Mine Explorer

Once upon a time there was a game called Bonifacius. Many years later the sequel finally came to life. But instead of being named Bonifacius99 it was named Mine Explorer.

It was a byproduct of the author's programming practice in Delphi: "Let's see if we can improve the good old minesweeper that came with its own operating system." It turned out excellent, so there it was - Mine Explorer version 1.00 (3rd October 1999). Last version is Mine Explorer 1.01 (10th February 2000) with slight improvements to the look of the game.

You need one of the Microsoft Windows environments to run it. 16-bit colors or better highly recommended.

Go ahead, just download it (it's only 164k), unzip it, and play it. It's absolutely free.

Any positive or negative comments about the game can be sent via the contact form or be posted below.

This project has been discontinued years ago. If you are interested in continuing it yourself, just let me know, I just might find the source code still laying around somewhere.

Some day I might make a completely new version from scratch in Java or Flash, so you can play it online and compare your highscore with the best. The idea of making a 3D version pops up now and then.


Mine Explorer is a perfectly logical computer board game. The game is a computer simulation of an area full of landmines that you must discover as fast as possible without actually stepping on one.

It all started about six years ago as a highschool project of programming in Pascal. Bonifacius was almost simplest possible implementation of Mine Explorer, but it still earned the author and one of his schoolmates who actually had nothing to do with it an A.

It continued as a practice in Delphi programming and soon became a game worth playing. At first it seemed like just another implementation of Minesweeper, a better one of course, but still same old game. The invention of the holes give it a new life. The recursive opening of fields around a numbered field made it run much faster, so the timer now shows tenths of seconds instead of seconds to prevent score ties. 3D rendering of the buttons made it look better. So the Mine Explorer was born. It could be also named Bonifacius 99.

Version changes:

  • 1.00: initial version
  • 1.01: minor beautification

The Story

On the edge of one of the smaller galaxies there is a tiny sun. Around this dwarf of a sun orbit nine planets. The forth planet is not much different from the others, but is by a strange coincidence the only planet in the universe where the process of evolution produced a species that has devastating effect on its environment, although it appears that it actually has some basic intelligence.

This species has delusions of being the most advanced species in the evolution of the planet, but is in fact the most degenerated species in the universe except possibly the fourteen-headed flying cucumbers of the planet Chundgha XIII, which spend their entire life flying around in circles around their tails which are actually roots trying to pick up rocks on the ground beside them which they think they need but really don't need and never succeed.

The species calls itself human despite the fact it is just the opposite of humane, even to itself. It is a barbaric species, destructive to its environment and itself. As soon as humans became aware of themselves, they for some inexplicable reason got the idea that they are better than the other animals and even plants on the planet. They think the other living beings and even dead things are there only for them to exploit. They call their planet Earth because it's full of dirth. They call their sun Sun (original, isn't it?) and their galaxy the Milky Way.

Like most of the Earth creatures a human has only four legs, two of which can be used as kind of a primitive hands and only one head. On its heas it has two eyes which are used to detect a small portion of the spectrum of the electromagnetic waves which enables them a kind of primitive vision. On the side of its head it has two funny shaped organs called ears which should enable the creatures to fly, but are by a strange coincidence mostly used for detecting sound. It has only one mouth which makes its lunch much longer.

If they never stopped living in caves, hunting animals and picking plants, their planet would still be a paradise. But no, they had to invent agriculture. They burned down the forests to make room to plant the plants they like, they enslaved (domesticated as they call it) the animals which they liked eating, and if those were too wild, they hunted them like there was a limitless supply of them and killed the animals that ate the animals which they ate. Soon most of the species on the planet were on the edge of extinction and many became extinct.

The population of humans is increasing exponentially, when they fill one area, they expand to the neighbouring areas like a flood. Soon the whole planet will become infected by them. And since they are just about to discover lonf-distance space travel, the whole universe is in danger.

The human species in not dangerous to itself only because it destroys its environment and consequently itself, but is also a direct danger to its members. Throughout its history, groups of individuals with some common characteristics killed groups of individuals with some other common characteristics to gain their land or just because they didn't like them. They called this war, although the whole remaining universe knows that war is supposed to be fought by two or more generals on connected computers as a real-time strategy. The war by the human definition could be a very barbaric mechanism for controlling the population, but because the winners of each war raped the woman of the losers, the consequence of war was ussually an increase in the population.

They invented weapons to help kill the opponent faster. They invented better and better weapons for killing more and more humans and innocent members of the other species. Now they even have the power to destroy the entire planet, but fortunately (for them) don't dare to use them, because that would mean the end of the world for them, too.

