MDA & 8 Kinds of Fun

One of the games I love is the game called “14 Minesweeper Variants”.

The basic mechanics is very simple. That is, inside the n by n game board, where n can be either 5, 6, 7, or 8, decide whether each cell is a bomb or not, based on the hints given, where the hints follow some rules. The most basic rule is “V”, the classic Minesweeper, where the number indicates the number of bombs in the 8 neighboring cells. As the title indicates, there are 14 variants, such as “S”, meaning “snake”, with the rule that the bombs form a snake path which does not touch itself.

One aesthetic value is “discovery”, where the later and more difficult rules, as well as bonus variants, will be unlocked once solving the previous and simpler puzzles. For example, once finishing variant “O” with a 5 by 5 game board, players are then able to play variant “O” on the 6 by 6 game board. After finishing each single variants in a 5 by 5 board, players are then able to play the combination of rules. Besides, after playing those combinations, some bonus rules can be played. For example, one variant is “T”, meaning that there cannot be 3 consecutive bombs horizontally, vertically, or diagonally; the bonus rule for “T” is “T'”, meaning all bombs occur as a consecutive of 3 or more. Later on, more complex rules will be unlocked, and it’s even possible to solve a game board with an empty starter board. As a player, I am attracted by this discovery nature, and am always amazed at the new rules or combinations unlocked.

The most important aesthetic value must be “challenge”. The classic Minesweeper is a game that is challenging in nature. With the 14 variants and the combinations, it becomes more challenging. One important mechanics of this game is to let the player select the mode, whether normal mode or expert mode. Normal mode means players can guess, and there is an initial correct answer for each board; in contrary, expert mode means even though there’s an initial correct answer for each board, players cannot guess, if guessing, it will generate another board to forfeit the player’s guess. I especially love this mechanics in that for players who do not want to be too challenging, it’s enough to select the normal mode, so that when their brain got messed up, they can always guess a cell, if wrong then they could start again; on the other hand, for players who want to challenge themselves, they could choose the expert mode, so that they have to fully use logical deduction to be certain about a specific cell to mark. The expert mode definitely creates more “challenge” to this game, and is a very good design.

About the author

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.