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Tetris for Beginners: 16 Helpful Tips / Tricks / Strategies (Easily Explained!)

Last Updated on January 25, 2024 by Gamesver Team and JC Franco

Over the last decades, Tetris has become the epitome of the ‘easy to play, hard to master’ gaming principle. Regardless of where your Tetris-playing roots lie, you have probably spent hours trying to master it. Unless you’re a Tetris Champ, this endeavor has probably proven quite challenging for you. 

Becoming good at Tetris requires forming a solid foundation for understanding its gameplay, strategy, and mechanics that will enable you to exercise particular skills and employ certain tricks that will improve your gameplay. Once you’ve gotten these under your belt, all that’s left is practice, and in time you’re guaranteed to see better results. 

 There’s a surprisingly long list of factors that influence one’s results with Tetris (for such a simple game). We have selected sixteen of the most prominent ones that should help you secure those high scores more quickly. If you want to brush up on your Tetris playing skills, keep reading.

These are 16 tips, tricks, and strategies to get better at Tetris:

1. Understand What Is Tetris About

Tetris is played within a ten by twenty cell grid. The game’s goal is to continually stack blocks and clear lines for as long as you can. To achieve this, you need to fill an entire horizontal line with blocks, which will cause them to disappear and provide you with more space to stack. The game is over if you run out of space to stack further blocks.

2. Tetris Basics – Overall Theme

To ‘survive’ longer and achieve higher scores, you need to learn to utilize your blocks creatively and clear as many lines as possible with each block you lie down. To do this well and frequently, you should familiarize yourself with the game’s basic mechanics.

3. Tetris Mechanics – Basic Tips

The order in which blocks fall is randomized. This mechanic makes Tetris re-playable as the order in which you receive blocks drastically influences your decision-making and overall strategy. You should note that the better you play, the faster the blocks begin to drop.

 You can also choose to speed up the falling blocks manually, regardless of the game’s speed. You may do this by pressing the ‘down’ button. This will speed up the falling pace of your current block and is otherwise known as a ‘soft drop’. 

Alternatively, you may choose to press the ‘up’ button and initiate the so-called ‘hard drop’, which will instantly place your current block at the bottom of its current position. Clearing lines at higher speeds give you more points, so learning how to take advantage of soft and hard drops can go a long way. 

4. Tetris Title Strategy

The first strategy any Tetris player who’s aiming high needs to learn is how to score a ‘Tetris.’ This is a high payoff move that comprises clearing four lines at once. To achieve this, you need to fill a nine-by-four cells grid area while leaving one column of space empty. You follow this up by placing the I-shaped block into that space. 

Trying to score ‘Tetris’ should be your main goal in every play-through as it rewards you with a considerable amount of points. However, if you are playing a competitive version of Tetris, you should instead focus on clearing your lines as quickly as possible.

5. Playing Flat Strategy

This strategy entails dropping blocks in such a way as to create the flattest possible top row of pieces. This strategy provides you with a playing field that leaves room for more options for block positioning. 

If you choose to employ this strategy, you should mind avoiding stacking pieces higher than two blocks or creating holes deeper than two blocks. Holes like that are impossible to fill with anything other than the I-shaped piece, while stacking blocks three cells or higher lowers your options for flattening it out later on. 

6. Mounds

Regardless of how well you play, eventually, you won’t be able to avoid creating mounds higher than two or three blocks. If you can, you should attempt to steer your mounds towards the center of the field.

In most versions of Tetris, allowing mounds to build up in the center alone will give you more opportunities to even it out into something flatter as the game progresses. 

7. The Rotation System

Understanding the rotation system and employing it to your advantage is one of the most important things to master on your way to becoming a good Tetris player. You may rotate blocks both clockwise and counterclockwise, but each iteration of this game has its own way of handling this mechanic.

You need to develop an understanding of how each block rotates in either direction. This will enable you to get your blocks in the desired position with the fewest number of spins. Time and efficiency are crucial in this game.

8. Fast Decision-Making

As counter-intuitive as this may sound, you should avoid overthinking and worrying too much about the placement of your blocks. This will disrupt your flow, distract you from the game, and can lead to a series of bad placements that can prove quite difficult or even impossible to get out of. 