Somewhere along the way this species invented landmines. A landmine is a primitive and very barbaric device, that explodes when someone or something sets it off someway (by stepping on or off it, tripping over a wire, crossing a laser beam). This device kills or just cripples anything that sets it off, even the friends of the one, who set it. Most of the victims of these landmines are innocent, like children and members of the other species.

Fortunately some of this pathetic creatures finally noticed the obvious. What they are doing to their planet and themselves is suicidal. If they don't do something about it, they will destroy themselves. If they do, then they will have to change the way they do thing and will become harmless to the rest of the universe.

So you see, there is still hope for this planet and our entire universe. And we don't actually have to do anything about it, except having some fun with this virtual landmine exploring game.

How to play

The playing board is divided into square fields, each of which may contain a mine. Your job is to discover all the mines in the shortest time possible without opening the fields that contain them. The elapsed time in tenths of seconds is shown on the right side of the main window.

There are two ways of winning this game:

  • Flag all the mines.
  • Open all the fields that do not contain any mines.

At the beginning of the game each of the fields is either covered () or a hole (). The holes can not be uncovered or flagged and can not contain a mine.

Click with your left mouse button on the covered fields you wish to open. Uncovering reveals either a mine (), or an empty field (, , , , , , , , ).

If it is a mine (), the game is over, you lose a leg in the explosion and the game is lost. All the mines in the minefield get shown () so you can see where they actually are.

If it is not a mine, it shows the number of mines (if any) contained in the 8 or less (5 at edge, 3 in the corner) neighbouring fields (the N, NW, W, SW, S, SE, E and NE neighbours). EG: of the 8 fields surrounding the field labeled "3"on the right, 3 contain mines and your job is to find out, which 3 actually contain mines. If the number of surrounding mines is zero () all the neighbouring fields get opened automatically in the same fashion, this helps you concentrate on the logic of the game by removing the totally obvious tasks.

Click your right mouse button to flag () or should I say pin the fields which by your oppinion must contain mines. You can only flag opened field (). If you accidently flagged the wrong field, you can unflag it by clicking on it with the right mouse button again. The number of mines left to flag is shown on the left side of the main window, but only if you haven't flagged any fields that don't contain mines. This number gives you some indication of your progress.

Click your left or middle mouse button on the numbered empty fields (, , , , , , , ) to open all the unflagged fields around them. Of course this only works if the exact number of fields surrounding the field in question has already been flagged, regardless of whether you actually flagged the right field or not.

If you flagged the wrong fields neigbouring a field and then clicked on it, the other neigbouring fields get opened, including the ones containing mines, you lose and the color of the flags of the wrongly flagged fields changes to green () so you can see where the mistake was made.


Clicking on the field with the number 3 in the position on the right causes all the empty field around it to open.

If the fields opened in this fashion also have the exact number of neighbouring mines flagged, their neigbours automatically get opened in the same fashion. So clicking on the number 2 would have in the previous example the exactly same effect as clicking on the number 3. This greatly increases the game speed.

The holes () can help you finish a game faster by decreasing the number of fields needed to be opened, especially on a smaller board. They can also help you in finding out where the mines are. On the other hand they decrease the total number of fields which may contain mines and thus make them more likely to encounter by random opening of fields. They can also prevent you from determining whether some field is a mine or not, especially on a larger board.

Strategy and hints

The basic strategy is:

  1. Open a field at random.
  2. Flag all the fields you can find that must surely contain mines. Do not guess.
  3. Open around all the fields you can find that already have the right number of neighbours flagged.
  4. If there are more fields to flag, go to 2.
  5. Use logical thinking to either
    • find a field that must contain a mine and flag it or
    • find a field that can not contain a mine and open it,
    but do not guess.
  6. If there are more fields to flag, go to 2.
  7. If you can, go to 5.
  8. Go to 1.

To decrease the time consider the following:

  • Open unflagged neighbours of an opened field by clicking on it instead of clicking on all of its neighbours.
  • Use steps 2 in 3 and 5 in any order to expand a part of the known world into the unknown, if it doesn't go, don't guess, go where you can expand it, you might be able to get to the parts that seemed impossible to solve before. Only if there's nothing you can do, you should guess.
  • Don't bother to flag groups of fields containing only mines, if their neigbours don't have other unopened neighbours as this doesn't help you discover any new mines or empty fields and thus only takes valuable time. Note that this also prevents you from winning by flagging all the mines, which can sometimes be faster than opening all the non-mines, especially on a small field with only a few mines (dummy and beginner).
  • Sometimes you can only imagine where the mines are in a small, separate part of the playing area and open the field(s) that isn't, like in the example I forgot to include in this help. Thought is faster than the hand, remember.
Package icon mines.zip160.39 KB