Weblog Archives: September 2008

The Art and Science of Minesweeper

I've been playing a lot of Minesweeper lately, particularly Minesweeper Clone, which records games and keeps detailed stats. As I play, my mind has wandered and I've been imagining arrangements of mines to answer certain questions, such as:

For any given number 1 to 8, is it possible to fill the minefield so that every cell is either a mine or that number?

As it turns out, the answer is yes. I created screenshots in Photoshop showing each layout. Each layout was designed to have as few mines as possible while still having every cell occupied by either a mine or a number. Roll your mouse over each number to view that layout. Note that the borders are infinite; that is, the pattern continues past the edges of the visible 16x16 field.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8


The layout for "7" was definitely the trickiest, and it ended up being the most complicated. Feel free to comment if you come up with a more efficient layout for one of the numbers.

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