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I find the same basic strategies don't hold up as well. It seems much easier for me to foul up because I need 3 in a row, rather than just 2.

Yeah, this variant forces you to clean up the (mental) heuristic you use you decide how best to combine blocks. With 2048 you could generally muddle your way through provided you ensured high blocks were in some corner. Here, because of the 3 combination, quite often I'll have a pair of high numbers blocking an entire row from shifting -- an issue you'd never have in the original.

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