If you've got a PC, the chances are you've got Minesweeper. This addictive little game is included in most versions
of Windows, and even has a world ranking table on the
If you've never tried it, have a look in Start->Programs->Games on your Start Menu: it's probably there.
There is even a
hidden version on the Kindle e-reader!
As with Nonosweeper, the idea is to find and label a fixed number of mines which have been randomly distributed
across a grid. In Minesweeper, though, the clues are also hidden in the grid along with the mines. When a grid square
is clicked on, it reveals the number of mines in adjacent squares (unless it's a mine, in which case it's game over!).
The challenge is clear the grid as fast as possible and get the best time on three different levels of play -
Beginner (9x9 grid, 10 mines), Intermediate (16x16 grid, 40 mines), and Expert (30x16 grid, 99 mines).
Beginners may like to read this
Although it's a simple game, there are plenty of ways of increasing your odds of winning or shaving a fraction of a second off
your high score. There is a strategy guide in the Authoritative Minesweeper Wiki, and some more tips for advanced players here.
The mathematics of Minesweeper
There has been a lot of research done into the maths of Minesweeper, and the recent announcement that
the Clay Mathematics Institute is offering a $1 million prize
for solving a certain mathematical problem ("P=NP?")
coupled with Richard Kaye's proof that
Minesweeper is NP-complete (in other words, it's a
representation of this abstract problem) have created number of headlines about
winning a million dollars with Minesweeper.
I can tell you now that being good at Minesweeper won't help you in the slightest with solving this problem,
but as an accessible introduction to this type of mathematical problem, it's a very interesting connection.
There are articles showing the equivalence between Minesweeper configurations and propositional logic (and hence the NP
problem) here and
Techuser.net has some articles about other
theoretical aspects of Minesweeper.
More about Minesweeper
The Authoritative Minesweeper has a wealth of interesting information
about the game: records, tips, history, links, and much more.
The online encyclopedia Wikipedia contains an
entry for Minesweeper.
Believe it or not, there's even an archive of
Minesweeper fan fiction out there!
Sweeper Cell - Minesweeper written in HTML5
Java Minesweeper -
Java implementation with source code available
Minesweeper played on a variety of different 3D boards
Super Minesweeper -
Hugely customizable version with a variety of cell shapes and patterns,
board shapes, gameplay rules, etc...
Quantum Minesweeper -
Minesweeper in the world of quantum physics! (Play online)
- Cross between Minesweeper and an RPG
Massively Multiplayer Online Minesweeper
- Minesweeper on a virtually endless board, shared by all players. Results are measured
by the size of the board "claimed" by a player.
Crazy Minesweeper -
Classic Minesweeper but with mines of varying strengths
Exotic Minesweeper -
Play on boards with cells of different shapes
Back to Nonosweeper main page