The Minesweeper Page - Advanced Tips

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This page is intended for the advanced minesweepers, who have expert-highscores below appr. 150.

If you did not yet read the mouse-handling page, please do so now, especially read the paragraph beginning with 'How to use the left+right click'.


Try reducing your number of clicks:

You really have to click fast with your mouse, but you should avoid clicking everything, but instead click where most squares will open will less clicks. As an example look at the next picture. From the two '1's on the left edge I know, that the three left squares on the upper edge of this picture (with the 'x' on it) contain no mine.

But instead of opening them one-by-one (3 squares with 3 clicks) I think ahead and know, that there has to be a mine at the marked position:

With the sliding-left-right-click from this mine to the '1' under and left of this mine (marked with a '*'), plus another left-right-click on the '1' under and right of this mine, you open 4 squares with 2 1/2 clicks, plus having a chance of further left-right-clicking at the side of the marked mine. The two '1's on the left side are still there beneath unopened squares, and you shouldn't touch these as long as there's a chance of opening them with less effort.

The point in this example is, that there are often situations, where you can open more mines with less clicks, if you click on a different, nearby square. But you have to train yourself seeing these.

Oh, by the way: In this example, if you are relly fast with your mouse, you could open the squares (with the 'x's) one by one, because the three squares to open lie in one row, and it's possible to open these really fast.


Be faster than your brain:

I don't know, how it's with other people, but for me the slowest thing is recognizing a number. This means: Assume one of these 1-2-1 situations. You open the square above the '2'. Depending on your computer hardware, the number under this square will be shown rather fast. But then there vanish a LOT of milliseconds, until my brain tells me, if there is a '2' at this position, or a bigger number. Only in the '2' case I can go on in the next row behind the newly opened square. In every case where you have to see what number you just clicked open, just to go a step further, you loose valuable seconds.

To prevent this, I make this:

a) Sometimes I solve crossroads. When writing down a word, at the same time I look around and read the descriptions of the neighbour-words (my letters look weird then, yes). When I fill in the next word to one of those just-looked-on-descriptions, I look around for the next word to solve and so on. When solving minesweeper, I'm doing the same: When clicking around, I look at the nearby numbers, to find, where I should click the next square. It is a bit more stressy having the own focus on two things rather than first opening a square and after that looking around for the next to open. Plus sometimes you misclick and loose the game (although this gets less often when having trained to play this way). But the positive effect is that you gain a lot of seconds.

b) I just mentioned these situations, where you can only go further at one place, when you opened one square there and saw, what's below. Instead of waiting until my brain tells my brain what to do, I check the surroundings when clicking and when there is still something to be done, I then click on the new position. When my mouse then walks over there and clicks, I return my eye-focus back to the opened single square and while still clicking at the other place, get the information, what to click there next. This does not happen as often, but will gain a few seconds, too.


Assume, that fate is on your side:

Another way to get around this recognizing-timedelay is this:

At the above situation, we mark the mine and left-right-click on the '1' with the star:

The two unopened squares to the right of the mine will open. But before your brain tells you, what numbers appear there, you left-right-click again on the (previously unopened) square marked with a '*'. If there is another mine around it, nothing will happen, since the left-right only opens every unopened squares around a number, if the correct number of mines are marked. But if there is no other mine around it, three more squares will open.

To say it another way: Just assume, that there is a '1' under the newly opened square and automatically left-right click there.

The probability, that this trick works, lies at 51% (the probability, that all three tiles above the '*'-square are free of mines, is (1-1/5)^3=51,2%). Works in more than every second try and does not need too much time to be done always.

Another example of this technique:

Seeing this well-known thing:

you can mark the mine with pressing the right mouse button, move your mouse down right, additionally click with the left mouse button on the marked '1', move your mouse up, click with the left button on the (previously unopened) square with the '*' and then release the right mouse button:

Of course you could try this again in the uppermost row, but this only works in 26% of all tries.

An example, where you can use this, too, is:

Here you could open the '?' squares with single clicks:

Or you mark a mine by right-clicking (and releasing the right button), opening the '*'-square with a left-click and right after that at the same position make a left-right-click. In 51% of all tries, you will open another 5 squares, but in the remaining 49% you only opened 1 square. So if a left-right-click does not work from the beginning, this technique is not so good, only something for people who like to bet.


Frustrate yourself:

If you are anger-resistant, use this: Better guess instead of changing your focus to another area of the playfield. Meaning: if you click around and suddenly only a long row of '1's is near your mouse position, you will guess, where the mines are. You will mark a mine somewhere and open around it. You will not change your view to another non-opened area and loose seconds just to check, what to open there. You will loose the game in 2 of 3 cases. But if you were lucky, you can continue without loosing valuable seconds. I am not using this way of playing. But I am still some seconds above one minute. The expert level is frustrating enough, so I don't want to make it more frustrating. I want to be amuzed when playing. Play this way on your own risk.


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