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How to play Minesweeper

Minesweeper, a staple Windows OS game that’s now become something of a classic, has apparently moved into the internet realm.  More specifically, the game is now being hosted as a browser-based game, web app or JavaScript-enabled title.  Needless to say, it’s safe to assume that its overall popularity has somewhat increased as of late.  Of course this has led many on a quest to discover how to actually play this wonderful little game (hence this article).  Since you’re reading this it’s safe to assume that you’re one of these people; if so, sit back, relax and prepare to be enlightened about this awesome (yet sometimes frustrating and somewhat anxiety-inducing) game called Minesweeper.

For starters, you’ll need to choose your board size – they come in several “flavors”: beginner, intermediate, expert and custom.  As you might expect, the harder the difficulty, the board size changes.  Likewise, a higher difficulty setting also means a higher concentration of mines.  If you want to create your own layout, choose custom; this will allow you to both change the size of the board as well as the number of mines in play.

Now, start off by clicking on any random square inside the board.  You’ll see part of the board open up with various numbers surrounding the “unticked’ squares.  If you’re lucky, there will be a fairly large area that opens up; if not, you might want or have to randomly click on another black square.  It should be noted however, that you might randomly trigger a mine in this process, so exercise this tactic at your own discretion.

Next, look at the numbers and decipher what they’re trying to tell you.  For instance, a “1” implies that the numbered, opened square is touching just one unticked box which contains a mine.  Likewise, “2” implies that it is touching 2 boxes containing mines, and so on and so forth.

If, for example, you notice that a certain group of unticked boxes couldn’t possibly contain mines, because the numbers indicate that there’s only one mine in the vicinity, you can feel free to click on them.  Once you’ve cleared away the empty boxes from a section of the board, you can begin planting flags in the squares containing mines.  This is accomplished by right-clicking when directly over the square.

From here on in, it’s simply a process of examining the numbers and eliminating the black squares and identifying those containing mines.  Naturally, the goal of the game is to clear all the mines, but there’s also a secondary goal – to clear them as fast as possible.  Perhaps the easiest way to build up speed it to begin with the beginner level setting and slowly work toward mastering that; once you have a handle on the lower levels you can tackle the expert mode and/or design your own custom games.

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