You Can’t Do That! Minesweeper’s best and worst classic mistakes


One of the great things about classic games is that they are so simple, they can be played and enjoyed by anyone. A young child may not understand the nuances, but the mechanics are simple enough that all a kid needs to do to play is click around, make some guesses, and see what happens. I remember playing Minesweeper for hours as a kid because it was easy enough for me to grasp at my age—and yet completely impossible for me to ever win! Of course, today I know how to play better than an expert mathematician. But even experts are only human: they make mistakes too. Here are some of the best (and worst) mistakes ever made in Minesweeper:

The top five mistakes players make are:

The top five mistakes players make are:

  • Not paying attention to the number of unopened squares near a known mine
  • Accidentally clicking a mine
  • Guessing where mines may be located
  • Failing to clear all the safe squares when presented with an obvious choice for the location of a mine (i.e., if you see “A20 _ _ _” you know there’s a safe square that has been revealed in row A, column 20)

1. Not paying attention to the number of unopened squares near a known mine.

First, it’s important to understand that the number of unopened squares near a known mine can give you an idea of how many mines there are in total. If there are too many unopened squares near a known mine, then it is likely that there is no mine nearby because otherwise they would be in the open by now. On the other hand, if there are too few unopened squares near a known mine then it is again likely that there is no mine nearby because otherwise those tiles would have been opened by now.

This may seem obvious but I’ve seen players who don’t pay attention to this basic rule and get frustrated when their assumptions about what could be under one or two particular tiles turn out wrong!

2. Accidentally clicking a mine.

  • Accidentally clicking a mine

Minesweeper is a game where you’re constantly being pushed to think fast, but there’s one mistake that can ruin the whole thing: accidentally clicking on a mine. So much time and energy goes into finding the mines that it’s easy for your brain to take shortcuts, like assuming that all black squares are safe because they aren’t showing up on your screen yet.

That may be true on an individual level, but when you’re playing Minesweeper with multiple boards open at once, those assumptions can get you in trouble pretty quickly—especially if one board has already been cleared while another hasn’t been checked yet! This is why it’s so important not only to pay attention while you’re playing but also keep track of what may have happened nearby as well (thanks again for those top left corner numbers!).

3. Guessing where mines may be located.

As we all know, it is impossible to be certain where the mines are in a game of Minesweeper. So why bother guessing?

This is because any guess you make is not reliable. If you guess that a square might have a mine on it and then click on it and find out that there was no mine there, then your brain starts to believe that maybe you can predict where the mines are (or aren’t). But if they’re not there, then they could be anywhere else! It’s like when someone guesses what number will appear next on their roulette wheel: all of their previous predictions are invalidated by their newest one—they’ve lost their edge.

So instead of wasting time trying to guess where mines may be located, just remember that guessing is never going to help you win at Minesweeper!

4. Failing to clear all the safe squares when presented with an obvious choice for the location of a mine.

You will make this mistake. It’s a common one, and it’s not your fault.

Most people get caught up in the excitement of clearing safe squares, and they neglect to consider what might be hiding beneath them. This is a rookie mistake that novices make all the time—and if you have been playing for a long time, then you are still likely to fall into this trap at least once in your life.

The best way around this problem is simple: when presented with an obvious choice for finding mines (e.g., there is only one possible square), click on it! If you’re wrong about where there are mines buried and have clicked on an unsafe square, then simply click again until you find yourself back at the beginning screen where you can start over without losing any progress through trial-and-error attempts at guessing which tiles are minefields versus those that aren’t dangerous spots on which nothing lives underneath them except dirt or grassy patches waiting patiently for someone brave enough to dig up their secrets

5. Not marking enough squares as being mined, or marking too many mines as being sure things.

One of the best things you can do to improve your game is to play with a timer. This will help train your brain to be more efficient, as well as helping you develop strategies for dealing with tricky boards.

You could try playing in tournaments like the Minesweeper World Championship or the Minesweeper Tournament, but if those aren’t available, there’s always Internet multiplayer games like Atomic-Minesweeper and Flip-Mine. The rules are slightly different from classic minesweeper, but it’s still worth practicing these different versions so that they become second nature when you’re playing online.

Minesweeper is a great game but can be very challenging

This is a great game that can be very challenging. The rules are simple: you get a grid of squares, and some of them will have numbers in them. You use the numbers to figure out which squares contain bombs. The goal is to clear the whole board without hitting any bombs or missing any bombs and using as few clicks as possible.

A few things make this hard:

  • It’s easy to forget what clues mean–you might think one means something else, or even that it doesn’t mean anything at all! A common mistake is thinking that an 8 means there’s an 8-wide bomb somewhere on the board; actually, it means there’s either one 4-wide bomb or two 2-wide bombs + one 1-wide bomb somewhere on the board (or maybe even three 1-wide bombs).
  • You have no idea where your opponent placed their mines! Maybe they put some in corners because they know you’ll think those are safe, but really they’re just waiting for you to click around until they explode your face off when it’s not looking…


If you’re going to play Minesweeper, be sure to keep these tips in mind so that your games don’t end in disaster!

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