March 10, 2014 6:10 PM   Subscribe

2048, a tile game.
posted by grouse (120 comments total) 53 users marked this as a favorite

What exactly do you DO? I'm clicking on things and nothing happens.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:12 PM on March 10

Click on the grid and then press arrow keys on your keyboard.
posted by grouse at 6:13 PM on March 10

This game claims to be a web varient of 1024! which is, itself, a knockoff of THREES.

Threes is a pretty good ipad/iphone game and worth paying for, I think.
posted by that girl at 6:16 PM on March 10 [8 favorites]

I just button-mashed my way to 2824 points (saw a 256 tile).
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 6:17 PM on March 10

Well now I'm addicted. I keep getting stopped at 256.
posted by lunasol at 6:34 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]

For the benefit of anyone, like me, who was confused by the fact that the description of the way the game works does not seem to correspond to reality:

You're right, it doesn't. "When two tiles with the same number touch, they merge into one" is false. More accurate would be something like "When two tiles with the same number slam into each other" or some such.
posted by Flunkie at 6:37 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]

And if you're on Android and not putting up with waiting for them to bring Threes over, there's Fives, which adds a second element of having to get 2 and 3 added up to start the chain upwards.
posted by deezil at 6:46 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]

Yeah, this is very similar to the iOS game THREES but less hard: no red/blue tiles to match.

The cornering technique works really well in this version. Pick a corner and keep pushing tiles into that corner, except for the occasional reverse direction to match two together. Got a score of 5320 with one 512 tile doing this.
posted by tksh at 6:49 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]

I click on the grid but it won't accept the focus, so the arrow keys do nothing :(
posted by motty at 6:53 PM on March 10

Wow. Addictive as heck.
posted by octothorpe at 6:58 PM on March 10 [2 favorites]

I can't get more than one tile over 512 yet, or get over 8000 points. So addictive though. The worst feeling is when you've got this nice system going with high-value squares on the bottom half of the board, and then something happens and you have no choice but to shift them up one and throw a 2 in there and throw off your whole game.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:03 PM on March 10

Oh that's great, very addictive. It's hard to anticipate that they will slide all the way over, not just one tile over.
posted by zardoz at 8:05 PM on March 10

This is one of those games that feels really zen because I am able to admit to myself that I have no interest in trying to strategize, and just do whatever feels vaguely right at any given point.
posted by threeants at 8:05 PM on March 10 [9 favorites]

The other thing I like about this game is that it's not just an inevitable deterioration until you suffocate. You can suddenly clear up mad boardage and get a new lease on life.
posted by threeants at 8:19 PM on March 10 [6 favorites]

Jesus, now I'm double-fisting with this in one tab and Mini Metro in the other. I hate you MetaFilter
posted by threeants at 8:25 PM on March 10 [13 favorites]

It really punishes you for chasing high-value tiles while neglecting to pay attention to what the others are doing.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:49 PM on March 10 [2 favorites]

"Threes" is an awesome, awesome game that gets better and better as you understand its subtlety and complexity more and more.
posted by ORthey at 8:52 PM on March 10 [4 favorites]

This is quite fun, thanks!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:22 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]

Actually, I take that back. This is very stressful, thanks!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:54 PM on March 10 [11 favorites]

This is pretty ridiculously addictive and frustrating. Just got to 12164 points, with a 1028 tile on the board.
posted by monolith at 10:01 PM on March 10

Got a 1028!!
posted by Night_owl at 10:17 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]

I would also like to take a moment to brag about my 1028. Sorry.
posted by fbo at 10:22 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]

Getting the first 1024 is easy. That second 1024 is elusive.
posted by jeffamaphone at 10:35 PM on March 10

A version of Threes you can play in your web browser. [The official version is only available on iOS but is so worth the money, as not that girl mentioned.]
posted by estlin at 10:45 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]

17280, first try. But I've played Threes a lot.

I like Threes better. This had too much all-the-sameyness.
posted by aubilenon at 11:08 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]

The all-the-sameyness comes from the fact that it doesn't seem to give you much other than 2s and 4s. Threes is happy to throw in a 96 in betweens the 1's 2's and 3's (provided you're best tile is enough better than 96)
posted by aubilenon at 11:09 PM on March 10

I hate this game. I'd tell you why but right now I have to kick my friend off of my computer so I can try just one more time. (Really, just one more game.)
posted by sfkiddo at 11:31 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]

Getting the first 1024 is easy.

