This is the 2048 strategy and tips given from the guy who made the program that can beat the game, but simplified).

With all the buzz that has been generated surrounding Gabriele Cirulli’s 2048, there were bound to be players who would take matters a little further, with a deeper examination of the game’s mechanics. This has happened, and a number of players have begun to create computer programs and AI algorithms that are able to form the elusive 2048 tile based on applying a number of heuristics (methods by which to solve a problem). So here is everything he said, and everything you should do in 2048, but simplified.

  1. Monotonicity
  2. Smoothness
  3. Free Tiles

1. Monotonicity (or keeping a certain order)

Monotonicity is the matter of having your board’s tiles decrease in value as you get farther from the corners. You should have your largest tile in a certain corner, and all other tiles should be clustered around the large tile, according to value. The farther from the largest tile you get, the lower each tile should be in value. Here is a picture explaining a “perfectly monotonic” board.


#2: Smoothness >>


Note that I said “number” of heuristics. As of yet, there isn’t one set algorithm that will ensure a 100% success rate every time. Instead, a program has been written that works by taking multiple strategies into account simultaneously before making each move. When these strategies are applied together, the program then chooses the optimal move based on how well it fulfills the parameters set by the heuristics. As of now, the program’s success rate is around 90%.

See the algorithm in action!


Being as many humans are able to create the 2048 tile (though with a much lower success rate) you are probably thinking that it isn’t anything special for a computer to be able to beat 2048 as well. Besides, what good is the program if it simply beats the game for you? (It’s kind of cheating…)

Well, there is actually a lot that we can learn from this program and its creator. The program was written by one Matt Overlan, who in a 2048 programming thread explains precisely which heuristics the program takes into account that makes it so successful. In total, he lists the three main strategies that his program uses, though he does so in very complex programmer terminology.