8 NYT Tiles Strategies To Score Huge Combos (2024)

One of the five games available on the New York Times mobile app is Tiles, a game where you use different strategies to pair visual designs together and form huge combos. Your goal for this game is to look at a series of tiles on a 5x6 grid and find similarities in their designs. Your combo builds when you find the most matches between various aspects of two different tiles.

Some of the factors you need to be looking for in any two tiles are their color and patterns, which are organized in multiple layers to form a single image. A stark contrast from the Mini crossword NYT puzzles, this game challenges your ability to perceive similarities. Every palette made has a common ground for you to recognize and use as your combo continues to grow.


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8 Identify The Differences In Color

Not All Shades are the Same

8 NYT Tiles Strategies To Score Huge Combos (2)

Every tile you see will have different color shades for each pattern that makes up the whole picture. There are usually three color shades for a tile icon, distinguished by the backgrounds of the image created by various symbols and what images they create. When you are trying to match different Tiles to start a combo, it can be tricky to tell which colors are the same when most have similar shades.

Most of the time, the colors are pretty distinct, with bright hues that are somewhat easy to identify during a game. Depending on the palette you select, colors could be incredibly simple or much more complex to recognize between single pictures. Take the time to distinguish color schemes in Tiles carefully to successfully pick similar images every time and increase your combo's score.

7 Organize Which Layer Comes First

Pay Attention While Images Render

As each palette becomes harder and harder to interpret, the background layers can start to blend, making it harder to understand what exists in an image. Try to break down one image into a few layers of two or three to separate which patterns are being used. For example, an image like the one in the above video by YouTube creator Lucas C can be broken down into patterns that make up each layer.

One of the best ways to approach this strategy is to start from the outer border of an individual image. Similar to the New York Times Spelling Bee game, you can use the work from the outside of the pattern provided and work inward to make important distinctions. Try to recognize the patterns on layers by working your way toward the center of one image, then see what other tiles use the same layer in their design.

6 Aim For The Fewest Number Of Matches

Secure Your Combo Without Risks

8 NYT Tiles Strategies To Score Huge Combos (3)

It may be tempting to build your combo by matching three or four tiles whose patterns you think match without error. However, even if you are confident in matching layers, colors, or other aspects of an image, it can still carry some risks. There's no need to put your combo in danger by trying to make a huge guess regarding an icon's layer and how it relates to another space on the game board.

The smallest number of matches you should aim for are double or triple matches, which refer to pairing images with two or three similar elements. The longest combos can grow when you focus on only a few matching parts of a section in Tiles instead of relying on the complete picture. Since you match two tiles with every move, having a board with more layers makes it easier to follow this strategy.

5 Practice On Zen Mode

Prepare For Your Next Real Game

8 NYT Tiles Strategies To Score Huge Combos (4)

Anyone subscribed to the New York Times can enter Zen Mode for any of the five games within the mobile app. This provides a stress-free zone to play on practice boards without the added tension of keeping up your combo in Tiles. With the number of diverse palettes you could come across, it may be a good idea to try out a game or two with the hardest boards before getting into an actual game where your combo matters.

Ironically enough, the longest possible combos can only be achieved in Zen mode, so this practice game is the best place for you to form the longest streak without worrying about running out of tiles.

Every time you empty a tile in Zen mode, it is automatically replaced with a random new element that may or may not match with others on the board. Unlike a normal game, your board can become cluttered with many images that have clear similarities and differences. Some tiles may be so different from one another that you may have to stop when no images have any matching qualities when you play for long enough.

4 Learn About Various Palette Sets

Each Tile Set Has a Name

When loading a game of Tiles, you can choose between different palette sets to test various aspects of your pattern recognition. For example, the New Haven palette focuses less on layers and shapes and more on color schemes as the primary comparisons between images. Meanwhile, the Hong Kong set uses silhouettes rather than obvious layer shapes to test your ability to find matching elements.

Check out different palettes not just from your own experience, but from the games of others like those seen in the above video by YouTube creator KHG, who demonstrates a game with the Brighton Palette.

Thankfully, there are no palette sets that trade images for letter words like Wordle or other mobile games with the New York Times. Feel free to experiment with every palette available to find out which one you prefer out of all the options offered. When you find your favorite, it will likely be the best one to build your biggest combos as you become incredibly familiar with the tiles that might show up.

3 Break Down Each Tile Individually

Figure Out Which Parts Make a Whole

8 NYT Tiles Strategies To Score Huge Combos (5)

Once you have a palette selected, you can start digging into individual tiles to figure out what parts of their image match other spaces on the game board. Similar to how you can find differences in layers, it is wise to break down a tile into every basic shape used in its complete design. Take out a separate piece of paper and draw tiles if you can to see just how every piece fits into the complete puzzle.

As you try to form unbroken combos, especially toward the end of a Tiles game, breaking down tiles you have already encountered becomes much easier. Arguably, the hardest stage of this game is the beginning, where you have to evaluate the entire board at once to find similarities. Those trying to aim for the longest combo streaks should take the opportunity to break down tiles right when a game starts.

2 Double Check Before You Make A Decision

Don't Make a Clumsy Mistake

When you select a tile, you aren't locked into a matching answer until you select another tile on the game board for Tiles. You can't cheat for a perfect score once in this game since you are locked into a choice the moment you press the tile you want to interact with. That being said, you need to be careful and scout for which tiles you think match ahead of time, rather than pressing one early without a plan.

Look back and forth between the two tiles you believe to have matching elements to not only reassure your suspicions but also give yourself another chance to spot a mistake. With more complex palettes, you can choose to select a tile to give you an idea of which patterns are within that design. As you can see in a video by YouTube creator holoturquoise, this strategy is great for building combos on very loud boards.

1 Don't Rush To Get Your Combo Back

No One is Perfect

8 NYT Tiles Strategies To Score Huge Combos (6)

When you lose your combo, the worst thing you can do is immediately try to rush through a game of Tiles trying to rebuild what you've lost. This reckless mindset can lead to all sorts of mistakes, including easily missing patterns you would have identified before. Take a break if you need to and walk away from your screen to prevent frustration from building up and ruining whatever chance you have at a longer combo.

Thankfully, games of Tiles can be paused whenever you want if you need to go do something else or take a quick breather. Those who subconsciously think about the game might come up with a connection they wouldn't have noticed otherwise and use that idea to keep a combo going. Matching elements continuously requires a degree of patience to allow your thoughts to keep up with your rapid actions.

Rushing too much will inevitably lead to your combo being lost, but you can still play this game fast once you reach a certain level of comfortable confidence. The best strategies to score huge combos in the Tiles game of the New York Times mobile app are something you need to get used to over time as you play more games with different palette sets.

Source: Lucas C/YouTube, KHG/YouTube, holoturquoise/YouTube

8 NYT Tiles Strategies To Score Huge Combos (2024)


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