Haha I know, right? Super... easy...

oh god still stuck on 512's
posted by jason_steakums at 11:45 PM on March 10 [2 favorites]

Oh, good! A game I can play while my iPhone-hating boyfriend steals my iPhone so that he can play a Threes.
posted by honeybee413 at 11:55 PM on March 10

Oh man I wasted so much time with this. Got a couple 512s.
posted by klangklangston at 12:11 AM on March 11

Oh, hey, it's like playing Threes except that I'm forced to do so as someone with no ability to demonstrate nuanced control.
posted by DoctorFedora at 12:12 AM on March 11

posted by klangklangston at 12:48 AM on March 11

I beat the game!


The secret behind the secret is to always use left and right to shake things loose and line things up as much as possible. Pressing down prematurely will lead to ruin.

I wish Mini Metro had a win condition, then I could stop playing the damn thing...
posted by narain at 2:30 AM on March 11 [2 favorites]

Wait, so you get a 2048 and then that's it? You win, game over? I wanted to get a 4096!

(Score: 20656)
posted by Caconym at 3:05 AM on March 11 [1 favorite]

Threes is a terrible, terrible game that languagehat told me about and now I hate him so much. If you have an iphone go buy it right now and join me in my misery.
posted by rtha at 6:00 AM on March 11






posted by Quilford at 6:01 AM on March 11 [3 favorites]


Lies! Make sure your highest-value tile is in the top-left corner by repeatedly pressing up and left until you get it to about 256. Then you have to be more discerning. Use the rest of the top row to line up other high value tiles that you will eventually push into the top-left corner. Do not let your high-value tiles be displaced by low-value tiles, otherwise death is imminent. This means pressing the down button is risky, unless an entire column is full. If you move your highest-value tile away from the corner, you're basically guaranteed a loss. Use the bottom three rows to build up more tiles to push into the top row.
posted by Quilford at 6:07 AM on March 11 [1 favorite]

between this and hhgttg yesterday someone else is going to have to be responsible for tidying my apartment because
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:59 AM on March 11 [1 favorite]

You can press up or down but not both. Pick one and stick with it. Alternatively you could pick left or right (but not both) and use up and down to line things up.
posted by jeffamaphone at 7:02 AM on March 11

Going up, left, down, right in a repeating counterclockwise direction is a surprisingly effective strategy.
posted by ymgve at 8:16 AM on March 11 [1 favorite]

And of course someone's made an AI to play it. You can see it in action here (or use it for getting hints while playing yourself). Source code here.

It's not perfect though. I just watched it play, and it got to 9108 points. From the code's readme
I think there are still some bugs as it tends to make some weird moves and die during the endgame, but in my testing it almost always gets 1024 and usually gets very close to 2048, achieving scores of roughly 8-10k.
posted by bjrn at 9:18 AM on March 11 [3 favorites]

This is awesome. I literally cannot remember the last time I ragequit a game. I LOVE YOU SO HARD METAFILTER.
posted by disconnect at 10:09 AM on March 11 [2 favorites]

Can someone explain the arrow mechanics to me? I feel like my button pressing sometimes does what I want on the board, but has all these other unintended consequences that I can't grok and I just feel dumb that I don't get it.

Even so, I somehow got a 256 tile on my first game.
posted by hootenatty at 10:32 AM on March 11

And of course someone's made an AI to play it.
I think that's the first time I've cheered on an algorithm. So close! Try again!
posted by graftole at 10:53 AM on March 11 [1 favorite]

> Can someone explain the arrow mechanics to me?

If you press an arrow button, all blocks are forced to move in that direction until they
* bump into a wall or
* bump into a block of a different value or
* bump into a block of the same value and merge

And the merging order is opposite of what you press. So if you have a row with
[ ][2][2][2]
and then press left you'll end up with
[4][2][ ][ ]
Because the leftmost 2 moves left until it bumps into a wall, then the next 2 moves left until it bumps into that first 2 which makes them merge into a 4, and then the last 2 moves left until it bumps into the 4.

