DIY Minesweeper from scrap materials

Didn’t make it by Friday, but let it be Sunday fast. Disclaimer: The homemade product described below does not claim to be in the DIY Hall of Fame. However, the idea seemed to me funny, and if so, then what would not be implemented. And if they did, then why not tell about it. So, below you will find a short story about how to make a desktop version. “Minesweeper” from every little thing at hand.


Oddly enough, the fruits of the obvious idea of ​​realizing Minesweeper in the physical world are not very abundantly presented on the Internet. Immediately I can only name a couple of not too tube projects: “Minesweeper” on sticky notes and “Minesweeper” with a tactile interface… The first is somehow completely at once, and the second is too large-scale, and it could not do without electronics. I also can’t live without software, but it will still work behind the scenes, so it doesn’t count.

Hard v1

So, to begin with, we take a regular hard transparent file for documents of this type:

Next, on two wide sides and one narrow side, we put thin strips cut from corrugated cardboard (any box will do). According to the total size of the resulting structure, cut out a rectangular piece of the same corrugated cardboard and glue it on top of the strips. The file for documents can be removed for now.

The result will be something like this pallet:

For clarity, I made the elements quite thick, in practice they will be thinner.

Now you need to prepare rectangular cardboard squares. If you count on a 7 x 9 playing field (like mine), then you will need, respectively, 7 x 9 = 63 squares with a side of about 26 millimeters.

Already at this stage, the game can be tested. Print the level on A4 sheet, not looking put it down under a file with a blank sheet inside (so that it covers the picture), and place the resulting “sandwich” in the tray. All cells are closed with cardboard squares, a blank sheet is carefully removed from the file, and you can play!

The photo below shows a slightly improved version of this version:

Here the pallet is closed on top with a cardboard frame with slightly wider edges so that the squares fit snugly on the playing field. Since the level was printed from a computer, I had to leave a little space for the margins, where the printer does not reach. Therefore, the squares are made slightly smaller than required to cover A4 sheet. Well, taking them out should be easy, of course. There are no separate chips for flags, we use a LEGO set.


Levels are generated and printed using MS Excel macros. This method made it possible to quickly manually adjust the size of the cells to fit the paper (the outer cells may be narrower, because the fields are still farther away) and draw the borders. The number of mines is obviously set in the macro:

For such a field, it seems to me, there should be ten to eleven mines.

In the course of the experiments, disadvantages were also discovered. The child complained about the absence of the indicator for the number of mines. I somehow didn’t care much, but the unsuccessful first moves annoyed me: you open a random cell and immediately land on a mine. In the original computer “Minesweeper” this does not happen: the level is generated after of how we make the first move, and at the same time the starting square chosen by the player is guaranteed to be made safe.

We managed to solve both shortcomings in one blow: when choosing items Mine count and Zero cell mines are not generated in the neighborhood of the upper left cell. Thus, all cells adjacent to it are safe, and the cell itself is used to output the total number of mines on the level. There is also a more “hardcore” version with a mine indicator, but no security guarantees. (“For realism”as suggested).

Hard v2

In principle, this could have ended, but somehow I did not want to limit myself to such a short-lived design. At first I thought of making a second version, in which two specific shortcomings would be corrected: 1) it is easy to knock the squares off during the game and 2) manipulations with the file are a little annoying. I thought to cut the file lengthwise and glue the film on top of the pallet, and arrange a grid of cardboard strips on top to fix the square chips.

As a result, after evaluating the amount of fuss, it was decided to make a longer-playing version of wooden slats. By and large, everything is the same here:

There is a pallet for paper, a transparent film and a net of laths are glued on top, the level has grown to the size of 8 x 11 cells (14 min). Well, the chips are also made of wood (using a saw and sandpaper …)

That, perhaps, is all. In accordance with the trends of the times, the gameplay was filmed:

Macro just in case I will attach

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