An apparently inconsistent Minesweeper board.

In the above game, look at the cell circled in red. It says 1, which means it must have only one neighboring cell which will have a mine. However, there are two cells which have mines surrounding this cell, circled in blue.

How is this possible? Is this board inconsistent, or have I misunderstood the rules of the game?

  • 22
    11 upvotes and over 2000 views in 8 hours for mine sweeper. Heck, I'm not even mad. That's amazing! – RLH Oct 11 at 12:38
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    @RLH It is minesweeper, everyone can relate. Once it hit HNQ there is no stopping it. :D – Malco Oct 11 at 14:53
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    @RLH and this is a perfect take-a-break-from-coding-drudgery type question – ssimm Oct 12 at 10:26

The board is consistent, but your logic is flawed: you've added a flag to a non-mine space. That's what the crossed out mine next to the red mine means:

Crossed Mine

Other mines that are displayed at the end of the game are ones that you haven't flagged yet. The remaining flags were correct - they mark the space of a mine.


I assume the board area looked similar to this before you clicked (you'll have to excuse the quick MS paint mockup):

The board

Yellow arrows represent 'solved' mines. Purple diamonds represent safe squares (the '2' above them already has two mines associated with it) so that just leaves the question marks as the 'unknowns'.

Note the '2' in (R6,C7) already has one solved mine (which you correctly flagged) next to it at (R6,C6). This means that the clicked mine (red background) and the mis-flag (crossed mine) could not both be mines:

the 2

From the position of the '2' and '1', both of those squares had an equal chance of containing a single mine, thus they weren't logically solvable before the detonation.

However, the '3's (at (R7,C9) and (R8,C9)) next to the clicked mine would have confirmed that the square you clicked (R8,C8) had to be a mine; there's only 3 unchecked positions surrounding them, two of which you've flagged already, therefore leaving the detonated mine as the final position:

Top 3 or Bottom 3

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    It's probably worth mentioning that marking mines is not required at all. The winning condition is that all cells not containing mines are revealed. Mine flags are there for player's convenience: besides marking spots where player thinks mines are they make cell not react to clicks, preventing accidents – n0rd Oct 11 at 18:36
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    @n0rd the flags also mean you can click both mouse buttons simultaneously on a number, and if all the potential mines are flagged, the other squares will be revealed. – detly Oct 11 at 21:11
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    @n0rd yes, solving Minesweeper without using flags is a kind of self-imposed difficulty level :) – IMil Oct 12 at 0:23
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    @GauravJha You should accept the answer, it is complete. – rus9384 Oct 12 at 12:20
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    I can excuse the MS Paint mock up, but not the lack of freehand red circles. – jpmc26 Oct 13 at 4:35

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