I hope this helps.
posted by bjrn at 10:54 AM on March 11 [1 favorite]

Okokok, that makes sense. Is there any rhyme or reason to when/where new blocks show up?
posted by hootenatty at 11:02 AM on March 11

New blocks are randomly placed in open space. But you know that one will appear after you move, so you need to think, "is there someplace I don't want a block to be?" Then make sure your move doesn't open up that space where you don't want something to be. If you can help it (sometimes you can't).
posted by jeffamaphone at 11:19 AM on March 11

Having played a bit, I don't think the "try to keep things in one corner" strategy scales very well, because it keeps you from playing moves that might end up merging many pairs of tiles. It also tends to keep some of the higher-numbered tiles you want to eventually pair up with other higher-numbered tiles down towards a corner, with a bunch of middle-numbered tiles keeping you from getting there. Of course if things break well for you, you can do a 4-8-16-32-64 to pair up with another 64 in the corner, but if you're keeping those higher-numbered tiles toward the center-ish, you have a better chance of pairing them up, meaning you don't have to make a *third* one because the one you want to pair with is buried.

My overall plan does tend to start with a few tiles in the corner just to get easy stuff out of the way, but as soon as I get something in the 8 or 16 range, I keep my eyes open for multiple-merge moves, and also try to keep the highest-numbered tile somewhere in the middle, and try to make another one in the same neighborhood. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I've gotten to 1024 but not 2048 yet after playing 15 or so games.

(This would have be easier to demonstrate with an example, but I'm not feeling ascii-artish at the moment, and the game is begging me to test out my hypothesis some more.)
posted by tonycpsu at 11:27 AM on March 11

Yeah, I've been bouncing between the two strategies. The problem I have with the largest-number-in-the-corner strategy is inevitably I get a two behind it (in the corner and my large number gets moved just beyond the corner) and at large numbers that is very difficult to deal with.
posted by jeffamaphone at 11:32 AM on March 11

The lateral strategy of narain is what I used to beat it. AND AM SO HAPPY NOW.
posted by klangklangston at 11:36 AM on March 11

Yes! done it! At first I thought there was very little strategy, but with a few games I perfected keeping the largest number in the top left corner, and using the top row to build up the next highest numbers.

(Am I the first to win?)
posted by salmacis at 11:44 AM on March 11

You're not the first, but you beat me.
posted by jeffamaphone at 11:52 AM on March 11

Looping down/left/down/right gives pretty regular 1024's, but hasn't gotten me to the end yet. Pretty sure that, between my coworkers & I, grouse owes my company at least a few hundred dollars of lost productivity.
posted by jeffjon at 12:01 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]

Say you wind up with three of the same number side by side. How can I predict which pair will be combined?

(I've gotten 1024 several times by protecting the largest tile in a corner, but I need to manage the run-up set of tiles better to get to that last double. Having one each of the first 2^10 takes up over half the board; they had better be sequence-adjacent!)
posted by ceribus peribus at 12:12 PM on March 11

this just made me pick up my phone and play Threes, which is way better.
posted by misskaz at 12:28 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]

> Say you wind up with three of the same number side by side. How can I predict which pair will be combined?

As far as I can tell, it happens as I posted above where it evaluates in the opposite direction of the arrow you pressed.
posted by bjrn at 12:50 PM on March 11

I got a 512! I got a 512! :)
posted by eggkeeper at 1:44 PM on March 11 [2 favorites]

Finally won by concentrating on building up the bottom row.
posted by ceribus peribus at 2:38 PM on March 11

Bah. 1024. Hate this game.
posted by octothorpe at 3:26 PM on March 11

posted by Flunkie at 3:31 PM on March 11 [3 favorites]

3024 - 256 tile
posted by stenseng at 3:57 PM on March 11

Keeping the high tile in the upper-left worked for me. Judging from other comments you just need to pick a corner and then stick with it.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 3:59 PM on March 11

I finally managed to win. It feels a bit anti-climactic when it actually happens! Simple strategies like sticking with a single corner work for most of the game, but I find that near the endgame I really need to consider more possibilities, and sometimes have to let things get messier. Sometimes it feels like solving Rubik's cube.
posted by mbrubeck at 5:37 PM on March 11

Games like this are literally the reason I'm too afraid of smartphones to ever buy one. I can't have this dopamine-triggering shit following me around everywhere I go.
posted by threeants at 6:05 PM on March 11 [4 favorites]

I finally got it.
posted by I Havent Killed Anybody Since 1984 at 8:54 PM on March 11 [2 favorites]

And if you're on Android and not putting up with waiting for them to bring Threes over, there's Fives, which adds a second element of having to get 2 and 3 added up to start the chain upwards.

