Minesweeper Solving Guide
Minesweeper is quite a well known logic puzzle because it has been one of the games that comes with PCs in various guises for quite some time.
In minesweeper, some cells contain numbers in the start of the puzzle. This tells you how many of the cells surrounding that number that touch it (including diagonals) contain mines. You must use logic alone to work out where all the mines are and locate them.
First off, it is easy to work out what to do with 0s: there can't be mines in any of the touching cells, so mark these off with a cross. With the 0 in Row 1 Column 1 (R1C1) you can mark three X's around it, there four to mark around the 0 in R5C8 and there are the maximum eight X's to mark around the 0 in cell R7C4.
Sometimes when solving minesweepers you will see there are certain cells that must be placed. A key strategy is to look at the cells that are shared between different cells that contain numbers, and use this to either work out cells that must be placed, or perhaps, and equally useful, cells that must not be placed with a mine.
To see an actual example of this, look at the two 1's at the end of the first row. You'll notice that there are two possible cells that could contain the mine alluded to in the final cell of the row, and crucially you will then see that both these cells are shared in common with the 1 next to it.
Therefore whilst we don't know exactly which of those two cells contains a mine, we know that one of them MUST do, and this means we can cross out with an 'X' the remaining two cells adjacent to the 1 in R1C7 (the cells R1C6 and R2C6 may therefore be marked with an 'X'.
Using this strategy is crucial to solving many minesweeper puzzles, although sometimes there will be cells that must be placed around a number without having to look at cross-referencing with other givens that share some/all of their cells. But usually some cross-referencing is necessary.
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