Regardless of how good you get at Tetris, you’ll always make mistakes and get pieces that just aren’t that good. It’s better to simply place each block the best you can as fast as you can and continue doing so with each piece instead of attempting to divine the ideal position for each of your blocks. 

Practicing fast decision-making will also train you for fixing your mistakes better and faster. 

9. Hold Pieces to Score

One of the most common mistakes Tetris players make is using the hold blocks to fix their mistakes. Instead, these should be used to score. Tetris allows you to save a block for later and move on to the next one. Afterward, you may replace a dropping block with your hold block at will.

 Inexperienced Tetris players tend to take a bad block out of the game and save it for later when it proves more useful, but what you should do instead is hold onto the I-shaped block and use it to complete a Tetris.

10. Practice at High Speeds

Playing Tetris at lower speeds is a great way for beginners to get comfortable with the game. However, you should avoid getting too comfortable here as things may fall apart pretty quickly for you once the game gets faster out of your comfort zone. 

For that reason, you should play Tetris at fast speeds all the time. You don’t need to start at the fastest speed possible, but you should start at a challenging rather than comfortable speed.

11. Understanding Delayed Auto-Shift

Once you get comfortable with high speeds, you may notice getting pieces to the far left and the far right sides of the field has become increasingly difficult. To counter this, you need to know about delayed auto-shifts. 

Simply put, the maximum speed at which a block moves from to the left or the right is slightly delayed. For this reason, the higher the speed, the harder it is to move blocks to the edges.

12. Buffering

Buffering your direction before the block enters the field should enable you to get it where you need it to go. To achieve this, simply hold down the direction you want your block to go from when the last block has set if you hold a direction before the next block even appears. It will automatically move in that direction at max speed. 

Locking in blocks when playing at high speeds can help you time your buffer better. At this point in the game, you won’t need to employ soft and hard drops simply because the blocks are moving fast enough on their own. However, using a hard drop on a block will lock it in, after which you should immediately begin buffering to avoid the delay. 

13. Queue and Colors

In most versions of the game, you’re able to see the next block coming up in the queue. While setting each of your blocks, you should mind the queue you’re picking up from the corner of your eye and start making decisions on where you want that next piece to go. 

Doing this will help you counter the delayed auto-shift and get better at fast decision-making. Practice this for long enough, and soon you’ll see yourself planning several steps ahead.

14. Multiple Spaces

We already explained why building mounds higher than three blocks is a bad idea, but the same rule could be applied horizontally as well. While playing Tetris, you should mind leaving several gaps of at least two cells across to accommodate the O-shaped, S-Shaped, and Z-shaped pieces. 

If you notice yourself getting increasingly tangled in a mess of rows you can’t clear, it is most likely due to poor placing of the shapes, as mentioned earlier.

15. Mind Your Temper

Whether you lose a lot or have a fantastic streak that ends quite poorly, it’s quite easy to get frustrated with this game. You should train yourself to remain calm and not allow a game to affect your emotional wellbeing. Not only will this help you play better with a clearer head, but it’s also an advantageous trait to nourish for everyday life as well. 

16. Practice, Practice and Keep Practicing

While very simple in its structure, Tetris is a game that requires a lot of thinking right off the bat. There are a lot of things to keep in mind from the very start of the game. You cannot expect yourself to get all of it under your fingers in a matter of several games, even if you are exceptionally talented. 

Keep playing, keep practicing, and don’t get discouraged. Sooner or later, you’ll start noticing how more and more of these things have become second nature to you while playing. Moreover, you will probably develop tricks and strategies as you get familiarized with the game or a particular variation of it. 

Last Word

Simple structure, accessibility, and replay value have made Tetris a well-known and widely-liked game for several generations. Whether you’re a veteran seeking to rekindle their childhood passion or a new player seeking to broaden their gaming experience, you have certainly wondered what makes one good at playing Tetris

We hope that the list of strategies, tips, and advice we have compiled here helps you understand the game better and improve your experience. Good luck!

JC Franco

JC Franco serves as a New York-based editor for Gamesver. His interest for board games centers around chess, a pursuit he began in elementary school at the age of 9. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Mercyhurst University, JC brings a blend of business acumen and creative insight to his role. Beyond his editorial endeavors, he is a certified USPTA professional, imparting his knowledge in tennis to enthusiasts across the New York City Metropolitan area.