Fives is also on Windows Phone.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 8:19 AM on March 12

One thing I've noticed is that if you have to move your high number out of a corner because there's no other moves, and it gets displaced by a 2 or 4, abandon that high number tile. It's now just another tile. That new 2 or 4 is your new high tile.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:37 AM on March 12

There is a 10% chance you'll get a 4 instead of a new 2.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 6:10 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]

My suspenseful 2048 game: (part 1, part 2)

I think I have a good algorithm worked out, but winning isn't guaranteed every time due to random tile luck and my own mistakes.

Apologies for the choppy video; was playing around with a new video capture package.
posted by ceribus peribus at 7:03 PM on March 12

Great game, thanks for the post. I have finally made it to 2048 so I've closed the tab and will try to pick up the wreckage of my life and somehow move on.
posted by citizenoftheworld at 9:45 PM on March 12

I made it to 1024 with 512, 256, 128, 64, and 32 tiles on the board, but the failed. That was... discouraging.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:53 PM on March 12

I've gotten 1024 twice but can't seem to close the deal. I think this game will be my new religion for the next day or so.
posted by zardoz at 12:40 AM on March 13

Someone made a variant that's all fibonacci-ey. I think that twist really makes it a fair amount more interesting. OTOH, it also makes it easier, and because this, like 2048 and unlike Threes, only ever gives you new tiles from the lowest two possible. The downside of easier is that a single game can last rather too long.
posted by aubilenon at 5:08 PM on March 13 [3 favorites]

Stack Overflow on 2048.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:47 PM on March 13

and for the real masochists... 4096.
posted by mbrubeck at 8:33 AM on March 14

posted by jason_steakums at 9:09 AM on March 14

It's been a long time since I started playing a game and had three hours pass without realizing it.
posted by double block and bleed at 4:27 PM on March 15 [3 favorites]

posted by grouse at 6:26 AM on March 16 [2 favorites]

any portmanteau in a storm: "Keeping the high tile in the upper-left worked for me. Judging from other comments you just need to pick a corner and then stick with it."

Yeah, that worked for me. Finally. Just keep building up the high numbers in the top row with the highest at the left. I had a strategy worked for a while but it took me a dozen tries to not screw it with a panicked down key press.
posted by octothorpe at 6:46 PM on March 16

Don't miss DOGE2048!
posted by oulipian at 8:12 AM on March 17 [2 favorites]

Is it sad that I like the Doge one better?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:25 AM on March 17 [3 favorites]

2048 - 3D
posted by bjrn at 1:45 PM on March 17 [1 favorite]

You can get surprisingly far in the 3d one by just being utterly confused and pressing Q or E at random whenever you get stuck.
posted by jason_steakums at 2:37 PM on March 17

2048 - 4D!
posted by oulipian at 4:15 PM on March 17 [1 favorite]

posted by yeoz at 5:26 AM on March 19

CalTech made their own version.

MIT improved it.

Don't you kids have midterms?
Oh yeah, that's exactly why you are doing this instead.

posted by maryr at 11:56 AM on March 19 [3 favorites]

Flappy 2048
posted by grouse at 1:41 PM on March 19 [3 favorites]

grouse, I hate you.
posted by Night_owl at 3:22 PM on March 19 [3 favorites]

Got here via the askme about the xkcd reference and glad I didn't miss it.
posted by Mitheral at 10:46 AM on March 20

16384 Hex
posted by bjrn at 11:38 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]

2048 Numberwang
posted by grouse at 7:41 PM on March 20 [8 favorites]

the best strategy of all is not to play in the first place
2, 2, 4, 2, 4, 4, 8, 4, 8, 8...
posted by not_on_display at 10:26 PM on March 20

Heh; the Numberwang one keeps the color progression, so it's still possible to play it Matrix-style "I don't even see the numbers any more".
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 7:44 AM on March 21 [2 favorites]

After two nights' pounding on this game til after midnight, I limited myself to two games per night.

