How to Play and Win 2048 – Tips, Tricks and Online Game

2048 is a single-player puzzle game in which the objective is to obtain a 2048 tile. A 2048 tile is achieved by combining matching numbered tiles on a 4 by 4 grid.

There are 4 possible moves:
Left to Right” – Right arrow key.
Right to Left” – Left arrow key.
Top to Bottom” – Up arrow key.
Bottom to Top” – Down arrow key.
With every move a new tile (with a value of 2 or 4) randomly appear in an empty spot on the board.

Tiles slide as far as possible in the chosen direction until they are stopped by either another tile or the edge of the board. If two tiles of the same number collide while moving, they will merge into a single tile with their sum value – e.g.: 2 and 2 becomes 4, 4 and 4 becomes 8 and so forth.
The resulting tile cannot merge with another tile again in the same move.

The game is over when the board is full and there aren’t any possible moves left.

In order to reach the mythical 2048 tile, the player must play strategically and maintain enough room on the board to achieve the tile.


The Strategy:

Pick a corner – any corner. In this example we will pick the upper right corner – or 1D.
How to play 2048 - 4 by 4 grid

Maintain the highest number tile in the corner, and place the closest value tile next to it. In an “Upper Right Game” the highest value tile will be placed in 1D, the rest of the tiles will be placed in a “Slalom” of descending order from right to left -> top to bottom -> left to right… and so forth.
How to play 2048 - 4 by 4 grid strategy direction

For example:
How to play 2048 - Example


The Reason This Strategy Works

The strategy allows for a minimal use of grid space. Minimal use of space allows for more tiles to be constructed and thus higher combined sums to be reached.

In the example above, the “16” tile in 2A is positioned in place to be merged upwards with the “16” tile in 1A to form a “32” tile.
How to play 2048 - Example 32 merge

Since all the higher numbered tiles are placed in a descending order next to one another, with a “Left to Right” swipe the newly formed “32” tile in 1A can now be merged right with 1B to form a “64” tile. Continuing to swipe right will result in the formation of a “256” tile.

How to play 2048 - merge 64

How to play 2048 - merge 128

How to play 2048  - merge 256


How to Maintain The Order?

In the above example, any swipe to the left may result in a new tile appearing in the right upper corner. The right upper corner in an “Upper Right Game” should be reserved for the highest tile – the “256” in this case.
The way to keep the tile there would be to avoid a “Right to Left” swipe, until the upper row (row 1) is filled with tiles that can’t be merged using a “Right to Left” swipe – in other words, the tile must be “Blocked” in place.

A good example of a “Blocked” corner tile is presented in this example for a “Top to Bottom” swipe (or a down stroke) – in the case of a “Top to Bottom” swipe, the “256” tile will stay in place because the D column is filled with tiles that can’t be merged using a down stroke.

Until row 1 is filled with tiles, the only desirable moves would be “Left to Right” and “Bottom to Top“.
You may have realized by now that a “Top to Bottom” swipe is to be generally avoided in an “Upper Right Game”. The only time a “Top to Bottom” swipe is used in an “Upper Right Game” is when there aren’t any other options or when one attempts to fix a mistake.

Using the “”allowed”” strokes, fill row 1 first before attempting to align tiles in a descending order. Once row 1 is filled with high numbered tiles descending from right to left, continue placing descending tiles downwards with the “Slalom“.


Additional Tips:

Don’t chase the highest tile

Prefer positioning ascending tiles next to one another rather then forming the highest numbered tile. Doing so will allow for more merge options on the board.

Prefer moves where multiple tiles are merge in a single swipe

With each move a new tile is presented to the board, thus the least moves one makes to combine tiles the more available room there is on the board.

Take your time

2048 may become long and boring, specially if you go beyond 2048. Once the game becomes easy and boring, we tend to go faster. Going faster is far more likely to result in a mistake. Mistakes are hard to fix and thus better to be avoided.


Take it for a Test Drive

You may try out what you’ve learned here on this online 2048 game from


2 thoughts on “How to Play and Win 2048 – Tips, Tricks and Online Game

  1. Pause and look ahead. It’s easy to get sucked into the game and make moves as quickly as possible. If you want a better shot at winning, fight this impulse and only make a move when you’re ready. Look ahead and try to imagine how the board will look after you make the next move, or at least what will happen to a few important tiles.

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