||Flagging Time (s)
||NF Time (s)
If you haven't used a computer since 1992 or so, let me congratulate
you on making it to my site in one piece before explaining the basic
premise of Minesweeper: there's a big grid of squares. Click on a mine,
and you die. Most squares have numbers on them, letting you know the
number of mines adjacent to that square. Click on all the squares
without mines as fast as possible without blowing yourself up.
such a simple game, there's a whole slew of optimizations, strategy,
and pattern recognition that goes into it. I
blame LGR for
making me take a second look, and now I'm a little obsessed. I'm still
fairly shit at it, don't get me wrong (I am horribly inefficient in
mouse and patterns), but I made this page to post my own best times and
explain what isn't easily explained, as best as I understand it.
There's a lot of numbers here.
(I use Minesweeper Arbiter, a clone that better keeps track of tons more important stats and is what all the official cool kid Minesweeper players use anyway.)
Minesweeper lets you right-click on any square to mark it as a mine.
It's super handy for remembering where the mines are, but the game ends
when you've clicked all the squares without mines under them, not when
you've flagged all the mines. If you want, you can skip flags
altogether, ostensibly saving a bunch of time.
In practice, it's not that simple. NF play requires you to keep
track of mines yourself, and if you're used to flagging, you'll
probably just outright click the mines a few times thanks to muscle
memory. At least, I did. Chording (clicking either both mouse buttons
or the wheel) lets you clear the immediate squares around your mouse as
long as you've flagged the right number of adjacent squares, and that's
a big time-saver too. Naturally, that doesn't work in NF play.
This is why Arbiter (and I assume other clones) keep track of F and
NF times separately, because the two require entirely different
strategies. If you're flagging, you can chord and click a bunch of
squares at once, but you're slowed down by the impulse to flag
everything. If you're not flagging, you don't have that, but you have
to keep it all in your head and click each square, one-by-one. Both are
a pretty fun challenge in their own right.
Arbiter keeps track of a ton of stats related to how efficiently you
clear a board on a run, and you see this in a separate Counters window
as you play. It looks like a bunch of gibberish, I'm sure (and a lot of
it still is to me), but here's the most important bits:
Seriously, if I didn't list it, it's probably not that important.
Some metrics, like RQP, are really only counted for funsies, no one
actually measures anything with that anymore from what I can gather.
Like I said, I am a horribly inefficient player. I scramble and
waste a lot of clicks flagging and chording for little benefit, and
there's certainly a lot of time for me to cut off all of my PBs
(especially the NF ones).
A big part of efficiency is pattern recognition. If you see a
certain set of numbers in the grid that always get solved one way, you
don't have to think about what to do with them, thus speeding you up
There's a few patterns in this grid you can immediately use to
determine where mines are. Any 1s on corners are automatically mines
(hence why it's safest to work from the corners in), and the squares
directly adjacent (ie not diagonal, in this case underneath) to the 1s
at the bottom of this grid are mines. After you've found those, you've
also satisfied various 2s in the grid and can uncover more squares.
Should go without saying, but if your client has question marks (?)
enabled, disable them. They have no use and will slow you down.
This page last updated February 2, 2021.
*clicks frantically and pretends I know what I'm doing*