Manic Minelayers

Release Date: 
Tuesday, February 15, 2000
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Play Duration (new players): 
Play Duration (experienced): 
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by Frank M. Truelove


Strategically fill spaces on the board with mines, limiting your opponent’s movement options, while keeping yours open.

You Need

  • A 5-by-10 grid.
  • A distinct Minelayer playing piece for each player.
  • About 48 markers to represent Mines (pennies will do nicely).

(All you really need is pen and paper; just draw the 5-by-10 grid and mark where your pieces are as you play.)

Setting Up

Place your Minelayer in one of the five home squares at your end of the board, while your opponent does likewise. Peacefully decide who goes first.


On your turn, move your Minelayer into an unoccupied square and place a Mine in the square you just left. Minelayers may only move in “L”-shaped paths; a valid move consists of moving two squares in one direction, then moving one square to the side. (Minelayers move just like knights in chess.) For example, a Minelayer could move two spaces north, then one space to the east or west.

Or it could move two spaces west, then one space north or south.

A Minelayer may move through squares occupied by Mines and Minelayers, but may not end the move in an occupied square.


If your opponent is incapable of moving, then you win if you can make a valid move, or if you did not move first.

Origin and Credits

This has strong roots in the classic “Knight’s Tour” chess problem, where a knight must visit each square on an 8×8 board once and only once. Give it a try!

Manic Minelayers was originally called Reload. It was first played on the mostly-barren floor of Frank Truelove’s last apartment. Thanks Frank!