Finally, tonight, I beat it.
posted by notsnot at 6:53 PM on March 21

MIT version: I'm absolutely loving the surprise of seeing which university appears when you combine squares. (Two Stanfords equals one Cal, eh? Oh the ol' rivalry...)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:45 PM on March 21

8402: Prevent the evil AI player from reaching the 2048 tile!

Quite fun. Instead of moving the blocks, you're the one controlling where new tiles come into play.
posted by bjrn at 12:39 AM on March 22 [3 favorites]

From the comments on the (surprisingly late) BoingBoing post:
2048 Doctor Who Edition
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 4:20 PM on March 23 [2 favorites]

Got a 4096 tile!
posted by Night_owl at 9:55 PM on March 24 [2 favorites]

My best game yet was a 4096 + a 2048 + a 1024; I got into a flow state, but then I noticed it and I crashed and burned shortly afterwards.

The little change to add "keep going" to the "you win" screen is genius: it makes it an open-ended challenge rather than a hard stop at 2048.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:01 AM on March 26

Yup, that definitely keeps me going back to it. I don't know why it has such a strong grip on me but it really does!
posted by Night_owl at 11:16 AM on March 26

God damn it. I was hoping when I checked back here that there wouldn't be anybody who'd managed the 4096 and I could just proclaim it not reasonably doable and give the damn thing up already. I've gotten up to a 2048 and a 1024 now. The moment I get forced into an 'up', my heart sinks like a rock. They're recoverable early on, but in the late game, I've never managed to not lose soon after.
posted by Sequence at 3:11 AM on March 27 [2 favorites]

Oh wow. I finally got a 2048 tile! But now I must continue, apparently.
posted by asperity at 2:37 PM on March 27

Here's an article from the makers of Threes about 2048 and other clones and rip-offs of their game. It includes basically their entire 14 months of emails and design ideas and iterations it took to make Threes, so even if you don't agree they have a right to be a little sad/miffed/whatever about all the clones out there, it's a fascinating look at the development process.

Per Greg Wohlwend on Twitter just now: It's a mix of feelings, we're still thrilled by all the love for Threes. But it has me wanting to never make a small beautiful thing again.
posted by misskaz at 3:40 PM on March 27 [3 favorites]

I wouldn't have bought threes without playing this — threes seemed kinda meh from the description, but once I had played through this I saw the appeal.

Of course, I'm also the guy who buys albums after pirating them, so maybe I'm just a unicorn across the board.
posted by klangklangston at 3:51 PM on March 27

I feel like I started learning about the prevalence of game ripoffs with the flappy bird ripoffs getting all that press. I liked that the stores were trying to strike back against idea stealers. I wish they were more effective though.
posted by garlic at 4:05 PM on March 27

I had no idea clones were a thing/problem as I'm not really that active in the phone game world. I first learned about the idea from this article about Ridiculous Fishing, which was cloned too. (Greg Wohlwend was also the artist who worked on RF, so basically I'm just a "games that Greg has worked on" fangirl.)
posted by misskaz at 5:04 PM on March 27

There's a new front page post about the THREES! blog post.
posted by mbrubeck at 10:27 PM on March 27

But 8192 is within your grasp!
posted by grouse at 6:33 AM on March 29 [2 favorites]

That is just plain mean.
posted by Sequence at 8:37 AM on March 29 [2 favorites]

Wait, when did it change so that you can keep going after 2048?
posted by octothorpe at 1:07 PM on March 30

I played this a lot at first, always losing. Tonight, after stopping for two weeks, I got to 2048 on the first try. It's amazing how the brain quietly churns away on a problem if you set it aside for a while.
posted by double block and bleed at 1:28 AM on April 6

8192 is just barely outside my reach. Which makes it so tantalizing I can barely stop playing for an hour.
posted by Night_owl at 8:51 PM on April 6

I was so caught up in this that I downloaded the app to play on iPad. Last night I finally won.

posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:11 AM on April 7 [1 favorite]

posted by Night_owl at 2:10 PM on April 8 [2 favorites]

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