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Beginner's Guide to Minesweeper Strategy

Coolmath Games Staff / February 18, 2021
Beginner's Guide to Minesweeper Strategy

If you've recently gotten hooked on Minesweeper, we don't blame you at all. This game may be old—like, really, really old—but there are good reasons why thousands of people still play this retro classic originally developed by Microsoft. It's simple, fun, harmless, furiously addicting, and it exercises your problem-solving skills. 

Still, you might also be frustrated by the difficulty level. Or, perhaps you don't quite understand how to improve your Minesweeper skills.

Fortunately, we do! And we're going to share this expert Minesweeper strategy knowledge with you today. Follow these tips to go from beginner to expert in no time.

Know How to Play

Make sure you're familiar with these basic rules before learning the strategy tips in this guide. If you’re looking to learn the basics of minesweeper, you can find that information here.

Get Ready to Lose...a lot

The first harsh reality to know about this game is that you literally can't win every time. No matter how good your Minesweeper strategy is, luck is an inherent factor of winning at Minesweeper.

minesweeper game over

You are almost always forced to take a blind guess each time you play, especially in the advanced difficulty levels. Have a strategy in mind will certainly help you, but keep in mind that luck will still play a big role. 

Save Guessing For Later

When you do have to guess, don't do it right away. Besides luck, Minesweeper is a game of logic. So, start with what you know.

For example, if the number 1 is touching only one square, that square must be a mine. Marking that mine will let you uncover other squares if the marked mine is touching other 1s.

minesweeper play

You’ll find that anything that is unclear at the beginning of the round becomes more clear as you progress. 

So, if you can't determine the mines in a particular section, leave it be for now. You may work your way back to it as you eliminate more and more squares.

And then, it will be obvious and you won't have to guess. On the other hand, if you guess prematurely, you may explode unnecessarily. 

Solving Complex Patterns

Learning the most common Minesweeper patterns will give you an advantage. The example above, the number 1 touching one square, is obvious. Other patterns require multiple logical steps to solve.

For instance, say there's a 1 touching the border plus two adjacent squares. Next to that one is a 2 touching the same two squares plus one additional adjacent square. 

You know that the two squares touched by both numbers can only contain one mine. So, the other square touched by the 2 must be a mine because it's the only solution left. Marking this mine should lead you to even more mine revelations.

minesweeper gameplay

Play the Odds

When you are forced to guess, play the odds. For example, let's say you have two numbers,  1 and 3, each surrounded by eight uncovered squares. Since you're forced to choose, choose a square touching the 1. There, the odds of hitting a mine are 1 in 8. Those are better odds than 3 in 8.

Furthermore, let's say you have no good options. Perhaps your only known options offer odds of 3 in 4 vs 5 in 6 for accidentally hitting a mine. 

In this case, take a shot in the dark. That is, find a large chunk of the puzzle that is completely covered and click somewhere in the middle of it. Your odds here can't be worse than those you know of.

Practice These Minesweeper Strategy Tips

The best tip we can give you for improving Minesweeper strategy? Practice makes perfect!

Play a game of minesweeper online for free on Coolmath Games. 

Of course, there's no such thing as "perfect" in games that involve luck, such as this one. Still, practice the tips above and your success rate will definitely improve.

Wondering how good you could get at minesweeper? Then get inspired by checking out these Minesweeper world records.