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Minesweeper: Luck / Chance, or Strategy / Skill? – 14 Things To Consider

Last Updated on January 25, 2024 by Gamesver Team and JC Franco

You might have heard that Minesweeper is a game of chance, but you may also have heard that Minesweeper is a game of skill. So which one is it? Find out which one comes out on top as we examine 14 things to consider.

Minesweeper has elements of both skill/strategy and luck/chance. There is a lot of luck and chance at the beginning and end of the game. However, you need to rely on skill and strategy to win the game. Playing at a suitable level for your gaming abilities will give you the best chances of winning.

1. The First Click On Minesweeper Is Always Safe

Did you know that your first click on Minesweeper will always be safe? That is to say, you will never land on a mine with your first click. If you happen to hit a mine on the first click, the program will automatically swap the mine with a blank space. 

So, in this sense – luck (or the game’s bias) – will always be on your side. However, be aware that every click thereafter is not protected under the ‘first click rule’, so you will need to make sure you open your blocks wisely.

2. You Can’t Play Minesweeper Without Knowing The Rules

It is nearly impossible to win without knowing the rules of the game. The more you know the rules, the better you will play. Thankfully, the concept of Minesweeper is quite simple, so you don’t need to spend hours reading all the rules. In this regard, ‘understanding’ can be considered more of a skill.

3. There Is A Lot Of Luck At The Beginning Of Minesweeper

If your first click reveals a single number, you’re at a disadvantage. A single number on a board rarely indicates where a mine could be. We know a mine surrounds the block, but we don’t know which block exactly has the mine; therein lies the problem.

To click on any adjacent block is too risky as you have a high chance of landing on a mine. So, to move the game forward, it is best to open any block within the board. As you are not protected under the ‘first click rule,’ any block you choose can contain a mine. Hit a mine, and the game ends. So, in short, this part of the game is all about luck.

4. Clusters Of Blocks Can Help You Win Minesweeper

Sometimes when you click on a block, a cluster of blocks automatically opens that contains both blank and numbered blocks. Essentially, the game has already cleared these clusters of blocks, leaving you with less work to do on the board.

If you are not the competitive type and don’t mind restarting the game repeatedly, you may find yourself clicking away until you get a region of blocks to open. Once you get a region of blocks to open, the game will become easier and quicker.

On the other end, you may be fortunate enough to have a cluster of blocks open unintentionally on your first or second click. Nevertheless, having clusters of blocks open has more to do with luck than skill.

5. You Need To Analyze Blocks In Minesweeper

In Minesweeper, you have to analyze the numbered blocks. The numbers indicate how many mines are located in the adjacent blocks. There are times when the number of uncleared blocks matches the number on the block. 

For instance, the number might say 1, and there is only one unexplored adjacent block. The ability to analyze blocks to see what is needed requires skill. 

6. You Need To Deduce Where The Mine Is In Minesweeper

In contrast to the previous example, sometimes, one block is not enough to find the mine. In this case, you will need to deduce where the mine is by analyzing the surrounding numbered blocks. 

More often than not, the game consists of figuring out where the mines are by considering the surrounding blocks. So, drawing logical conclusions take skill and practice. 

7. Memorizing Patterns Can Help In Minesweeper 

Although every game of Minesweeper is entirely different from the last, some patterns repeat throughout the game. Some people learn these patterns by playing the game while others study them. Understanding patterns can help you play faster and more efficiently. Therefore, patterns are strategic tools to help you win.

8. Practice Makes You Better At Playing Minesweeper

Getting good at anything requires practice, and Minesweeper is no exception. Playing Minesweeper requires practice, especially if you’re new to the game. Practice can make and be the difference between a beginner and intermediate player, or an intermediate player and expert player.

9. Minesweeper Needs A Lot Of Concentration

Minesweeper is a game that needs a lot of concentration and effort. Since you have to use logic to determine where the mines are located, one mental lapse and the game could be over. 

If you make the wrong calculation or accidentally click the wrong square, the game is lost. So, in this aspect, you will need to have sufficient concentration skills to play the game.

10. Strategies Can Help You Win Minesweeper

Not everyone plays Minesweeper the same way. Yes, we follow the same rules, but some people like to use strategies to help make the game easier and faster. For example, some may want to try and get two large clusters of blocks to open from the get-go, while others like to clear the board from the center to the outer corner.

11. Flags Can Help In Minesweeper

Once you have located a mine, the traditional thing to do is to mark the block with a flag. Using flags helps you to keep track of the mines and make your game so much easier. Of course, you don’t have to use flags if you don’t want to, but using them certainly won’t hurt. The use of flags can be considered a strategic move.

12. Question Mark Symbols Can Help In Minesweeper

If you are unsure if a block contains a mine, you can use a question mark symbol to mark the block. By doing so, you can carry on playing the game and then return back to the block when you’ve gathered enough information to determine whether it is a mine or not. The use of question mark symbols can be considered a strategic tool. 

13. You Need To Play At The Right Difficulty Level

If you are playing a difficulty level that is too hard for you, you are unlikely to get far in the game. A skill can only be helpful if it is used in the proper context. If you are new to Minesweeper, playing in expert mode will probably not produce a win. That is why you need to play at a level suited to your gaming abilities. 

14. Pace Your Clicks In Minesweeper

One of the aims of Minesweeper is to clear the board in the fastest possible time. However, this often has its drawbacks, as if you go too fast, you can easily make a mistake and land on a mine. Knowing how to pace yourself correctly, at a speed you can clearly think at, is one of the best strategies you can use in Minesweeper. 

Conclusion

It is clear that Minesweeper has elements of both luck and skill. However, the game is mainly based on skill and strategy rather than chance and luck. So, be sure to familiarize yourself with the rules of the game and practice to improve your skills.

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This article was co-authored by our team of in-house and freelance writers, and reviewed by our editors, who enjoy sharing their knowledge about their favorite games with others!

JC Franco
Editor | + posts

JC Franco serves as a New York-based editor for Gamesver. His interest for board games centers around chess, a pursuit he began in elementary school at the age of 9. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Mercyhurst University, JC brings a blend of business acumen and creative insight to his role. Beyond his editorial endeavors, he is a certified USPTA professional, imparting his knowledge in tennis to enthusiasts across the New York City Metropolitan area.