1 + 2 = wisdom: Life lessons learned while playing Threes

Threes is one of the best games ever made. It’s a puzzle game wherein you match ones and twos to make threes, threes to make sixes, sixes to make twelves, and so on until you run out of space on the board. It exemplifies “simple to start, hard to master”.

I’ve played Threes on and off for about six years now. It’s enthralling. It gets me in the zone like nothing else. This can be a bad thing: I’ve missed countless train, tram, and bus stops because I was playing Threes. I’ve even walked passed streets I was meant to turn down because I was lost in a game.

It’s perfect. And perfection has a lot to teach us. Threes has things to say about a life well lived (and not just “pay attention to where you’re going”, which I refuse to learn).

Threes is filled with life lessons. Here are a few of them.

  • It takes less time to think through a good plan than to fix problems caused by a bad plan (or no plan at all)
  • That said, you can fix a lot of mistakes if you make it your focus and think a few moves ahead
  • All big things happen because of countless small things
  • There’s pleasure to be found in tiny details, even if you’ve seen them countless times before
  • With enough experience, you’ll be able to pick when things fell apart (but that doesn’t mean you’ll always be able to see it coming in the future)
  • Starting with a boost does help, but it’s less satisfying long term
  • Luck is as much about putting yourself in position to capitalise on opportunity as it is random chance
  • Knowing when to cash out can be as important as building for the future
  • If you take risks early on, you’ll have more time and space to fix things if the risk doesn’t pan out
  • You can do everything right for a long time but, sometimes, life will just ruin you
  • You can get addicted to anything