Microsoft Treasure Hunt – Subtraction

Microsoft Treasure Hunt Strategy Guide


Subtraction is a simple but powerful technique to reduce complex problems into simpler ones. Consider the following case:


2-3-2-1 is not a pattern included in the Guide’s list, but through subtraction we can transform it into one of them. The trap in the upper left influences the counts below, 2-3-2-1. To see what it would be without the trap, we subtract 1 from each flagged adjacent square, resulting in 1-2-2-1. That’s a standard pattern the two traps below the 2’s.


Here’s another messy example:


Here we subtract 3 adjacent flags from the 4, and 1 adjacent flag from the 2, simplifying 4-1-2 to 1-1-1. The single trap is under the 1.

The rule of subtraction is a basic and essential tool for resolving complex puzzles. I cannot emphasize how important this tool is, so here is one more example:


3-3-1-1 becomes 1-2-1-1. The traps are under squares the first and third unexposed squares.

3 Responses to Microsoft Treasure Hunt – Subtraction

  1. Judy Conley says:

    No matter how good or lucky one is to get through a level, it is very difficult to move on after completing a level without the escape stairway visible. Since installing MS vs 10, I have only seen the escape stairway a few times. It makes for a very frustrating game when you know the odds are heavily stacked against your escape to the next level even though you’ve earned it. Why doesn’t MS fix this????

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