alternatively, you can right-click once on the square marked with a mine. Why a question mark? A question mark in Minesweeper helps you mark squares you’re not sure are mines. Also, it prevents you from accidentally revealing a mine.
Marking a Square as a Mine
After clicking your first square, you’ll come into a situation where you’ve to make a guess where the mine(s) is. To mark a square as a mine, simply right click on it. When you do so, a little mine icon will appear.
Clearing a Mark
You can clean squares marked as a mine or with question marks. To clear all marks, right click on the square a couple of times. Through the right-clicking cycles, you’ll change the mark from mine, a question mark or clear.
Revealing a Number
You can click a square and reveal a number. For example, if you click a square, the number 1 or 2 will appear. The number indicates the number of mines surrounding the square. In Microsoft Minesweeper, the number 1 is blue, and 2 is green. If you can find the mine, you can continue opening more “unopened squares around it. This may reveal more numbers or nothing. If you mark an unopened square as a mine, you can left-click on the one square, and the adjacent squares will open. This saves you time and enables you to learn more squares. You may click an “unopened square” and reveal the number 3. This number also represents how many mines are adjacent to the square. For example, if a square reveals “3”, there are three bombs around the square. They could be above, right-left, diagonal, or below the square.
Minesweeper is a logic game, and the aim is to sweep all the mines or find them before you step on one of them. To win Minesweeper, you must reveal all squares that do not contain a mine. If you unopened all empty and numbered squares but did not flag any mine squares, the game will auto flag them when you win. Remember, you win the game by opening all safe blocks, not when you flag every mine.
Minesweeper is available for both Android and iOS devices. If playing the game on your smartphone and tablet, right-click on squares is challenging but not impossible. To right-click a square, tap the square and press down. A box will pop up, displaying a flag. If you keep pressing down the square, three states will cycle:
When the box displays the state you desire to mark the square with, stop pressing down on your touch screen. Once you do so, Minesweeper will mark the square with the selected state.
Most players will start Minesweeper by clicking one of the squares in the corners or the sides. While this is a safe bet, you may get stuck, especially when you start from the side. To avoid this and improve your chances of winning, start from the middle. Do not use the question mark often. This will waste your chances of winning the game. Instead, find the mines in 1 block. This will open many squares to 2’s and 3’s. Remember, only open squares that are safe. Happy Minesweeping!