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Is there a particular mindset or technique that allows you to push beyond the ~1 mine / sec barrier?

e.g.:

  • less flagging?
  • more clever "leaps" into uncharted territory?   (which I see on some of the world-record youtube vids)
  • training on custom mode, with a higher/lower mine density than usual?
  • better ways to start/open the field?
  • targeting some specific goal, such as better mouse control?

Because after learning the initial few basic patterns like 1-2-1 and 1-2-2-1, and 2-3-2 and so forth, and some of the typical arrangements you see around 3s, 4s, and 5s, I'm finding myself completely blocked at my current average rate of ~1 mine/sec on Intermediate mode (i.e. 40 sec avg, 28 at best) and much worse on Expert mode, probably 140 sec on avg, 119 best.

[Ultra geeks: my 3BV/sec seems to peak at ~2.0, although I am not convinced that 3BV is a very accurate measure of board difficulty...]

Any rapid-improvement epiphanies you could share? Thanks, all.

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I turn off the "?" marks option. –  ChrisF Apr 29 '11 at 19:53
    
My best was about 200 s on Expert before I stopped playing, the effort to improve from there wasn't worth my time. Fun game though. –  Matthew Read Apr 29 '11 at 19:56
    
You know about the "left+right" click on a number to clear display all the clear spaces? –  ChrisF Apr 29 '11 at 19:57
    
targeting some specific goal, such as better mouse control? - Try doing wrist, palm and finger stretching and warming-up before you start playing. Also, faster reaction is needed for further progress. –  c69 Oct 5 '11 at 12:43

3 Answers 3

Although I'm sure you know this, you didn't mention it in your question.

If you have the number of flags placed around a number equal to that number, then clicking with both left+right mouse will clear all other squares around that number as well.

This is especially useful when there is a sparse area with a lot of 1s, because you can clear a ton of space per click.

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This. Left+Right click is something that I know isn't as well known among the "pros" as it should be. –  Dasuraga Apr 29 '11 at 20:36
    
Its single Left-click, in normal versions. –  c69 Oct 5 '11 at 12:44
    
When I was a kid, my dad would play Minesweeper all the time and I could never beat his scores on the family computer. I remember asking him if the left+right click was a cheat he'd found, because it made him go so much faster than I could :) –  Tacroy Mar 27 '12 at 20:41
    
This is known as chording, both in the competitive Minesweeper community and outside the Minesweeper context. –  BoltClock Mar 28 '12 at 0:30

As far as I know, no "serious" minesweepers use the question marks; it's generally an option that is disabled with extreme prejudice. And even the marker flags (right-click) are used sparingly so as to not waste too much time. You only use enough to be able to leverage them for the dual-button click & propagate opening a large area.

Here is a page that lists some of these more advanced tips at the bottom, more along the lines of what I'm looking for, but I'm wondering which of these really makes a difference in going from 'meh' pretty fast, to 'holy crap how is that even possible' fast:

http://www.minesweeper.info/wiki/Strategy

e.g. should I work on "efficiency" for a while, instead of raw speed, to see a significant improvement?

I'm hoping someone has personal experience like, 'oh, I remember when this one thing dawned on me and I beat all my top scores by a huge margin'. Because that actually happened to me when I saw this vid:

(which needs to be watched in slo-mo to appreciate)

after which I minimized my flagging and actively tried to take "leaps" into squares behind the front lines instead, where I'd normally just pick at the "surface" squares so to speak, around the edges of the open areas. I dunno how else to describe it

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If you don't have your next move within that second, guess. Players in Minesweeper generally come in two categories, those who strive for a decent win/loss ratio, and those who strive for speed. You can sacrifice your win/loss ratio for a massive gain in speed by keeping your click-speed up at the expense of your accuracy. The other techniques mentioned can still be used to give you the probabilities for a bomb in a certain location, and these can be memorized, but it only takes one victory to achieve what you want.

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It's generally unwise to guess when you have other options, such as scanning the other uncovered areas for places where you don't need to guess. It may delay inevitable guesses, but then again it may also uncover enough squares to cancel the chance factor in that area altogether. –  BoltClock Mar 28 '12 at 0:32
    
It would be unwise if you were mapping an actual minefield, but this solution is guarenteed to yield an average below the ~1 mine / second barrier for every game you win. –  Joshua Shane Liberman Mar 29 '12 at 20:33

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