The definitive guide to winning 2048
BY NEIL SHADER
This morning, around 6:15 Eastern, I did what I had previously thought impossible. I beat 2048.
So how did I do it? A little luck. But I also have something called the Mancini technique.
1) Build numbers side to side
Start each game by sliding left and right to build up some 4’s and 8’s along your sides. I tend go all one direction until I can’t anymore, then go the other way.
2) Collapse upward
Once you’ve got a nice base along the side, swipe up and collapse some of that into some nice 8’s and 16’s. You want to keep this top row full of higher numbers that you can merge into the really big boys like 256, 512, and 1024. When you have your top row full, go back to the left- and right-swipe (this is the Mancini technique, named after my friend who came up with it).
3) Focus on a corner
Now we’re setting up our base—that upper-right corner with the 64 and the 128.
This is where we’re gonna focus attention for a while.
4) Build chains
In the screenshot below, see the two 16’s, 32, 64, and 128? We’re gonna make that a 256 by chaining them all together carefully.
Boom. We’re a quarter of the way there (not really).
Now back to swiping and collapsing upwards. Another thing: When you have a nice big number that you want crunch into the top row, fill out the second row down as well, allowing you to swipe left and right in the bottom two rows to best line up your pieces.
Here’s another chain (same game):
Don’t try and build up big numbers separately. Focus on turning small numbers into bigger ones.
In the game that I won, my chain started in the lower left with some 4’s becoming an 8, and slid it left and right and chained it all the way to a 256 in the top left that became a 512 next to a 512 next to the 1024 for the penultimate win.
5) Be lucky.
This comes later in the game, when you’ve got the top two rows full of hard-to-crunch numbers. The 2’s and 4’s that were so helpful early on now get in the way of those 16’s you need to match the 32 to get the 64 to a 128 so you can… well, you get the idea. I don’t have a way around this. Sorry.
6) Never, ever, ever swipe down.
This is another critical part of the Mancini technique. Don’t ever do it. Why? Because look at my pristine top row
Now look at it.
LOOK AT THAT DAMN 2.
I can’t do anything with that 2. I can’t get another 2 in close enough to match it, and if I did, I’d need a 4, an 8, and probably a 16 to be able to un-clusterfuck that top right corner WHERE THE MAGIC HAPPENS.
Even after chaining together some 2’s and 4’s into something useful, I’m still stuck with a 128 in the second row (where it can block chains) and that miserable godforsaken 2 in the top row.
I did manage to build a chain to get it free, eventually. Later in the game, this would have been fatal.
So that’s what I know. It’s not a fool-proof strategy, but by using the Mancini Technique of swiping side-to-side, collapsing upwards, and focusing on long chains, you can set yourself up for nice long chains that can lead to fame and glory.
Best of luck. Try to get some work done.
And if you’re finding this too tough, don’t worry—there’s a simpler way.
Illustration by Jason Reed
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