It's been a wild three weeks. In browsing Hacker News, like I do, I witnessed the rise of 2048, and the proliferation of its forks.

Screenshot of 2048, illustrating my strategy.

2048 is a game of numbers. You start off with two 2 tiles randomly placed on a 4 by 4 grid. As you move them around the board, they merge, and new tiles appear randomly. Two 2s merge into a 4, two 4s merge into an 8, and so on, up the powers of two (the geeky numbers) until 2048 to win. You lose if the board is full and you cannot make another move.

My strategy is to have to top row descend in value from left to right, and for the rest of the board, I move the tiles toward the upper right (see screenshot). This way, I can chain the merging of tiles. I love it when I do that and realize that it will end up with 2048. I hate it when a 2 slips into the upper left by accident, because it breaks the whole flow.

There are many many variations of this. Because it was posted on GitHub, many people have stolen forked the source code and made something different from it. Variants include higher numbers, bigger boards, different shapes, different tiles, multiple dimensions, AI, and even multiplayer.

It's free, playable in a browser, and very addicting. It seems to be the new game I play while listening to podcasts. I like the AI, since I found the hints it gave helpful. Also if I got a two mixed up in the upper row, I can flip the bird, and let the AI play for a bit. If you can't get it at first, don't worry: I didn't either.

I feel sorry for the developers of Threes. Not sorry enough to buy their game, but there you have it.

Also, unsolicited editing:
it's -> its
loose -> lose

Posted by Ian Buck.

1. Yeah, I saw that on the Escapist. I hope it doesn't get nastier than that.

2. There's many "it's" in the article. And English sucks.

Posted by the Andrew Bailey.

No new comments may be posted for this article at this time.