I, being a fan of 2048, was wondering if anyone has any proven strategies for playing 2048?

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    $\begingroup$ Meta discussion about tips and the expected answer format: Hypothetical [tips] questions $\endgroup$ Commented May 14, 2014 at 22:18
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    $\begingroup$ Please, post comprehensive answers in preference to one-per answer. And feel free to edit: there's no such thing as “don't edit” on Stack Exchange. $\endgroup$ Commented May 14, 2014 at 22:19
  • $\begingroup$ I'm going to edit this a bit, because I think there's a fair amount of noise. If the meta discussion changes things, please do let me know, @Gilles and TheDoctor. My thoughts: 1) telling people to up/downvote isn't needed in the question text; people either know to vote or they don't. Every question could say that. So I'm going to edit that out. 2) Telling people not to edit... I agree that editing is SE's policy, but also some people do choose to leave comments instead. The point is that telling people to do one or the other doesn't make any sense; they're going to do what they want, so $\endgroup$
    – WendiKidd
    Commented May 17, 2014 at 1:08
  • $\begingroup$ again this information doesn't belong in the question text, so I'm going to edit it out. 3) I think that the "1 strategy per answer" thing is probably something we should discuss on meta, and there's already a meta discussion linked in these comments. To me, this once again feels like trying to tell people how to answer, which isn't really what we do in questions. But since it's something to discuss, I'll leave it be. If further meta discussions determine my edit invalid, I'd be happy to see it rolled back, but I just don't think these are the kinds of things we put in question bodies. $\endgroup$
    – WendiKidd
    Commented May 17, 2014 at 1:09
  • $\begingroup$ Very related: 1, 2. $\endgroup$ Commented May 20, 2014 at 4:30

4 Answers 4


Try to line up numbers in descending order on a row of your choice (I prefer the top row), and avoid messing this up at all costs (especially the cell with the biggest number, which should be in a corner).


$$ \begin{array}{|r|r|} \hline 1024 & \phantom{0}512 & \phantom{00}16 & \phantom{000}2 \\ \hline 2 & 2 & 4 & 2 \\ \end{array} \\ \text{(etc.)} $$

A good method for achieving this is to avoid a certain key (i.e., the down key, if your large numbers are in the top row) so that you won't accidentally move a large tile away from the row. Also remember to not use the right key (in this example) unless the top row is full (which it usually is, but be careful after combining tiles on the top row).

The reasons for this are:

  • If you let the tile with your greatest number get out of a corner, it will "clog" the board and effectively take away one of your 16 available spaces.
  • If you let tiles with large numbers get separated, such as $\begin{array}{|r|r|} \hline 1024 & \phantom{0}512 & \phantom{000}2 & \phantom{0}512 \end{array}$, they will stick around for much longer, get in the way, be hard to combine, and be generally pointless.
  • $\begingroup$ I've gotten 4096 this way several times, and can get the 2048 well more than half of the time. $\endgroup$
    – Xynariz
    Commented May 14, 2014 at 22:01
  • $\begingroup$ I agree with this strategy. I've been using it ever since I started playing 2048 and am able to solve it with ease in ~80% of my games. $\endgroup$
    – padarom
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 13:13
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    $\begingroup$ This is more or less the strategy I use. It got me to the 8192 tile! Ultimately you want to have a "snake" pattern of decreasing tiles starting from one corner. $\endgroup$
    – arshajii
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 14:02
  • $\begingroup$ I use this strategy a lot and can reach upto 2048 rather easily and 4092 occasionally. But my next problem is that in the unfortunate cases where I have to really press the down arrow, how to recover from the damage? $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 15:48

The number one most important tip in my opinion is to keep your highest tile in one corner, and your next highest tiles adjacent to it. You should only move your top tile from the corner when absolutely necessary.

  • $\begingroup$ Sometimes I fill up the bottom rows when I begin to run out of space. A nice strategy would be to try and avoid being cornered by having some parts aligned but not joined, that way you can have space to work with when things get messy. Love this game! $\endgroup$
    – pyler
    Commented May 16, 2014 at 0:54

Up until 4096, @Doorknob's solution seems optimum, using a zig zag along one row then back along the next. Once you have a 4096 in one corner, the number of free tiles limits your options if you go for a single direction, though, so the technique I use once I have my bottom row filled (I like my top number at bottom left) is to add to both ends of the next row up as necessary.

This often lets me sidestep the bottom right tile and double the next one in, and protects against an unlucky sequence of poor number tiles.


I imagine using gravity and the screen resting on a small fulcrum in the center, so that the screen tilts slightly to the right or left as the numbers accumulate. In this way the big numbers get arranged sequentially in a snaking pattern from bottom.

With a keyboard, the Left, Down and Right keys are in a line and the Up key is out of the way. This prevents me from pressing Up erroneously.


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