Tetris Strategy

Tetris Scoring

Finally, one’s Tetris strategy will depend on the version being played, and how that version scores different moves. It will be important to understand how the different versions of Tetris score, in order to understand the best techniques to use.

Scoring in almost all variations of Tetris involve being rewarded for completing various tasks or moves. In the earliest versions of Tetris, points were only awarded for dropping the pieces; in fact, some even penalized the player for using the piece preview. Beginning with Tetris for the Game Boy, players began to be rewarded for clearing more than one line at a time. Games also began to reward players for starting at a higher difficulty level. Below is a table showing the scoring for the Nitendo versions of the game for Game Boy, NES, and Super NES:

Nintedo games also reward the player for soft dropping a piece, that is, one point for each grid cell that the piece was soft dropped through. This does not increase with the level.

Below is the scoring commonly used in todays’ game that a built under the Tetris Guidelines:


Another important Tetris concept to maximize scoring is the use of combinations. These can be done in variations that award bonus points for consecutive clearing of lines with each piece that falls. Most scoring will give you double the points of a single line clear when you clear two rows consecutively. On the third consecutive clearing of a line you will earn three times the points of a single line clear, and so on.

One way to set up consecutive line clearing combinations is to is to set up a ‘well’ of clear spaces two cells wide, and as high up as you can build it. It is best to build this gap towards one side of the playing area or the other. For example, the playing area is 10 spaces wide, so, if numbered from 1 to 10 going from left to right, build the well in spaces three or four, or, on the other side, spaces seven and eight. You will want the sides of the well to be an even two spaces wide all the way to the top.

When your well is as high as it can go safely, without risking topping out, start to drop pieces into it. As every piece in Tetris is a least two cells wide (with the exception of the I tetronimo) no matter what piece you drop in the well, it will clear a line. This is one case where you don’t have to worry about creating gaps, they will only be one or two cells, and may create possibilities for more combinations. As your are dropping pieces into this combo well, hold I pieces off in the hold box. Save them for opportunities that may arise to clear three or four rows at the same time.

We hope these Tetris strategy tips will be useful to you as embark on a long, addictive career of Tetris play.