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How to play Minefield
Sample Board A Minefield game in progress

The Minefield board consists of a number of identical squares, some of which have mines hidden underneath them. The goal is to uncover all of the safe (empty) squares while leaving the mined squares untouched.

The player selects which squares to uncover by left-clicking on them one at a time. If the uncovered square contains a mine it immediately explodes, resulting in a time penalty. If the square is empty no penalty is incurred and further information may be revealed.

Some empty squares will reveal a digit from 1 to 8 when uncovered. This number is a count of how many of the immediately adjacent squares contain mines. If no digit is revealed, it means that the uncovered square does not border any mines. In this case all of the surrounding squares are automatically uncovered, since they must also be empty. If this results in more blank squares, the clearing will continue in a cascade fashion.

Note that some empty squares will automatically be revealed for you at the start of the game. This is to ensure that you begin with enough information to solve the board with no guesswork. It's up to you to properly use the information provided by the initial reveal, and to choose your subsequent reveals carefully to avoid uncovering a mine.

The game continues until all the empty squares have been uncovered. The "Empty" statistic displayed to the right of the board will count down as you uncover each empty square; when it reaches zero the game is over.

You may mark (flag) any square that you believe contains a mine. To do so either right-click on the square, or hold down SHIFT or CTRL while clicking on the square. A flag icon will then appear on the square. It is not possible to uncover a square that is marked with a flag, so marking squares can help prevent mistakes if you are prone to accidental mouse clicks. To unmark a square just right-click it again, or hold down SHIFT or CTRL while clicking on it.

The "Mines" statistic to the right of the board shows the difference between the total number of mines on the board and the number of squares you have flagged. You can think of this as how many mines are still "unfound," but note that it just counts how many squares you have flagged and doesn't indicate that any of the flags are placed correctly. It can also display a negative number, which means that you have flagged more squares than there are mines on the board.

Please note that there is no requirement to mark any squares in order to finish the game. The game always ends when all of the empty squares have been uncovered, regardless of the state of the mined squares. Using flags has several advantages (such as preventing accidental clicks on mines and making it easy to tell how many mines are still unfound), but using them is purely up to the player.

And it's worth repeating one last time -- there is always enough information present to completely solve the board with no penalties. If you get stuck where it seems impossible to know that any square is safe, rest assured that there is a way forward even if it is well-hidden.

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