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December 27, 2015

Some tips on mastering Threes

Threes starting 6144

Title screen with all tiles.

As you probably know, I am a big fan of the game Threes. The concept is simple: push like-numbered tiles into each other to combine them. 3+3 become a 6 tile, two of those become a 12, and so on.

You might be more familiar with 2048, the blatant rip-off that quickly became more popular despite – or, perhaps, because of – its lack of depth. I compared the two in demonstrating the concept of first-mover advantage.

In July 2014, I kept a live-blog of my attempts to reach the 11th level, the 3072 tile. I eventually made it a month later. The game is so well-designed that I’m still figuring out little tricks to get better; I now reach 3072, on average, once every 8 games.

Several people have asked me for tips on how to improve, so I decided to record my screen while I played a game and talked through my thoughts. Consider it my Christmas present to you.

Enjoy, and let me know if you have any questions!

I’ve reached the 12th and final level, 6144, eight times. According to a Reddit AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) last week, this level has been achieved only 900 times in 4.1 billion games played.

The tri-force tile flying across the screen in the image above is apparently a stand-in for the 12288 tile. God help me if I ever get to that.

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