I much prefer 2048. The $2 I spent on threes was $2 well spent, but 2048 is the game I pick up when I want to play something. (although the game should have been called 4096).
And as I mentioned in my original post, the goal for me to get 4096 or over 50,000 points. 2048 is easy, 50,000 points isn't.
House ruling is fine but shouldn't that level of challenge (either through an enforced time limit or some other means) exist in the vanilla game?
It may be, in effect, a customisable game but that feels accidental rather than anything the designer intended. I could make any game harder by drinking heavily before playing it but that external factor making the game more difficult hasn't really improved it as a game.
Worth saying, I'm not wild about either game. For me they're simply not rewarding and I found myself resenting rather than enjoying the time I spent on them.
I just tried it out again and I used a slightly modified version of the technique laid out in this article (Left-Down-Left-Down until I couldn't anymore then switched to Right-Down, rinse repeat only occasionally switching directions to setup long number chains ) and I got a 4096.
For you maybe, not me - not all the time anyway. Granted when I am bored and feeling lazy, or I have a quick subway ride, I'll spin up 2048, but if I want a challenge and some thinking, I'll spin up Threes. In some sense, 2048 for me now serves as a less twitchy, less exciting Tetris substitute.
Moving the goal posts back on behalf of a game makes the goal more difficult, sure, but it doesn't necessarily mean the difficulty of the actual gameplay increases at the same rate, i.e. it can lag behind the difficulty of the goal, which in my opinion is very much the case for 2048.
Nonetheless, hitting 8192 remains a challenge, and I feel like I've been tantalizingly close to 16384, but have never quite managed it. So as far as I'm concerned 2048 (or, I guess, 16384) remains quite challenging.
In Threes, 768 is the furthest I've gotten. I've found that when things get tight in Threes, you can easily be stymied not just by new tile placement (the only real wildcard in 2048), but also by the "+", "1", and "2"'s that can result in the position being unplayable, thus adding in my mind a greater degree of chance to the game.
Generally speaking the beginning doesn't really matter all that much so just start building up numbers however you see fit (some people go left right left right multiple times before crunching downwards). But start building and pinning your largest number on either the left or right corner. So, for example, try to make a 32, and pin it in the bottom right. Then start working on a 16 to its left, and an 8 to the 16's left, and a 4 to the 8's left. Generally, I try to make sure the entire workspace row is locked as often as possible by making sure it's always filled. This minimizes the chance that you'll need to unpin the largest number from its corner.
Once you've got your workspace row locked, there are a few things you can do. I haven't decided which I really prefer yet, but I basically just start creating another workspace row above the first workspace row. I'll usually try to focus on creating row #2's largest number on the opposite side of row #1's pinned corner number so that I can start crunching downwards as numbers begin to vertically match.
That's the very general gist of it. There are a few minor special case tactics you can use, but I'll leave that for you. Oh, and as faet said, don't swipe up (if your workspace is at the bottom). It's a recoverable mistake, but can make things much more difficult if you get a 2 stuck below your workspace (but it does kind of add some more spark to the game trying to recover from it). Personally, once you start using this strategy, the biggest thing you need to look out for is to not create a scenario where the game will generate 3 locked rows, because that will force you to swipe up. You'll see what I mean. Good luck.
Seems like a good math problem.
[EDIT] http://stackoverflow.com/a/22498940 won 100 out of 100 games using expectimax. 100 are not a lot of games, but hey.
My introduction to this "genre" was through the first web-based 2048 clone posted here on HN, so if anything I should be biased towards that. But when I picked up Threes I was just flat-out impressed with the cohesiveness of the experience, which went above and beyond 2048 in basically all ways--strategy, art, etc.
At the end of the day, I imagine it comes down to a few simple things. First, Threes is not free. Second, difficulty calibration. Threes is probably just too difficult, which prevented it from hitting critical mass as fast as 2048 did (which is, IMHO, trivial in comparison). Third, sound. Since it's a mobile game a fair share (if not majority) of players will play on mute and hence won't really get to enjoy the music of Threes.
Threes wins in every category. In 2048 once you know the strategy you don't really need to do anything. The rules are too simplistic. In threes everything is wonderful, from the audio, to the animations, to the fun little sounds every block makes on combining, even the little story about each block's personality, and of course a very good set of rules to keep the game predictable(ish) and challenging. It's actually really fun and difficult.
What I'd like to see: Every paid game should have a 3-day free trial. Once you really like it after 3 days, boom purchase. I hate buying games only to realize I wouldn't play it past first sitting. This is where Threes lost, not because its better or paid, but because free is easier to approach.
