10 Tips & Tricks to Win at Minesweeper

10 Tips & Tricks to Win at Minesweeper

By Alex Balaniuc

Minesweeper is one of those classic games every Windows PC owner has played at least once in their lifetime. Right now, I can clearly envision my 10-year-old self spending a good amount of time sweeping mines and getting frustrated for unexpectedly blowing up on them on a dull Sunday afternoon.

Some people say that winning at Minesweeper is a matter of sheer luck; other people think that by employing a strategy, thus not simply following your heart, victory is possible.

Well then, in today’s article we’re going to uncover 10 tips and tricks that can help you win at Minesweeper!

An iconic Windows puzzle game

The concept of puzzle game Minesweeper is based on appeared for the first time around the 60s. But this video game format truly took off when it was introduced for the Windows operating system in 1990.

Microsoft Minesweeper became a sensation, an iconic game that is still entertaining generations of PC users to this day (although starting from 2012 Minesweeper stopped being pre-installed and users had to manually download it).

The gameplay

Now, how do you play Minesweeper? Well, there’s a board made of cells that are shaped like squares. A series of mines is scattered throughout the board. There are three types of cell:

  • unopened (blank)
  • opened (appears as a number, a blank tile, or a mine)
  • flagged (appears as a flag, it’s marked by the player to indicate a potential mine)

If you click on a cell to expose it and the cell is hiding a mine underneath, the game ends immediately. But if there’s no mine, the cell will hold a number instead, which indicates the number of mines adjacent to it (out of 8 cells). It could also display a blank tile, and all adjacent non-mined cells will automatically be opened. You can flag a cell if you think it’s hiding a mine. Then, if you deem it safe, you can un-flag it.

At the start of the game, you can click on any cell to open it: it’s a rule that the first ever cell you uncover won’t be a mine.

You win when you’re able to clear out every safe cell without encountering a single mine.

Is it possible to always beat the game?

Opened numbered cells and flags can help determine the location of the mines, but they’re not a guarantee.

In certain scenarios and versions of the game, you just won’t be able to deduce any further safe cells from the information given. Logic won’t help you in such cases, so the only thing you can do is taking a leap of faith and going for a random square.

Minesweeper tips and tricks

Although your victory may depend purely on luck sometimes, you can still make use of some piece of advice to try and win anyway.

Here are some of the best suggestions I’ve found to win at Minesweeper:

  • Practice on the beginner board first
  • The first cell you click on should be at the center
  • Always start from the same position
  • Thoroughly study the numbered cells; remember that around a “1” cell there are 8 adjacent cells, any of which could hide 1 mine
  • Start uncovering the cells surrounding the number 1s (these should be the easiest)
  • Avoid the walls until you’ve cleared out the center of the board
  • Take your time, because by rushing it you’ll make mistakes
  • Pattern 1-2-1: cells adjacent to the 1s are usually mines
  • Pattern 1-2-2-1: cells adjacent to the 2s are usually mines
  • Flag suspicious cells right away, so that you won’t accidentally click on a possible mine later due to distraction


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