Let's ignore price for the purposes of this.
* The interface of threes frustrates me. It takes a relatively long time to start compared to 2048 almost starting instantly and is feels awkward to interact with. Much to convoluted for most settings to me.
* The counting up of score at the end takes too long. I either want to move on to the next game or walk away from it. I don't want to sit there and watch numbers being added.
As to Game play:
* Three's requires more strategy yes, but it is trickier to play in a casual manner, when I have a few free moments here and there. I can pick up a 2048 game, and get somewhere reasonably in a short period of time where threes seems to take more concentration and time (Even beyond the time it takes to get the app going).
The first time I saw threes the performance, theming, and just general styling of the game felt like a knock off of something else. It was bad enough that I didn't think I'd found the original and looked again. The edition of 2048 I came across had a much cleaner interface, smoother game play and works well in time constrained or pickup-play settings while still being interesting enough to be worth playing longer. Threes just doesn't scratch that itch. It's a little too much for casual play but not quite enough for something more serious to me.
Threes occupies that awkward middle ground between casual and 'real' games. If I want to play a real game, I'll pick up a 4X or something. If I want a casual game, I play 2048 or sudoku or something similar.
Simply put, 2048 is more elegant than Threes. It might have flaws that the developers of Threes have solved. It turns out that those flaws don't really matter.
Someone succeeded using a similar idea, and in many people's opinions, they did it better and it was free. The next step shouldn't be to write a smug blog post about how the other product is crap and people should be paying you instead.
We have no real numbers on 2048 and if you view it via the HN echo chamber I'm sure it looks like 2048 is a more popular game but I'm not sure that's true in the larger outside market.
Comparing this to Tetris is just hubris.
I bet there won't be anyone people playing Threes in 30 years instead of the latest fad.
The comparison to Tetris is also valid. It's a very popular, simple to play, hard to master game on a wildly successful platform. A game that draws in large numbers of non traditional gamers.
It doesn't really seems right comparing game development now and then (or even 15/20 years ago), the amount of advanced tools, public knowledge, step-by-step tutorials available today is something developers of the time could never dream of, and had to learn/build for themselves.
Genres like real-time strategy, first person shooters, MMOs took years to be "invented", while we see new (and successful) concepts of mobile games basically every month.
With the rise of Free2Pay, and the blight of IAP, I would argue otherwise.
But that's not to say that you can't make money (and therefore successful investments) out of mobile games. Perhaps some of the valuations have been out (and massively out) in some cases but it's a market where there is money to be made.
Threes! is a better experience across the board and it is cross platform in it's intended form factors, it's available for iOS and Android.
The last time the Threes vs 2048 debate was posted here, half the comments were "I never heard of Threes. I didn't even realize 2048 was based on another game."
Threes might be a better "game", in that there's an easy strategy to do well in 2048, but Threes is a bad mobile game. The ideal mobile game would be something which could be played for 30-90 seconds, paused or looked away from without lasting negative consequence, but with timing as a key factor, and 4-8 possible touch points on the screen, IMO.
"Rez" would probably do well for mobile (the playstation vibrator game).
Threes is beautiful, but to be honest it sometimes feels so...heavy. The animations, the sounds, the repetitive music...sometimes it grows tiresome. Meanwhile, 2048 is something I can throw up on a browser on any device (something I can't do with Threes) and just hash through a few games. This is not including the time I spent on the various 2048 clones, made possible because (again unlike Threes) the source code for 2048 is freely available online.
It may be less challenging, but when has challenge ever been a criteria for a game to be fun, or even a "masterpiece"?
But I have to wonder what if that final version had been banged out in the first weekend, would it have been recognized as the winner? Would a team then stop innovating and switch to build it (and saved 1.2 years for who knows what else)?
From a product dev standpoint i'm torn. There's a lot to be learned through iterating through complexities, challenging everything and ending with a simpler solution. But there's plenty to be lost by the argyle distractions as well.
HN, how do you do know when to stop brainstorming and ship?
That being said, at some point someone (preferably someone wise and smart) makes the decision to ship. And they do need to make that decision.
I think the author of 3s screwed up by going iOS first. There are millions of hungry Android devs out there. If you release a game that's iOS only, and it turns out to be really popular, and it has fairly simple game logic... there will be an Android clone in under 24 hours.
It's a cautionary tale. Release on iOS first at your own risk.
Exactly the same, but with far more impressive numbers.
Skimming over the comments here, I could easily replace Threes! and 2048 with Mac and PC, or XBox and Playstation, or Beer and Wine......